Making the Grade: Pear Park Elementary

By: Therese O'Shea Email
By: Therese O'Shea Email

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - Small groups in the classroom might not seem revolutionary. But it's the only way Pear Park Elementary has done things since the school opened five years ago. Their above average proficiency numbers go to show that they practically have the small group technique down to a science.

Pear Park Elementary approaches the three "R"s, reading, writing, and 'rithmatic, with two big words: personal attention.

"Every child has different needs and if we don't take the opportunity to meet and have an academic learning opportunity with every child throughout the day then we don't know what they're understanding and not understanding,” says Pear Park Elementary School principal Cheri Taylor.

That's why every class in Pear Park works in small groups for reading, writing, and math.

"We start it in kindergarten, so all of the kids know when the teachers working with a small group, that's an important time for the teacher,” says Taylor.

By the time students get up to Miss West’s class in fourth grade, they've mastered the small group technique.

"So they don't have that pressure of the whole group as opposed to just like five or six kids,” says Jenne West, fourth grade teacher.

Students are grouped based on their personal needs at the beginning of the year, and they rotate throughout the day to different stations. While some students meet with their teacher, others are working independently.

"We have very tight structures in place, so that when the teachers working in small groups with her students, the other students know exactly what they're supposed to be doing,” says Taylor.

Even at a young age, Pear Park students see the value in working closely with their teacher.

"It helps everybody that's at a certain reading level get better at reading,” says fourth grade student Meah Tavera.

The proof is in the numbers. In an assessment from District 51, Pear park students' proficiency in reading, writing, and math are much higher than the rest of the district, as well as state percentages. The chart shows that Pear Park third graders are 79.2 percent proficient in reading, compared to 72.8 percent in the state, and 70.1 percent in the district.

Their hope is that Pear Park students will be well ahead of the game by the time they go on to middle school.

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  • by Anonymous on Jan 20, 2012 at 05:05 AM
    My children came from a private school background before they started attending Pear Park. I was concerned that their quality of education would drop. I was wrong!! Pear Park is a wonderful school. Any time we have had a problem the teachers and counselors have all stepped up to help the whole family and communicate to us exactly what was going on and how the situation was being handled. My children have thrived. Their learning and organization skills have skyrocketed. The only thing negative I could say about Pear Park is that something needs to be done about their horrible parking lot. Whoever designed it and whoever approved the design was not thinking that day.
  • by AWESOME Location: JUNCTION on Jan 19, 2012 at 05:40 PM
    This is great news! Children actually learning and and improving in all areas! Its just too bad our UPTIGHT CONSERVATIVE community wouldnt pass a bond issue to help all of our schools perform at this level! Now each school has to cut more teachers, aides, and assistance. I hope Pear Park and others can still manage with the lack of funds. WAY TO GO CUMMINITY! WAY TO INVEST IN YOUR FUTURE!!
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Jan 20, 2012 at 05:10 AM in reply to AWESOME
      The other schools could incorporate similar programs without more money. Everyone (schools included) needs to learn to live within their means. That means tightening your belt when you have to, not always having to have the latest gadget, repairing or upgrading equipment instead of buying brand new, and remodeling buildings instead of building new ones.
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