State recognizes Dundee for student achievement
DUNDEE--Dundee Elementary School has been named a 2018-2019 "Recognition School" by the New York State Department of Education. The award recognizes the school for high academic achievement and student growth during the 2017-2018 academic year. Dundee's elementary school includes pre-kindergarten through sixth grade.
"We are thrilled," said Kelly Houck, district superintendent. "The combination of personalized learning, instructional shifts over the last four years, and willing students has paid off. Our incredible staff deserves this recognition. Their focus is always on what's best for the students. We are very lucky to have them."
In 2015, a group of Dundee's administrators attended a conference and left with newfound passion.
"It was what we had all been looking for," said Laurie Hopkins-Halbert, elementary school principal. "We really embraced the philosophy. We worked with a consulting group to train a 'design team' that drives our efforts, including planning professional development for our staff, which is also personalized."
Personalized learning tailors a teaching plan to each student's strengths and interests.
"This all-encompassing approach helps to prevent students from falling through the cracks," said Houck. "We look at the social, emotional, and academic needs. We have an educational plan for every student and for every staff so they are equipped to achieve the goals set for their students."
According to Hopkins-Halbert, in a personalized classroom, students may be working at various grade levels in the same subject area. At Dundee, an elementary teacher now works with a small group of students and may rotate through "stations" set up in the classroom. The rest of the class may be working collaboratively in groups, learning independently, or practicing on a computer with programs that adapt to the student's current level of knowledge.
"The teachers really deserve this award," said Hopkins-Halbert. "They go above and beyond every day for every student. This speaks to their work." There were 562 schools across the state that were named 'Recognition' schools this year.
This work, Houck said, is data-driven.
"Every year we've seen progress," said Houck. "We constantly measure data and adjust the instruction. Our teachers know in real-time when our students understand a concept. We monitor everything. The state focuses on the standardized test scores. In addition to that, we also monitor attendance, discipline, and grades for class work."
Houck also said the award is a testament to the transformational support the school receives from the board of education and community groups who are always available and willing to help.