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Anna K. Davie Elementary School is Focused on Student Success

Anna K. Davie Elementary School attributes the success of their students to community involvement and to the hard work of administrators and educators who are driven by the pursuit of excellence. No one knows how much the school pours into their students each day more than their leader and principal, Ms. Felisha Jackson.

Since being named principal of the school in 2019, Jackson has made it her mission to continue to build on the community support the school has received over the years. She has served at the elementary and middle school levels as an educator in special education for 10 years in the Newton and Rockdale County School Systems. Her work in these areas give her a unique approach to educating elementary-aged children and her ultimate goal is to see all of her students prepared for the middle school level of study.

By asking her community to be a part of the process, Jackson has created an environment with family as the foundation. Many of the efforts to educate her students stem from the teacher clarity model and she is excited about some of the new programs happening in her school. Teacher clarity is a tool used by AKD educators to focus activities and remove aspects of instruction that do not facilitate learning. This model reinforces the gradual transfer of responsibility of learning from the teacher to the students. The end result is that hopefully students feel ownership of their schoolwork.

Caring for all needs of children, she said, will help to build relationships. Those relationships, when coupled with additional resources offered to Title I schools, is the engine she hopes will drive student achievement upward.

“One of the key areas we are focusing on is intentional teaching,” Jackson explained. “We are hearing from our educators that this model is directly effecting the success of our students. Our job as administrators is making sure our teachers have the support and the tools they need. We offer professional development opportunities, and we invited the State Department of Education to visit our school and see some of the strategies we are using to improve our curriculum. I wanted to be sure we were on the right track. We had great feedback from their visit.”

Jackson said the administrators have focus walks during every school day where she, the assistant principal and their instructional specialist visit classrooms and observe. They are looking for consistency and learning that incorporates all subjects.

“The aim is for teachers to become experts in their craft,” she said. “Part of teacher clarity is also asking our students to be accountable and allowing them to have a voice in how they learn. We refer to that process as intentional learning. By implementing these practices, we feel that we are getting a head start on making sure children are graduating from Rome High School prepared for college or work.

Charinta McIntosh, and educator at AKD, said that she sees the results of their efforts as well. “We have a slogan here at Anna K. Davie. That slogan is, ‘Going from good to great.’ One of my favorite programs is AKD U. That is our online Saturday school program and the students who participate are working to grow and improve their testing strategies. During our Thanksgiving break, I sent a message to them that we would not have AKD U that weekend and they were all so upset,” McIntosh said with a laugh. “They were all looking forward to our 9 a.m. start time and that made me feel great about the way they are responding to learning.”

McIntosh went on to detail many of the other programs she and her fellow educators offer their students. By meeting with other teachers, they are providing ways to strengthen concepts like cause and effect, reading and writing.

“I am so proud of our students,” McIntosh added. “From the first nine weeks until now, their writing, reading and how quickly they grasp concepts has improved. They are taking what they are learning and applying it to real-life situations. One of my students compared pressure washing to erosion, and I started jumping up and down with excitement. AKD students are getting it, and it feels great to be a part of their growth.”

“We are seeing increases,” Jackson continued, “and I have tracked our progress since becoming principal in 2019. It has taken about three years to get everyone on the same page and we are seeing the results. Our classrooms operate according to research-based guidelines, so you will see some commonalities across the board. We are collecting data and using that data to drive our instruction.”

Jackson then pointed out documents showing graphs and numbers on the walls of her office. She said that she and her teachers use the numbers to track what works for their students and find ways to improve instruction.

A list of programs implemented to assist AKD students with learning and support their families includes:

  • AKD-U Saturday school for grades K-6 (Virtual)
  • Participation in the Rome Reads reading incentives program
  • Implementation of D.E.A.R. (Drop Everything and Read) Time each morning in class for all grades
  • AKD Book Vending Machine to promote a love for reading
  • AKD Interactive Learning Stairways (positive affirmations, sight words, multiplication facts, etc.)
  • Implementation of Principal Led Positive Affirmations (3 A’s) each morning-I Am Amazing, I Am Awesome, I Am Appreciated
  • AKD Coat Drive-School gave 420 coats to all students 2019
  • The GREAT Book giveaway for the holiday season in December 2020
  • The GREAT Bike giveaway for the holiday season in December 2020
  • After School Power Hour (GMA Test-Prep

These programs are but a few of the efforts AKD has already in practice. Jackson said that the school is also working on a partnership with Helping Hands Ending Hunger, a non-profit with the goal of collecting for families who may experience food insecurities. Their current work with the South Rome Alliance and Berry College has benefited students by opening the South Rome Early Learning Center. This Pre-K program gives students an opportunity to get adjusted to the structure of the classroom and teaches them practices that will aid in learning before kindergarten.

“We have a program called Achieve 3000 which focuses on reading comprehension,” Jackson explained further. “Students read current event articles. This program is a collaborative effort between our English language arts, social studies and science teachers and we are seeing the results translate from one classroom to the next. We know in science and social studies our students do a lot of reading. So, now we are maximizing our time by providing more cross-curriculum opportunities for our children.”

And Jackson believes that showing appreciation to her faculty and staff is also important. So, she has partnered with Eggs Up Grill, a local restaurant, to provide breakfast for the educators as a way to say thank you for meeting the challenges they face head-on. She is also partnering with One Community Untied, a non-profit tasked with bringing the Rome-Floyd County Community together in support of causes like education.

And lastly, AKD’s principal is working with local clergy members and the Boy’s and Girl’s Club of Northwest Georgia who are providing free haircuts for the young men at Anna K. Davie. This program is called Conversations and Haircuts; leadership in the community will take this opportunity to mentor young men and help them to become successful at school and in their community.

“We know that it takes community support for our students to do well in school, so we have made that a large part of our plan,” Jackson said. “I am excited to see the results and we work daily to increase the programs we offer our students. I am so proud of what our teachers have done with our students. When we are all on the same page great things will happen, and we are seeing some of those things today.”

The Georgia Virtue
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