March 08, 2013Tillman Elementary School Principal Lisa Greenstein recently presented the school's improvement plan to the Kirkwood School Board, stressing a commitment to bettering student test scores.
MAP test scores in math dropped significantly in 2010 for Tillman's African American students and free/reduced lunch students. Although African American students and free/reduced lunch students showed improvements in their communication arts test scores from 2011 to 2012, there was a significant drop in these scores from 2010 to 2011.
When school board member Angie Bay questioned Greenstein about the scores, she said administrators are unsure of the reason for the decline, but promised they are working hard to ensure that all students are achieving at high levels.
"We're having some very difficult conversations and we're looking at interventions," Greenstein told the board. "We're sitting down with teachers every week and talking about strategies. It's a process. We do have some pieces in place, but we need more. We're looking at what's working and what's not. We still have a gap, but we are putting strategies and practices in place and the scores have been improving."
In addition to improving the academic achievement of students, Tillman also wants to address the social and emotional needs of each student.
"Having good relationships in place with students is very important," Greenstein said.
Although there's room for improvement, Tillman has a lot of successes to celebrate as well. In terms of science test scores, gains were made in all students scoring at the proficient and advanced levels. Overall scores in math and communication arts went up from last year as well.
In other Tillman news, Heidi Ford, assistant administrator for elementary teaching and learning for the district, reported that students and parents are very involved in school activities. More than 130 students in third, fourth and fifth grades out of Tillman's 500 students are part of Character Council, during which they participate in activities such as daily announcements, serving as tour guides, cafeteria leaders, PE and safety leaders, and more.
"The students really take pride in being involved in Character Council," Ford said.
She also talked about the team environment Tillman fosters.
"Teachers, students and staff all come together as a team, and parents are also very involved," Ford said.