At Whitman Elementary, 87% of the student population comes from low-income households. There is a 35% mobility rate and high incidence of trauma among its young student population. These demographics, however, have not impaired this school’s ability to reach high levels of student achievement. In 2010, Whitman was awarded national recognition as a Title I Distinguished School and, at the state level, honored with an Academic Achievement Award.
There are six foundational elements of school culture and operation that mark Whitman Elementary as a high-achieving school.
- High levels of collaboration among staff
- Instruction follows a strong standards-based curriculum guide.
- Teachers have a deep understanding of the expectations for academic performance. They are able to select appropriate materials for every learning activity.
- Consistent, school-wide student management structures
- Well-trained staff
- Targeted, precise planning for instruction and assessment
The math inclusion model began as a fourth grade pilot in 2008. In the data, teachers saw significant growth in the results for their fourth-grade special education students, so, in 2010, they expanded the pilot to a full inclusion math workshop model for grades three through six. (Full inclusion refers to an educational setting in which all students learn in a regular classroom, regardless of ability. So, any academic interventions or extensions are provided in the general education classroom.)
Math Workshop Model
- Flexible, leveled workshop sessions (60 min./day)
- Students are shared among the grade-level teachers
- Core curriculum is the focus
- Provides small-group practice for all students
- Curriculum aligned to grade level state expectations
- Integration of technology tools
Homeroom Instruction in Mathematics
- Homeroom (30 minutes each day)
- Foundational math skill instruction
- Targeted review — nine grid — which reviews the previous units of study and current unit of study. Given once a week to inform instruction and provide accountability.
Standards-based Learning for All Students
Whitman Elementary staff believes that with appropriate support, interventions and the use of standards based curriculum students are better equipped to meet state learning targets. Teachers view each child as an individual, and set into motion a strategic set of interventions and learning activities that meet a wide spectrum of learning and emotional needs.