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2001 Winners
Muth Award  /  2001 Winners
 

Robert and Patricia Muth Excellence in Leadership Award

Barth Elementary School
Romulus Community Schools ~ Diane Golka, Principal

Oakview Elementary School
Muskegon Public Schools ~ Marti Driscoll, Principal

Winchell Elementary School
Kalamazoo Public Schools ~ Vickie Winfield, Principal

Program

Barth Elementary School serves 413 students in grades K through 6. Thirty-three percent (33%) of the student population receives free/reduced lunch and 16% are designated Special Education. Barth’s mission states, "Our mission at Barth Community Elementary School is to ensure that all students can learn effectively when staff and community work together with high expectations and goals." This mission is backed up with action related to the best in teaching and learning standards.

"All" students are truly the focus of staff. The building, in coordination with the district of Romulus, engaged in an integrated program to credential each student (verify the accomplishments matched to standards). The process is meant to ensure that each student AND all students are prepared to go to the next level of learning, between grades and between school buildings.
 
This method includes multiple measures of student success related to the state standards and benchmarks. All staff join with the students to discuss, measure, and define progress. The strategies used by teachers are research-based practices, including: teaching of learning strategies, individual and small groups tutoring, cooperative learning, and alignment of curriculum. The power of quality assessments is combined with frequent measuring and consistent use of the information to make individual and joint teaching decisions.

Parents are strong partners in the process. A parent coordinator is part of the staff and finds ways to enhance the parent participation in school activities and academic goals. Parents are asked, through a survey, about communication with the staff, ways that involvement can be structured, how specific programs are going, and about safety and caring in the school. An open-ended question invites a creative response "If I could wave a magic wand to improve one thing at Barth School, that one thing would be…"

Students at Barth are an engaged part of their own learning. They also participate in a survey about the school at the end of 5th and 6th grade. They use special assignment planners in 4th through 6th grade. They lead exit interviews when transitioning from school to school and participate in a 6th grade career project integrated with their school accomplishments. Seventh grade students who have moved to Romulus Middle School are asked to respond to three questions: How could we have made your transition to the middle school easier? Is there an area or areas where you’ve noticed you were particularly prepared compared to others? Is there anything else you would like to share? These connections of students with their learning and the caring for communication with students in an evaluative way are powerful and respectful of the students who are the heart of education.

Barth’s practices join all stakeholders in the mission to ensure learning and their use of data for learning about how to accomplish their mission continues to improve the process.

 

 

Oakview Elementary School
Muskegon Public Schools ~ Marti Driscoll, Principal

Oakview Elementary School serves 560 students in grades pre-K through 5. Sixty-five percent (65%) of the student population receives free/reduced lunch and 11% are designated Special Education. They also represent a rich racial diversity found and celebrated in urban settings. Their mission statement, "Oakview School is committed to instill a love of learning in a positive environment where children can achieve, have respect for self and others and develop their unique potential" serves as a guide to the work and energy of the school. Oakview’s school improvement goals focus on reading, math and science.

To improve student success in reading, the staff, in addition to current quality strategies, have implemented an instructionally powerful project called Four Block Reading Instruction. Four Block includes research-based strategies, as well as adjustment of time spent on language arts, both reading and writing.
 
Vocabulary, word definition and understanding, become a building block for student strength in science and social studies. Beyond Four Block, they include reading specialists to support 1st and 2nd grade teachers in language arts and use tutors to work one-on-one with students who are struggling. To support their science goal, staff have carried out technology projects to add that dimension to student learning and motivation. Writing about scientific investigations is also a method to enhance science understanding.

A sign of a high performing school is the quality of the discussions and use of resources around knowing where each child is in his/her learning and helping each other meet that need. The staff of Oakview uses interim assessments to discuss progress weekly and monthly. Adjustments are made in their instruction as a result. They set aside time to score student writing and discuss the quality and improvement measured and what still needs to be accomplished. Staff teach in teams across grade levels to better understand and support continuous learning.

As a result of their focus on science and use of inside and outside consultants, they have met the goal of adequate yearly progress which is part of the state accreditation process. It signifies a significant lessening of the gap between the performance of the highest and lowest scoring students on the Michigan Education Assessment Program (MEAP).

Oakview earned a Golden Apple award designated by the State Board of Education recognizing their improvement in student performance on the (MEAP).

Oakview makes use of resources outside the building to benefit its students and expand the learning community. A partnership with the Muskegon Intermediate School District resulted in a science club for students to support science discovery. They also were chosen to partner with Michigan State University’s Intern Program allowing them to have five year-long interns at various grade levels. This program allows Oakview to work independently and in small groups with students needing an extra boost.

