California Distinguished Schools

March 7, 2008 9:13:31 PM PST
Just three years ago low test scores put Del Rey Elementary at the risk of being taken over by the state.Thanks to a new focus on learning and help from the community the school is a nominee for California Distinguished Schools.

"Let's see how many of you remember the formula of finding the volume go ahead and write it on your white-board."

Collaboration is part of the formula that is bringing success to Del Rey Elementary.

"Teachers started working together as teams."

Principal Susan Fitzgerald says the days of closed-door instruction are long gone, teachers are now sharing and learning from one another.

Susan Fitzgerald: "We began to collaborate and find out: 'Well, that's a great strategy, how's that worked for your students?' So we started doing common assessments 'You got 70 percent, I got 50, what are you doing."

It's a method now incorporated district-wide that focuses less on teaching and more on how kids learn. Two key aspects making sure children know every lesson's objective.

"We have 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, very good...."

Checking each child for understanding.

"All of the sudden we saw, 'Hey some of these kids aren't learning and we thought they were' so now we know they are not, how can we apply that to our teaching practice."

Del Rey has seen dramatic improvements raising their API score by 183 points, to 760 in just three years community involvement has also made a huge impact.

Ricardo Garcia, Care Fresno: "Definitely they need some role models and they need people to look up to that are providing them some goals, some resources and the extra uplift and encouragement."

Care Fresno has provided tutoring to every child on campus.

Together with the Sheriff's Department, church groups and other community organizations, they are helping motivate and empower the kids to reach their potential.

"The great thing is they are learning their sight words and their math facts but another wonderful benefit is that they are building relationships with people who care about them."

A state validation team was at Del Rey this week to verify the school's achievements they will find out April 15th if they have been chosen as a California Distinguished School.

Academic Performance Index
www.cde.ca.gov/ta/ac/ap/


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