Anderson Mill Elementary

Annual Report to the Community 2017-2018

The History of Anderson Mill

Anderson Mill Elementary is located on 92 acres just above the North Tyger River in Moore, South Carolina. The school's unique architecture and stone foundation were created to emulate the design of the historical Anderson family grist mill that still remains today. The old mill dates back to the late 1700's and served as a center of commerce and the location for Spartanburg County's first session of circuit court in 1785. The history of the mill is significant to the area and contributes to the pride that our students take in our school and the surrounding community. The Anderson Mill Historical Foundation has invested in efforts to restore the mill to its original beauty and provide a historical visiting site for the county.

Students & Staff

Anderson Mill's student population has changed significantly since its opening in the 1998-1999 school year. When the school opened, there were less than 400 students on campus. Today, we have approximately 700 students with five teachers in kindergarten, first, second, third, and fifth grades and six teachers in fourth grade. Additionally, we house one 4K class at Anderson Mill that serves 20 students in a full day program. To meet the wide range of physical, social, and academic needs of our diverse student population we have 92 employees including: certified teachers, teaching assistants, occupational therapists, gifted and talented teachers, special education teachers, physical therapists, a school psychologist, a registered nurse, speech therapists, and an autism specialist on staff.

Instructional Program

At Anderson Mill Elementary, our staff is helping students develop world class skills and life characteristics to prepare them for college or the workforce. Our school mission is to develop competent and confident lifelong learners by creating a safe, and positive, innovative environment where the staff, parents, and community work together to provide a curriculum that recognizes individual differences and allows for students to reach their maximum potential. It is the intent of the faculty and staff to lead students toward being disciplined, productive, informed, and fulfilled individuals. To achieve these ideals, mutual respect and understanding must be present in the learning process on the part of all participants: faculty and staff, students, families, and the community. We are committed to fulfilling our mission by creating a safe, and innovative environment where staff, parents, and community work together to meet the rigorous demands of the SC College and Career Readiness Standards. Over the last three years, our teachers attended yearlong professional development sessions to increase their knowledge of effective instructional strategies, the integration of technology, and the depth of knowledge in their content and assessments. The faculty was trained in "Thinking Maps" and "Write from the Beginning" to provide teachers with tools to guide students toward becoming more proficient writers. In addition, our teachers have embraced “It’s Learning”, a district-wide learning platform for professional development and student assignments. These programs and strategies help our teachers increase rigor in the classroom. Our school also continues to offer a variety of intervention programs for both reading and math to assist our struggling learners. The implementation of these programs, in conjunction with a rigorous curriculum and an individualized approach to instruction, have increased student achievement on standardized and classroom assessments. By creating a more individualized approach to teaching and learning, we are working to meet the needs of learners from every subgroup in our diverse student population.

Academic Success and Challenges

At Anderson Mill Elementary, we are continuing “In the Tradition of Excellence” as we embrace our challenges and celebrate our success. We are committed to our mission and our values as we refine our instructional practices and pedagogical approach to teaching and learning to meet the needs of 21st century learners. Over the last few years, our faculty has embraced the challenges of integrating instructional technology and meeting the rigorous demands of college and career readiness standards. Our dedicated teaching staff embodies an attitude that focuses on continuous improvement and keeping students at the center of all instructional and policy decisions. Because of this attitude and our dedication to our mission and vision, we have seen high levels of student achievement, both in academics and the arts. Our school earned an “Excellent” rating on the SC State Report Card for six consecutive years (2010-2015). In addition, our school earned an “A” rating under the federal guidelines for student growth for three consecutive years. Our outstanding student achievement resulted in our school receiving the Palmetto Gold Award for overall academic performance (four consecutive years) and the Palmetto Silver Award for student growth (two consecutive years). Although the state of South Carolina did not assign school ratings during the 2016-2017 school year, we continue to strive for excellence in our academic programs.

On our most recent standardized testing, the students at Anderson Mill continued to excel in the areas of ELA, Reading, Math, and Social Studies. Students in grades three through five took the SC Ready Assessment in the spring of last year. In the area of ELA, 74% of 3rd grade students, 80% of fourth grade students, and 69% of fifth grades students scored in the "Exceeds, Meets, or Approaching" range for the assessment. In the area of Math, 75% of third grade students, 80% of fourth grade students, and 73% of fifth grade students scored in the "Exceeds, Meets, or Approaching" range for the assessment. Students in grades four and five also took the SC PASS assessment for Science and Social Studies. In the area of Social Studies, 85% of fourth grade students and 71% of fifth grade students scored in the "Met and Exemplary" range for the assessment. Our SC PASS science scores were below the expected levels of performance for fourth grade students (52%) and fifth grade students (42%) scoring in the "Met and Exemplary" range. To increase these scores, we have initiated more project based learning opportunities for students to increase student achievement in these areas.

