Excelling in the Classroom

Elkhart Community Schools is home to 14 elementary schools and within these schools are classes full of unique individual students. Each diverse classroom consists of students who align with the academic average, students who excel academically, and students who struggle academically. The one consistent factor in every classroom is a dedicated teacher whose goal is to meet each individual student’s needs and help each student grow.

Knowing every student individually, academically, and recognizing each student’s strengths and weaknesses are the beginning of creating a comfortable and successful learning environment.

This relationship building has resulted in a very special outcome: 4th grade students in Kristi Ray’s class at Bristol Elementary have achieved 100% high growth in math over last year’s ISTEP+ assessment. Her 4th grade class consists of 22 students, including special education and English language learning students. This means that all of her students, no matter where they were academically, were able to increase their ISTEP+ scores from where they were in 3rd grade. It’s not unusual for classes at Elkhart Community Schools to reach 80-95% growth, but to have 100% of a class experience high growth is rare and something to be excited about!

Constant positive feedback, students’ self-assessment of their comfort level, and building a repertoire with her students are just a few of the things Ms. Ray attributes to her students’ academic growth. In past years, Ms. Ray has had a steady 88% growth on ISTEP+ but she explains every class is different. This year her students had the drive to learn from the beginning of the school year and they were motivated for a challenge.

Recognizing that she could only keep the entire class engaged in a subject for a short 15 minute window, she wanted to make the most out of her time with the students. Modeling math after a concept already used in reading, she separated her class into small groups based on the skill level of each student. The small groups allowed her to properly give attention to each group and individually assist each student at their level of learning.

Ms. Ray explains that she is just one of the many proud teachers from Bristol Elementary School. She feels it is the quality of the staff and administrators that creates the attitude and atmosphere to successfully help the students learn.

Congratulations to Ms. Ray and Bristol Elementary!