Cool Schools: Dawson Elementary School

Cool Schools

WJTV12 is highlighting Jackson elementary schools who made big jumps in this year’s Mississippi Department of Education school ratings.

Dawson Elementary is the second school in our series. Administrators, teachers, students and parents worked together to improve the school from an “F” rating to a “B”.

One of the ways they did this was by tackling attendance.

“We were very happy, because we worked extremely hard last year…We were hurt with the ‘F’ rating because we knew we were not ‘F’ status,” Principal Vickie Conley said.

In her eight years at Dawson, Principal Conley says this is the first time they earn a “B”. And they’re proud of the success.

“Everybody had to own up, take accountability, and the teachers had to develop their strengths and weaknesses in order to make a difference,” Conley said.

Another major factor in their progress was getting the kids to school, and on time.

She says nearly 80% of their students walk from apartment next to the school. However, tardies and absentees were high.

“We noticed that most of our students would miss school when it rains. So during our site counsil, and when we’re analyzing data, we partnered with Springboard to Oppprtunities,” Conley said.

Now, they are working to get umbrellas for all the children who walk to school, so weather would not be a factor.

Fifth grade teacher Konessia Taylor took an incentive approach to get the students to school.

“They want to party. So in order to have the candy, the juice, the chips and free computer time, we got them to come to school,” Taylor said.

All of that teamwork helped increase monthly attendance, which in increased instruction time, and eventually increased their rating.

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If you know of a school doing something cool, or even a teacher or student who deserves recognition, tell us about it! Just email coolschools@wjtv.com to nominate them. We’ll feature a school every week in our “cool schools” segment.

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