Anderson Mill Elementary School

Annual Report to the Community 2019-2020

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

As Anderson Mill celebrates 21 years, 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 and 700 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 20 students in a full day program and six self-contained special education classes. To meet the wide range of physical, social, emotional, and academic needs of our diverse student population, we have 92 employees including: certified teachers, two assistant principals, 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.

Instructional Program

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 lifelong 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 area and technology in literacy. In addition, our teachers have embraced innovative practices for increasing student engagement, fostering critical thinking, and expanding depth of knowledge. Our school also continues to offer a variety of intervention programs for both reading and math, as well as various enrichment opportunities for students. This year we received funding for the Distinguished Art Program Grant to provide all students with hand-on, engaging visual and performing arts experiences, as well received the honor of becoming a TransformSC School. 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 “On the PROWL towards Excellence," continuously embracing our challenges and celebrating our successes. We were recently named as a TransformSC School due to 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 a rating of "Good” on the new SC State Report Card for the 2017-2018 school year. Anderson Mill scored above the state and district average in both ELA and Math on the SC Ready Assessment.

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, 79% of 3rd grade students, 77% of fourth grade students, and 78% of fifth grades 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."

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, such as LittleBits, Lego Robotics, Bloxels, Mars Mapping, and Sphero Robots. In addition, our full-time literacy coach works with teachers, our five reading interventionists, and our administrative team in professional learning communities to refine instructional strategies and analyze student data. Anderson Mill Elementary is committed to providing a high quality educational experience for students of unique backgrounds, talents, and interests.

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 "give back" as we embraced several community outreach projects. Projects such as the PTO-sponsored Raise Craze fundraiser focused on completing acts of kindness, creating activity bags for children receiving infusions at Greenville Memorial Hospital through our "Bags of Cheer" collection, collecting water for families impacted by Hurricane Florence, collecting change for Mobile Meals, participating in Relay for Life, and creating cards for our veterans help foster compassion and appreciation for others in our local community.

Student social and emotional health are important components to our instructional program, as well. Our faculty completed Compassionate Schools training to understand how to best serve children who have experienced a wide variety of adverse childhood experiences. 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 six 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.

Our school embraces activities designed to improve student nutrition, physical fitness, and overall health. Students have the opportunity to participate in activities such as Walk at School Day, First Tee Golf, Youth Advisory Council, Early Bird Gym, Garden Club, Soccer Club, Boys on the Run, and Girls on the Run. These activities, in conjunction with our physical fitness initiatives, generate enthusiasm for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Each morning our Youth Advisory Council sells healthy snack options for students at our Grab and Go Snack Cart. An additional playground was added to our campus this year to provide students with additional opportunities to build social and emotional skills while engaging in physical fitness. At Anderson Mill, our intent is to educate the whole child while upholding the ideals in our mission statement and supporting our students on their journey toward college or career readiness.

Parental Involvement

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. Our PTO hosted our Fall Carnival and Spaghetti with Santa event that was free to the entire school community. PTO sponsors numerous fun-filled events throughout the year such as our Raise Craze fundraiser, Polar Express Day, and Fun Day. Through their hard work and fundraising efforts, the school has benefited from new playground equipment, ink for the school's color copier, field trip sponsorship, Angel Tree donations at Christmas, snow cones, and exciting opportunities to jump/play on inflatables during our Spring PTO Fun Day event. We are so thankful for the hard work of each PTO member!

We also 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. Because of SIC's support of our free school-wide events, desire to build new relationships with local business and community members, and dedication to the overall school community, our school is able to continue our endeavor to improve in all facets of education.

In addition, we have many parents and community members that volunteer to serve the students and teachers at Anderson Mill. School Board member and parent, Reverend Kevin Harrison, and Mrs. Audrey Hailstock, author and community member, selflessly volunteer their time each week to mentor a group of fifth grade boys and girls. Mrs. Diane Throneburg, 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." We have many parents who make photocopies, read with children, help with bulletin boards, volunteer at our Book Fair, and participate in our Career Day event. For these and many others, we are extremely grateful that they invest their time in our school and with our children!

School Improvement Council Members

Rachel Beckwith - PTO Co-President

Jennifer Lypps-Eckerich - PTO Co-President

Kari Lillis - Nurse

Natasha Pitts - Parent

Samuel Benson - Parent

Courtney Giles - Parent

Chunsta Miller - Parent

James Tobias - Parent

Scott Bryant - Community Member

Eric Chastain - Parent

Beth Foster - Principal

April Timms - Assistant Principal

Kerrie Kish - Assistant Principal

Beth Sullivan - Teacher

Tiffany Nicholson - Teacher

Meg Rousseau - Student Council President

Karen Gregory - Guidance Counselor