Friday, April 20, 2012

Madison Elementary School Achieves High Marks

Dedicated and committed teachers, administrative support and accountability, a focus on data driven results and programs, and an emphasis on the whole child—social, emotional, physical and academic needs, these are the backbone of Madison Elementary School. These principles are the heart and soul driving the employees and the principal and have led to Madison’s recognition as a School of Promise.  This is quite an accomplishment for a school with over 60% poverty.  The School District of Janesville is proud of the hard work and dedication of the Madison Elementary principal, teachers, and support staff.

Achievement Focus
*The following charts shows the average progress Madison third through fifth grade students made in reading and math over the last 3 years on WKCE according to WINSS:

All Students
Full Academic Year
Avg. Reading

Avg. Math


Economically Disadvantaged
Avg. Reading
Avg. Math

Instructional Quality and Data Driven Instruction:
Principal McMahon attributes the increase in achievement to staff’s dedication and passion for achievement. They go well above and beyond what is required to meet the needs of their students, putting in many extra hours. Decisions made at Madison are driven by data and focus on results. The teachers are committed to basing their decisions on what the data shows is needed and what is best for each student. There is accountability through this because teachers use research to decide the course of action. Each quarter the staff analyzes data on student achievement. Through item analysis they look for areas of weakness, form intervention groups, plan differentiated instruction, and reassess effectiveness of current strategies and flexible Response to Intervention groups. Instead of teachers being accountable solely from the top down, the teachers are asking questions and learning from one another. Teachers who are not seeing high results are showing concern and asking questions of their colleagues.
Madison also maintains a strong student services team which meets weekly to look at progress monitoring and the academic needs of the students. They also review the social and emotional needs of the students, making sure no student slips through the crack. The support given from the Educational Services staff and the directors also help the school meet students’ needs.

Additional Resources:
 Due to the tight budget of the school district, Madison teachers and administrator spent time seeking out other ways to obtain resources for the school. Teachers wrote grants to provide additional training and tools and equipment for Madison. Two Funds for Teachers grants were awarded to Madison teachers—one to send a team for training on raising achievement with students of poverty and the second grant for training using TRIBES and Positive Behavior Intervention Systems (PBIS). Madison teachers became eligible to apply for these grants when they were named a School of Promise. They also received an Excellence in Education grant for six iPads to be used in reading instruction. Another classroom will be awarded three iPod Touches, headphones and a boom box from 
In addition to the free and reduced lunches that all schools provide students who are economically disadvantaged, a Breakfast Club is sponsored by Faith Lutheran Church and a free brunch/snack is also provided to all students.  The goal is to meet the needs of the whole student, which in turn shows the student that they are valued and cared for.
Their Community Learning Center Program, funded by a grant they received two years ago, gives students at risk in reading and math extra attention and help. Madison School’s Neighborhood Summer School Program also focuses on improved reading and math.  Both of these programs are strategically staffed by Madison teachers, who know students’ needs.

Positive Climate through Reward, Recognition and Rounding:
Madison recently revised their mission to include their four Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports (PBIS) goals, and every classroom created a positive code of conduct. Students are rewarded for positive behavior. Teachers focus on reteaching students to be safe, respectful, responsible, and ready to learn, using positive language and reinforcements. 
Principal McMahon also recognizes the importance of developing a positive climate for staff. Through rounding for outcomes, she asks staff what is going well, who she should recognize, what challenges exist and what tools and equipment are needed. This information allows her to continue to improve the school environment for staff and students. It also allows her to write personal thank you notes to recognize high performance, which are posted on the communication board for the whole community to see.  Staff are also recognized in weekly staff notes and with personalized cakes to celebrate achievements and employees successes
She also gets valuable information from both the parent and staff satisfaction surveys. Goals are developed by the entire staff. These are also incorporated into the Leadership Evaluation Measurement, or LEM, which keeps the school focused on achievement and making Madison School a great place to be for students, families, and staff.

Building Relationships:
            There is also a focus at Madison on building relationships—guaranteeing students know they are cared for and parents feel welcomed. The teachers truly value and care for their students, and the top question on their minds when making decisions is “What is best for the students?” 

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