• Category 1

    Selected in 2012

  • Grades: k - 6
    School Setting: urban
    Town Population: 1,470,000
    Student Enrollment: 690
    Student Demographics:

    Black/African American: 4%
    White/Caucasian: 46%
    Hispanic: 41%
    Hawaiian/Pacific Islander: 1%
    Asian: 2%
    Native American: 4%
    Other: 2%

    Teacher/Student Ratio: 1:26.5
    % Reduced Lunch: 77.4%
    % ELL Learners: 9.5%
    Founded: 1975
  • PRINCIPAL:
    Christine Hollingsworth
  • CONTACT:
    3021 West Evans Drive
    Phoenix, AZ 85053
    602-896-5000
    christine.hollingsworth@wesdschools.org
Acacia Elementary School
Phoenix, AZ
“Our biggest event is our Title I "Pull the Plug Week." This is a week long evening event aimed at encouraging families to pull the plug on video games and television and enjoy academic themed family activities instead. The first night families arrive to a red carpet complete with Acacia paparazzi and bright lights as they are announced to enter one family at a time. The entire staff dresses up and hosts many lively reading centers throughout the building. Every child leaves with a new book after a fun family night out. The activities continue throughout the week with a different academic emphasis each evening."
What is the single most important factor in the success of your school that others could replicate?
Acacia has outstanding parent involvement. We have achieved this by hosting many family centered activities throughout the year. Our music teacher organizes evening music performances for every grade level each year. Two of these involve family dinners as a part of the performance. The 6th grade performance is always a musical complete with professional costumes. Our art teacher displays the most recent art projects for the grade level performing so parents can view this also. Once they are here, we personally reiterate to everyone how important their support and involvement is to us. With the help of our PTO, we host family fun nights each month and invite the community in for a night of bingo or other games. This gives families a chance to interact and get to know one another. We also have academic math and science nights. Parents and students attending can play creative math games or explore science through exciting experiments and then take the materials with them to enjoy at home. Our biggest event is our Title I "Pull the Plug Week". This is a week long evening event aimed at encouraging families to pull the plug on video games and television and enjoy academic themed family activities instead. The first night families arrive to a red carpet complete with Acacia paparazzi and bright lights as they are announced to enter one family at a time. The entire staff dresses up and hosts many lively reading centers throughout the building. Every child leaves with a new book after a fun family night out. The activities continue throughout the week with a different academic emphasis each evening. Incentives for not using video games or watching television are given during school each day of this week.
Describe the program or initiative that has had the greatest positive effect on student achievement.
Acacia utilizes very specific levels of intervention at tiers 1, 2, and 3. There is consistency across the grade levels and entire school as to what these should look like. Tier I consists of all classrooms using proven strategies for high levels of student engagement along with small groups daily in reading and math. These small groups assist with differentiation so that each student receives exactly what they need to show growth. Strong ongoing communication and bimonthly grade level meetings assure staff is all on the same page and keeping close track of all progress. Our three Title I "Owl’s Nest" intervention rooms function using a true double dose of small group instruction. This is carried out using small pouches with lines of practice that go back and forth from the Owl’s Nest to the classroom. There is constant communication between all teachers in order to make this happen. Students receiving this double dose are very successful in a shorter amount of time. Tier 3 intervention happens through our 21st Century grant with both before and after school classes. These classes are a continuation of what is happening for each child during the school day. Student data is carefully analyzed and teachers maintain close communication with the homeroom teachers in order to deliver only what each student needs to be successful
Explain how Title I funds have supported your improvement efforts.
Title I funds have given us the opportunity to house our Title I Intervention "Owl’s Nests" with three certified reading specialists. Their expertise in diagnosing different reading difficulties has really benefited the students and teachers. A portion of this budget is also used for parent involvement.
Identify the professional development activities you use to improve the teaching portion of the teaching and learning process.
Acacia holds teacher Professional Learning Community Meetings every Wednesday afternoon. During these PLC times we are able to train teachers on increasing student engagement, analyzing ongoing data, and Jo Robinson reading strategies to name a few. This time also allows teachers to have critical conversations about what is working for them in the classroom as well as communication with special are and special education teachers.
Describe how data is used to improve student achievement and inform decision making.
Acacia uses data each and every day to guide instruction. Teachers meet daily during common prep times to review any new data. Bi-monthly grade level meetings with the principal and program coach allow all constituents to communicate and review personal classroom data folders to track progress. Data is continually analyzed so that all tiers of intervention remain flexible and can change as needed to meet all students’ individual needs.
Describe your school culture and explain changes you’ve taken to improve it.
Acacia is a true neighborhood community school. In 2003, the school did not have a great deal of parent and community involvement. Each year, the staff has worked together to create different avenues to not only get our parents involved in our school but increase business and community partnerships. To date, we have tremendous support from both our business partners and the community surrounding us. We have worked diligently to show all of them how important they are to the success of our organization.
Describe specific programs in place to ensure that families are involved in the success of your school and students.
Acacia continually tells parents that they are always welcome on our campus. Parents volunteer often and are never turned down if they have a desire to help. Our Accelerated Reader program is used as a parent involvement tool as parents must sign off each night that they have read 20 minutes with their child. They can then visit the parent connect portion of Accelerated Reader online and follow daily how successful their child is in earning points based on what they read at home. Acacia’s library is open both before and after school so that parents can come in to choose books for the Accelerated Reader Program. Our business partners supply us with prizes such as bicycles and refurbished laptops that are given away twice a year as incentives for reading success with this program. Our monthly music programs really aid us in getting all of our families into the building where we can then announce to them in person how important they are to our success.
Describe the most successful activity your school has initiated to strengthen the ties to your community.
Our Title I Pull the Plug Week really is a culmination of the efforts of our entire community. During this week of nightly parent and community activities, all are involved in the many events that we host. Our business partners also play a large part as they supply us with daily incentives for students who accept the challenge of pulling the plug on video games and television.
Describe your philosophy of school change or improvement.
Acacia believes that there is always an opportunity to improve. In addition, we feel that we can never have enough business and community support. We see change as a necessary component to keeping up with an ever-changing world. We also strongly believe that our community needs to be an integral part of all that we do so that together we are doing all we can to assure students are college and career ready.
What are your school’s top two goals for the next year?
Acacia’s top two goals would be to continue to show growth for all students and to reach out to an even greater number of parents and community members.
Stats
  • Category 1

    Selected in 2012

  • Grades: k - 6
    School Setting: urban
    Town Population: 1,470,000
    Student Enrollment: 690
    Student Demographics:

    Black/African American: 4%
    White/Caucasian: 46%
    Hispanic: 41%
    Hawaiian/Pacific Islander: 1%
    Asian: 2%
    Native American: 4%
    Other: 2%

    Teacher/Student Ratio: 1:26.5
    % Reduced Lunch: 77.4%
    % ELL Learners: 9.5%
    Founded: 1975
  • PRINCIPAL:
    Christine Hollingsworth
  • CONTACT:
    3021 West Evans Drive
    Phoenix, AZ 85053
    602-896-5000
    christine.hollingsworth@wesdschools.org