A “High-Progress School” is a Title I school in the top 10 percent of Title I schools in Georgia that is making the most progress in improving the performance of the “all students” group over three years on the statewide assessments.
Title I is the largest federal education funding program in the nation, providing support for schools with more than 40 percent poverty levels to assist students who are behind academically or are at risk of falling behind. 70 percent of the students at Buchanan Elementary School receive free or reduced lunches based on family income.
Principal Brandi Gregory credits the dedication of students to higher learning and teachers to implementing innovative strategies in their classrooms.
“Our teachers have been involved in numerous trainings to better our classroom instruction and student involvement,” said Gregory. “This takes lots of work outside of the classroom, becoming educated in these techniques and learning styles. Our teachers are learning, our students are learning, and our school is reaping the benefits.”
BES teachers have received training on several instructional initiatives including Learning Focused Schools, a workshop model of instruction implemented by the entire school system; Seven Strategies for Assessment for Learning, a book study led by leadership team members; and Thinking Maps, a cognitive strategy of instruction.
“We are very proud of Buchanan Elementary and the gains they have made,” said Haralson County School Superintendent Brett Stanton. “All of our schools are seeing the benefits of implementing proven teaching strategies in our classrooms. Our commitment to quality professional learning for our teaching professionals is clearly making a difference for our students.”
Buchanan Elementary School has seen tremendous increases in its scores over the past three years. The number of students in the ALL category meeting and exceeding in Reading and English/Language Arts increased 4.5 percent and 21.2 percent in math over a period of four years.
Buchanan Elementary has made great gains in fifth grade state writing scores. They have increased their writing scores by 30.6 percent over a period of three years. Between the year 2011 and 2012, they increased scores by 26.2 percent, which they largely contribute to professional training on Thinking Maps. This year, the school expects even greater gains due to the addition of their explicit Write From the Beginning and Beyond training.
“We do a lot of narrative stories and some creative ones,” said 5th grader Jacob Shedd, son of Mike and Raina Shedd. “We use the writing prompts sometimes to help us with ideas for writing. My favorite writing piece was one of the first ones we did about ‘A Day in an Undersea City.’ I had lots of ideas in my head for that one!”