Award Year: 2022

Dewey Elementary School

905 Dickinson Street
Chillicothe, MO, 64601-2698

(660) 646-4255

Mrs. Melanie Rucker, Principal at time of Nomination

Title I School

Chillicothe R-II School District

School Website

School FaceBook

School Twitter


To prepare every student for success. The vision is to build a brighter future for our children and our community.

Student Demographics
  • Black/African American: 2%
  • White: 90%
  • Hispanic: 1%
  • Asian: 2%
  • Two or more races: 5%
Students learning math strategies in a glow setting.

Students learning math strategies in a "glow" setting.

Dewey Elementary School, in Chillicothe, Missouri, fundamentally transformed performance recently, returning this fourth and fifth-grade building to one of the strongest elementary schools in the state.

Staff and students in this mid-sized, rural, Title I District found themselves struggling greatly only five years ago. State test results reached their lowest point. With 2017 state test scores at 30-40% proficiency, teachers participated in tough, honest conversations about making systemic changes, rebuilding student expectations, and prioritizing non-negotiable initiatives. Focusing first on science, teachers became experts on one standard, and taught that to the entire grade in rotating groups during a daily, uninterrupted science hour. Teachers added a standards review rotation, and increased reading and writing in science. The following year, Dewey faculty updated English language arts curriculum by piloting Units of Instruction. In addition, staff adopted a math curriculum that was already implemented in younger grades. While proving a huge feat to tackle three instructional overhauls at once, teachers rose to the challenge.

Before the pandemic shutdown, teachers noticed a minor improvement in student performance, but after completing 2021 with continued implementation and fidelity, students' proficiency rates skyrocketed to 60-70% in all three tested subjects. Other elements staff would indicate aided in their rebuilt success are one consistent principal for 12 years, a return to diligent behavioral practices, social-emotional learning resources, trauma-informed programming, monthly data team meetings, an additional writing resource, and a dedicated 30-minute daily Tier II intervention.