ABOUT THIS PROJECT

We Are the Champions: A Toolkit for Transforming Schools is a toolkit developed by a team from the Diversity Leadership Initiative (DLI) of the Riley Institute, in conjunction with District 5 of Lexington and Richland Counties. The toolkit was inspired by the educational successes achieved by one elementary school, Nursery Road Elementary School, in District 5 of Lexington and Richland Counties. The team's goal was to discover the formula for Nursery Road Elementary's success, and then offer other schools the tools to achieve the same success.

The toolkit we have developed and offer as a free download includes examples of techniques, concepts and strategies to assist school administrators, community leaders, and parents to create a robust school environment that generates measurable improvements in school culture, working relationships and student success. This toolkit is designed to encourage educators to replicate the success of Nursery Road Elementary School by using the ideas, concepts and insights that led to their tremendous achievements.

WATCH TO LEARN

The toolkit includes a video of a May 2012 school assembly celebrating the success of Nursery Road Elementary. The toolkit also includes on-camera interviews with Dr. Christina Melton, Principal, and Dr. Steve Hefner, Superintendent, District 5 of Lexington and Richland Counties.

Download Nursery Road Elementary school assembly video.

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SUCCESS STORY

Nursery Road Elementary School is located in the Irmo/Seven Oaks area of the Greater Columbia, South Carolina, region. The school is part of School District 5 of Lexington and Richland Counties. The school opened in 1980 with a little over a thousand students in grades kindergarten to five. It was built to relieve overcrowding at Irmo Elementary but grew rapidly and soon became the largest elementary school in the district. The sixth grade was added in 1982. Overcrowding continued to be a problem until H. E. Corley School opened in 1991, and the sixth grade moved to the middle school in 1992. Over the years, with the construction of government-subsidized housing, the demographics changed. By July 2007, the school was in stages of corrective action. At that time, the percentage of free and reduced lunch students was 38 percent. Currently the school has 51 percent free and reduced lunch students. This means that the school is now a Title I school. Free and reduced lunch indicates students are from families in poverty levels. In other words, Nursery Road Elementary School was a school in need.

The demographic breakdown for the 2011-2012 school year.2011 PASS scores of Nursery Road compared to the statewide scores.

OUR FINDINGS

Despite its many challenges, Nursery Road Elementary has become a shining star in District 5, due in great part to the vision and dedication of its principal, Dr. Christina Melton, who has been able to rally not only the faculty and students, but the parents, the community and the surrounding businesses to support the school and work together to accomplish its goals. How did they do it?

  • With a supportive district that enables innovation
  • By giving parents a voice
  • By encouraging students to be their personal best
  • By encouraging a "culture and climate" that is supportive, nurturing, and results oriented
  • With community engagement
  • By empowering staff to lead and become problem-solvers
  • By using data to measure academic progress throughout the year
  • Because one person makes a huge difference!

TOOLS FOR SUCCESS

The toolkit is flexible in design to be modified or adapted to meet the unique needs of diverse schools and communities. The toolkit includes examples of techniques, concepts and strategies to assist educators, community leaders, and parents in creating a robust school environment that generates measurable improvements in school culture, working relationships and student success.

What's inside the toolkit?

Author: Salli-Denise Smith