Forrest W. Hunt Elementary School is located on the outskirts of Forest City in Rutherford County, North Carolina. We have hardworking students, dedicated faculty, and supportive parents. Our students come from a variety of backgrounds, but they become members of the Forrest W. Hunt Elementary STAR family once they enter our building.
Forrest W. Hunt Elementary currently serves 362 students in kindergarten through fifth grade, and 36 NC-Pre K students. The school has an average class size of 19 students. Our students’ ethnic makeup (K-5) is comprised of 59% White, 17% Hispanic, 14% African American and 10% Multiracial. Our school population consists of approximately 7% English Learners (EL), 13% of students are served through the Exceptional Children (EC) Department, and 19% of fourth and fifth grade students are identified as Academically /Intellectually Gifted (AIG). As a schoolwide Title I school, Forrest W. Hunt receives federal funding for additional student support resources.
All Forrest W. Hunt students receive free breakfast and lunch as a result of our district’s participation in the federal Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) program. Twenty-five percent of our students also participate in the Rutherford County Schools Education Foundation Backpack Program, in a partnership with Florence Baptist Church. We benefit from multiple community partnerships from the faith-based community, business partners, and civic groups. We routinely receive school supplies from Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church and First United Methodist Church (FUMC) of Forest City. FUMC also provides holiday meals, shoes, gifts, and vital financial resources for many Forrest W. Hunt (FHES) families. Chase Corner Ministries also supports our students by providing needed household items, food, and clothing. This group has been of great assistance to the 7% of our students who were identified as homeless during the 2018-2019 school year.
In addition, many local businesses have provided support for our students. The Rogers Group recently donated a spirit rock, Northland Cable donated school supplies, and Food Lion generously provided discounted items for school events. Grants received from other businesses such as Lowes, Duke Energy, Facebook, Rutherford County Education Foundation, Rutherford Electric Membership Corporation, and RHI Legacy Foundation have provided beneficial educational resources. Many Rutherford County restaurants such as Subway, Mi Pueblito, Fatz Cafe, Chic-Fil-A, and Zaxby’s have allowed our students to have fundraisers for our school. Pizza Hut’s Book It program has provided free pizzas for students who have met reading goals.
Volunteers and local civic groups enrich the lives of our students in numerous ways. The Robert and Janice McNair Educational Foundation sponsor High School Heroes, GEAR UP, and College Week, all with the intent of preparing our students for future college and career readiness. Students are also mentored by Rutherford County Schools Reading Buddies. Various community volunteers lead cooking, Zumba, and knitting clubs for fourth and fifth grade students. A therapy pet handler frequently brings “Payton” the therapy dog to visit with students. Chase High School Teacher Cadets and the Rutherford County Library lead hands-on school wide events during the year. STEM West sponsors our Girls Excelling in Math and Science (GEMS) Club and has provided staff development. A civic attitude is fostered by student participation in the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Good Citizen essay contest and the Family Resources Child Abuse Button contest. The Pilot Club, Kiwanis, and Rutherford County Safe Kids annually provide safety education, dictionaries, and bike helmets to students. The Lions Club and the Tooth Bus are also available to assist with vision or dental care needs. The Rutherford County Agricultural Extension Office provides numerous opportunities for students to learn about the role of agriculture and The Greater Cleveland YMCA provides 2nd grade students with swimming lessons.
At Forrest W. Hunt Elementary, our goal is to create a learning environment focusing on the whole individual and his/her role in the classroom and larger community. Our students have multiple leadership opportunities through their participation in Beta Club, Peer Helpers, Elementary Book Challenge Team, Robotics Team, Running Club, STEM Club, Science Olympiad, GEMS club, and intramural volleyball league.
Forrest W. Hunt has an active Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) and Local Advisory Committee (LAC). The PTO meets each six weeks and provides a wealth of resources for our students and teachers, including instructional supplies, Apple TVs in all classrooms, a new sound system, and radios for communication. Our PTO has facilitated monthly teacher appreciation activities to recognize school achievements and to celebrate the work teachers and staff do for students each day. The PTO coordinates multiple school fundraisers, a spring festival, and most recently the first annual Short Stacks for Stars. The LAC is a crucial link between the community and school. This stakeholder group provides valuable input through the completion of formal surveys, discussions, and feedback gathered from their email link on the FHES website. Through regularly scheduled meetings topics include school performance, safety and community relations.
Through a Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS), our instructional staff and administration provide a high level of focus which balances quality grade-level core instruction with necessary interventions and acceleration to better meet student’s individual needs. Instructional delivery is enhanced by the district’s digital one-to-one initiative, providing iPads to all students kindergarten through fifth grade. As required by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), one hundred percent of the teachers at Forrest W. Hunt Elementary meet North Carolina licensure requirements, and all paraprofessionals are highly qualified.
