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School Beats the Odds, Boosts Achievement


Parkview Elementary School has been named a Reward School by the Michigan Department of Education, the first school in the district to be given the recognition.

The school was recognized in the category “Beating the Odds” by outperforming its predicted ranking in comparison to similar schools. The measure is defined by M-STEP scores in correlation with the district’s demographics. At Parkview, 87 percent of students qualify for free or reduced lunches. The number who are proficient in reading by the end of third-grade increased nearly 10 percent to 38.1 percent.

Parent Kimberly Sczesny helps label new books
Parent Kimberly Sczesny helps label new books

Principal Katie Jobson said teacher collaboration, building relationships with students and parents and help from outside sources have been key. Now, she said, several instructional pieces are coming together and moving the needle in achievement. “We’ve been getting more and more, so we’re all working in the same direction,” she said.

Parkview works with The Education Trust-Midwest, which focuses on developing teacher-leaders, with Western Michigan University on Achievement-Centered Leadership and is a lab school for Reading Now Network, a collaborative effort involving 100 districts to boost reading proficiency to 80 percent in 13 counties. The partnership with RNN recently led to the donation of $10,000 funded by a grant from Herman Miller to help get more books into classrooms and create a more consistent book-leveling system.

Uriel Diaz finds a cozy spot to read
Uriel Diaz finds a cozy spot to read

Parents recently worked to label new books purchased through the grants, while in classrooms, students settled in to read books already shelved. Amanda Agema, who has a kindergartner and second-grader at Parkview, helped with the labeling.

“It’s exciting,” she said of the Reward status. “It’s a good school and my kids love it. I love all the staff. My kids have only gotten better.”

“It tells people something about Wyoming and our school system here,” added Stacy Valdez, who has a son in kindergarten.

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MDE Reward Schools

SNN Article on Reading Now Network’s work at Parkview

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Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese is associate managing editor and reporter, covering Byron Center, Kentwood, Wyoming and Grand Rapids Community College. She was one of the original SNN staff writers, helping launch the site in 2013 and enjoys fulfilling the mission of sharing the stories of public education. She has worked as a journalist in the Grand Rapids area since 2000. A graduate of Central Michigan University, she has written for The Grand Rapids Press, Advance Newspapers, On-the-Town Magazine and Group Tour Media. Read Erin's full bio or email Erin.

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