GREENSBORO — Last week, Mount Airy City Schools announced that B.H. Tharrington Primary School had received an honor from the Piedmont Triad Education Consortium.
Turns out, that wasn’t the only school in this area to receive the honor.
Friday morning at the Elliott Center at UNC Greensboro, the consortium also honored Rockford Elementary School with the Signature School Award.
This award is given to schools that have experienced significant improvements over the past academic year.
Rockford Elementary serves 364 students in grades Pre-K through five. A strong international flavor, nearly 40 percent of the student body is Hispanic population, according to assistant superintendent Chuck Graham, with about three-fourths of the students qualifying for free and reduced lunch.
“The students at this school receive outstanding instruction in the state curriculum from well-trained staff that implement research-based practices,” said Graham, such as “Thinking Maps, Kagan Cooperative Learning structures, CRISS strategies, and they use technology as an instructional tool for teaching and learning.
“All students begin second-language instruction in third grade, and students focus on the arts with quality music and visual arts instruction.”
Graham presented a list of Rockford’s qualifications to the county Board of Education this month. Among the points were:
• The school as a whole met the “exceeded growth” status;
• EVAAS analysis indicates that students in all grades met or exceeded growth targets in reading, math and science;
• EVAAS analysis additionally indicates that students in every classroom in grades K-5 in every subject met or exceeded growth targets;
• School-wide reading proficiency increased an average of 19%, mathematics proficiency increased an average of 26%, and science proficiency increased an average of 15% over the past two years;
• Attendance for the school year at Rockford was more than 96% for the past three years – one of the highest rates in the district.
• Proficiency Achievement Gaps for EOG Performance by Hispanic, Economically Disadvantaged, and Limited English Proficiency students are more than 50% lower than comparable gaps across the state.
“The Rockford Gators have worked diligently over the last three years to create a school that works collaboratively toward a common goal focused on student success and growth,” said Graham.
“Through targeted … instruction and flexible grouping, teachers have focused on increasing reading achievement student-by-student, skill-by-skill. Additionally, in order to improve math achievement, the school worked very closely with Dr. Kerri Richardson from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro to incorporate strategies that guide students into becoming mathematical thinkers.”
Graham said the school has established protocols where students set their own goals for learning – cultivating an “I can” culture throughout the school.
The assistant principal also mentioned the generosity of the community in helping make Rockford a better school. He pointed out the $27,231 in donations that helped fund enhancements to the playground.
Rockford also established the very first GROW (Go Run Our World) Strong Running Club in Surry County for elementary students. The first-ever team consisted of 40 students who ran in their first 5K – the local Mad Dash. Running clubs like this one also participated in the recent Rosy Cheeks run in Mount Airy.