Shaw ElementaryShaw is a school community striving to meet the academic, emotional, behavioral, and social needs of our students and families. We opened our doors in August of 2006 with 330 children enrolled in grades pre-school through grade 5 in an area north of Wasilla, Alaska. The opening of Shaw relieved over-crowded conditions at neighboring Larson and Tanaina Elementary Schools. Shaw serves a population that includes a high number of special needs students due in part to several district-wide programs, including Deaf Education, Special Education Preschool, and Intensive Resource programs. Currently, 23% of our students are receiving services in Special Education. In addition, approximately 20% of our students are English Language Learners, predominately students whose first language is either Russian or Ukrainian. For the first three years, our Economically Disadvantaged percentage was just under the threshold for Title 1 services. Last year, our school’s Economically Disadvantaged percentage was at 48%. This diversity brings richness to our school community and makes each day a new adventure in learning about each other’s learning styles, cultures, traditions, and family values.We believe relationships are the foundation upon which we build our instructional practices. Therefore all core teachers loop with their students in K-1, 2-3, and 4-5. Our school believes in heterogeneous grouping of students in all classrooms. Every student is in full or partial-inclusion within the regular education classroom. We strive to continuously improve our instructional efficacy based on current research of best practices. Through the PLC framework, we engage in on-going professional development targeted towards the unique needs of our students. We believe providing an opportunity to learn is not enough; students must experience high levels of success in order to optimize student learning. When a student is not responding to our systems of support, we rise to the challenge to find the perfect recipe for success. If a child is not successful, it is not a problem ‘with-in’ the child, yet an undeveloped intervention or strategy within our systems of support.We maintain strong liberal arts and technology programs within our school despite yearly reductions in funds and staffing. Our music, art, and physical education department provided integrated performances every year. We have had Artists in Residence every other year and each year welcome multicultural presentations in the form of artist, music, and dance. All students are enrolled in library, technology, music, art, and PE. After school, we are able to offer American Sign Language, robotics, reading, and math programs to enrich our student’s lives. We explicitly teach character education through The Virtues Project. Each week, students learn and practice a virtue, including respect, determination, unity, and courage.One of our greatest assets is the support we receive from our families. We have an open door policy and welcome parents in every level of our school from the classroom to after school activities to instructional planning. We honor our parents as their child’s first teacher and look to them in developing our plans of support. Together, we celebrate success and tackle challenges with an open mind and a servant’s heart.
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