Sally Mauro students win state honors
Due to their high level of performance when taking the state's Criterion Reference Test, students and faculty at Sally Mauro Elementary were honored recently with a Utah High Performing Title I School Award. Those closest to the children credit the school's attention to each child and the children's response to that attention for producing the award-winning test scores.
"Small group instruction is very important for our school," said Paulie Vogrinec a sixth grade instructor at Sally Mauro. "We break the students up into small centers which allows us to focus in on very specific learning issues."
Sally Mauro, like other schools within the Carbon District, keeps detailed information about each student at all times. This information is then discussed once a month at professional learning communities meetings. According to long-time educator and Sally Mauro Instructional Coach Bernadette Paluso, these PCL sessions allow all those involved with learning at the school to discuss each child individually every 30 days.
"We studied the data we had to find out where our low performing areas were and then went to work with interventions and remediation for each student," said Paluso. "We detailed these educational interventions to meet the needs of each child and our students responded."
According to Vogrinec, the student's want to perform at a high level was vital to how well the school performed on their CRTs.
"We showed the kids what they had gotten the year before on the exam and discussed where they could improve," she explained. "We showed them where they were and asked them where they wanted to be. Most said, I don't want that. I want a better score."
Belinda Oliver, who also teaches six grade in Helper, concurred that a student's knowledge of where they are headed with their education should be discussed as soon as possible.
"It is important that our children know where they are and where they are headed," she said. "It's important that they see improvement in themselves and that they know what is expected of them."
Whereas Sally Mauro is not a small school, heavy collaboration and staff team work are required to make sure students receive the specialized instruction the school values. In doing this, the staff in Helper developed a visible pride in the work their students are doing.
"We overcame having 33 students in two different classes and we were able to do this because everyone worked together," explained fourth grade teacher Cyndy Daniels. "These classes are the largest here at Sally Mauro and the largest fourth grades in the district. We also overcame having fewer computers than other schools in the district. We worked hard and the kids worked hard and we had really great educational interventions."
Teachers at the school were quick to thank one another when questioned about the school's award, they also pointed to the hard work which school paraprofessionals, community members and other auxiliary staff perform. However, it was praise for the student's performance and dedication which came to the forefront of every discussion.
"We set specific goals and celebrated every achievement that our kids had," concluded fourth grade instructor Lisha Lee. "We are continuing that celebration this year and hope to have great results once again. We believe in our students and do everything we can to help them to believe in themselves."