Cool Schools: Raines Elementary School

Cool Schools

Raines Elementary School worked a miracle last school year.

The students, staff and parents were able make the “F” rated school an “A” school in just one year.

“We got double the points once those kids that were passing moved to proficient. We got a point for them being proficient, and we also got a point for them moving,” Principal Dina Owens said.

Owens explained something she says many don’t realize when looking at school ratings and student test scores. That is, just passing isn’t enough. The students also need to improve from year to year.

And when she got to Raines Elementary, her job was to do both. “Raines was a turnaround school. So that means most of the teachers were new here, as well as myself and the administrative staff,” Owens said. 

They definitely turned it around.

In 2016 Raines received a literacy support award for their work with the 3rd graders. But the rest of the school needed that same attention.

“We had to do that push for those kids that were passing. Because we were getting them up to a certain point, and then they were being stagnant. So that stagnation hurt us,” Owens said.

Last school year proved their resiliency. The district-wide water crisis that closed schools for days put them in overdrive once the students returned.

“Every staff member had a hand in that. Even the counselor had a tutoring group,” school interventionist, Janet McDaniel said.

Principal Owens says the extended school days which made up for the time lost really helped. She also thinks after school programs could be a key to overall success.

“Years ago, we had programs like 21st Century after school programs, were we had a class size reduction teacher focus on small group instruction…And so that’s why things like fully funding education is important. Because that allows the monetary resources that we can hire additional staff and we can run those programs.”

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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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