• Category 2

    Selected in 2013

  • Grades: pre k - 5
    School Setting: urban
    Town Population: 655
    Student Enrollment: 726
    Student Demographics:

    Black/African American: 82.5%
    White/Caucasian: 1.5%
    Hispanic: 14.6%
    Hawaiian/Pacific Islander: 0%
    Asian: 1%
    Native American: 0%
    Other: 0%

    Teacher/Student Ratio: 1:22
    % Reduced Lunch: 79.2%
    % ELL Learners: 10%
    Founded: 2001
  • PRINCIPAL:
    Michael Collins, Jr.
  • CONTACT:
    3965 Germantown Road South
    Memphis, TN 38125
    901-416-3733
    collinsmj@scsk12.org
Germanshire Elementary School
Memphis, TN
“We addressed these challenges to close the gaps by having ESL teachers develop a co-teaching plan with classroom teachers and attend weekly common grade team meetings where they plan meticulously for rigorous, quality instruction, analyze assessment data to identify needs. "
Describe the most successful activity your school has initiated to strengthen ties to your community.
All of our students participate in a service project that benefits a worthy cause every month of the school year. Generally, students/children are on the receiving end from their parents, family members, teachers, and others. Our goal is to embed a continuous philosophy of giving to others for our students. This year the school has already raised money for St. Jude, Cancer Research, and the families in Illinois who experienced the tornado during November. Our Student Council, Honor Society, and other school organizations sponsor the events every month. The students generally set a goal between $1000 - $1400 dollars. The school has always met its goal in the last two years of every month. Students use creative ways to raise money from the sale wrist bands to cut outs of clovers that students purchase for a dollar to post on the walls in the main hall after they are colored. Upcoming events include muscular dystrophy, ALS, and others in during the winter and spring months.
Describe your school culture and explain changes you’ve taken to improve it.
We have improved the culture in (3) ways:
-A Culture of Transparency-It is important that students, staff, and parents know at all time the purpose for which things are done and set in motion. Germanshire belongs to the students, the parents’ staff and community, and it is for this reason all must be aware of the school’s path and the decisions made.
-A Culture of Teamwork “makes the dream work” according to John Maxwell. When everyone can engage in the challenges of the work with vigor and a unique spirit of love success in the work will come.
-The Culture of Student Ownership is paramount in our achievements. We want students to know that the building belongs to them. We use this phrase “I am Germanshire”…students are aware that what Germanshire is and hopes to be is because of them and their active participation in their education. Students make the morning announcements, run the bookstore, are able to utilize the media center, sit in the library café and use lap tops, tablets.

