Children First

These days things at West End and Crestwood Elementaries are really looking up! A year ago the schools were issued the lowered accountability ratings that schools can receive, each a one. A year later, following extensive tutoring and incentive programs and both schools have jumped up to a three. On the rating scale, which is from 1 to 5, school officials say that's not bad.

"If you go back to May 2001 and then look at May 2003 scores, we have reduced our minimal by somewhere in the neighborhood of 60 percent," Principal John Lisenbe from Crestwood Elementary.

"Ninety-five percent of our students passed benchmarks in reading and language and 99 percent passed in Math. So, they're doing great," says Principal Owida Roberts from West End Elementary.

As part of an effort to improve language skills, Principal Roberts says all teachers at West End are now stressing even more the importance of using complete sentences and the correct pronunciation. However, because this is a team effort, she says this cannot be done without reinforcement from home and the community at large. Officials at Crestwood agree.

"Parents need to take time to show the children what is expected of them. If they take time with their children, they will know to improve," says Sharon Boeman who is a fourth grade teacher at Crestwood.

As both schools set their sites on reaching a level five schools officials say they plan to continue to build on the programs they have while at the same time creating others to meet current needs.

Schools working with parents and the community, what some might call a winning combination!

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