PW Moore eyeing more collaboration


P. W. Moore Principal Sara English, Tuesday, August 8, 2017.


By Reggie Ponder
Staff Writer

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Closer collaboration between teachers and increased use of project-based learning for students are among the ways P.W. Moore Elementary School plans to turn around its severely deficient academic performance.

The school was the first in the Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Public Schools to receive an F grade on the state accountability report for schools. The grade represents student performance in the 2016-17 school year. ECPPS also has been deemed a low-performing school district, since half of its schools earned a D or lower in the most recent report.

Sara English, principal at P.W. Moore Elementary School, acknowledged in a presentation to a committee of the Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Board of Education this week that the school has much work to do this year. The school improvement plan for P.W. Moore Elementary is still in draft form and the improvement team continues to work on it, she said.

But English told the board the work of the school improvement team and the entire school staff is driven by a “relentless commitment to high expectations for each student.”

The school is committed this year both to a significant increase in overall academic performance — increasing overall grade level proficiency by 25 percentage points, from last year’s 27.1 percent to 52.1 percent — and to “exceeding” its academic growth target. P.W. Moore did not meet its academic growth target for the 2016-17 school year.

Teachers at the school are meeting weekly in professional learning sessions that are focused especially on digital learning.

English said the school also is aiming to reduce suspensions by half this year. In pursuit of that goal, staff are implementing what’s known as a “restorative justice” approach to discipline, she said.

Citing a recent example of the approach, English noted a student had voluntarily opted to apologize to his classmates for interrupting the class.

P.W. Moore also will be launching “Lions Lunch” in the second semester. The initiative will take a problem-based learning approach to robotics and other STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) activities. English said students will follow up on the activity the following day by writing about it.

English noted the school’s administrative team has individual members with expertise in math, science, and English/language arts.

Beginning Nov. 1, P.W. Moore teachers will be visiting each other’s classes to learn from each other. For her part, English is already is making classroom visits, giving teachers immediate feedback.

The school is emphasizing family and community involvement this year. In particular, the staff is striving to communicate effectively with parents through folders that are sent home weekly as well as weekly informational phone calls.

In addition, the school is using its website to help parents learn how to help their children succeed in school.

English said another goal  has been to increase community involvement through volunteering, and the school already is seeing good progress on that front.

“We have had an influx of very consistent volunteers this year,” English said.