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Third Place, Middle Division, Elementary Schools

Debbie Bogdan, Principal
101 Henslee Dr.
Dickson, TN 37055
Dickson County Schools 
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Reporting on the Award: Dickson Herald

Recipe For Success:

At The Discovery School, we have worked hard to establish a positive and consistent learning culture.  In my role as principal, it is my desire to nourish that culture. My role is made easier by our dedicated and enthusiastic teachers and staff, parents who are passionate about education, students who are excited to learn, and support from our Central Office and School Board.

I try to greet all students as they arrive each day.  This greeting time sets the tone and hopefully, paves the way for a smoother day.  This simple procedure also enables me to determine any concerns that might need to be shared with a child’s teacher.  After the tardy bell, students gather in the auditorium for a brief student led assembly.  A family friendly atmosphere is nourished by singing happy birthday, celebrating AR points, sharing WOWW (Writers of Wonderful Works) writings, and recognizing students in other positive ways.

Our total enrollment is 242 and we have 1 bus assigned to transport our 66 bus riders. The fact that parents provide transportation for three fourths of our student body enables us to speak to parents daily.  We have an effective county wide elementary check-in/check-out policy and we make a phone call to every student who is absent.  These procedures help us maintain an attendance rate greater than 96%.
Dickson County works hard to create a collaborative environment for the teachers.  Through these collaborations, we have developed pacing guides for each subject, a yearly assessment schedule for all formative assessments, state tests, and culminating activities.  We use information from ThinkLink assessments to create Personal Learning Plans for those students who are performing below the proficient level. The Odyssey program is in all of our computer labs.  We have set aside two county-wide days for Professional Learning Communities.  In our building, we have weekly grade level team meetings and our teachers also meet weekly with our Instructional Coach.  Our teachers have daily opportunities for vertical and horizontal collaboration.  Wednesday lunches are earmarked for faculty meetings, book studies, or 20 minute staff development opportunities.

Every Monday, a P.L.A.N. (Program for Learning and Nurturing) is sent home with student work and grades from the previous week.  Standards and objectives for each grading period are detailed and student behavior is recorded.  The P.L.A.N. also contains a Bogdan Bulletin which is a weekly communication from the principal.

In addition to the rules created collaboratively in each classroom, we have three school-wide rules for students to follow.  Office referrals are completed on carbonless forms and a copy goes home with the student on the day of the infraction.

Our teachers “dig” through TCAP and TVAAS data as well as data derived from formal and informal assessments.  This information drives our instruction, enrichment, and remediation.  Our teachers maximize their instructional time and teach the standards with “rigor and vigor”.

Oscar Wilde said “success is a science, if you have the conditions, you get the result”. The Discovery School is blessed to have the conditions in place and will continue to strive for success for all of our students.