Stacey Filicky is not one to brag …
Oh, who are we kidding? Of course, she loves to brag. She’s an elementary school principal, after all. She loves to talk about what her students are doing and the ideas they are coming up with.
This school year, she wants the kids to brag, too. She’ll even hand out some bling to help them do it.
“Our big excitement is going to be something called Brag Tags,” the Brookfield Elementary principal said. “It’s like a necklace that looks like a dog tag and then they earn tags depending on their achievement on Class DoJo or on i-Ready; attendance is a big one. I picked the things that I know we need to work on and I’m trying to give the kids some incentive to do that.”
ClassDoJo is a communication application in which teachers can post student behavior reports online that parents can view. i-Ready is an online learning program that assesses a child’s math and reading skills and provides individualized lessons.
Filicky hopes to get more out of i-Ready’s capabilities to help students.
“Now, it’s time to hone in and look at those individual fine details so that we need to know what to focus on,” she said.
One thing to focus in on is math, she said.
“We found that, in the past, we focused so much on reading because our reading scores were low,” Filisky said. “Well, now, it’s time to bring in the math. We’re going to be working harder this year on increasing our math scores.”
As Filicky enters her second year as principal, she hopes she spends less time dealing with attendance issues than she did last year.
The Ohio General Assembly passed a law – House Bill 410 – in 2016 that took effect last year and attempts to reduce excessive absenteeism. It requires schools to reach out to parents and try to work through the issues that have caused students to be absent or late for school.
“I’m hoping attendance gets reeled in a little bit, now that parents know House Bill 410 is here to stay and it’s not going to be fun,” Filicky said.
Enrollment is “holding steady,” she said. There were about 70 students signed up for kindergarten as of mid-July, and there usually is a flurry of registrations late in the summer.
“I have not got a lot of phone calls of kids moving out, so I think we’re going to pretty much stay the same,” Filisky said. “I think we’re at around 360, 380, we kind of float between those numbers. We’ll have four classrooms in k(indergarten and grades) 1, 2, 3, and three classrooms in (grade) 4. Hopefully, next year, those big numbers will continue on and we’ll be able to bring another teacher into fourth-grade.”
Students can look for a new intervention specialist, Christopher Marsco, who was hired as a long-term substitute. Jane Jones will move from fourth-grade to third; Jay Bodnar from physical education to fourth-grade; Megan Rodgers is moving from the middle school to fourth-grade; and middle school intervention specialist Adam Hughes will split his time to teach phys ed at the elementary.
The school has bought more computers, enough that students should be working on a computer three or four times a week, Filicky said.
“I think that the new décor is going to be fun,” she added. “We’re going to do some different things with the bulletin boards and we’re going to plaster the place with blue and gold. We’re going to work on something called growth mindset, which is teaching the kids to be positive, even if they’re struggling with something, understanding that that’s OK. ‘You’re going to get it. Take your time.’ Being overwhelmed is something we’ve seen a lot this year. Pushing that growth mindset out there and being more positive is a big, big, big battle, and we’re taking it on.”