The results of these assessments are being used to help drive our instructional practices toward a more rigorous approach to curriculum and assessments. The incorporation of assessment items that require a greater depth of knowledge have been added to our formative and summative assessment tools. Teachers are adding more project based learning experiences that allow students to engage in critical thinking and creative problem solving. With our school-wide focus being "Anchored in Literacy," all of our professional development has been centered on taking a closer look at our reading instruction, curriculum and assessments. In addition, our full-time literacy coach works with teachers, our four reading interventionists, and our administrative team in professional learning communities to refine instructional strategies and analyze student data. Our teachers also attend professional development sessions through our district-wide D6 University. During these monthly meetings, teachers from across the district come together to engage in collaborative planning and professional development sessions led by curriculum leaders within our district.

Anderson Mill Elementary is committed to providing a high quality educational experience for students of unique backgrounds, talents, and interests. Our goal is to work toward providing a more individualized educational plan for all students as we adapt our policies and practices to meet the needs of a diverse learning community. We understand the challenges that we will face as we move toward a more rigorous curriculum and accountability system in our state and we embrace the opportunity to improve through the process.

Beyond Academics

In addition to academics, our school continues to focus on service learning projects to instill a sense of purpose and civic responsibility in our students. Our children had the opportunity to experience personal gratification as we embraced several community outreach projects such as a blanket drive for the Miracle Hill cold weather shelter, gifts of gratitude for the police officers and fire fighters in our community, Spartanburg Humane Society, Relay for Life, Jump Rope for Heart, and cards for our veterans. Social and emotional health are important components to our instructional program, as well. Our guidance counselors teach monthly guidance lessons to students in grades one through five and weekly guidance lessons to students in kindergarten. The lessons are designed around seveb key character traits: a positive mental attitude, compassion, perseverance, respect, cooperation, initiative, and integrity. These character traits are also connected to our school discipline policy and students are taught how their infractions violated one of our six character traits. Incentives for good character such as our Terrific Kid program, Good School Citizen Award, and Keeping an Eye Out Award (Anti-Bully Prevention) reinforce positive behavior and recognize students who display good character.

Our school also embraces activities designed to improve student nutrition, physical fitness and overall health. Students have the opportunity to participate in activities such as First Tee Golf, Youth Nutrition Advisory Council, Fitness Club, and Girls on the Run. These activities in conjunction with our physical fitness initiatives generate enthusiasm for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. At Anderson Mill, our intent is to create an educational experience for children that upholds the ideals in our mission statement and supports students on their journey toward college or career readiness.

Parental Involvement

At Anderson Mill Elementary, we have tremendous support from our parents and community volunteers. Our Anderson Mill PTO meets monthly to organize and plan events for our students and staff. Just this year, our PTO hosted Fall Carnival, Spaghetti with Santa, our Boosterthon Fun Run, Polar Express Day, and much, much more! Through their hard work and fundraising dollars, they were able to purchase a color copier, iPads for our music classroom, field trip sponsorship, Angel Tree donations at Christmas, snow cones, and an exciting Inflatable Fun Day for students. We are so thankful for the hard work of our PTO Co-Presidents, Rachel Beckwith and Abby Rousseau, Treasurer, Chris Brown and the many other parents that served on our PTO Board this year.

We also have a wonderful group of parents that serve on our School Improvement Council. This group of dedicated individuals meets on a monthly basis to discuss the direction of our school improvement plan. Through parent surveys and teacher forums, we are able to determine the needs of our stakeholders. This year, our Family Literacy Night and our Parent Reading Workshop were created in response to needs identified through these surveys and were a great success! We certainly appreciate all the hard work of these individuals.

In addition, we have many parents and community members that volunteer to serve the students and teachers at Anderson Mill. Reverend Kevin Harrison, parent and D6 School Board Chairman, and Mrs. Janet Leadford, Children's Minister at Roebuck Baptist Church, selflessly volunteers their time each week to mentor a group of fifth grade boys and girls. Mrs. Diane Thornberg, community member, tirelessly works in our media center every week to shelve books, help with checkout, and assist children with finding that "just right book." And, we have many parents who run copies, read with children, help with bulletin boards, or volunteer at our book fair. For these and many others, we are very thankful! If you are not currently involved at Anderson Mill and would like to get involved, please contact the school office. We would love to have you!

School Improvement Council Members

Rachel Beckwith - PTO Co-President

Abby Rousseau - PTO Co-President

Chad Huffman - Parent

Dan Yacoviello - Parent

Scott Bryant - Community Member

Eric Chastain - Parent

Natasha Pitts - Parent

Leslie Cash - Parent

Chunsta Miller - Parent

Beth Haun - Principal

Beth Foster - Assistant Principal

Kerrie Kish - Assistant Principal

Beth Sullivan - Teacher

Kelli Smith - Teacher

Jessica Zunker - Parent

Nick Wright - Student Council President

Karen Gregory - Guidance Counselor