The main reason for our success at Dresden Elementary is the school wide culture that we have created. We are a medium size Pre-k – Fourth grade serving approximately 500 students in a rural area. We are a Title 1 school with 80% of our students on free or reduced lunch. This scenario presents many challenges. Our philosophy is “The best part of the day for the majority of our students is when they are at school.” With this mind we have created a culture where students are made to feel very much a part of the school. They want to be successful and exhibit this through hard work and good behavior.
Examples of some of the programs that we have implemented to support this culture are Citizen of the Month, Citizen of the Year, and our third grade Ambassadors. All of these are character building programs. Within a normal school year a majority of our students will be selected for one these honors. On the academic side, even though the programs just mentioned have an academic component, is our Principal’s Club. This is a bi-weekly program honoring good classroom effort. A wall of Fame is located in our lobby. It displays pictures of all these students receiving their awards for the entire school year. After school programs which stress academics as well as health are also available. One of our most successful programs is our Roadrunner program were students run laps after school to earn rewards and recognition. We normally have over 150 students each day. All programs mentioned are sponsored by local civic clubs and businesses.
Academically, all decisions that affect our curriculum our made with a team approach. At the beginning of the school year we evaluate the previous year’s TCAP scores. We develop a school improvement plan based on data. In addition, teachers evaluate the scores of their new students and develop their own personal improvement plan based on the needs of their new students. As the year progresses we monitor progress constantly using various assessment tools and make additional changes to meet our students needs.
I am blessed to have a wonderful staff who focuses on the well being of every student. They realize this is a major priority of mine and they support these efforts as well. Staff members are also are very willing to change directions when the need arises to support student success.
Another resource that has made a huge difference in our school is parent and community support. They realize we are here to help their children, and I am continually overwhelmed by their ongoing support.