Washington & Burgess Seeing Improvement After A New Initiative Implemented


Four campuses in the WFISD are seeing improvement in student behavior, thanks to a program brought here by the associate superintendent.

That improvement's working toward a minimum state requirement for Booker T. Washington and Burgess Elementary Schools, because they're improvement required schools right now.

On the 2016 STAAR test, 45 percent of Burgess Elementary students reached a level 2 satisfactory standard of the 65 percent required by the state. 

   But, Burgess principal, Ann Petit believes that's turning around since the program, capturing kids hearts was introduced on her campus almost a year ago.

The prior year, we had a lot of discipline referrals, a lot of kids not wanting to be in class and this has just changed the dynamic between my teachers, my students, and even my parents." Ann Pettit, Burgess Elementary Principal

Capturing kid's hearts is a well-known program throughout the state.
Associate Superintendent, Peter Griffiths says he introduced the idea here first at the elementary level. Peter Griffiths,  WFISD Associate Superintendent

"We were looking for a program that would help build a relationship between our teachers and our students because as one thing they say in capturing kid's hearts, once you have the children's hearts, you can have their minds." 

Griffiths says the program teaches kids hand signals as simple as shaking a hand to show politeness.

"There's something called a social contract. You have certain hand signals even the administrators learn. If they say foul "foul" you know, two put-ups for your 1 put down, that's just a common language that we wanted everyone to start having." Peter Griffiths WFISD Associate Superintendent

Pettit says capturing kid's hearts has not only helped her students' behaviors but also academics.

"Capturing kid's hearts primarily is about building relationships, teaching students as well as adults just what the expectations are" 
"So in return, the behavior improving, our academics has also seen significant gains." Ann Pettit, Burgess Elementary Principal

"It's something about their kids and about the spirit on those campuses. If you ever go to Haynes, it just feels nice, welcoming. Same thing with Washington, Burgess, Lamar. It's just this, I don't want to use this term lightly but it's a loving environment and I think that helps." Peter Griffiths WFISD Associate Superintendent

Griffiths says the next step is to bring that success to the middle school level With staff training set to begin before the start of the next school year.

STAAR testing will begin on May 8th. Griffiths says test scores should return sometime in June and then we'll learn if the two campus will be taken off the improvement required list.


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