Washington Elementary School received the Arizona School Board Association (ASBA) Golden Bell Award earlier this month at the Association’s Annual Conference in Phoenix. Washington was nominated for the award by the Prescott Unified School District Governing Board for their implementation of a “Blended Learning Model” at the school. Washington was awarded first place honors by the ASBA judges in the Elementary (Pre-K through grade 6) category. Judges stated when notifying Washington of the honor, “Our highly qualified higher-ed judges deliberated for many hours after receiving many outstanding entries. We are extremely pleased that your entry was chosen.” Present to accept the award on behalf of all administrators, teachers, staff and students were Washington Principal Harold Tenney, Karen Sampson, Pam Percival and Penny Nicholas.
Washington Elementary first implemented the new model at the beginning of the 2012/2013 school year. They began with a pilot program that instituted a new instructional approach that they identified as the RTI/Tech Model or “Blended Learning Model.” The format blends innovative instruction with a technology enriched curriculum. It is designed to leverage teacher instruction with 21st Century digital learning and guided and independent practice.
The motivation for implementing the model was three-fold: 1) restructure staffing to gain increased financial efficiency; 2) maintain and/or increase student achievements, and; 3) increase opportunity for 21st century learning, both in academic and technology skills.
In order to achieve these goals, Washington’s computer labs were increased from two to three labs, which allowed all students to participate an average of one hour per day in the computer Lab. Instead of one, students were instructed by two teachers (one Language Arts and one Math)
The results to date have been outstanding. Students as young as first and second grade are learning technology skills as advanced as Microsoft Word editing and by the fourth and fifth grades, students are participating in Power Point presentations and advanced and appropriate internet research. Congratulations to everyone at Washington for this outstanding award.