Elizabeth Scott Elementary wins National Title I honor

Only 100 U.S. schools selected as National Title I Distinguished Schools

Elizabeth Scott Elementary has been named a National Title I Distinguished School. The school is the sixth Chesterfield County elementary school to achieve this national recognition: Bellwood won in 2011, Beulah in 2010, Harrowgate in 2006, Chalkley in 2005 and Bensley in 2002.

Elizabeth Scott students, teachers and staff members learned about and celebrated the announcement with teachers dancing a piece from “What Does the Fox Say.” Everyone thought the assembly was a celebration of SOL scores.

According to principal, Joan Temple, they consider the award quite an honor.

“I found out about it around Christmas time,” Ms. Temple said. “I wanted to tell everyone, but it was all hush-hush.”

There are only two schools in the state who receive the Title 1 designation each year and the school holds the honor as long as the school is open.

“It was amazing that we asked 21 volunteers to cover classes while we held our assembly and made the announcement,” Temple said. “Whenever our students do well on things such as SOLs we reward them with motivation minutes, which allow them minutes at a party at the end of the year.”

The kids get to jump in a bounce house, dance and play games Temple said.

“It’s a good incentive for the kids.”

National Title I Distinguished Schools are honored by the National Title I Association. Each year, two schools in each state are recognized for excelling in one of two categories: exceptional student performance for two or more consecutive years or closing achievement gaps among student groups. Elizabeth Scott Elementary won for closing achievement gaps.

Elizabeth Scott Elementary, which embraces “Make Every Minute Count” as its mantra, is fully accredited and has met federal annual measurable objectives for the past two years. The school has 899 students; 45 percent of the students qualify for free or reduced-price lunches and 29 percent come from families that do not speak English as their first language.

Temple credits staff, community partnerships and positive relationships inside and outside the school as important factors in the school’s success.

“Closing the achievement gap would not have occurred without the support from our parents, families, extended families and our community,” according to information the school submitted as part of the recognition process. “Our teachers have built a climate of trust where successes and failures can be shared with the ultimate goal being to improve student achievement. … The combination of their love of learning and positive collegial relationships has cultivated learning experiences for children which have positively impacted test scores… Teachers work hard to maintain a relationship with each student in their classroom so each child knows he or she has a caring adult who believes in them. It is not unusual to see our teachers out in the community supporting our students in extracurricular activities.”

One outstanding partnership is the Greenleigh Learning Cottage, located in Greenleigh Mobile Home Park, where almost one-quarter of Elizabeth Scott’s students live. The learning cottage offers after-school tutoring for academically at-risk students and English language learners, provides soccer and fitness activities and teaches life skills such as leadership, focus and hard work.

The charts below demonstrate the school-wide Title I school’s success in closing achievement gaps in reading and math. (Gap Group 1 includes students with disabilities, English language learners and economically disadvantaged students. Gap group 2 is African-American students. Gap Group 3 is Hispanic students.)

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