Describe how data is used to improve student achievement and inform decision making.
Effectively analyzing assessment and non-academic data to continuously improve student achievement is the norm for Germanshire. The school’s leadership team and the site-based council use AMO reports, needs surveys, teacher/staff evaluations, parent evaluation forms to evaluate school effectiveness and student performance. In August of each school year the administrative team and school personnel look at the results of TCAP, TVAAS, and the goals set in the School Improvement Plan. Evidence of achievement is documented, target areas are identified, goals for continued improvement are set and an action plan is developed. Teachers analyze the results of their current classes and use these key benchmarks to plan and adjust instruction:
-Assessments by grade teams teachers Weekly Aug – May
-Common Assessment - Every 3 weeks Sept – May
-DEA Assessments- October December February
-Istations/Reading Plus Benchmarks- August November April
-Stanford Math Benchmarks- August November April
Describe the program or initiative that has had the greatest positive effect on student achievement, including closing achievement or opportunity gaps, if applicable.
Our greatest challenge was with Limited English Proficient students. There were substantial gaps among subgroups, grade levels and individual teachers within grade levels. We addressed these challenges to close the gaps by having ESL teachers developed a co-teaching plan with classroom teachers and attend weekly common grade team meetings where they plan meticulously for rigorous, quality instruction, analyze assessment data to identify needs. ESL teachers also do pull outs and provide intensive intervention for some of their students.
For grade level gaps and teacher gaps, we provide on-going professional development on research-based strategies to increase knowledge in the use of best practices such as checking for understanding and higher order thinking skills. Individualized PD is provided for select teachers for teacher development. Some teachers were assigned to a different grade level.
Saturday tutoring was used to help identified subgroups and struggling students.
Explain how Title I funds are used to support your improvement efforts.
We use Title 1 Funds to support our improvement efforts in the following ways:
• Purchasing supplemental instructional resources and materials for students and teachers
• Funding additional staff positions such as a science lab teacher, computer lab technician and a teacher assistant
• Funding parent activities and training sessions to help them support their children’s learning to improve achievement
• Funding salaries and materials for extended day intervention programs for low performing students
• Paying registration fees and travel expenses for researched-based professional development opportunities locally and out of town
Describe your philosophy of school change or improvement.
The philosophy of school improvement is one that must be continuously monitored and adjusted. We have adopted the phrase: “we are in the process of”. It is this phrase that allows us to be in continuous pursuit of perfection. We are always looking to be better and not allow ourselves to become complacent. One must be willing to assess the school and all of its parts and not be afraid of what one will find. One must be willing to confront that which has the possibility to retard the learning process. The thermometer of continuous school improvement must be utilized to assess if parts of the school community have “fevers”. If fevers are not broken-- they may lead to a more harsh condition. As we find there are concerns we immediately began a process to remedy the situation. It’s the remedies that allow our school to be progressive because we are willing to change in order to improve!
Identify the critical professional development activities you use to improve teaching and student learning.
There is a correlation between teacher effectiveness and student performance. Providing teachers access to training that will enable them to provide instruction that will engage all students at all learning levels in rigorous instruction will help us to increase the performance of all students.
Professional development activities include:
*Individualized professional development for select teachers based on needs
*Providing instructional support for new and struggling teachers through peer observations, modeling and coaching
*Participating in book studies on checking for understanding, qualities of a team player, teamwork and essential questioning
*Conducting on-site PD on Quadrant D, Higher Order Thinking, Differentiation and Explaining Content Clearly
*Attending local, state and national conferences to learn research-based strategies to increase literacy instruction, check for understanding, developing high quality questioning, problem-solving and explicit instruction
Describe specific programs in place to ensure that families are involved in the success of your school and students.
Parents are informed of their rights to be involved in their children's learning. Germanshire organizes and provides school-based events, parental academic training and materials to help them work with their children to improve their achievement. The school provides ongoing activities such as:
• The PTA- as officers and members
• The Sited-based Council- as officers and members
• Parent-Teacher conferences
• Family Nights that focus on literacy, math, science, technology, understanding the curriculum, academic assessments and proficiency levels
• Title 1 Meetings
• Volunteering I the classroom
• The completion of surveys and evaluation forms
• Attending training sessions

What is the single most important factor in the success of your school that others could replicate?
A successful school must establish a culture of student ownership. Germanshire Elementary offer student leadership opportunities that are intended to foster growth in the area of academics while developing characteristics and essential life skills that will shape tomorrow’s leaders. The “I am Germanshire” Campaign sets the foundation of what the school represents through the students daily interactions and active participation in their education. Offering student organizations such as Safety Patrol, Student Council, Media Club, Honor Society, and the WILD and Beautification Club allow students to take ownership in the daily operations and decisions of the school.
The most successful school offer students more than just academic success; they offer power, courage, pride, responsibility, and self-importance. The Germanshire LEAD Camps provide high school and young adult role models opportunity to share and demonstrate how to apply these characteristics to becoming LEADERS of Tomorrow.
What are your school’s top two goals for the next year?
Germanshire has identified two goals for the next school year. The first area of focus is closing the achievement gap that currently exists for the English Language Learners subgroup. This is an area of concern because this is a group that has made incremental gains however, still falls below the established goal set by the Germanshire team. Our goal is to close the achievements gaps and increase the number of students who score proficient in RLA on the 2014 TCAP by 14 percentage points.

The school wide goal is to create a literacy driven school in such a way that literacy is evident in all classrooms regardless of content area focus. Our goal is to ensure all students are exposed to a rigorous literacy curriculum that is directly connected to improving literacy skills in all students. Because literacy is connected to all subject areas, the school will show dramatic gains across all content areas at the end of 2014-15 school year.
Stats
  • Category 2

    Selected in 2013

  • Grades: pre k - 5
    School Setting: urban
    Town Population: 655
    Student Enrollment: 726
    Student Demographics:

    Black/African American: 82.5%
    White/Caucasian: 1.5%
    Hispanic: 14.6%
    Hawaiian/Pacific Islander: 0%
    Asian: 1%
    Native American: 0%
    Other: 0%

    Teacher/Student Ratio: 1:22
    % Reduced Lunch: 79.2%
    % ELL Learners: 10%
    Founded: 2001
  • PRINCIPAL:
    Michael Collins, Jr.
  • CONTACT:
    3965 Germantown Road South
    Memphis, TN 38125
    901-416-3733
    collinsmj@scsk12.org