Getting Better Every Year

Sandra Leavitt moderates her fourth grade class during a writing test this afternoon.

Most of Leavitt's students are expected to post impressive scores, something they struggled with barely three years ago.

"It was very difficult to come every day and feel like you were giving your best, and then not having the output you would like to have," said Leavitt.

Valley View Elementary School was recently recognized by the state and National Education Association as a high-performing priority school.

A few years ago, the school posted test scores and attendance rates far below the state standard.

All of it changed when the administration applied for grants using the money to extend the school year and create programs to encourage students to not only perform well academically, but also behaviorally.

"The kids come, they seem excited, their scores are coming," said Leavitt, "We ask them if they want to go to college, they know they do."

Some of those additions include hiring a social worker who works like a counselor for both parents and students, another is offering students tickets for good behavior, which can be used to purchase goods or even parties for their classroom.

Most importantly, the school has worked to keep parents involved, offering more parent teacher conferences to keep encourage them to continue their children's learning outside of the classroom.

"We need them to continue what we've taught our kids at school, we need them to continue to have high expectations for kids," said instructional coach Angela Purdy, "We know our parents want their kids to kids to succeed just as much as we do."

"It makes me feel successful," said Leavitt, "It makes me feel like I'm helping those students become the successes I hope they're going to be."