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School officials get a dose of students at WES

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By Lisa Statham Posteraro

Special to the Citizen

After their second Tuesday of the month meeting in Bronson, members of the School Board of Levy County and other school officials showed up on the campus of Williston Elementary School for a tour of the physical plant, including numerous classrooms. Earlier in the day they had visited the primary facility, Joyce Bullock Elementary, pre-K through 2nd.

“Our visitors were impressed with how our students responded to our teachers’ questions using T.A.G.,” said Chloe Gabriel, assistant principal. (With T.A.G., the student turns the question around, answers the question in a complete sentence and gives evidence to support his/her answer.) “They also were intrigued with the study of life science in the 4th grade classes, the SUMS kit for the life cycle of the butterfly. Reading coach Barbara Hoyt had her ‘Rockin’ Readers’ show them some of the things they were working on with her. Another activity which impressed our board members and school board officials was how Mr. Van Zwienen used chess as an incentive for good behavior and acceptable performance on different assessments. Those 5th graders do love to play chess, and it really challenges their minds,” concluded Gabriel.

“I love that our school board members come to visit from time to time so we can share our goals…what we’re striving for … and to get to know our staff and students,” said Marla Hiers, principal. “And they’re always so complimentary of our staff. They even bragged about our 2012-2013 assessment results. When our visitors were in classrooms, they looked at samples of student work and saw what we call those ‘non-negotiables’ in each classroom…essential questions, standards being taught, assigned homework listed, our WES Expectations, the Wildcat Decree,” added Hiers. “In 3rd grade they saw small groups in action then visited two of our special areas, music and art, and saw how Mrs. Throckmorton and Mrs. Darling wove math concepts into their individual instruction. After all, music and art rely heavily on math!” Board member Chris Cowart complimented Throckmorton on the moving 9/11 Memorial which he had attended on September 11th at the school.

“Always, always these visitors comment on the positive atmosphere they witness when they are on our campus,” said Hiers. “That is so important to us all, that everyone who visits here notices our ‘can do’ attitude. We work very, very hard putting all our initiatives into place and ‘aim for a winning season’,” concluded Hiers, with a smile of confidence.