Rutherford County Schools

382 West Main Street
Forest City, NC 28043


All Rutherford County students will graduate prepared for college and career success.

2021-2023 School Improvement Plan

Rutherfordton Elementary School

Ms. Michelle Clement, Principal

201 Bob Hardin Road
Rutherfordton, NC 28139
Telephone: 828-287-3778 | Fax: 828-286-0346

Section 1: School Profile

Rutherfordton Elementary School (RES) is cradled in the foothills of North Carolina surrounded by beautiful scenery. The core of the school’s population resides in the town of Rutherfordton, but also includes some surrounding suburban areas including Lake Lure, Spindale and Tryon (home of the Tryon International Equestrian Center). Rutherfordton Elementary is home to the “Rutherfordton Rockets” where we believe each child has the potential to "Blast Off to New Heights" in education. Our nurturing and caring faculty and staff immerse students in an environment that is conducive to learning while targeting students' diverse academic needs.

Rutherfordton Elementary is a Title I school with a current enrollment of 385 students in Pre-K through fifth grade. The school serves a diverse population of students consisting of 9.0% Hispanic, 7.8% Multi-racial, 11.0% African American, and 72.2% Caucasian. Since the 2016-2017 school year, all students have received free breakfast and lunch as a result of the school district's participation in the Community Eligibility Program (CEP). The average daily attendance rate is 85.0%. Among the school's current K-5 population, approximately 15% are identified as Exceptional Children, 3% are Academically/Intellectually Gifted (AIG), 3% qualify for 504 plans while less than 2% receive English Learner (EL) services.

Due to the impacts of the COVID-19 Global Pandemic, the strong partnerships RES once shared have been greatly interrupted. The school very clearly understands that school personnel, parents, and community volunteers provide invaluable support and assistance to our students. As we continue to strive to return to some sense of normalcy, great efforts are being put forth to help bring back invaluable partnerships that allow our students to be served in countless ways. Our school’s Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) and Local Advisory Committee (LAC), both of which allow collaboration with stakeholders to provide opportunities and resources for student success, have already had in-person meetings and are committed to meet throughout the year either in person or virtually. In addition, our partnership with the Rutherford County Schools Education Foundation (RCSEF), will continue to help facilitate both our Reading Buddies and Backpack Programs which provide needed resources for our students.

Students at RES are provided opportunities to participate in or engage in competition through the following initiatives: Elementary Book Challenge Team, National Spelling Bee Program, Academically and/or Intellectually Gifted (AIG) Program, Musical Programs, YMCA After-school Program, Carolina Isobots, and Peer Helpers. Fifth grade students participate in the Gang Resistance Education And Training (G.R.E.A.T) program, made possible through a collaboration with the Rutherford County Sheriff's Department. In partnership with First United Methodist Church of Rutherfordton, select students are able to participate in an after school program known as "Friendship Club." This program provides another level of support in a concentrated effort to meet the social and academic needs of students. Rutherfordton Elementary also has a strong partnership with The Robert and Janice McNair Foundation which promotes a college fair for third graders and Adopt a College Student program for the older children.

Rutherfordton Elementary School maintains a strong academic focus. Our school is fortunate to benefit from Rutherford County's 1:1 Growing Learning Opportunities Beyond All Limits (going GLOBAL) technology initiative which provides iPads for students in grades K-8 and MacBooks for students in grades 9-12. This instructional technology has revolutionized the learning environment for all teachers and students. Each classroom is equipped with the most current technology for optimal learning including a Promethean Board, Apple TV, Document Camera and Digital Instructional Resources. As a school, we continue to provide a Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (S.T.E.A.M) Lab which enhances each child's ability to be competitive in a 21st Century Global Society.

Students are provided individualized instruction through a Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) framework which ensures all students receive excellent core instruction as well as other layers of academic support. All students participate in "Blast Off" time, a scheduled block for providing interventions and enrichment. Teachers participate in weekly Curriculum Connection meetings to analyze progress monitoring data, problem solve, and plan strategically.

