Whittier Elementary Leads By Example in New TEA Video

Whittier Elementary Leads By Example in New TEA Video
Two Students Sitting On Floor With Book Photo

August 18, 2016 – A Texas Education Agency video series highlighting the best practices of select, high-performing Title I schools features Amarillo ISD’s Whittier Elementary. A component of the TEA’s Title I Capacity Building Initiative, the video series serves as a tool to aid schools working to improve student outcomes and close performance gaps.

The Whittier video looks in-depth at its commitment to increased learning time, taking viewers through the opportunities in play on a daily basis. Increased learning time is one of seven critical success factors for schools going through the improvement process. “We all want to get better at our craft, whether it’s leadership or teaching. No one has all the answers and what we do at Whittier isn’t a magic bullet. What works at one place might not work at another, but they can tweak it,” said Whittier Principal Bea Enevoldsen.

Increased learning time at Whittier calls for collaboration between administrators, teachers, students and parents. Focus groups, for example, pair administrators with teachers in a daily co-teaching situation that targets identified needs in reading, math, writing or science; there’s an active homework club and book club; and teachers communicate with parents for a morning homework check-in to provide structured support until that support is no longer needed. These opportunities are used at Whittier to develop confident, lifelong learners. “If you come from a school that believes in you and will teach you to believe in yourself through success, you’re going to be OK,” said Enevoldsen. “We’ve got to create a belief system in our kids and our families. No one can take that from them.”

Whittier was chosen for the video, by a 10-member, statewide committee which reviewed profiles from a pool of high-performing Title I schools called reward schools.  Reward schools are those with distinctions based on reading and math performance. The video was shot in the spring and released last month. It is available to view online at http://www.region10.org/capacity-building-initiative/capacity-building-links/reward-schools-videos/.

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