SPOKANE—Title one schools across America confront a host of challenges on a daily basis. These low-income schools often deal with poor test scores and a high number of student and teacher turnover.
Spokane’s Stevens Elementary School is defying the odds and teachers say failure is not an option.
Stevens Elementary is one of the poorest schools in the region, but educators continue to take a pro-active approach.
Educators don’t have it easy at Stevens Elementary. Nearly 90% of students qualify for free or reduced lunch and many deal with struggles beyond the school’s walls.
“I have one child that is in the HEART program,” teacher Cathy Gibson said. “I have another student that’s living at the Union Gospel Mission and another student that was removed from home and is now in Sally’s House.”
While the students’ situations may not be ideal, it is their reality and the teachers are quick to embrace that.
Cathy Gibson says she can’t look at her students from only an academic standpoint. She says she has to consider the humanistic side of things. That approach combined with collaborative and small group teaching methods is making a big difference.
The results from the latest state assessment show third and fourth grade students at Stevens scored above the district and state average in both math and reading. Although those numbers dipped slightly in reading in science for fifth graders, Principal Mike Crabtree says he sees it as an opportunity to grow.
Principal Crabtree says teacher retention is not an issue. He says the low teacher turnover rate is a key factor when it comes to overall consistency.