Their philosophy is reflected by a banner which greets visitors to the building, "Oakview School, where staff and students excel, parents and community care".

 

 

Winchell Elementary School
Kalamazoo Public Schools ~ Vickie Winfield, Principal

Winchell Elementary School serves 400 students in grades K through 6. Fifty percent (50%) of the student population receives free/reduced lunch and 9% are designated Special Education. They also represent the rich racial diversity found and celebrated in urban settings. Winchell’s mission statement includes the words "ensure…success of each child through effective research-based instruction, by a caring, knowledgeable staff in partnership with families and community sharing a commitment to academic excellence…" Their story, told through their application for the Muth award, gives evidence that the mission guides action and has produced a successful result for children.

Their objectives aim for 100% success and although they are not there yet, incredible progress is being made. The state assessment test (MEAP) scores for Winchell exceed both state and district averages and have gone up each year for four years in math and reading.
 
Science scores are above state and district averages, powerful evidence of the work of their learning community. In addition to overall averages, Winchell has committed itself to decrease the gap between the scores of boys and girls, less financially advantaged students and those more financially advantaged and between racial groups. Their data and use of multiple assessments show their success in lessening these gaps.

The staff is learning and putting to use their new understandings in applying research-based successful strategies such as multiple intelligences, intensive reading language arts methods (called Four Block), cooperative learning, and frequent quality assessment of student growth.

One hundred percent of staff participate in study groups to look at student work and progress and find ways to improve their teaching for student learning. Teachers meet monthly to review all students reading performance in order to adjust instruction and grouping. The principal also meets and reviews data monthly in order to keep the focus on success and to provide the support needed to the teaching staff.

Parents are involved in meaningful ways with Winchell’s school improvement and strategic planning. In a recent survey, parents described Winchell as "caring, nurturing, involved, welcoming, leading by example, helpful, strong home-school communication, academic excellence, a community." The parents reflect that Winchell meets its mission partially quoted in the beginning of this article.

An example of community connection is the work done with the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra (KSO). Guest artists perform and meet with 3rd and 4th graders. Even more important, a team of teachers and KSO members meet during the summer to write curriculum to support the art and writing goals of the school through this KSO partnership.

The research shows that schools which carry out the strategies listed above are ones that most help students succeed. But Winchell says it even better, "we are committed to doing whatever it takes until we get it right."

 

 

 

Robert and Patricia Muth Excellence in Leadership Award

Barth Elementary School
Romulus Community Schools ~ Diane Golka, Principal

Oakview Elementary School
Muskegon Public Schools ~ Marti Driscoll, Principal

Winchell Elementary School
Kalamazoo Public Schools ~ Vickie Winfield, Principal

Program

Barth Elementary School serves 413 students in grades K through 6. Thirty-three percent (33%) of the student population receives free/reduced lunch and 16% are designated Special Education. Barth’s mission states, "Our mission at Barth Community Elementary School is to ensure that all students can learn effectively when staff and community work together with high expectations and goals." This mission is backed up with action related to the best in teaching and learning standards.

"All" students are truly the focus of staff. The building, in coordination with the district of Romulus, engaged in an integrated program to credential each student (verify the accomplishments matched to standards). The process is meant to ensure that each student AND all students are prepared to go to the next level of learning, between grades and between school buildings.
 
This method includes multiple measures of student success related to the state standards and benchmarks. All staff join with the students to discuss, measure, and define progress. The strategies used by teachers are research-based practices, including: teaching of learning strategies, individual and small groups tutoring, cooperative learning, and alignment of curriculum. The power of quality assessments is combined with frequent measuring and consistent use of the information to make individual and joint teaching decisions.

Parents are strong partners in the process. A parent coordinator is part of the staff and finds ways to enhance the parent participation in school activities and academic goals. Parents are asked, through a survey, about communication with the staff, ways that involvement can be structured, how specific programs are going, and about safety and caring in the school. An open-ended question invites a creative response "If I could wave a magic wand to improve one thing at Barth School, that one thing would be…"

Students at Barth are an engaged part of their own learning. They also participate in a survey about the school at the end of 5th and 6th grade. They use special assignment planners in 4th through 6th grade. They lead exit interviews when transitioning from school to school and participate in a 6th grade career project integrated with their school accomplishments. Seventh grade students who have moved to Romulus Middle School are asked to respond to three questions: How could we have made your transition to the middle school easier? Is there an area or areas where you’ve noticed you were particularly prepared compared to others? Is there anything else you would like to share? These connections of students with their learning and the caring for communication with students in an evaluative way are powerful and respectful of the students who are the heart of education.

