The Barbour County Board of Education heard from the faculty at two elementary schools during a recent Local School Improvement Council meeting.
Principal Jennifer Swift said employees from Weston Walmart gave up a day of vacation time and traded work shifts to help at Volga-Century Elementary School.
"Walmart came and spruced up our school, and it looks amazing," Swift said. "They just basically made it look like a brand new school, and it's amazing to walk in there and just have that clean feeling. It just makes everyone feel better to be there."
The Inter-Mountain photos by Melissa Toothman
Volga-Century students who received a distinguished score on WesTest2 during the last school year are recognized at a recent Barbour County Board of Education meeting. Standing with Principal Jennifer Swift, Makayla Johnson, now in fourth grade, achieved a distinguished score in mathematics and reading/language arts. Not pictured, Dean Marteny, a fourth-grader at Volga-Century Elementary School, achieved a distinguished score in science.
Swift said 25 volunteers worked seven hours to paint, power wash the playground equipment and clean the carpet.
"They did a fantastic job," Superintendent Dr. Joseph Super said during the Oct. 22 meeting.
Two LSIC reports were presented by Swift, who serves as the principal of both Volga-Century Elementary School and Junior Elementary School.
Shelley Short, the Title I director for Volga-Century Elementary School, presented WESTEST data for the school. She said math scores improved by 10 percent from last year, and reading/language arts scores improved by 15 percent.
Teachers from Volga-Century Elementary School attended a professional development session given by a county writing consultant last year, and they believe it yielded positive results in the test scores. Teachers applied techniques they learned from the session to prepare students for writing on the test.
"We saw significant gains in our writing scores this year," Short said. "We are very pleased with our writing scores, and we're continuing to work on the techniques that we learned last year with our kids this year."
Test scores for current fourth graders improved, resulting in some students achieving mastery and distinguished scores this year. Fifth-graders also showed improvements in their writing scores from last year.
"The students and teachers work extremely hard to make sure that they reach their individual goals, and we did that," Swift said.
Laura Shelton, the Title I instructor for Junior Elementary School, reported that third-grade reading/language arts scores improved by 20 percent from last year, with 35 percent of students attaining mastery or above. Fourth-grade reading/language arts scores improved by 15 percent, with 30 percent of students attaining mastery or above. Fifth-grade reading/language arts scores resulted in 8 percent of students attaining mastery or above.
Math scores improved for third-graders by 33 percent from last year, and 41 percent of students were at mastery or above. Fourth-grade math scores improved by 30 percent, with 30 percent of students at mastery or above. Fifth-grade math scores resulted in 22 percent of students at mastery or above.
Swift said Short conducts a summer reading challenge that doesn't involve counting the number of books students read. Instead of asking students to read a certain number of books, Short designed reading scavenger hunt activities. Scavenger hunt items can only be found through reading. When students complete a reading scavenger hunt activity, they can mark it off on their activity sheet.
At both schools, a program called "Reflect and Recover," a 10- to 15-minute period of structured exercise, is designed for students who break classroom rules. Both schools have a Student of the Week program, rewarding students who do not get penalized by the "Reflect and Recover" program. Those students' names are collected and drawn at random, designating one child as the Student of the Week.
Both schools also award one student per grade with the Student of the Month title. Students who exhibit character education traits for the month are chosen by teachers. Students of the Month get to sit at a specially decorated table for lunch. At Junior Elementary School, honorable mention winners also eat lunch with the other winners.
"The teachers take the time and donate their own things and decorate the table really nice," Swift said. "It's special for the students."
As a way to combat bullying, students at both schools sign a document promising that they will try not to bully anyone and will report bullying to teachers or an adult if they see it taking place at school.
"Usually they do (report bullying), (and) they like to make sure that their friends are safe and that they're safe as well," Swift said.