Graves Co. elementary schools honored for teaching conditions, s - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Graves Co. elementary schools honored for teaching conditions, school safety, student achievement


Several Graves County elementary schools have been honored for their teaching conditions, school safety and student achievement.

“Congratulations! Your school has been selected as one of the Honorable Mentions regarding teaching conditions, school safety, and student achievement,” read the letter received recently by Fancy Farm, Lowes and Symsonia elementary schools in the Graves County School District.

“We’re pleased that so many educators in the Graves County Schools responded and participated in the TELL Kentucky Survey,” said Graves County elementary instructional supervisor Amanda Henson. “Of course, we’re especially proud of Fancy Farm, Lowes, and Symsonia elementary schools because teachers rate these schools so highly in a wide range of important areas. That is an indication of the professionalism these teachers exhibit and their concern for continuous quality improvement. More than anything else, it shows that these are great schools for teaching, learning, and safety!”

“This recognition is a reflection of the collaboration effort between staff, parents, community, and our district office to ensure that our students receive a quality education in a safe environment,” said Principal Janet Throgmorton. “The staff at Fancy Farm Elementary School work with all stakeholders to ensure that our students learn, but that they also become self-sufficient, productive citizens in the future. It is truly a blessing and privilege to work at this school.”

“I am so proud to work and lead at Symsonia Elementary School,” said Principal Alison Gregory. “This honor just reiterates the fact that, as a team, we achieve more. Our entire staff and community work hard every day to do what is best for every student. We communicate, support and encourage one another and this, in turn, creates a healthy atmosphere in which to work and to learn.”

“The Lowes community has a long tradition of high expectations and of giving your best,” said Marc Mavigliano, Lowes principal last year and now principal of Lone Oak Intermediate School. “It is a great feeling to be honored and I am so proud of the staff who always are looking for ways to improve and meet the individual needs of each child. Just as valuable is the support of the Lowes community. Lowes is truly a ‘community family,’ working together not only to build upon academic success but in creating the well-rounded child who will be successful in whatever endeavors they pursue. I know Mrs. Adams and the staff will continue to achieve at high levels!”

“Lowes' teachers are an amazingly caring and dedicated group of professionals who genuinely love their students and give 150 percent every day!” said Lowes first-year Principal Rachael Adams. “This recognition is well-deserved!”

The TELL Kentucky Survey was administered to school-based, licensed educators in Kentucky and used the same survey instrument as was used previously. Previous findings, as well as nationwide research, show that teaching conditions are positively associated with improved student achievement and teacher retention.

The TELL Kentucky Survey provides educators with data, tools and direct support to facilitate school improvement. TELL Kentucky includes questions on the following topics:

  • Community Engagement and Support
  • Teacher Leadership
  • School Leadership
  • Managing Student Conduct
  • Use of Time
  • Professional Development
  • Facilities and Resources
  • Instructional Practices and Support
  • New Teacher Support

Ninety percent of schools (1,296 of 1,441) met or exceeded the 50 percent response rate (and at least 5 respondents) threshold required to receive an individual school-level data report. All results may be viewed online.

The initial selection included the list of schools that reached the 50 percent minimum threshold for response rate on the TELL Kentucky survey. For Phase II, the schools that ranked in the third or fourth quartiles regarding working conditions were then selected to move on to the next phase.

Schools in Phase III were then examined for details regarding their TELL Kentucky results, as well as other criteria (such as school safety), using a rubric designed by the New Teacher Center and the TELL Kentucky Advisory Team. Phase IV schools met all of the minimum criteria for selection. The Advisory Team reviewed these and 66 exemplary schools across the state, aiming for representation in each of the State Board/Judicial Districts. These are the Honorable Mentions of which the three Graves County elementary schools are included.  

As the three schools have been identified for this honor, they will be compiled on a list and given to educational leaders in Kentucky so that others are aware that the schools are doing great things and can provide some best practice models. This honor also places the three schools in consideration for the Winners’ Circle Award to be announced Sept. 22.

From these Honorable Mentions, one school in each of Kentucky’s State Board/Judicial Districts, and three at-large schools will be awarded the Winners’ Circle honors at the Third Annual Kentucky Continuous Improvement Conference Sept. 22 in Lexington. Ten Winner’s Circle finalist schools will be recognized for their remarkable teaching and learning conditions during the conference and will be used as examples of best practices across the state.

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