Accountability program heightens academic excellence in Indiana school system

 

High expectations ensure SUCCESS in Goshen Community Schools

 

Tamra Ummel • SUCCESS • The Good of Goshen

 

 

 

 

Goshen Community Schools does not leave it up to chance to find out if students will succeed. Planners at GCS have created special workshops to ensure their students will.

All Goshen Community Schools elementary schools and Goshen Middle School have a SUCCESS period. This period is a “dedicated time out of every school day when students are focusing on an individualized skill they need to work on,” according to Tamra Ummel, assistant superintendent of human relations and professional development.

That means students do not just work on homework or what they have been learning in class, but are grouped with others at their level to be able to focus exactly on where they need a bit more practice or guidance to move to the next level. For some students, this could mean continuing to work on understanding a new subject. For other students, that time may be spent expanding their knowledge about a particular concept, or even something more complex.

Every three or four weeks, students take quizzes to assess how they’re grasping different concepts.

“The idea is we don’t wait until the end of the grading period to find where students aren’t as sufficient,” Tamra said. That means teachers are also able to be “very intentional about what they’re teaching and how they’re teaching it.”

How do you like working within a group in the SUCCESS program?

“I think that it has really helped me with extra learning and has given me
the confidence to really study.”

Your favorite part of SUCCESS?

“When we all get together. I like how they group people based on how well they are doing. It helps me to know where I am at and where I need to plan to get to.”

Jackson Gaby

5th grader, Waterford Elementary School

How do you like working within a group in the SUCCESS program?

“I think SUCCESS really got me prepared for the ISTEP and really helped me in class.”

Nathan Gaby

4th grader, Waterford Elementary School

What do you think of the SUCCESS program?

“I’m happy with it too. I think that the kids have come home with another avenue for learning that’s been helpful for them.”

Tonya Detweiler

Mom, Goshen, Indiana

Elementary students spend 30 minutes with SUCCESS, while middle school students spend a bit more than that each day.

Being placed within peer groups to better grasp a new concept is also something the children have noticed is beneficial to them.

Waterford Elementary School fifth grader, Jackson Gaby, explained how he enjoys working with his SUCCESS group. “I think that it has really helped me with extra learning, and has given me the confidence to really study,” and then added that his favorite part was when they all get together to share experiences.” I like how they group people based on how well they are doing. It helps me to know where I am and where I need to plan to get to.”

Jackson’s brother Nathan, a fourth grader at Waterford, felt the program was especially helpful for the student assessment, known as ISTEP. “I think SUCCESS really got me prepared for the ISTEP and really helped me in class.”

The boys’ mother, Tonya Detweiler, echoed her childrens’ sentiments about the program, and expressed confidence that this has helped her children get ahead. “I’m happy with it too. I think that the kids have come home with another avenue for learning that’s been helpful for them.”

Taking time to focus on each student’s specific area of need allows the students to hone on skills that are most needed. “I’m not sure there are lots of places where every single student’s individual needs can be met,” Tamra Ummel explained. “That’s what SUCCESS gives us the opportunity to do.”

“I’m not sure there are lots of places where every single student’s individual needs can be met. That’s what SUCCESS gives us the opportunity to do.”

 

 

Good of Goshen Photography • Lynne Zehr
Good of Goshen Editor • Marlys Weaver-Stoesz

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