Schools may choose to describe up to two additional pieces of information about how their school is supporting students. These self-reported indicators are not factored into school accountability calculations but provide the opportunity for schools to highlight successful programs or practices in addition to the indicators included in school accountability.
We Belong Together
During the 19-20 school year, Polk Elementary opened their doors and welcomed the students from Wasatch Elementary into the building while Wasatch was under construction. Combining two schools made it immediately apparent that we needed to have a strong focus on the social and emotional well-being of our students. Panorama data was analyzed to target areas for improvement. Student Sense of Belonging became our focus and the staff at Polk and Wasatch united to create a combined school vision, "One School, One Family, One Team." In order to ensure that students felt seen, supported, and knew how much they mattered, teachers and staff greeted every student, everyday. The program, "Second Steps" was implemented schoolwide, with daily classroom social skills lessons, supported by weekly counselor lessons. In order to recognize a larger number of students, more frequently, student of the month awards became "Wildcat of the Week". We also held monthly celebration assemblies which highlighted achievements of staff, students, and the school as a whole. In March it became even more critical for us to continue to develop social-emotional skills in a world that had become "socially distanced". Every individual on the staff worked hard to maintain connected to our students and their families during at-home learning. We provided phone calls, counseling, and social skills instruction during our time apart. We believe students, now more than ever, need to know we care and they belong.
Empowering Students with Personal Responsibility
At Polk Elementary teachers, students, and parents work together to equip our students with lifelong skills for success. During the 2019-2020 school year, Polk emphasized student personal responsibility, key study skills, and the evidence based skill of organization through the use of individual student binders. Student binders helped to create empowered learners by facilitating the organization of student note-taking, school work, study, progress monitoring and the important research-validated skill of student self-assessment. The binders included a comprehensive data section that was sent home to parents weekly. By sending data binders home weekly, the communication between school and the home was improved. It also provided a platform for families to talk about school with their students and facilitate student/parent conversations focused on student learning. Furthermore, they gave students responsibility for their learning, which is one of our core purposes as an elementary school. As a result, we know our students will be ready for the next level of their education.