Anna Gawel

Hershey Elementary School
Hershey, Pennsylvania

Best Practices

1) Best practices in education have a lasting impact on student learning. One area of focus for our elementary team was the implementation of a WIN (what I need) program. This program provides reading and math instruction on the students’ learning levels. This targeted instruction was a grass roots effort beginning in one grade level in reading and has now spread to all the other grade levels in the elementary building in both reading and math. The collaboration from the team and focus on student learning was both inspiring and motivational. In order for WIN to work, we needed to lean heavily on understanding our state standards and curriculum so we know what we want students to know and be able to do. We also focused heavily on student data. All teachers have access to their student data and the grade levels work as a team to determine learning goals for the students and to review student progress. We have seen huge gains in student learning and focus on essential standards through the WIN program at the elementary.

2) Another best practice our elementary administrative team has focused on is implementing PLCs (professional learning communities). This has afforded us the opportunity to focus on student data, communication, collaboration, and student learning. The focus is on the whole student and seeing the student as a learner and individual including focuses on social emotional learning, behavior, academics, and social development. The four critical questions that we focus on during our collaborative times as a PLC building are ‘What do we want our students to know and be able to do (curriculum)?’, ‘How will we know that they learned it (assessment)?’, ‘What will we do if they already know it (enrichment)?’ and ‘What will we do if they do not learn it (reteach/intervention)?’. The focus on data and teamwork has focused our teaching and learning on the right things. This has given our teachers the ability to be highly selective about programs and teaching methods as well as to be reflective on how the students are progressing toward their learning goals. The collaboration and data review have led the teachers to implement learning that truly impacts proficiency levels toward standards.