Barth’s practices join all stakeholders in the mission to ensure learning and their use of data for learning about how to accomplish their mission continues to improve the process.

 

 

Oakview Elementary School
Muskegon Public Schools ~ Marti Driscoll, Principal

Oakview Elementary School serves 560 students in grades pre-K through 5. Sixty-five percent (65%) of the student population receives free/reduced lunch and 11% are designated Special Education. They also represent a rich racial diversity found and celebrated in urban settings. Their mission statement, "Oakview School is committed to instill a love of learning in a positive environment where children can achieve, have respect for self and others and develop their unique potential" serves as a guide to the work and energy of the school. Oakview’s school improvement goals focus on reading, math and science.

To improve student success in reading, the staff, in addition to current quality strategies, have implemented an instructionally powerful project called Four Block Reading Instruction. Four Block includes research-based strategies, as well as adjustment of time spent on language arts, both reading and writing.
 
Vocabulary, word definition and understanding, become a building block for student strength in science and social studies. Beyond Four Block, they include reading specialists to support 1st and 2nd grade teachers in language arts and use tutors to work one-on-one with students who are struggling. To support their science goal, staff have carried out technology projects to add that dimension to student learning and motivation. Writing about scientific investigations is also a method to enhance science understanding.

A sign of a high performing school is the quality of the discussions and use of resources around knowing where each child is in his/her learning and helping each other meet that need. The staff of Oakview uses interim assessments to discuss progress weekly and monthly. Adjustments are made in their instruction as a result. They set aside time to score student writing and discuss the quality and improvement measured and what still needs to be accomplished. Staff teach in teams across grade levels to better understand and support continuous learning.

As a result of their focus on science and use of inside and outside consultants, they have met the goal of adequate yearly progress which is part of the state accreditation process. It signifies a significant lessening of the gap between the performance of the highest and lowest scoring students on the Michigan Education Assessment Program (MEAP).

Oakview earned a Golden Apple award designated by the State Board of Education recognizing their improvement in student performance on the (MEAP).

Oakview makes use of resources outside the building to benefit its students and expand the learning community. A partnership with the Muskegon Intermediate School District resulted in a science club for students to support science discovery. They also were chosen to partner with Michigan State University’s Intern Program allowing them to have five year-long interns at various grade levels. This program allows Oakview to work independently and in small groups with students needing an extra boost.

Their philosophy is reflected by a banner which greets visitors to the building, "Oakview School, where staff and students excel, parents and community care".

 

 

Winchell Elementary School
Kalamazoo Public Schools ~ Vickie Winfield, Principal

Winchell Elementary School serves 400 students in grades K through 6. Fifty percent (50%) of the student population receives free/reduced lunch and 9% are designated Special Education. They also represent the rich racial diversity found and celebrated in urban settings. Winchell’s mission statement includes the words "ensure…success of each child through effective research-based instruction, by a caring, knowledgeable staff in partnership with families and community sharing a commitment to academic excellence…" Their story, told through their application for the Muth award, gives evidence that the mission guides action and has produced a successful result for children.

Their objectives aim for 100% success and although they are not there yet, incredible progress is being made. The state assessment test (MEAP) scores for Winchell exceed both state and district averages and have gone up each year for four years in math and reading.
 
Science scores are above state and district averages, powerful evidence of the work of their learning community. In addition to overall averages, Winchell has committed itself to decrease the gap between the scores of boys and girls, less financially advantaged students and those more financially advantaged and between racial groups. Their data and use of multiple assessments show their success in lessening these gaps.

The staff is learning and putting to use their new understandings in applying research-based successful strategies such as multiple intelligences, intensive reading language arts methods (called Four Block), cooperative learning, and frequent quality assessment of student growth.

One hundred percent of staff participate in study groups to look at student work and progress and find ways to improve their teaching for student learning. Teachers meet monthly to review all students reading performance in order to adjust instruction and grouping. The principal also meets and reviews data monthly in order to keep the focus on success and to provide the support needed to the teaching staff.

Parents are involved in meaningful ways with Winchell’s school improvement and strategic planning. In a recent survey, parents described Winchell as "caring, nurturing, involved, welcoming, leading by example, helpful, strong home-school communication, academic excellence, a community." The parents reflect that Winchell meets its mission partially quoted in the beginning of this article.

An example of community connection is the work done with the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra (KSO). Guest artists perform and meet with 3rd and 4th graders. Even more important, a team of teachers and KSO members meet during the summer to write curriculum to support the art and writing goals of the school through this KSO partnership.

The research shows that schools which carry out the strategies listed above are ones that most help students succeed. But Winchell says it even better, "we are committed to doing whatever it takes until we get it right."