Innovative Schools
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  Washington's Innovative Schools

Pioneer Elementary, Auburn School District

Debra Gary, Principal

Grade level: PK – 5
Free and Reduced Meals: 86.3%
Year school began to implement innovative practices: 2003

We are an entrepreneurial, innovative school. To provide our students with what they need to be successful, this frame of mind has been imperative. Some say education is not rocket science, but we disagree. We believe it is a very complex process to lead children with so many challenges to achievement. We must address the needs of the whole child: mentally, physically, emotionally and environmentally. Our students are disadvantaged in the areas of poverty (86%) and not being native English speakers (46% ELL; 59.9% Hispanic). Every asset must be leveraged for them to be successful.

We have principles we follow for success. First we must create an organizational environment that supports innovation in the pursuit of high achievement. Secondly, we have clear picture of the goals we must achieve. Clear goals focus us on ways to overcome obstacles. Thirdly, assessment data is constantly analyzed to customize instructional increments that build on small success. Fourthly, when data does not support a program, we exercise discipline to stop the practice. Fifthly, an efficient daily and weekly schedule maximizes the use of time. Then, systems of consistent delivery of sequenced skill building can be consistently delivered.

We have adopted a Build-Measure-Learn Feedback Loop to be sure we do use our resources wisely. First we identify a problem that needs to be solved. Then we make a hypothesis that a certain practice will remedy the problem. Instead of instituting a school wide program with an unproven hypotheses, we start a small pilot. Our hypothesis is then verified via student assessment. This data will now precipitate a decision: Stop the pilot, or apply the pilot to another situation, or increase the number of students using the practice. This approach conserves our precious resources of time and energy so we can effectively match resources with needs.


   Updated 3/20/2014

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