As documented in the 2017-2018 Forrest W. Hunt Elementary School Report Card published by North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (DPI), 47.8% of our teachers have advanced degrees and 68.2% have over ten years of teaching experience. Our staff believes in the mission of providing equal access in the information age, regardless of locale or socioeconomic class and are committed to providing quality, effective, instruction to all students.
Since the 2014-2015 school year, Forrest W. Hunt Elementary School has earned an over school performance grade of B. This grade is based on both student proficiency (80%) and student growth (20%). Historical data points record the following scores for overall school performance: 2013-2014: 64/C 2014-2015: 74/B 2015-2016: 75/B 2016-2017: 72/B 2017-2018: 72/B 2018-2019: 75/B
During the 2018-2019 school year, our students exceeded state performance averages in both reading and math proficiency. Most recent data (2018-2019 school year) indicates proficiency rates at 70% Reading, 75% Math and 85% Science. (Refer to school performance data in the supplemental materials section.)
Stakeholder perceptions about the quality of educational services provided by the school are gathered by AdvancED surveys. Past parent survey results indicate that our school provides engaging learning activities for children in a safe learning environment. This data also affirms that school leaders are wise stewards of school resources. Our parent data shows that we have a solid base of continuous community support and we do not take this support for granted. Parent communication and involvement is an important component of our school culture.
Staff survey results provide important information which guides continuous school improvement. As documented in the most recent AdvancED survey (2016), 100% of FHES teachers responded that school leadership promotes using data to improve student learning. This standard rose 4.96 percent from 2013. One hundred percent of our staff also felt that as a team, we take steps to solve problems. Our teachers also expressed increased confidence in their ability to make sound professional decisions. Our staff recognizes that we have a great strength in our process of collecting, analyzing, and using data. This data will continue to drive each decision at Forrest W. Hunt Elementary as we move forward in our continuous improvement efforts.
Beliefs and Mission
When deciding upon a vision and mission for Forrest W. Hunt Elementary School, input was gathered from many stakeholders. Forrest W. Hunt ’s School Improvement Team (SIP), Integrated Academic and Behavioral Supports (IABS) team, and Local Advisory Committee (LAC) met to identify our vision and mission for our students. Faculty and staff were also given opportunities to provide input during meetings and through a faculty survey.
FHES Beliefs: Our goal is to provide a safe environment based on mutual respect, and to foster the development of lifetime learners. This atmosphere will also allow children the maximum opportunity to learn and develop lifelong academic and behavioral habits. We believe that all students can be successful. To facilitate this belief, Forrest W. Hunt Elementary School utilizes a multi-tiered system of student support (MTSS) framework to provide both academic and behavior supports.
This MTSS framework is evident in all K-5 classrooms. We have strong academic systems in place allowing time for whole group and individualized instruction. All FHES students participate in Intervention, Maintenance & Enrichment Time (IME), in which they receive 30 minutes of reading interventions and 30 minutes of math interventions each day on the level which is most appropriate for them. Parents are an important part of MTSS. Regardless of the student's level of need, parents are invited to talk with their children’s teachers about the progress they are making in the classroom and as a result of IME Time.
The MTSS framework also creates a common set of goals and expectations for our students. Students learn the FHES SHINE acronym to guide their decision making each day. Our staff models and shares ways to incorporate these habits into all areas. We firmly believe that the internalization of these habits will help our children develop into respectful, conscientious learners today and tomorrow. In an effort to accomplish this goal, we use a three prong approach to school-wide discipline (preventive, supportive, and corrective). The program is fair, firm and consistent. Our goal at Forrest W. Hunt Elementary School is to help students with the development of foundational skills that include executive functioning, self-regulation, social skills, and empathy. We provide a learning environment that is free from disruption due to unacceptable behavior. Effective discipline programs work best when parents and school work together. The entire faculty and staff at Forrest W. Hunt Elementary School have the total child in mind through the use of social-emotional learning (SEL) practices. Student proficiency regarding behavior is tracked through the use of office discipline referrals (ODR). Progress Common beliefs and a desire for academic excellence were guiding factors to the development of the Forrest W. Hunt Elementary vision and mission statements.
FHES Vision: All Forrest W. Hunt Elementary School students will be prepared for middle school success.
FHES Mission: Forrest W. Hunt Elementary School will prepare all students for lifelong learning in a global community by partnering with families and communities, providing rigorous academic experiences, and promoting a safe and nurturing school environment.
