There’s excitement in the air at Conway Elementary as students, staff, and families prepare for their 50th Anniversary Celebration on November 4th. This wonderful event will highlight Conway’s rich history, while providing a glimpse into the exceptional educational opportunities experienced by Conway’s current students, each and every day.
Not only is the Conway community very proud of their past, they’re extremely excited about their future. Staff, parents, and students are committed to a shared goal: All Conway students will acquire the skills necessary to thrive in a rapidly-changing world, and be contributors to their community.
To accomplish their goal, Conway has embraced the nationally-recognized, research-based, and innovative school improvement model known as EL Education (formerly Expeditionary Learning). The goals of EL Education are to foster academic achievement and character growth, while instilling a love of learning and a sense of community. This model has been credited with producing high-performing schools that promote student achievement through active learning, character growth, and teamwork.
Indeed, it’s becoming increasingly evident that EL Education is definitely working at Conway — as evidenced in their students’ infectious enthusiasm for learning, their meaningful contributions to their school and community, and their significant gains in academic proficiency measures.
In fact, some of Conway’s fourth grade teachers recently presented at the EL National Conference in Detroit. Their presentation, Making Connections: Engaging English Language Learners with Complex Text, received incredible feedback from conference attendees — yet another example of EUSD being recognized on the national stage.
Conway principal Tina Meglich and teachers Lana Deo Brady, Therese Gallup Devan, Bonnie Kaufman, and Steve Palomino meet Ron Berger, CEO for EL Education, at the October 2016 EL Education Conference in Detroit.
Conway’s vision is truly EPIC: All learners discover their potential through Excellence, Perseverance, Integrity, and Compassion. Of special note is the fact that their EPIC vision is one that extends beyond the walls of the classroom. As Kindergarten parents, Roman and Gaby Gomez, shared:
“My wife and I are teaching our son, a kindergartener in Mrs. Vidales’ class, how to be EPIC at home, too. What you are teaching him here at school, we are extending it to home. It’s important to us. We are thankful to be here at Conway.”
To turn their EPIC vision into reality, Conway’s teachers work very hard to make academic content standards come alive through long-term, in-depth studies called Learning Expeditions.
Each Expedition incorporates the teaching of academic skills, while fostering a genuine love of learning. Learning becomes even more relevant as students are provided opportunities to investigate real-world or community issues, collaborate with their peers, develop meaningful solutions, and take positive actions.
Expeditions vary by grade level and have included such complex topics as: the interdependent relationships in various ecosystems, the plight of endangered animals, and protecting our local watershed. Students develop and hone many skills throughout their engaging expeditions, including: scientific research and observation; reading, writing and speaking; and collaboration and problem-solving.
The Conway Garden is just one example of the hands-on, real-world nature of EL Education at Conway Elementary School.
Additionally, technology, art, and various hands-on building projects are often incorporated into the students’ creative solutions and plans of action. Raising community awareness about the issues they’ve studied, and being of service to others, are vital components of Conway’s EL Education.
Clearly, their foundational motto — “We are CREW, not passengers” — exemplifies the Conway community’s collective commitment to quality work, scholarly actions, collaboration, and good citizenship. As their Principal, Tina Meglich, states:
“I am inspired each and every day by the Conway Crew. The teachers are agents of change, champions of a growth mindset, and facilitators of creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration so that our students learn how to lead their own learning. The spirit of CREW permeates throughout every aspect of Conway, and I am so proud to be a Conway Cougar!”
Our hats go off to Conway Elementary School! Their unwavering commitment to academic achievement, inclusion, collaborative relationships, and community service embody the many skills that our students will need to be successful — now, and in the future.