- About Us
Lakeridge Elementary's new teaching methods lead to improved test scores
A federal grant gave Lakeridge Elementary School the tools it needs to improve student performance over a three-year period.
After just two years, fifth grade math scores increased by 35 percent and reading scores went up 25 percent. Third grade math improved by 33 percent and fourth grade math by 22 percent.
Lakeridge is among 27 Washington state schools to receive the School Improvement Grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Education. The grant is given to the lowest-performing schools as determined by the school district.
Any school accepting a grant had to agree to adopt one of four strategies: replace the principal and at least 50 percent of the staff, create new governance and implement new or revised instructional programs; close the school and enroll students in another better-performing school; close the school and reopen it as a charter school; or transform the school through new instructional strategies, more learning time, better leadership and other techniques.
Lakeridge received $2.7 million and transformed the school by replacing leadership, hiring math and reading coaches for teachers, adding an extra 30 minutes to the school day and adding five extra days of school for the school year.
“When I was brought in as the new principal during this change, the first thing I did was hire 11 new teachers,” said Lakeridge Principal Jessica Calabrese. “Our teachers had to change the way they do instruction and the way they are evaluated changed.”
Teachers meet every week at the school for professional development classes. They apply their knowledge in the classroom, then meet again to discuss results before finalizing their lesson plans.
“This method just works,” Calabrese said. “We are seeing great results in the classroom and our kids are doing better and better all the time.”
The students’ scores are not just based on standardized testing. Teachers gauge improvements based on meeting with each student individually and watching how they conceptualize math problems or reading.
“I am very proud of the commitment and focus Lakeridge staff have demonstrated on behalf of their students,” said Merri Rieger, Renton School District Superintendent. “The growth over the past two years is evidence of the hard work of staff, students and parents. The relentless determination to help each child succeed is to be commended.”
The goal of the Student Improvement Grant is to understand which practices produce the most significant improvements in student achievement, especially the practices reflecting the diversity of schools.
“My only concern is what happens after our last year when the grant ends,” Calabrese said. “This process works and we can’t go back now that we know this is the best for our teachers and students.”