After a week of test­ing, students and teach­ers were front and cen­ter Friday as the City of Ardmore declared it Jefferson Elementary Day.


 


The school has been recognized by the State Department of Educa­tion as a Reward School that has achieved high progress over the last year.


 


“We deserve it be­cause we’ve been prac­ticing really hard. We used to be on the bot­tom of CRT scores, and now we’re doing really well,” said fifth-grader Sakeithia Anderson.


After a week of test­ing, students and teach­ers were front and cen­ter Friday as the City of Ardmore declared it Jefferson Elementary Day.

 

The school has been recognized by the State Department of Educa­tion as a Reward School that has achieved high progress over the last year.

 

“We deserve it be­cause we’ve been prac­ticing really hard. We used to be on the bot­tom of CRT scores, and now we’re doing really well,” said fifth-grader Sakeithia Anderson.

 

Jefferson was the only Ardmore City School to achieve Re­ward School status.

 

“This is what we want other Ardmore schools to achieve,” said Superintendent Sonny Bates. “Jefferson has set the bar high, not only has a high achiev­er in Ardmore, but high achiever in the state of Oklahoma.” In honor of the state and city recognitions, Jefferson took time to celebrate the ac­complishments and the completion of this year’s testing, which they hope will show a continuation of the last year’s progress.

 

“It’s awesome because I’ve always wanted to be in a Reward School, and I feel appreciated,” said fifth-grader Aspen Nugent.

 

Jefferson teachers have implemented things such as Saturday School to tutor students before testing, an effort that has proven successful as test scores rise.

 

"It's an honor to be around such hard-working professionals as a principal," said Principal Chris McMurry about the Jefferson faculty and staff. "You need to be truly congratulated for the hard work you do." A key part of Jefferson's success as been the presence of artist-in-residence Pauline Bustamante.

 

Through a grant from the Goddard Center, Bustamante has worked with Jefferson teachers and students to bring fine arts into the classrooms for the last three years.

 

Bustamante worked with a team of teachers and community volunteers to incorporate the arts into the daily curriculum.

 

Through the work of the Arts Team, Jefferson students have been able to perform on stage through programs and Fantastic Fridays, as well as prepare pieces for the Goddard Center All-Schools Exhibit through art weeks.

 

"I'm especially proud of who you are and the confidence you've grown into in the last three years," Bustmante said to the students. "I want you to keep doing art and keep being dramatic." Students appreciate the opportunities to be creative and expressive.

 

"We like what we do in art," said fifth-grader Taleah Douglas.

 

Now that the grant is ending, Bates announced that he is working to hire an art teacher.

 

"The sustainability of the fine arts strand is something we want to hold onto. It's part of the success of this school, along with good leadership and good teachers," Bates said.

 

Students appreciate the opportunity to participate in the arts, even if they will be too old to enjoy it next year.

 

"I'm very happy that Jefferson will have an art teacher," said fifth-grader Natalee Sheffie.