Freedom Park designated as a National Model School
An opinion, one of them said, was how a person felt or thought about something. Saying that fish are the best sea creatures was an opinion. When the teacher asked why that was an opinion, another student said that someone else could feel sharks are the best sea animals.
A video of the class discussion was part of a ceremony Monday marking Freedom Park Elementary School being named a model school by Pearson America’s Choice. Freedom Park Elementary School has worked to improve student test scores and learning through Pearson’s program for the past several years. Being named a model school is a major achievement. .
“This is something no other school has achieved in the past five years,” said Maj. Gen. Alan R. Lynn, U.S. Army Signal Center of Excellence and Fort Gordon commander.
Rather than a lecture style method of learning, students engage in discussions to explore topics.
There are a variety of components under the Pearson America’s Choice program. Monday’s event sought to explain a little about the program to dignitaries at Fort Gordon as well as from the Augusta community.
Under the Pearson America’s Choice program, teachers look at their students’ strengths and weaknesses to come up with a plan to target deficiencies.
To help students in math, there is a computer math lab. If they are doing poorly in a certain area, there are computer programs to bolster their skills. They take a pre-test, and based on it, there are activities to strengthen those weak areas.
Writing, keeping journals and critical thinking skills are also very important under the Pearson program. Writing isn’t just for language arts’ classes, but it is integrated throughout the curriculum, even in math.
“ Writing makes math more personal,” said Carolyn Smalls, a middle school math teacher.
Reading is also a huge part of the Freedom Park Elementary School curriculum.
Pauline Andrews, Freedom Park principal, has a principal’s book of the month. For the month of December, the book is Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens for the middle school grades and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” for the elementary school students.
These books are integral to the lessons taught during the month.
The Accelerated Reader program is also vital to the school’s curriculum with students being challenged to read above their grade level.
Teachers go the extra mile at Freedom Park; morning and afternoon tutoring is available. There have also been Saturday tutoring sessions.
“ We are doing everything necessary to ensure our children’s success,” said Andrews.
Dr. James Whitson, the Richmond County Board of Education acting superintendent, said it was good to celebrate Freedom Park’s success. He challenged the adults to not stop there but to keep striving for better.
“The challenge is for us as adults that we continue to learn. If we stop learning, we become the limiting factor,” he said.