As the school year will come to an end Monday, June 17, the Falmouth elementary school principals updated the Falmouth School Committee Tuesday, June 11, on the school success plan goals they first shared in the fall.
Justine Dale, principal of East Falmouth Elementary School, said her team focused on improving math skills, especially of current grade 4 students—71 percent of whom either partially met (56 percent) or did not meet (15 percent) expectations in math on last year’s MCAS test.
To improve this year’s MCAS results, the scores for which are not yet available, the school created targeted, skill-based groups to teach and assess students. It used Khan Academy methods and technology to increase math fact fluency and to meet grade-level math standards. It also paid closer attention to students’ effort and attitude, incorporating movement breaks and other tools into the classroom, Dr. Dale said.
Along with the other elementary schools in the district, East Falmouth School implemented the “Journeys” English language arts program, moving forward from the “Reading Street” program the district had used for the previous decade.
The school continued to improve its school’s safety and security measures, with all staff taking part in ALICE active shooter response training and medical emergency drills.
“We need further instruction for how to communicate to students and more training of substitutes, as well as a key pad for the west wing and a fence for the perimeter of the property,” Dr. Dale said.
Nancy Ashworth, principal of Mullen-Hall Elementary School, said her team worked to close the achievement gap and improve outcomes for the lowest-performing students by having all teachers study an instructional tool called “Webb’s Depth of Knowledge Guide.”
The school has worked to enhance its safety and security measures by participating in multiple fire, lockdown and medical emergency drills, as well as ALICE training. The school upgraded its speaker systems so that announcements can be heard in the gymnasium, and staff use a new “fob” system at the school’s main and garden entrances.
The Mullen-Hall School Council researched more than 20 field trip locations and provided safety information on each for teachers planning trips.
Also, the school improved its physical plant by painting the building’s exterior, assigning a space for the incoming CONNECT program, landscaping the front field and repairing the fencing around the playground, among other efforts.
Timothy D. Adams, principal of North Falmouth Elementary School, said that in implementing the “Journeys” program, all North Falmouth classroom teachers and administrators attended the district-level professional development sessions with the publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Fourth graders joined “literature circles” to study novels, and 1st graders used the “Fundations” program to learn phonics.
Based on recommendations from a consultant from the Cape Cod Collaborative, the school expanded opportunities for students to speak aloud and share their voices.
Games are regularly used with students during independent center time, and the lessons are differentiated by ability levels.
Also, North Falmouth continued to develop its safety protocols by creating a medical response team that took part in drills for cardiac-related events and severe bleeding, Mr. Adams said.
Sandra Kapsambelis, principal of Teaticket Elementary School, said her teaching staff provided “inclusive instruction that engages every student in authentic learning experiences; demonstrates the power of effective effort; and fosters inquiry, creativity and positive risk-taking.”
“A growth mindset has been adopted and promoted at the Teaticket School, and growth mindset language can be found all over the school, not only within the classrooms but also in hallways and on bulletin boards. Teachers are promoting effort as the main determinant of student success within the classroom,” she said.
In addition, Teaticket staff encouraged parents and other community members to volunteer, participate in discussion and increase their involvement in the school community, and survey results indicated that, overall, families were pleased with the level of communication they shared with the school.
“All grade levels including prekindergarten have visited the Teaticket Park to learn about the park’s habitats and wildlife,” Ms. Kapsambelis added.