The Washington Times-Herald

Local News

December 22, 2012

Washington board meets

WASHINGTON —

 The new year will find a new beginning at Lena Dunn Elementary School.

Lena Dunn Principal Brenda Butcher explained to the Washington School Board on Thursday plans to introduce a new curriculum and schedule to the school, one that will better meet the needs of its students.

“The school is getting into really different ways of doing business,” Butcher said.

The school was the only one in Daviess County to receive an F grade in the state’s highly controversial grading system for schools. It has also been assigned in need of improvement by the state. To improve, administrators and teachers have found a school in Indianapolis that has the same diverse student population, yet is doing well. Many of the ideas have come from this school - Southport Elementary School.

Butcher explained many of the changes coming to Lena Dunn come from Southport, including the use of a reading team that moves from classroom to classroom and blocking classroom time reading.

“Every day, every child will read at least 20 minutes to an adult, at a minimum,” Butcher said.

Other changes include a new math curriculum that uses hands-on learning and the use of data-driven education, where data taken from the teachers is analyzed and shows teachers where their students are in terms of the classroom.

To accomplish that, funds from federal Title I grants have been reassigned to create a “Data Coach,” who will analyze the numbers and find trends in the data.

Southport was found by a consultant to Washington Schools contracted by Assistant Superintendent Paul White. The school is similar to Washington in many ways, including a new Burmese population. Despite a lack of native English speakers, the school ranks as one of the best Title I schools in the state.

Butcher said many of the ideas are mirrored off the concepts learned at Southport and she hopes Lena Dunn will develop some for Southport to model.

“It’s exciting. We are ready to go,” Butcher said.

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