2012 SCORE Prize Winners: Embracing High Standards - Page 10

“We try really hard around here because it is important to stretch yourself and do well to make yourself and your family proud.” The school has parents reinforce expectations by asking them to sign students’ folders every week and help children improve in any area of concern. Parents are kept informed about homework assignments, interventions and assistance that students receive, in addition to their children’s progress toward reaching goals. — John Sevier Student Academic “personal best.” Students and adults work diligently, with encouragement, to reach their personal best. The school routinely collects and analyzes student performance data to demonstrate development and mastery of skills throughout the year. Every nine weeks, the teacher posts each child’s progress toward achieving personal academic goals, which students establish with their teachers. A child struggling to make sufficient progress according to the nine-week benchmarks is retaught and offered additional interventions by teaching assistants, either in the classroom or through individual sessions, as needed. Teachers frequently remind students of the “failure leads to success” key and explicitly teach them to persist through challenges—to be tenacious in their learning. “No matter where students start, we are looking for them to achieve their personal best,” one teacher said. “They don’t have to reach a huge, high-reaching goal, but instead can make steady progress on the little things like getting more problems right on the test or doing third grade math if you are a second grader.” Students embrace the high expectations themselves. “We try really hard around here because it is important to stretch yourself and do well to make yourself and your family proud,” one student said. “[Teachers] tell us that it is the same in school as in football…keep trying, keep trying. If you keep trying, you have a better chance of getting there.” 13 Pathways to the Prize Lessons from the 2012 SCORE Prize School Winners Encouraging parents to support their children. In addition to engaging parents with academic folders that are sent home weekly, the school recruits parent volunteers for the Fox Watch, a club that provides guidelines for adults on how to support students at school. For example, parents are advised, “Do start conversations with students at lunch. Do make sure to spend time with all of your personal children in some manner today. You are welcome to divide the time in your child’s homeroom between students. You are also encouraged to eat lunch with your children; it is important to them as well!” Fox Watch parents participate in an orientation, and then they help with arrival, visit their child’s homeroom to work with teachers and students, attend and help with enrichment activities, patrol parking lots, and help with recess and student dismissal. The group manages a schedule to engage other parents as well. An annual 21-question survey is used to determine the extent to which the program is effective and valued by participants and how it can be improved. “Fox Watch Schedule” http://www.tnscore.org/scoreprize/ downloads/2012/fox_Watch_ Schedule.pdf “Fox Watch Survey” http://www.tnscore.org/scoreprize/ downloads/2012/fox_Watch_Survey.pdf