Value-Added Achievement Awards, 2009Third Place, West Division, Elementary Schools

Jonathan Criswell, Principal
811 S. College Street
Trenton, TN 38382
Trenton Schools

Recipe For Success:

As with any excellent recipe, success is in the combination of the right ingredients. Trenton Elementary School began its recipe by selecting a Leadership Team comprised of different stakeholders. All agreed to use Larry LeZotte’s “Correlates of Effective Schools” as a design template for the school. Following LeZotte’s correlates, the Leadership Team created a school-wide blueprint for daily operation of Trenton Elementary School.

1. Safe and Orderly School

  • Vision, mission, and belief statements were written and implemented. Daily procedures were implemented and practiced with students being reminded daily to “Be respectful, responsible, and make right choices.”
  • The faculty completed literature studies which emphasized teamwork and a positive work environment. The faculty also participated in sharing activities emphasizing great things that were taking place in their classrooms that included new techniques and student work samples.

2. High Expectations for Success

  • The curriculum was aligned with State Performance Indicators.
  • Curriculum “fluff” was eliminated and essential benchmarks were made the academic priority.
  • A philosophy of test, teach, retest, and re-teach was adopted to ensure that every child met grade level expectations.

3. Instructional Leadership

  • Measurable goals for student achievement were established.
  • Teachers were given common time to plan.

4. Clear and Focused Mission

  • “All students” means all students.
  • The school schedule was adapted to create extra time for Tier II and Tier III interventions.

5. Opportunity to Learn

  • Small group differentiated instruction became the focus of each grade level.

6. Frequent Monitoring of Student Progress

  • Collection, disaggregation, and dissemination of data became an essential component of daily planning.

7. Home-School Relations

  • Continuous communication was emphasized.
  • Positive news contacts with parents were made regarding student academic and behavior progress.
  • Straightforward academic information was provided to parents.

The combination of these seven ingredients has made Trenton Elementary School a great place to learn and work.