Rutherfordton Elementary School works to implement with fidelity the MTSS framework. RES takes pride in creating a positive atmosphere that is conducive to learning. Our MTSS Behavior framework is a proactive, school wide system using school based data to develop processes to promote positive behavior, with a focus on prevention of inappropriate behaviors. We feel our school-wide procedures and expectations embody Rutherfordton Elementary's desire to provide children with a true education, one not solely focused on academic improvement, but one that also focuses on social interactions that will help students succeed in life. By giving students the direction and training that they need in how to show cooperation, respect, responsibility, kindness, and safety in all situations we allow them a chance to soar higher. Staff members implement ROCKET expectations daily using the following BLAST acronym Be Respectful, Let's Cooperate, Act Kindly, Safety First, and Take Responsibility. By displaying these expectations, students show their "Rocket Pride." Students are reminded of the expectations throughout the building through lessons, visuals, and student participation in morning announcements. Rutherfordton Elementary School has earned Green Ribbon Recognition for its MTSS implementation efforts.

Having and maintaining positive relationships between home and school are key to student success. Our staff puts forth intentional and diligent efforts to both build and foster successful relationships. Communication is key. Our staff communicates daily with families through the use of Class Dojo. In addition, staff employ the use of phone calls and emails to ensure they are reaching families regarding the performance of their students.

The 2020 Teacher Working Conditions Survey indicated that while teachers are satisfied with the overall progress and efforts happening in our school, the areas that show the most concern for RES teachers is they feel in regards to teacher leadership that they do not have an appropriate level of influence on decision making in the school, concerns with lack of differentiation of professional development due to individual needs and lack of sufficient non-instructional time and excess routine paperwork for teachers.

Rutherfordton Elementary, like all other schools in North Carolina, did not receive a school performance rating during the 2020-2021 school year due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. However, our student performance indicates that the COVID-19 Pandemic and the countless interruptions it has caused to in-person learning since March of 2020 have had a significantly negative impact on student mastery and learning. During the 2018-19 school year, our overall End-of-Grade Math proficiency was 67% and our overall End-of-Grade Reading proficiency was 65%. Students in 5th grade Science scored at 84%. Rutherfordton Elementary met expected growth for math and exceeded expected growth in reading for the 2018-2019 school year. However, for the 2020-2021 school year, our overall reading score dropped to 49% and our overall math score dropped to 38%. Likewise, our overall science score dropped to 66%.

Section 2: Beliefs and Mission


Students will reach their greatest potential in a respectful and caring environment.

The staff believes that every student has the ability to reach their greatest potential. It is our responsibility to provide a respectful and caring environment that ensures the success of all students.


Rutherfordton Elementary, in collaboration with our families and community, will challenge and empower students through rigorous and relevant educational experiences to become lifelong learners.

At the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year, the School Improvement Team took on the task of revisiting the vision, mission, and beliefs of Rutherfordton Elementary School. Our School Improvement Team will continue to revisit our vision, mission, and belief statements monthly as we monitor our goals and our efforts to reach our goals throughout this school improvement cycle. We will document our discussions on our vision, mission, and belief statements during our monthly School Improvement Team meetings and our team will continue to receive feedback from the faculty on these statements and will report areas of accomplishments and concerns so that the School Improvement Team can celebrate accomplishments and address concerns.
The vision and mission are displayed throughout the school building as well as on the school's web page and in the parent handbook.

Core Beliefs-
* Children are unique; having varying learning styles, abilities, and interests.
* Teaching should be innovative and creative in order to meet the unique needs and interests of the students.
* Children need to master skills that are transferable to life such as basic academic skills, social and emotional skills, higher-level thinking skills, and healthy lifestyles.
* Education is essential for personal well-being and for social and economic growth.
* School should provide a supportive, nurturing, and safe environment to promote student learning.
* It takes the combined effort and involvement of all stakeholders to ensure that students learn and experience success.
* Rigorous curriculum and high standards of achievement, prepare students to meet the challenges of their future.
* Education prepares students for the technological and problem-solving skills needed in the 21st Century.

Section 3: Desired Outcomes and Results

Rutherfordton Elementary's desired annual results are for every student to make consistent academic growth, as defined by the state, along with social and academic growth appropriate to the grade level. These attainable results will provide students with a strong foundation, preparing them to be college and career ready after high school.

In an effort to increase student achievement, the School Improvement Team, in collaboration with teachers and parents, utilized data from multiple resources including Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) and End-of-Grade (EOG) assessments, to identify specific trends and to create the following goals:

*Proficiency rates on the NC End of Grade Test for Reading (grades 3-5) will increase to at least 68% by the 2023 school year.

