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The Succeeds Prize 2018 Elementary School Award: Meet the Finalists

Meet the 2018 finalists for The Succeeds Prize for Transformational Impact in an Elementary School, sponsored by ttec.

Paonia Elementary School - Paonia

Paonia Elementary seeks to inspire lifelong learning for a promising future. The school values enthusiasm for teaching and learning, building a strong social-emotional foundation, creating a challenging and caring learning environment, and independent problem solving. Staff focuses on the individual student, setting goals to promote growth in academic skills as well as social-emotional development.

At Paonia, the most important skills students can learn are how to be effective communicators, collaborators, and critical thinkers. Students work in teams as early as kindergarten to learn how to communicate with peers and share ideas. A technology lab facilities student development of tech and presentation skills to create well-rounded learners ready for junior high.

A small school, Paonia enjoys a family mindset among staff and close partnership with its community. Staff meet weekly to share student data and expertise, discuss teaching strategies, and identify student needs to ensure the best instruction is occurring. The Paonia Parents Organization works tirelessly to support the school and contribute to a continuously improving learning environment.

Patrick Henry Elementary School - Colorado Springs

Patrick Henry Elementary’s vision is centered on measurable learning, high expectations for all, a warm and supportive environment, and no excuses. The school’s success in moving from a school struggling to support adequate student learning to one that strives to ensure all students learn at high levels has been a team effort; parents, students, staff, and district leadership have all played a role.

Patrick Henry believes every child has the ability to learn and grow both academically and socially. The school constantly monitors student data to ensure teaching matches student growth needs. This growth mindset challenges students to develop values including perseverance, collaboration, and self-care. Weekly CREW team-building sessions also help students to hone these skills with classmates, and varied after school programs reflect the school’s whole-child mindset.

Educators are also encouraged to have a growth mindset. Teachers at Henry pursue excellence through Professional Learning Communities, during which staff prod one another to explore areas of ineffectiveness and find ways to achieve better results. It’s “all hands on deck” when it comes to interventions and moving children toward success and growth.

Rocky Mountain Prep: Creekside - Denver

Rocky Mountain Prep – Creekside (RMP) educates all students to graduate from 5th grade prepared for success in middle school, high school, college, and beyond. Their vision is to close the opportunity gap that exists between students from low-income households and their wealthier peers.

Founded on pillars of rigor and love, RMP embraces elementary school as a special time in life, while also ensuring that our students are ready to fly on their own when they leave RMP. The school places a heavy emphasis on student discourse and a constructivist approach in which students drive their own learning. Habits of Discussion conversations engage even RMP’s youngest learners with an ability to articulate and defend their own ideas and constructively interact with others.

A network of three (soon to be four) schools, RMP encourages and supports collaboration between schools. A Principal Cohort meets weekly to discuss shared challenges. Teachers, in turn, frequently engage in cross-campus professional development to benefit all RMP students.

Watch this video on 2017's Elementary School Award winner, Valdez Elementary in Denver.

Jessica Buckley

Principal, Valdez Elementary School and member of The Succeeds Prize Selection Committee