Cub Run Elementary: Constant connections
In this 200-student Hart County school, collaboration is a big reason for both the elementary and middle school grades scoring distinguished in practical living/career studies – the elementary level is one of nine in the state and the middle level one of four. There is a single teacher for each grade, which makes collaboration a natural.
“We’re a small school, and we all work together,” said Cara Cox, intermediate-grades teacher who leads the practical living/career studies program review effort.
PHOTO: Eighth-graders at Cub Run Elementary in Hart County get ready to go live with their Friday newscast, which can be viewed communitywide over the local public access channel. It’s one of the ways the school strengthens its practical living/career studies program review.
Middle school language arts/social studies teacher Angela Barbour’s reading assignments might include articles on health, consumerism or safety, which are part of practical living. Shanna Smith might be teaching her second-graders about Bach and talking about his career in music.
“No matter what we’re studying, we’re talking about how it’s going to relate to their everyday life someday,” Smith said. The blending of the material, she added, “makes the units more dynamic.”
Cub Run also has tweaked its class schedule to accommodate practical living and career studies classes on alternating Fridays.
The school collaborates with its family resource center on program reviews – the center coordinator brings in community members all year long to talk about their careers, for example, and organizes an annual Career Day for middle schoolers.
Cub Run teachers upload documentation of student program review work, including photos and videos, to an online social learning platform called Edmodo.
The school is in its first year of the Leader in Me approach and Cox said its emphasis on student responsibility melds well with the practical living program review – nearly every student has a “job,” whether it’s helping the custodian or shelving books.
Another key to the success both elementary and middle grades at Cub Run have had in this area is a homemade one: the lead teachers in the program review areas have taken the state education department’s lengthy documents outlining the standards and boiled them down to what Principal Nathan Smith calls “a user-friendly check-off sheet” with bullet points in which teachers can easily see whether they are hitting the requirements.
“It shows them exactly what they need to do for us as a school to perform well,” he said.