ELA, math scores rank Northside Elementary in top-tier
September 13, 2022
This past May, students and teachers at Northside Elementary were celebrated for being one of four districts in the state to have a passing rate above 90 percent during the initial administration of the MAAP 3rd Grade Reading Summative Assessment.
When scores were released in August, however, Northside found itself listed among the top schools state-wide for third-grade ELA and mathematics.
Last year’s third-grade students ranked second in the state in math and fourth in the state for ELA.
Northside principal Mandy Ambrose praised her staff for their dedication and hard work.
“Over these past few years, our staff came together, more than ever before, to tap into the expertise of each individual,” she said. “They took collective responsibility for the success of every student in the building.”
Ambrose said the faculty at Northside embodied a whatever-it-takes kind of attitude with the idea that teaching the state standards and grade level curriculum was the floor rather than the ceiling.
“Our students rose to the challenge and proved themselves to be resilient,” Ambrose said. “They were determined to be the best version of themselves, and they were successful.”
Northside math teacher Kristen Hebert said the teachers set high expectations for all students, but they also help students achieve those goals.
“It’s important for students to realize how much we care about them and how focused we are on building relationships with them,” she said. “When we blend relationships with high expectations, success will be achieved.”
Longtime Northside teacher Carlos Day said the relationships established at Northside have emboldened the teachers and the students.
“I feel that working together for several years with a core group of educators has so much equity,” he said. “This collaboration creates a bond and continuum that promotes our strengths and allows us to work on areas that we deem in need of more attention.”
ELA teacher Stephanie Jierksi also said the relationships built amongst the faculty plays a large role in their efforts to teach students.
“We have so many great teachers that are willing to share and help,” she said. “We are able to get advice from fellow teachers when we are struggling with ways to make an impact with our students.”
Refusing to overlook the challenges the previous two years brought to the classroom, ELA teacher Jessica Crawley said each Northside teacher intentionally met students where they were in an effort to create a welcoming environment.
“This helped us to create more opportunities for hands-on activities, cooperative groups and differentiation, which I feel has greatly contributed to our success,” Crawley said.
A theme running throughout the Clinton Public School District is the teachers’ dedication to understanding their curriculum in order to improve not only test scores but efforts towards teaching the whole child.
“We continually update our curriculum and have discussions on what else we can do to improve our teaching methods and practices in order to teach our students better each year,” Jierski said.
“Reworking our curriculum to ensure weekly skills fit together allows us to use our time efficiently,” Crawley said.
Mr. Day said the collective efforts of Professional Learning Communities helped to push teachers in new ways. “Our PLCs are very intentional, giving us an opportunity to discuss and calibrate our plans in order to meet our desired goals,” he said.
“The staff, students, parents and community walked together step-by-step through this journey and came out even stronger on the other side,” Ambrose said. “I am incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to work with such a dedicated, talented and caring group of individuals.”