By Farwell Superintendent Carl Seiter
As we look to begin another school year, the excitement surrounding the new programs at Farwell Area Schools has many individuals counting the days to the beginning of school. Last school year, instructional staff in the Farwell Elementary piloted a program that produced large increases in student achievement within a pilot group of students. Beginning in January, the second grade, along with the first grade a bit later that winter, began a pilot that used student achievement data to create small groups of students that shared the same academic level.
By creating small groups that are challenged at the same level, it allowed our staff to really focus on the student’s individual need. Each eight-week period, each student was tested and once again placed in small groups depending on achievement level. Some students moved to different groups to develop new skills and some remained in the same group to provide further intensive instruction. The results of this pilot was so successful, Farwell Area Schools will implement this program kindergarten through eighth grade this fall. Think about this… all students, grades K through 8, receiving intensive, challenging small group instruction in Math and Reading for one hour each day of the school year, at the level the student needs!
Additionally, Farwell Elementary has completed our first year with the help of two instructional coaches. The district hired a Math instructional coach as well as a Literacy instructional coach. These positions will assist staff with the implementation of instructional strategies within the classrooms, effective implementation of school improvement strategies within the building and the delineation of student achievement data to help drive daily instruction.
Another reason to get excited about Farwell Area Schools and coming back to school is the continued success of the Dual Enrollment and Early College programs at Farwell High School. Of the twenty-nine students enrolled in Farwell Early College, nearly half the students graduated with 30 college credits or more. One student in this year’s class received her Associate’s Degree prior to receiving her high school diploma. Two of the students earned over 60 college credits! Parents, these college credits are free to you and your student.
Research tells us that if we can get a student to gain 20 college credits, which includes the freshman level English course, the probability of that student going on to earn a college degree increases nearly 70%. Our goal is to get as many students as we can to this level. Farwell works to provide our students with life long opportunities. This benefits them, their families and our community.