Brookland Elementary receives exemplary rating

BROOKLAND, AR (KAIT) - The Arkansas Department of Education released its full list of exemplary schools Wednesday as part of its annual report on test score performance.

Brookland Elementary School and Newport Junior High are two of nine public schools in the state that made the list.

Exemplary schools are institutions that received the "Achieving" ranking, which means they have demonstrated high performance or high progress for all students and a subgroup of students consisting of high poverty students, students with disabilities, and students with limited English proficiency.

These schools must also meet their annual test score targets under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act program.

Brookland Elementary School officials credit their test score success to math and said they plan to work to keep the exemplary ranking.

"We're very proud, very proud of our students. They work very hard," principal Sandy McCall said.

Ninety-seven percent of Brookland Elementary students are scoring proficient or advanced on standardized math tests. 

"We know that it takes all of us working together to get to that spot. It all starts with Kindergarten all the way up to third grade and they're building that solid foundation," McCall said.

Third grade is testing time. 

"Our teachers utilize a hands-on approach to math. They encourage students to find multiple ways to solve problems, different ways and share those ways with each other and teach each other," McCall said. 

"We have a huge focus in the district of learning from each other," district curriculum director Nicole Covey said. 

"We integrate math through all the subject areas and show the students the importance," McCall said.

McCall said their success also stems from the teachers' yearning for learning.

"Us learning ourselves and incorporating all of those strategies, that's what contributes to our wonderful test scores," McCall said. 

"The achievement rating will be a direct impact of the learning that takes place with our adults. As teachers, we have to be continual learners. We can't stop because the kids deserve our best. If you've got good teachers like we do, those test scores will come," Covey said. 

Even though 97 percent of their students score proficient or advanced in math, they agreed it is not enough. 

"A lot of people would be satisfied with that, and we are not. Because some where that three percent is still not performing the way we want them to perform," Covey said. 

"Never be satisfied. You're always looking at, 'How can I grow? What else can I do so we can reach all of our students?'," McCall said. 

The Arkansas Department of Education released its list of Achieving, Needs Improvement, Needs Improvement Focus and Needs Improvement Priority schools Tuesday.

To view the complete lists of the 2013 rankings, visit the department's website.

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