0113smFirst Place, East Division, Middle Schools

Curtis Wells, Principal
4745 Rutledge Park
Rutledge, TN 37861
Grainger County Schools
Website here

Recipe For Success:

Improving student achievement at Joppa School required a drastic change in the focus of all involved with the education of the students. In general, the students, parents, faculty and staff members were very satisfied with the school and saw no need for change.

Through data analysis, used in conjunction with the development of our School Improvement Plan, it became apparent that our school did have some needs and it was time to implement change.

The foundation was laid. A plan was developed. Effective practices emerged.

We agreed to anchor our instruction on skills identified through our Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program. We informed our students, faculty, parents and community stakeholders, both verbally and in writing, of the importance and the function of the student performance indicators. A shift in ownership began.

Staff Development and inservice activities were centered on scientifically based data driven programs designed to support proactive classroom strategies. The programs utilized were Balanced Literacy, Four Square, ThinkLinkLearning, Differentiated Instruction, Project Based Learning and School Wide Positive Behavior Support. These programs were monitored through various assessments instruments:Break Through to Literacy, Orchard Reading, Orchard Math, GRADE, DIBELS, ThinkLink, Accelerated Reading, and Accelerated Math.

Communication among grade levels and across grade levels was identified as an area of concern. This was addressed through the implementation of weekly grade level meetings, peer observations and coaching, and staff e-mails.

Organized efforts to involve parents in school decision making have been successful. Parents are eager to participate in the decision making process.

A parent volunteer program has been initiated. Parents are actively involved in school activities. Many classes have projects within the community which promote team building outside the school setting.

Shared leadership became a priority. The Leadership Team was organized. Members were selected from each component of the School Improvement Plan. The team assumed the responsibility for monitoring and implementing the SIP. The team also meets monthly to discuss and address concerns brought to the attention of the chairperson. An agenda is developed and presented to each member in advance of the meeting. Decisions are made based on the consensus of the team. All stakeholders are informed of decisions made.

The Grainger County Board of Education, Dr. Vernon Coffey, Director of Schools and the Central Office Personnel have been instrumental in providing expertise, encouragement and financial support through this process. This support and the dedication from Joppa School staff members, students, parents and other stakeholders has ensured the success we have experienced.