*Proficiency rates on the NC End of Grade Test forMath (grades 3-5) will increase to at least 68% by the 2023 school year.

*Proficiency rates on the NC End of Grade Test for Science (grade 5) will increase to at least 85% during the 2023 school year.

Students are provided individualized instruction through a Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) framework which ensures all students receive excellent core instruction as well as other layers of academic support. All students participate in "Blast Off" time which is a scheduled block of intervention and enrichment time provided by classroom teachers, teacher assistants, and support staff. Data collection, analysis, problem-solving, and strategic planning occur weekly to monitor and ensure student progress. Teachers participate in weekly Curriculum Connection meetings to analyze student data and determine instructional needs for core and MTSS groups.

End-of-Grade test results and progress monitoring data indicate that our school needs to continue to differentiate instruction and focus on individual student needs. This school year, the staff will continue to provide interventions in reading and math during Blast Off time. During this time, students will receive skill-specific instruction based on their individual learning needs.

Section 4: Analysis of Organizational and Instructional Effectiveness

Based on careful review of existing data and stakeholder input, it is evident that Rutherfordton Elementary School is committed to student achievement. We have established a framework that will allow our students to be successful in reaching the goals outlined within this School Improvement Plan. While we acknowledge our strengths, we also have some specific areas of weakness that we will focus on during the duration of this School Improvement Plan.

Transformation Strategy 1: Engage every student in rigorous, personalized instruction focused on college and career success.

Strengths of our school - Prior to this year, teachers consistently utilized the Literacy Instructional Framework (LIF) to coincide with the Comprehensive Reading Plan. While LIF is no longer used, teachers will begin to implement with fidelity the Benchmark Advanced ELA curriculum. Teachers also enhance Science instruction incorporating district resources and opportunities.

Areas to focus on for improvement - All K-5 classrooms will incorporate a 90 minute literacy instructional block that will include literacy workstations to focus on specific grade level skills. We will continue to participate in the Daily 5 and Eureka math professional development to incorporate best practices into our literacy and math instruction. We will use NC Check-In and/or MAP data to plan standards-based instruction for Reading and Math in grades K-5. Teachers will incorporate technology in an effort to differentiate instruction in daily lessons.

Transformation Strategy 2: Ensure that a comprehensive, integrated system of support fosters students’ evolving social, emotional, and developmental needs.

Strengths of our school - All students participate in a Multi-Tiered System of Supports through the Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports framework.

Areas to focus on for improvement - Increase curriculum based family involvement. Student Services needs to be enhanced by ensuring more Reading Buddies and Lunch Buddies are in place. Our Guidance Counselor will provide social and emotional support on a weekly basis to all Tier 1 students. The Guidance Counselor will also provide small group and individual counseling for those students in Tier 2 and Tier 3 identified through our MTSS team.

Transformation Strategy 3: Ensure all students’ equitable access to safe, modern educational facilities and appropriate learning resources.

Strengths of our school - All students participate in a Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) framework that provides interventions and enrichment in a small group setting.

Areas to focus on for improvement - Incorporate technology using iPads in daily lessons to help differentiate instruction. Implement Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics (STEAM) opportunities for all students grades K-5.

Transformation Strategy 4: Initiate, sustain, and leverage strong external partnerships that support student learning and school success.

Strengths of our school - Select first and second grade students participate in the Friendship Club which meets two times per week at First United Methodist Church to support academic growth and social and emotional needs. Our students benefit from Reading Buddies, a program that brings mentors into the classroom once a week to support literacy through reading.

Areas to focus on for improvement - Increase the number of Reading Buddy Mentors for each grade level. Reestablish our mentor program to provide social and emotional support through a Lunch Buddy Program in which community members volunteer to eat lunch with students once per month.

Rutherfordton Elementary School is proud of both its history and accomplishments through many years of service to the community. The last two years have brought unprecedented challenges, but through adversity, great opportunity exists. The faculty and staff of Rutherfordton Elementary School are committed to meeting the aggressive needs of this plan to provide for the betterment of all the children and families served.

Section 5: Action Plan

Roster of School Improvement Team Members

Schedule of School Improvement Team Meetings

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