Principal says school’s focus on positive behaviors contributes to rise in student growth –
By Patricia Beech –
Manchester Elementary School (MES) has received the 2017 Momentum Award from the Ohio Department of Education (ODE). It is the second time the school has received this recognition.
In an email to MES Principal Nick Roberts, the president of the State Board of Education, Tess Elshoff, called the school a “model of excellence.”
“This award symbolizes the State Board’s commendation for the strong academic support you, your staff, and your community have provided to students from every background and ability level,” she wrote. “We look forward to sharing information about your success with schools and communities throughout our state.”
This Momentum Award is granted to schools exceeding expectations in “student growth” for the year.
To qualify schools must earn straight “A’s” on all Value-Added Measures on the state report card in the area of student growth.
“Credit for this award goes to our dedicated staff of teachers and paraprofessionals who work with our students on a daily basis,” said Principal Roberts. “I emphasize ‘daily’ because it is the “everyday” work that counts – they have done a fantastic job making data-driven decisions, utilizing technology, and re-visiting objectives that weren’t mastered in time.”
To be eligible for the award, schools must also have at least two Value-Added subgroups of students – which includes students with disabilities, gifted students, and those in the lowest 20 percent in achievement.
While Value-Added Measures differ from state to state, in Ohio it is used as a tool to evaluate teacher performance based on improvements in student performance.
It is a difficult award to win because students must exceed a year’s growth to receive an “A” in the Value-Added component.
“Only 218 of 3,505 school buildings in Ohio received this recognition for 2017,” said Manchester Local School District (MLSD) Superintendent, Brian Rau, who expressed pride in the school’s staff for propelling MES to a spot in the top six percent of schools in the state.
“That shows me that our teachers are really committed and have dedicated themselves to teaching the standards – because our kids are learning,”
Principal Roberts says the school’s success springs from “a positive atmosphere and the staff’s common goal of maximizing student potential.
“We try to make ‘student growth’ our focal point, especially when we meet weekly in teacher-based teams,” he says. “The focus is always on students and what we, the adults, are doing to insure we reach each child.”
Roberts also credits the school’s Positive Behavioral Intervention and Support (PBIS) program for driving up “student growth” indicators.
“At MES we have a reward system that recognizes a student’s appropriate and acceptable behaviors,” he says. “We utilize ‘bark bucks’ as a reward and students may use them to purchase monetary and non-monetary items from a reward menu.”
The program is based on the idea that positive behavior promotes improvement in academic performance.
Roberts applauded the efforts of the staff, students, and families of MES.
“The public, as a whole, is a support system for our school, and I believe we have their support in achieving success with every student,” he said. “We see evidence of this through our attendance at Parent Teacher Conferences and Student of the Month Assemblies – winning this award is not only a reflection of the work being done at the school, it also shows that families are working to help their children perform better academically.”
“It’s remarkable that the school has won this award for two consecutive years,” said Superintendent Rau. “It’s an example of the great things that are happening at Manchester Elementary.”