CPS among highest-performing schools in statePublished 9:51pm Wednesday, September 4, 2013
Chocowinity Primary School is one of the best Title I schools in the state.
Title I schools receive federal funds to meet the needs of low-income and at-risk students. Principal Alicia Vosburgh said the funding is based on the number of students who qualify for free or reduced lunches. The school uses Title I funding for tutors.
CPS was named a “highest performing school” based on test scores for three consecutive years ending in 2012. The distinction is given to the top 10 percent of Title I schools with the best assessment scores.
Each school has been asked to prepare a portfolio explaining its best practices. Vosburgh said she knows exactly what will go in that portfolio.
“First and foremost, it’s the staff at this school. They are the No. 1 critical catalyst to these children’s success,” she said. “It’s not any one program. But it’s the way the staff utilizes the programs.”
She also thinks it is to the school’s advantage being a pre-K through fourth-grade school because the staff gets to know the children, their families and their circumstances.
“We get to build a rapport with the family and get to know the children,” she said.
The staff has data meetings for each grade. Any staff member who works with a child in that grade is required to attend.
Students are identified on a data wall with color-coded stickers for things like transfer students, test scores and reading comprehension. Staff members break down the data available to them into a visual aid by which the staff, as a whole, can track the progress of each student and plan their lessons accordingly.
“We get an abundance of data. You can be data rich, but if you don’t use that data, it’s worthless,” Vosburgh said.
The staff uses the information to focus on the weakest dimensions of literacy for each student. For example, when students go home with a book to read, they also go home with bookmarkers listing questions. If a student struggles with new vocabulary, the bookmarker questions focus on that. If comprehension is an issue, there are in-depth questions to answer.
Vosburgh said the tools they use come from several reading programs. The staff utilizes the parts that work for them.
The Title I Distinguished Schools Advisory Council will evaluate the school with onsite visits and the prepared portfolio. The best school will represent North Carolina in a national Title I Distinguished Schools Program.
“We are thrilled for the Chocowinity Primary School Team,” said Don Phipps, superintendent of Beaufort County Schools. “The Title I distinction should never limit a school. This news is a prime example of what can happen when a staff, parents and students see past a label to achieve.”