Mission: “To educate every child for life”
New math and open classrooms were among the educational buzzwords of the 1960’s and ‘70’s, ranking right up there with peace, love, and “flower power.” And they lasted about as long. Springdale Elementary opened in the early 70’s and was built for the open-classroom concept. In the early 80’s, as educational beliefs changed, permanent walls were erected inside the building, and the school began operating with regular classrooms. As the school continued to grow, an addition was built in the ‘90’s, adding twelve new primary classrooms, a gym, and a new music room, which allowed some of the portable classrooms that had mushroomed over the years to be removed.
The 7th graders were moved into the middle schools several years ago and the Springdale sixth graders were moved to middle schools last year. Springdale now serves students in pre-K through 5th grade and has a diverse population with 645 students enrolled this year.
As the trends in education shifted, Springdale employed self-contained classrooms, team-teaching situations, and departmentalization for the highest grade level to aid in the transition to middle school.
Led by Principal Karen Yarbrough, the Springdale faculty has provided and continues to provide excellent instruction for students as evidenced in consistently high standardized test scores. Yarbrough, who has been in the field of education for 26 years, was an assistant principal in Bibb County for 8 years. In this capacity, she helped open Sonny Carter Elementary School. Later, Yarbrough served as principal of Sonny Carter from 1997 to 2004. She is now in her second year as principal of Springdale School.
Springdale employs 33 certified teachers, a large percentage of whom hold master’s degrees. Also on staff are one assistant principal, one National Board Certified Teacher, two half-time counselors, one instructional coach, one media specialist, two teachers who serve gifted students, one teacher who serves English Speakers of Other Languages, one Early Intervention Program teacher, one Interrelated Resource class, one speech and language pathologist, one self-contained class for students with learning disabilities, one full-time music teacher, one full-time physical education instructor, five paraprofessionals, and one Brain Gym specialist.
What is Brain Gym specialist you may ask. According to Pam Webster, Inter-Related Resource teacher , “Brain Gym was developed in the early 1980’s by Dr. Paul Dennison as a model to assist students who were having learning difficulties. Brain Gym is a series of intergrative movements that develop the brain’s neural pathways the way nature does, through movement. When students use Brain Gym on a regular basis, they are able to access those parts of the brain previously inaccessible to them. Learning blocks are dissolved as new neural pathways are developed.”
Springdale staff members have integrated Brain Gym and brain-based learning into their daily curriculum. This facilitates whole brain integration which makes learning easier and less stressful. Students at Springdale start the day with Brain Gym on the school-wide morning news program. Teachers and students use these very simple movements throughout the day during times of transition, when new material is being introduced, and whenever they feel they need it to relax and focus. Students and teachers have noticed ease of learning, fewer discipline problems, less stress, and a greater enjoyment of learning.
“Springdale is blessed with an experienced administration, a cohesive faculty and staff, and excellent students,” states Yarbrough. “Faculty members strive to differentiate the curriculum to meet the needs of all students. Teachers work together on grade level and across grade levels to be sure every student is offered a quality education.”
The school has an instructional coach on staff who works with our teachers and students to enhance the implementation of the Balanced Literacy program. Through the balanced literacy framework, students work at their level to learn the skills and strategies needed to comprehend text. Teachers participate in math training called S.U.M.S. (Students Using Math Successfully). This program helps teachers implement strategies in mental math and hands-on math instruction.
“Springdale is also blessed with a very active Parent Teacher Club that supports and enhances classroom instruction,” says Yarbrough. “This organization raises money to supplement our budget. In addition, members volunteer much time and expertise to support instruction and enhance our school environment.”
Springdale is a consistently high-performing school in all academic areas. Students have scored in the 90th percentile in Math and Language Arts for many years. “Even though our test scores are very good, the Springdale staff continues to research ways to improve instruction and implement best practices,” states Yarbrough. “Ongoing student assessments are a vehicle for instructional planning. Our teachers are very flexible and willing to try new things to enhance student achievement,” she adds.
What’s new at Springdale? We’re told they have implemented a new uniform policy this school term. Consequently, they have already noticed a decrease in discipline referrals and an increased focus on learning.
Springdale also has an effective After School program that supports instruction. Such a program is always advantageous to both students and parents—and consequentially, the school.#
Springdale Elementary School
4965 Northside Drive
Macon, GA 31210
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