Friday, October 30, 2015

Office Hours at Campbell Court Elementary was a Blast!

Student sharing his work with Dr. Cotton
Last week, I had the opportunity to spend my "Office Hours" at Campbell Court Elementary School. It was a busy and productive day.  Some of my activities are listed below:

  • Talked with parents and students as they arrived for school that morning.
  • Observed a first grade teacher who was successfully implementing Daily 5 in her classroom.
  • Met with Mrs. Fulcher, principal, to discuss school initiatives and data related to student progress.
  • Visited several classrooms with Mrs. Fulcher and Mr. Bullins to observe instruction.
  • Ate lunch in the cafeteria with a "lively" group of second graders.  Among other things, we discussed what they like about their school as well as their plans for Halloween costumes. On a side note, we had a lot of super heroes at our table (e.g. Wonder Woman, Superman, and Batman)!
  • Participated in professional development with primary teachers, the reading specialist, the instructional coach, principal, and an educational consultant to continue to focus on Daily 5 implementation at Campbell Court Elementary.
  • Participated in an engaging discussion on Daily 5 with primary teachers after school.  Based on feedback from the educational consultant and my observations, Campbell Court teachers are making great strides in implementing the Daily 5 program effectively.  Certainly, this is going to have a significant impact on student reading over time.
Overall, it was a great day.  I have to say that I was most impressed with the progress teachers are making with the Daily 5 implementation.  All of the primary teachers were working hard to improve their practices, and they were open to suggestions and advice from the educational consultant.  More importantly, I could see that their students are developing into highly successful, independent readers. It is clear that this hard work is going to pay off for our students.  I was reminded of how dedicated our teachers are and how hard they work each and every day to master their craft.  Keep up the great work, Campbell Court!  I am looking forward to visiting again in the near future.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Way to go, Stanleytown Elementary!

Stanleytown Elementary Staff

This week, I had the opportunity to congratulate the Stanleytown Elementary staff on the substantial gains their students made on last years Standards of Learning (SOL) assessments.  Based on last year's results, Stanleytown staff and students have much to celebrate.  This list below includes some of the points of pride that I shared with the staff at Stanleytown Elementary:

  • The passing rate for students in grades 3-5 increased by 15.6 percentage points in English: Reading.
  • The passing rate for students in grades 3-5 increased by 18.9 percentage points for mathematics.
  • The passing rate for history/social studies increased by 2.1 percentage points.
In addition, student groups also made substantial gains that are worth celebrating.  For example, all student groups showed increased passing rates when compared to the previous year.  In addition, the passing rate for African American students increased by 32.9 percentage points in English: Reading and 21.5 percentage points in mathematics.  This is incredible!  As I shared with the Stanleytown staff, increases of 3-5 percentage points are noteworthy.  Certainly, gains like these are the result of hard work, focus on data, and collaboration.  I commend both students and staff for their hard work and dedication.

In addition, I had the opportunity to participate in the faculty meeting at Stanleytown.  At the direction of Mrs. Penn, the teachers and staff engaged in a powerful conversation about homework. Teams of teachers discussed the purpose of homework, ways to use homework more effectively, and ideas to provide student choices with homework assignments.  I certainly enjoyed taking part in the small group discussion.

Certainly, great things are happening at Stanleytown Elementary.  I look forward to future visits, and I encourage the teachers and students to continue to excel!  I can tell that they are already off to a great start this year.