January 12, 2013 in Washington Voices

Greenacres school taps technology

By The Spokesman-Review
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Greenacres Elementary School science teacher, Shelly Mahn, works with fifth-grader Ian Rusbuldt during a physical and chemical changes assignment Friday. The school has received a second School of Distinction award from the Center for Educational Effectiveness.
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Students are picking up the pace at Greenacres Elementary School by steadily improving their reading and math scores over the past five years.

The Spokane Valley school has been named a School of Distinction by The Center for Educational Effectiveness. The list, released earlier this week, featured six other schools in Educational Services District 101 for their continued performance.

The news is exciting for Principal Sue Rasmussen, who praises her staff for their competence and her students for grasping mathematical concepts with the help of technology.

“We have a lot of things going on with kids self-assessing. They can come up, show what they know on the SMART Board and see right there if they grasp a concept on math,” Rasmussen said.

It’s been nearly five years since the Central Valley School District adopted their current math curriculum and so far it’s working. The instant feedback from the interactive whiteboards helps reinforce a student’s knowledge, Rasmussen said.

A teacher can see if their students are getting it. If not, teachers are willing to try new things and make sure students are learning the reading and math strategies that work for them.

The SMART Boards also help teachers recognize which students need help. They can be placed in smaller groups if necessary, Rasmussen added.

This is the second distinction award for the school. The award marks improvements at the school even with a population boom in the area. While the school is at full capacity with 586 students, two spots remain for new students.

Despite the overload, they’re still taking in more students with the teachers’ blessing, Rasmussen said.

The Center for Educational Effectiveness chose 97 schools across Washington this year that represent the top 5 percent of improvement. In East Valley School District, the organization chose Otis Orchards Elementary School and Continuous Curriculum School.

The other schools honored include the Mead Education Partnership Program, Endicott/St. John Elementary and Middle School, and Reardan Elementary School.

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