Anderson Mill Elementary School
Annual Report to the Community 2021-2022 School Year
The History of Anderson Mill
Students & Staff
As Anderson Mill celebrates its 24th year, the school population and geographical area has changed significantly. When the school opened, there were less than 400 students on campus and only one residential neighborhood within walking distance. Today, we have approximately four housing developments within 100 yards of our campus, two new housing developments within our school zone, and three more in construction. We currently have 620 students with five teachers in kindergarten, first, third, fourth, fifth grade and four teachers in second grade. Additionally, we house one 4K class at Anderson Mill that serves 17 students in a full day program and four self-contained special education classes. To meet the wide range of physical, social, emotional, and academic needs of our diverse student population, we have 95 employees including: certified teachers, two assistant principals, behavioral specialist, teaching assistants, literacy coach, ESOL teacher, occupational therapists, gifted and talented teachers, special education teachers, physical therapists, occupational therapists, school psychologist, guidance counselors, registered nurse, speech therapists, autism specialist, and a resource officer on staff.
At Anderson Mill Elementary, our staff is helping students develop characteristics and skills aligned with the Profile of the South Carolina Graduate. Our school's mission is to develop competent and confident life-long learners by creating a safe, positive, and 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.
Our teachers continuously participate in yearlong professional development sessions to increase their knowledge of integrating content areas and technology in literacy. In addition, our teachers have embraced the challenges of teaching through the pandemic and continue to expand the depth of their technology knowledge. The teachers continue to create innovative practices for increasing student engagement, fostering critical thinking, and providing project based learning experiences. Our school also continues to offer a variety of individualized learning paths in ELA and math. Our students and teachers began utilizing IReady, an instructional program in ELA and Math, as well as Dreambox in the academic area of math. The implementation of these programs, in conjunction with a rigorous curriculum and an individualized approach to instruction, have increased student achievement in our formative 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 “On the PROWL towards Excellence," continuously embracing our challenges and celebrating our successes. 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 increase as we continued to provide face to face instruction for our students during the COVID 19 pandemic. Our school earned a rating of "Good” on the new SC State Report Card for the 2018-2019 school year and received the Palmetto Silver Award for academic excellence.
In 2019, 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 2019. In the area of ELA, 79% of 3rd grade students, 77% of fourth grade students, and 78% of fifth grade students scored in the "Exceeds, Meets, or Approaching" range for the assessment. In the area of Math, 85% of third grade students, 83% of fourth grade students, and 69% of fifth grade students scored in the "Exceeds, Meets, or Approaching" range for the assessment. Students in fourth grade took the SC PASS assessment for Science with 77% scoring "Meets and Exceeds." Students in fifth grade took the SC PASS assessment for Social Studies with 69% scoring "Meets and Exceeds."
Due to the COVID 19 Pandemic, our students did not participate in the SC Ready and SC PASS assessment in 2020. Our most recent SC Ready and SC PASS assessment data from our 3rd - 5th grade students were completed in the Spring of 2021. Even with the loss of instructional time, students continued to show growth through our State Assessment. In the area of ELA, 78% of third grade students, 76% of fourth grade students, and 80% of fifth grade students scored in the “Exceeds, Meets or Approaching” range. In the area of math, 81% of third grade students, 80.0% of fourth grade students, and 80.0% of fifth grade students score in the “Exceeds, Meets or Approaching” range for the assessment.
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. Our professional development has been centered on taking a closer look at the whole child, increasing rigor in the classroom, and initiating engaging, hands-on learning experiences. In addition, our full-time literacy coach works with teachers, our guidance counselors, our reading interventionists, and our administrative team in professional learning communities to refine instructional strategies and analyze student data in reading as well as their social/emotional needs. Our staff continues to participate in Resilient Schools Training to better understand our students' ever-changing social and emotional needs. Anderson Mill Elementary is committed to providing a high quality educational experience for students of diverse backgrounds, talents, and interests.
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 "give back" as we embraced several community outreach projects that included: Kids for Lids, Hugs to our Heroes (Snack bags and Letters of appreciation to our healthcare workers), canned food drive for our D6 community, Angel Tree, and the PRISMA Children’s Hospital.
Along with service learning projects, our school staff and community rallied together to support several of our families in need and provided a Thanksgiving meal for each of our amazing custodial staff in November.
Our school continues to prioritize our students’ social and emotional health, especially as our children continue to cope with the academic and emotional impact from the COVID 19 pandemic. Our counselors continue to provide classroom guidance and small group guidance for students who need more support. 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 several 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 to reflect on their infractions through the lens of our seven character traits. Incentives for good character such as our Terrific Kid program, Good School Citizen Award, and You Had Me at ROAR (Anti-Bully Prevention) reinforce positive behavior and recognize students who display good character.
A variety of clubs and enrichment opportunities are available for our students. These included: Art Visions, Music Visions, Honor's Chorus, Band, Strings, Flag Patrol, WAME News Crew, Student Council, and Good News Club sponsored by Church at the Mill.
Parent and Community Support
At Anderson Mill Elementary, we have tremendous support from our parents and the community. Our Anderson Mill PTO meets monthly to organize and plan events for our students and staff. Through their hard work and fundraising efforts, the school has benefited from new outdoor seating equipment, funding of events for students, ink for the school's color copier, Angel Tree gifts for families, and a phenomenal Step It Up fundraiser event that provided a Day of Awesome for each child. In conjunction with our school wide events, our PTO funded the PBL graduate course over the past two years for 25 of our teachers to participate in. We are so thankful for the hard work of each PTO member!
We have a wonderful group of parents and community members who serve on our School Improvement Council. This group of dedicated individuals meet on a monthly basis to discuss the direction of our school improvement plan. Through parent surveys and teacher forums, the SIC works to determine the needs of our stakeholders and implement strategies and action steps to meet those needs. This year, our SIC collaborated with our stakeholders and our faculty as we completed the District Cognia Evaluation. Through this process, we were able to evaluate our efforts as a school and as a district.
This year, our school implemented a Safety Committee that included our school resource officer, office staff, teachers and an AMES parent. This committee met biweekly to evaluate our safety protocols, discuss preventative measures for our school, and problem solve possible situations. With parental input, we were able to improve upon our safety protocols and discuss perspectives from the parent’s point of view. Because of SIC, PTO and our parent dedication, our school is able to collaborate and evaluate continuous improvement in all facets of education. For these and many others, we are extremely grateful that they invest their time in our school and with our children!