GP2W: Chastain Road Elementary School

"GP2W" stands for Great Place To Work.  The four characters serve as a reminder in communication among our staff of the culture of our district. Each week through the school year, our website will feature an article on one of our schools, departments, or people explaining how they make SDPC a Great Place To Work! 

PattersonEllison.jpgby Jessica Patterson, principal, and Joy Ellison, assistant principal

 What makes a school successful? How does a school become one of the “Top 5” in the state? According to Patrick Lencioni, “the most untapped competitive advantage in the world is teamwork.” At Chastain Road Elementary, the 2014-2015 “season” has brought a lot of changes to TEAM CRE, but one thing is consistent: we believe we can be the BEST!

In order to define success, a team must first identify where they’ve been. Chastain Road Elementary School was placed on the map just four years ago. For the past three years, the school has earned a score of “A” on the ESEA waiver, an absolute rating of “Good,” and an improvement rating of “Average” on the State Report Card. On the MAP assessment in 2013, our K5, 1st, and 4th grade students scored above the national average in reading, and K5 and 1st graders scored above the national average in math. CRE has also earned numerous accolades in its short existence, including Safe Routes Safe Schools silver partners, Let’s Move Active Schools National Recognition, USDA Healthier US School Challenge silver award, and Alliance for a Healthier Generation bronze level. Building on our solid foundation, our strong faculty and staff upholds a collaborative, growth-oriented vision: we believe we can be the BEST!

Once a team knows their strengths and weaknesses, they can set goals for what they want to achieve. At Chastain Road, our vision is to create a positive and collaborative environment where everyone thrives. We believe there are five keys to creating and maintaining this culture: Reach – Teach – Grow – Support – Serve. These five elements cannot be achieved without each member being committed to the overall success of the team. If we want to be the best, we must believe we can be the BEST!
At CRE, we are reaching the whole child: academically, behaviorally, socially, and emotionally. Through the district wide initiative of Response to Intervention, as well as our school-wide intervention block schedule, our teachers are able to tailor instruction to the needs of our students. We have also implemented a 12-week after school tutoring program at no cost to our families to ensure the success of all students. Our PBIS program focuses on rewarding and encouraging positive behavior on an individual level (i.e., ticket system), a classroom level (i.e., class tickets), as well as the whole school (i.e., Days of Peace). Recently, bus riders participated in a positive bus behavior challenge and were rewarded with creating a “School Bus Shuffle” music video.


Students also enjoy reading to therapy dogs through the B.A.R.K. program. These are just some of the initiatives TEAM CRE has implemented to reach our students.
As simple as it sounds, we teach. Our teachers are dedicated to utilizing sound instructional practices in the classroom. Our Teacher of the Year, Renee Atcheson, truly exemplifies the commitment of our CRE teachers. Mrs. Atcheson leads our preschool program and has a passion for working with special populations. She is well versed in individualized instructional practices and uses them to teach to the needs of her students. Mrs. Atcheson always gives her best to TEAM CRE.

CRE4.jpgThe key phrase in our vision at CRE is “everyone thrives”. We believe that being growth-oriented will ensure everyone in our school thrives. Teachers participate in weekly “Huddle” meetings. These meetings are data-driven and focused on sound instructional best practices. Teachers are continuously learning and collaborating, which in turn positively impacts our students. This focus on growth ensures that everyone on TEAM CRE is in fact, truly thriving.
TEAM CRE would not be who we are without the endless support we provide to one another. We truly are a family that believes in supporting one another in all areas of our lives. Our Support Employee of the Year, Tina Hall, truly exemplifies the true meaning of the word support. Mrs. Hall plays an integral part of our team as the school secretary. She welcomes and supports not only our faculty and staff, but also our community. Mrs. Hall’s willingness and dedication to support all of us is what ensures we can each be our best!
Jackie Robinson once said, “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.” Serving one another, our CRE6.jpgstudents, and our community is what we like to think makes CRE different. We want to leave a lasting impression on the lives of everyone that ever comes in contact with CRE. We are currently offering afterschool clubs (running, gardening, golf, etc.) to our students. We also gave back to the MS foundation and participated in the “Ice Bucket” Challenge. We partner with many different businesses and churches in our community, and also provide students with food on the weekend through our backpack buddy program. We want the Liberty community to be at its best – so we’re giving it our best!
Chastain Road truly is a Great Place to Work! We believe in excellence (without excuses) and strive for excellence daily. Coupling the positive and collaborative environment with our five essentials (Reach – Teach – Grow – Support – Serve), CRE truly is a team that has the competitive advantage to be the best. Truett Cathy, the founding father of Chick-fil-a was known for challenging his employees to always give their best. At CRE, we have adopted this same idea and often remind ourselves of our mission by quoting Mr. Cathy, “Why not…why not your best?”