“Doing Great Things:” Tuckaseegee Elementary School Grows Over 94% in 2021-2022 School Year

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) – A Charlotte-Mecklenburg school principal is keeping reading fun and helping students improve every day.

Travares Hicks became the principal of Tuckaseegee Elementary School just days before the start of the 2021-2022 school year.

Hicks moved quickly to set his sights on improving reading among minority students.

“One of the things that really struck me was the historically low performance of black and Hispanic men,” Hicks said. “The subgroup hasn’t seen growth over the past few years, and the subgroup hasn’t shown any growth compared to previous years, so I knew it was going to be a challenge going into Tuckaseegee.

According to a CMS progress monitoring report, the district hopes to increase the English language arts college and career readiness rate for black and Hispanic third graders from nearly 16 percent in October 2021 to 36 percent by the end of the 2022-2023 school year, and by 2024 50% in October.

Some of the initiatives Hicks and his teachers have implemented are data-informed teaching, which includes specific learning goals and data tracking of students.

Student data tracking allows students to monitor their own progress.

“We also want our children to monitor their daily data to be able to see that I need to make the right decisions, not because my teacher told me, but because I need to grow and be better than before A better day.”

The school also hosts a Child Status Night to share each student’s performance with parents/guardians and provide adults with additional resources to help their children or children at home.

Last spring, the school hosted a March reading marathon to encourage students to read in their free time during the day. The school also welcomes community partners including barbers, beauticians and former professional athletes to read to students.

Learning how to read is a passion Hicks has in mind, and he says he struggled to read even in third grade. Hicks said he would take action to avoid reading aloud in class. A teacher noticed his behavior and encouraged him with the cassette tapes that Hicks used to teach himself to read.

“I ended up learning some letters, I started learning some words, and eventually I taught myself how to read, and once I taught myself how to read, it was like the world opened up for me, and I haven’t put down a book since,” he said .

In addition, the school spends time on social-emotional learning and wellness for students and staff.

Third grade teacher Amber Pratt works on social-emotional learning every morning.

“Every morning we have a morning meeting where we focus on social-emotional learning, so I really take the time to understand where they are and what they’re dealing with at home and share those things about myself,” Platt said. “It reminds me that before they care about what you know, they have to know you care.”

According to NCDPI data, the school received state D letters for five consecutive years from 2014-2019.

Earlier this month, the North Carolina Department of Public Education released 2021-2022 data showing that Tuckaseegee now has a letter grade of “C.”

“I really want our community and our schools to know that we’re doing a good job in school buildings,” Hicks said. “Being able to see the payoffs to ramp up at the letter scale is an extraordinary power builder to launch this year. our move.”

Tuckaseegee is one of 14 schools that improved and got off the low-performing list, according to state data. CMS initially had 42 schools on the list, 14 all improved, but added 22 different schools, bringing the total to 50.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools recently opened enrollment for tutoring for 42 of the most in-demand schools. The program cost $50 million to be paid for through the American Rescue Program Act of 2021.

According to a CMS release, the program will help offset the loss of instructional time due to COVID-19 and provide students with additional learning opportunities for greater academic success through high-dose tutoring.

Off-campus tutoring virtual classes will begin on September 27, and in-person/hybrid classes will begin on October 10. Both courses will end on May 19, 2023.

“I really think that if we can consciously help children in need grow, we can have great student outcomes,” Hicks said.

Every school across the state has a letter grade. It consists of 80% school achievement and 20% growth. According to state data, Tuckaseegee Elementary School has a growth score of 94.3, surpassing growth.

2021-2022 is the first time Tuckaseegee has surpassed growth since 2014. It grew in 2015 and 2016, but not in 2014 or 2017-2019.

Another win last school year was that 87% of Pratts students achieved grade level in third grade math.

She also spends the majority of each learning module on small group teaching each day.

“I meet with every student every day, so I know exactly what they need. I’m able to give them what they need individually, not just teach the whole team,” Platt said.

Principal Hicks said the goal was the prize, they were moving forward and letter grades would not limit the potential of his students.

“It’s so important for our kids to know that letter grades are like that, but deep down inside of you, every kid in this building has some talent.


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