“School of Distinction” honor given to two Lake Stevens schoolsSunnycrest and Glenwood among top 53 in state BY PAM STEVENS | EDITOR Mrs. Job’s fifth grade class at Sunnycrest Elementary School, jumps for joy after being recognized by the State of Washington’s Superintendent of Public Instruction Terry Bergeson as one of only 53 schools in the state to be named a School of Distinction.
These fifth graders were part of the fourth grade classes who took the WASL last year at Sunnycrest Elementary and saw their scores increase significantly, which earned them the honor of being named a School of Distinction along with students at Glenwood Elementary School.The Lake Stevens School District has put into place a program called Powerful Teaching and Learning where students and teachers work together to develop strategies in critical thinking and to teach students to extend their learning into real world situations.
“Schools have engaged in the principles of Powerful Teaching and Learning to support the continuous improvement of our students,” Graham Cook, Executive Director of Elementary Teaching and Learning for the Lake Stevens School District said.
“Developing specific skills and knowledge continue to be highly important, but a greater emphasis on students also developing thinking strategies and applying their learning to a real-world situation have been key points in our school improvement plans.”
Through these changes, elementary schools within the district have seen increases in fourth grade WASL scores in reading and math and for both Sunnycrest and Glenwood Elementary schools these changes were significant enough to be recognized in the top five percent of state’s schools.
“Students and teachers and schools continue to make incredible progress,” Terry Bergeson, Washington Superintendent of Public Instruction said in a statement. “This award celebrates the real gains these schools have made.”
Glenwood Elementary had over 88 percent of their fourth grade students pass the WASL Reading test while 77 percent passed the math portion. They also had 77 percent of the students pass their writing WASL, however, that part of the exam was not considered for this award.
Eighty-eight percent of the students at Sunnycrest passed the reading portion of the WASL, while 66.7 percent passed the math portion, up over 10 percent from last year.
“I was a teacher two years ago and taught fourth grade,” Matt Wyant, Dean of Students at Sunnycrest Elementary said. “I think it’s a great reward for the teachers and their hard work, and for the parents and the school.”
One of the most important steps to making the students in the district successful is the efforts that are being taken to make sure they have an environment which is learning friendly.
“We believe that providing a supportive learning environment is one of the key factors in the continuous improvement of our students,” Cook said. “Our teachers ensure that each classroom is a safe, positive and challenging place for students to learn. We pride ourselves in the positive and supportive relationships that our teachers develop with their students.”
Parents within the district can count on a better learning experience for their children and hopefully better relationships between teachers and parents. With the success that Sunnycrest has had in the past, they are looking to a future of not only improved WASL scores but also more confident students through academic success.
“Sunnycrest staff is dedicated to the Powerful Teaching and Learning strategies that take dead aim at increasing student achievement,” Sunnycrest Principal Tim Haines said. “During our 90 minute literacy blocks and 60 minute math blocks, students are engaged in a variety of strategies that encourage the development of critical thinking and problem solving. Additionally, the Sunnycrest team remains committed to building successful relationships to every child, establishing trust with all student’s parents and creating an engaging thinking environment in every classroom. We encourage and teach students how to be thoughtful and reflective. They will continue to learn that their classroom is a forum for exchanging ideas and an environment in which they can discuss new learning with classmates.”