February 22, 2016
CHEROKEE, North Carolina
By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
Cherokee Elementary School has implemented a new program known as Classworks that helps fill in the gaps for many students in the subjects of English, reading and math.
Classworks, a web-based program, uses test scores from MAPs (Measures of Academic Progress) tests developed by the Northwest Educational Assessment (NWEA) program.
“We input those scores into Classworks, and it creates an individualized learning path for each child based on needs, strengths and weaknesses,” said Malia Crowe, Cherokee Elementary School Classworks administrator. “It tries to fill in gaps that regular instruction may have missed and reinforce the skills that they are learning in a classroom.”
A total of 17 Cherokee Elementary School students received Achievement Certificates on Friday, Feb. 19 in recognition of reaching 750 minutes of Classworks instruction which is offered in two computer labs in the school. Students currently participate in the program twice a week.
“These students today that we’re celebrating have mastered either Reading or Math, and some of them have done both for their grade levels,” related Crowe. The school is currently administering the program in Kindergarten – fifth grade, and a total of 16 fourth graders and one fifth graders were honored on Friday.
Crowe said the program is new, but it is really taking off. “We’re in the starting stages, the first couple of months. We’re really getting into the swing of things with not only the students getting used to the program but also the teachers and staff. I think it’s going really well. The kids are really starting to enjoy it, and teachers are starting to see the numerous, positive opportunities that they can do with their classes.”
She added that this program is not just about test scores. “Above the scores, it boosts confidence. It is so amazing seeing their faces when they get something right. It’s automatic feedback, automatic praise…not only does it do stuff for MAPs and EOGs (End-of-Grade tests), but it also helps to reinforce the classroom training so they can find if someone needs more help in fractions, we can find an assignment that reinforces what help they need in fractions.”
Paula Coker, Cherokee Elementary School principal, said the school administers the NWEA tests three times a year. “It gives us information on where the kids are. We were approached at the end of last year about using Classworks because it is aligned with NWEA.”
After some initial hesitation about the program, Coker said they decided to give it a try. “We just thought it would be a big win for our students to bring it in here.”
She praised the work of Crowe on the project. “She has just taken it and flown with it and developed it into more than we ever envisioned. She’s doing such a great job.”
Coker said that the individual learning paths created by Classworks “places each student where they need to be” whether they are currently at, below or above grade level. “I think our students are really engaged in it, and that is going to be a big plus.”