Students aim for success at Mary Raber

COLUMBIA CITY — Mary Raber Elementary School leaders want to help their students learn, and, according to administrators, it starts with the teachers.Julie Turpin, principal at Mary Raber, said the teamwork and collaboration from her staff are the keys to student success. “Our extraordinary people make the difference,” she said.Turpin had the opportunity to tout some of the successes of MRES at the last meeting of the Whitley County Consolidated Schools (WCCS) Board of School Trustees. The accomplishments included the building being named as a high-growth school by the Indiana Department of Education for each of the last three years.According to Turpin, feats such as the DOE recognition would not be possible without the hard work of instructors.“We use individual, teacher-grown plans focused on data-driven, research-based instruction,” Turpin said.Several teachers were on hand to share with the school board positive experiences they have had at MRES.Michelle Woody, a third-grade teacher, has been focusing her students on critical thinking and problem solving, particularly in math. To that end, 90 percent of her students had growth in mathematics from fall to winter.Alison Oelschlager, a second-grade teacher, worked on her students’ math vocabulary. Julie Cossairt, a fourth-grade teacher, analyzed pre- and post-test data from her students to plot their learning needs. This leads to better results. Turpin said the ISTEP+ averages of MRES students are well above the averages for the state of Indiana.The conclusion was that many of these alternative efforts aided students in better performance within the classroom, which was the goal.