Jones Intermediate School in Mount Airy was among four across the state for its improvement in student achievement.
Several of the city school officials were on hand at the annual North Carolina Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development conference in Pinehurst to received the 2018 Lighthouse School Award from that agency.
The award is given to a school, or schools, that has “innovatively and creatively increased achievement for students,” the association said.
“This year, we had a record number of nominations for the Lighthouse Awards,” said Dr. Lillie Cox, executive director, during the gathering. “It is our honor to give this highly selective award to Jones Intermediate School. Their dedication to student success and continuous growth sets them apart from the rest.”
On hand to receive the award were Jones principal Sherry Cox, curriculum facilitator Amanda Robertson, fourth-grade teacher and school improvement chair Jamie Smith, Superintendent Kim Morrison, and Dr. Phillip Brown, executive director of curriculum and instruction.
“Jones Intermediate School exemplifies ‘every child, every day’ as they have embraced the district’s motto of Lead-Innovate-Serve,” school officials said in announcing the achievement.
”The 390 students attending Jones have the opportunity to lead through the nationally recognized Leader in Me program where students learn the seven habits of highly effective people. Students have the opportunity to practice these habits through various student groups and clubs such as the Student Lighthouse Team, Student Recycling and Environmental Team, Art Club and Show Choir,” stated Carrie Venable, Mount Airy City Schools’ public information officer.
“Students innovate through the district’s science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) framework where they are encouraged to think critically, be problem-finders, and problem-solvers,” said Venable. “Utilizing the 2-1 technology environment, classroom teachers incorporate problem-based learning that allows students to grapple with real-life problems while learning how to work as a team to accomplish a common goal.”
In addition to work in the classroom, students visit the lab weekly to work hands-on with STEAM concepts. These components of curriculum are also matched with a global component where students learn to understand the world around them and how they can positively impact it through their weekly face-to-face Spanish class and global units. With these opportunities to lead and innovate, students are motivated to create opportunities to serve others through their work.
Students have worked with the city of Mount Airy to make recycling daily a reality in their school. They have also worked with teachers and administrators to lead schoolwide assemblies where each child celebrates academic and personal goals they achieved. These opportunities to lead at a young age help pave the way for students to see themselves as leaders in the future.
“I am extremely proud to receive the prestigious Lighthouse Award on behalf of my dedicated staff,” Principal Cox said. “It proves we are leading the way in innovation among public schools in North Carolina.
“We come to school each day with a passion for making Jones Intermediate the best it can be. Our goal is to make it a place where students have fun while learning, think critically and creatively, and prepare to succeed in the real world. Being acknowledged for our work is a great accomplishment.”
The Lighthouse Award also recognizes recipients as having a school with a healthy climate and strong community partnerships, the association said.
”Jones Intermediate School serves as a community hub where local groups and parents can be found collaborating with school staff to positively impact students. The district holds Innovation Days and Jones staff members reach out to community and business leaders, inviting them to share their expertise with students.”
In the most recent Innovation Day, students learned from a blacksmith, drone pilot and medical tool engineer to name a few. This day allows students to explore their interests and learn more about their community and its members. The school also provides access to its facilities and ball fields for Mount Airy Parks and Recreation which allows more children the opportunity to compete athletically.
“While staff members go above and beyond in providing students with innovative experiences that lead to personal growth, they work just as hard in growing students academically,” school officials said. “One hundred percent of all teachers met or exceeded growth at Jones.”
“I am extremely proud of Jones Intermediate School for winning this prestigious statewide award,” Dr. Morrision said. “The administration, staff, and students have worked very hard as a team to show amazing growth. They take to heart reaching every child every day.”