Mast Way Elementary School (Lee, NH). Mast Way’s exterior building has colorful mosaics created by students over the years. The mosaics include every color of the rainbow showcasing natural elements (e.g., butterflies, birds, trees, and flowers). Upon entering the building, the same whimsical student artistic expressions continue. Quickly, visitors will see crafted pieces of children’s art work, small painted details above doors, next to baseboards, and any place that benefitted from a little extra creativity. The Annual Mast Way Art Show, led by the art teacher, is a highly anticipated event of the year. Every student in the school chooses one piece of art to be mounted and showcased. The art show represents a culmination of instruction students received throughout the year. Students gain a strong sense of pride at seeing their art presented throughout the school. Parents, students (both current and former), and community members swarm the school to view and enjoy the gallery for all to celebrate!
College Park Elementary School (Greendale, WI). College Park Elementary values and encourages student leadership by inviting 4th and 5th grade students to serve on leadership teams. For example, the leadership teams of students review general behavior data, determine an area in need of improvement, and create a plan for improvement. In 2018, students focused on reducing conflicts on the playground. They determined that the playground did not support engaging recess play for all students. In groups, students created a map of the playground to meet the needs of all students. They reached consensus on a plan after measuring the area, considering a budget for new equipment, and sharing their ideas and final plan with the building, the grounds director, and the PTO Board. Based on the student recommendations, the school painted new games on the blacktop area and purchased additional equipment. Their work led to a decrease in recess conflicts in 2018-19. In addition, the 4th and 5th grade students continue to review data, set goals during the year, determine community organizations to support, strategies to engage students in their learning, and help create the adjustments necessary for school improvement.
Lincoln Elementary School (Rexburg, ID). Lincoln Elementary emphasizes physical education, nutrition, and exercise/fitness of students every day. Every class participates in weekly P.E. where students build hand-eye coordination, concentration, body awareness, endurance, and strength. Through an initial grant from Fuel Up to Play 60, Lincoln implements a nutrition and fitness curriculum and activities. Within a yearlong theme, students participate in monthly nutrition lessons. To promote healthy lifestyle choices, the school used other grants to purchase snacks, smoothie blenders, sports gear, and playground equipment. Students enjoy a snack during their nutrition lesson and receive a smoothie the following week. In addition, parent volunteers track the distance participants walk and run at recess. The school purchased a scanner, through a grant, where teachers, parents, and students scan badges to record their miles. Lincoln provides incentives for students at each milestone and a party for meeting preliminary requirements. Each year, a shoe company provides four pairs of shoes to award students with the most accumulated miles. Because of the success at Lincoln, the district has extended the program to other schools.
Brighton High School (Rochester, NY). Over the past five years, Brighton High School’s graduation rates increased from 89% in 2013 to 96% in 2017. Graduation rates increased for African American students from 55% to 95%, for students in poverty from 78% to 97%, for students with special needs from 65% to 82%, and for Hispanic students from 73% to 100%. With a focused determination and commitment to improving instructional approaches, academic interventions, and social emotional support, Brighton created a comprehensive approach for monitoring ALL students. Academic monitoring begins with 9th graders who may be scheduled into a study hall, skills lab, student help rooms, and/or academic intervention class. Quarterly, the school reviews all 9th graders’ report cards and structured supports are added or lifted as needed. There are three Brighton Support Teams (BST) which identify students who are struggling academically, socially, and/or emotionally. Each team includes an administrator, counselor(s), a Skills Lab (tutor center) staff member, and 3-4 teachers. Teams meet weekly to review referred students. Identified struggling students, who require additional intervention services, may be scheduled for the Brighton Support Center (BSC). The BSC services include: teaching organizational strategies and helping with academic monitoring; test preparation; credit or course recovery; grade monitoring for transfer students; and other transition support. Through this comprehensive approach, overall course failure rates decreased dramatically and graduation rates increased.
Cedar Lane Elementary School (Middletown, DE). Cedar Lane implements lesson studies that include grade-level teachers collaborating to create a single lesson to be used team-wide. After the creation of a lesson, a full grade-level of teachers participate in a fish bowl lesson study. This includes one teacher using the lesson with her students while colleagues observe. After the first round of instruction, the team meets to debrief and discuss enhancements/changes needed to strengthen instructional planning and delivery. After editing the lesson, a different teacher uses the newly revised lesson with their class while colleagues again observe. The framework around this experience is based on the student’s needs and what specifications the team has set forth. Teachers are always eager to participate in fish bowl studies as it gives them the opportunities for immediate feedback and implementation of new strategies in real time.