The school’s vision and mission are communicated to our stakeholders through our website, facebook, school handbook, parent meetings, parent involvement activities, visuals throughout the school building, and faculty meetings.
Continuous evaluation of our practices (fiscal, allocation of resources, scheduling, etc.) is conducted to ensure that they align with our vision, mission, and beliefs. Data is collected and reviewed three times throughout the year from benchmark assessments such as Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) and required Read To Achieve (RTA) literacy assessments (grades K-3). End-of-Grade (EOG) test scores are evaluated at the end of the year along with student, parent and staff surveys to determine alignment with school goals.
Desired Outcomes and Results
As described previously, input was gathered from many stakeholders to develop the school vision, mission, beliefs, and school improvement plan. Numerous data sources were reviewed, including office discipline referrals, end-of-grade test scores, benchmark assessments, parent surveys, and feedback from parent meetings. These sources are reviewed on a regular basis during the school year. Our broad vision aligns directly with local, state and national educational priorities. After reviewing literacy data, MAP, and EOG test data, specific goals are outlined to show academic growth in math, reading, and maintaining proficiency in science. The desired outcome is that a school-wide average proficiency of 80% or better will be obtained (on MAP, RTA literacy assessments, EOG, and Rutherford County Schools (RCS) district assessments in all core academic subjects. We also want students to attain at least one year's growth from the beginning of year assessments to the end of year assessments. In order to attain grade-level expectations, students working below grade level will need to show a more aggressive rate of growth.
The current review of data indicates that since 2013-2014 school year reading proficiency has improved from 61% to 70%. Math proficiency has grown from 66% proficiency to 75% and Science proficiency from 58% to 85%. All three subjects have experienced dips and improvements, but we feel we are on the right track to meet with success. (Refer to school performance data in the supplemental materials section.)
Through the use of a MTSS framework, we expect our students to exhibit acceptable behavior in class. Research has proven that behavior affects academics and our goal is for fewer than five percent of our students to have six or more office discipline referrals. We have a multi-tiered system of support in place including: whole group classroom guidance lessons, small group sessions, individual mentors, a social-emotional curriculum, and behavior rewards to help students achieve success in class.
Our desire is for our students to become problem solvers, independent thinkers and develop a love of learning. They will be comfortable with technology as a learning tool and will strive to become leaders. We believe there is a clear relationship between student performance and our vision and mission.
Analysis of Organizational and Instructional Effectiveness
Based on a careful review of existing data and stakeholder input, it is evident that Forrest W. Hunt Elementary is a school committed to student achievement. Our historical data review indicates we are making progress towards achieving 80% EOG proficiency rates (or better) in reading, math and science. We have established a framework that will allow our students to experience continued improvement towards reaching the goals outlined within this School Improvement Plan. This framework supports each of the four transformational strategies identified within Rutherford County School District’s five-year strategic plan.
Strategy 1: Engage every student in rigorous, personalized learning focused on college and career success. **A talented/caring/flexible faculty who works to be sensitive to the instructional needs of all students. **The use of a strong MTSS framework that focuses on eliminating academic obstacles. **Clearly aligned academic professional development for teachers throughout the year. **The use of the Rutherford County School's Literacy Instructional Framework (LIF) and Math Instructional Framework (MIF), both of which are rooted in the North Carolina Standard Course of Study (NCSCOS) ELA/Math Standards to provide quality instruction. **A schedule that allows for an uninterrupted 90-minute reading block and adequate time for all other subjects.
Strategy 2: Ensure that a comprehensive, integrated system of support fosters students’ social and emotional health. **A talented/caring/flexible faculty who works to be sensitive to the social/emotional needs of all students. **The use of a strong MTSS framework that focuses on eliminating behavioral obstacles. **Clearly aligned social-emotional focused professional development for teachers throughout the year. **FHES will implement a formal social-emotional learning curriculum beginning in the fall of the 2019-2020 school year.
Strategy 3: Ensure all students’ equitable access to safe, modern educational facilities and appropriate learning resources. **A 1:1 technology initiative that provides individualized student learning using age-appropriate resources. **Purposefully aligned professional development for teachers on available technology resources throughout the year.
Strategy 4: Initiate, sustain, and leverage strong external partnerships that support student learning and school success. **Continue fostering supportive relationships with parents, community stakeholders, and outside agencies which will help provide assistance and appropriate learning resources for students.
While we acknowledge our strength is a steady improvement in academic proficiency results, we realize that this academic trend can only continue if the social-emotional needs of our students are met. To this end, we will focus on implementing a formal curriculum for social-emotional learners beginning with the Fall of the 2019-2020 school year and continuing throughout the duration of this School Improvement Plan.