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Counting on success

View Ridge Elemen-tary School teacher Carol Sander works with students to help them improve their math skills as part of the school’s effort to avoid being placed on the state’s AYP list in math for next year. - Charles Melton/staff photo
View Ridge Elemen-tary School teacher Carol Sander works with students to help them improve their math skills as part of the school’s effort to avoid being placed on the state’s AYP list in math for next year.
— image credit: Charles Melton/staff photo

View Ridge Elementary principal guarantees WASL results.

Being placed on the state’s Adequate Yearly Progress list in math wasn’t exactly the news View Ridge Elementary School Principal Lisa Heaman wanted to hear going into the 2008-09 school year.

Instead of viewing it as a failure, however, Heaman and her staff have turned it into an opportunity to enhance student learning.

That includes facing the challenge of working with a student body that had more than 65 percent of students eligible for either free or reduced-priced meals.

“My initial reaction was one of surprise,” Heaman recalled, adding that she and her staff decided to look at all of the school’s programs to get students what they needed to meet the standard, which was raised last year.

After reviewing all of the data from last year’s WASL tests, Heaman brought in retired teacher Carol Sander to work for an hour each day with those students who were identified as needing the most help in meeting the new math standard.

Sander is a proven teacher whose skills have already paid big dividends as shown by the improvement students have already made during the school year, Heaman said.

“That time is sacred and we make sure nothing interferes with it,” she said.

In addition to working with students during the normal school day, View Ridge added an early morning program taught by third-, fourth- and fifth-grade teachers that ties in with what students are already learning in the normal classes, she said.

View Ridge also is offering an after-school program for all students needing help with math and not just those identified as needing help as part of the school’s AYP status, she said.

“They are doing it because they believe it is the right thing to do and not because of the money,” she said, noting that teachers participating in the programs only receive a small stipend for their efforts.

By breaking students into smaller groups, the staff is able to identify each student’s strengths and weaknesses and work with them individually to find ways for improvement, she said.

Parents also play a vital role in ensuring their children are able to attend the early morning and after-school tutorial sessions, she said.

“Without their support, this couldn’t happen,” she added.

With the WASL less than two months away, Heaman said she is confident her students will successfully meet the math standard because of the hard work being done by the entire View Ridge team.

“I guarantee it,” Heaman said. “Our motto is ‘Every child, every day, every way, View Ridge.’”

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