GP2W: Pickens 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, our website will feature an article on one of our schools or departments explaining why their site is a Great Place To Work! 

Allen Fain.jpgDr. Allen Fain, Pickens Elementary School principal

Pickens Elementary is headed and on track to do amazing things this school year. I have challenged my staff to think about the words excellence and great. It is our goal as a school to achieve excellence in everything we do. Excellence to me is not the result of good intention or a catchy slogan. Part of excellence is achieved through careful planning and focusing on the present and future, but being mindful and reflective on the past. We learn from our past mistakes and should have a strong desire within to improve. Excellence is also achieved by working together as a team to utilize the talents of each staff member. Pickens Elementary has many staff members who exemplify excellence. Let me take just a few minutes of your time to introduce two of them.

Beverly Whitman is our receptionist and was named the Support Employee of the Year for the 2014-2015 school year. Relationship buildingWhitman.JPG is vital to an effective and excellent school. Each day Mrs. Whitman works tirelessly to provide a welcoming face and comforting voice to parents. I have noticed first-hand how her ability and strength to build relationships has made parents feel comfortable. Some of our most difficult parents have grown to trust her and this has created a win for us. Many times these parents will express their frustrations to her and she is able to get the parent to understand the school side. Because of this, our teachers and staff have been able to create a positive change in the parent and students. Attention to detail sets her apart from others as she strives to make sure that records are entered accurately and transportation changes are communicated to teachers.

 Being reflective is important in order to achieve excellence. Mrs. Whitman has consistently communicated to me about areas that need strengthened in the office area. Because of her suggestions we have implemented several changes that have enabled our school to be safer and protect vital instructional time. Mrs. Whitman consistently exemplifies the definition of excellence and the staff at Pickens Elementary has the utmost respect for her. It was her commitment to excellence that led the staff to choose her as the 2014-2015 SEOY.

Miller.jpg Mrs. Miller was a first grade teacher during the 2013-2014 school year. This year she will be our reading coach. As you may know, Mrs. Miller was recently chosen as the 2014-2015 School District of Pickens County teacher of the year. Mrs. Miller exemplifies the word excellence in many ways.

Mrs. Miller truly cares about her craft as a teacher and consistently has embraced change and recommendations to make her a more effective teacher. Mrs. Miller appreciates feedback and considers it a gift as she strives to make an impact with each individual student she teaches. Each time I visit her class, I am amazed at how she brings learning to life through the use of songs, chants, movement and providing real life application.

Students in her class are consistently engaged and know exactly what is expected in class. By developing meaningful relationships with her students, she is able to set high and demanding expectations for each level of learner. By using data from MAP tests and other assessments, Mrs. Miller develops lesson plans that meet each student individually on their level. By doing this, Mrs. Miller is able to set goals for each learner and help them develop goals so that each student will achieve success. Mrs. Miller truly cares about each learner and wants all of her students to be successful.

Mrs. Miller is a team player and contributes actively in the professional learning community. During team meetings and at the school she has become a teacher leader and shares her many talents with others. In her time at Pickens she has gained the respect of her peers because of the commitment she has made in order to benefit all students. Mrs. Miller realizes that her mission is to make an impact on all students and not just the ones she teaches. It is her goal to help other teachers develop their craft and many times throughout the year other teachers have requested to visit her in order to learn something new.

The staff at Pickens Elementary is on the path and striving for excellence in all that we do. I have told my staff that striving for excellence will allow us to move from being a good to a great school. I have challenged my staff to think about the words excellence and great. What would your response be if I asked you to define excellence? What would you say is the difference between being good or great? To me there is a huge difference between these two words. Here is a quote I found that I would like to share and end with. I believe if we take these words to heart this will help each of us obtain excellence and move from being a good to a great school. 

“We have work to do, but not impossible work. It is a matter of focus. It is a matter of appropriate criteria. It is a matter of communication. It is a matter of collaboration. It is a matter of will.” Dr. Asa Hilliard