Oviatt Elementary has many reasons to celebrate and much to look forward to in the coming academic year.
“Our goal as educators is helping students grow academically,” says Oviatt Elementary Principal Sheila Taylor. If recent Iowa Assessment test scores are an indicator, educators are succeeding — 89.4 percent of Oviatt second graders achieved the proficient or advanced level in reading, up from 82.5 percent the previous year. Of those second graders, 87.8 percent also achieved the proficient or advanced level in math, up from 78.8 percent the previous year.
A busy year, which also happens to be Taylor’s first with the district, does not mean a slow summer.
“During the summer, we don’t slow down much,” states Taylor. “Summer is a great time for teachers and staff to participate in professional development.”
Students also have a chance to participate in a morning session to boost their academic achievements from the previous year, retain their reading skills and get a jump-start on the upcoming year.
Another development for Oviatt Elementary and the district is the Teacher Leadership and Compensation Grant, designed to enhance professional development for teachers through peer collaboration.
“Within education there are so many different aspects to teaching our children, and through this model teachers will work collaboratively to share methods, strategies, and interventions for student growth,” Taylor says. She points out that much like athletes have coaches who bring a separate set of skills to the relationship, teachers can do the same for each other.
One change for anyone associated with the school is the new KeepnTrack security system installed last year. Visitors, including parents, family members and volunteers, must now sign in at the main entrance and wear a sticker while on campus. It is a significant change, and Taylor encourages anyone with questions about the new process to call the school directly.
“We appreciate our volunteers and visitors and don’t want to make it more difficult,” she says.
When she reflects back on her first year at Oviatt Elementary, Taylor highlights how wonderful it is to be back in Iowa.
“The Norwalk community and school district have been so welcoming to our family — it feels like home,” she says.
She points out the district is one of the best places to be.
“The Norwalk School District is an amazing place of top-quality educators,” she says. Taylor gives credit to the students, parents, staff and community for making Oviatt Elementary successful.
“I enjoy working with the students at Oviatt,” she says. “They bring a smile to my face and are such a joy to work with each day.”