MAPLE HEIGHTS, Ohio -- It's believed to be the first newly constructed school in Ohio to be named after the president. That makes staff and students very proud. But, that's not the only reason Barack Obama Elementary is this week’s Fox 8 Cool School.
Since Barack Obama Elementary opened in January, 2012 it has been a place of learning for all 4th and 5th graders in the Maple Heights City School District. "They just want to make sure that we learn a lot, so we can be very smart,” 4th grader Madison Clark said.
Students follow President Obama's lead to "believe, achieve and succeed." But, here the motto is, "Together we can make our school a success" and that means students give 100-percent, no excuses.
5th grader Darius Green said there are two main goals at Barack Obama Elementary School. “To get a good education and to have a good life-- if you don't have those two goals, you're not achieving,” he said.
The new school has the latest technology like smart boards in every classroom. And, each student gets computer time. Some are taking part in the reading plus pilot program. Teacher Kelly Hunt said it helps students become better readers.
It adjusts to their abilities so they are getting very good practice on independent reading, comprehension, vocabulary and it really improves their fluency. "If they read well, they can do better in science, social studies and math," Hunt added.
While this is a new school, the focus remains the same, to improve student achievement in every classroom. They take every opportunity to learn. Students are seen picking up a book and reading in between classes and on breaks.
There is also recess intervention. Teacher Julie Taylor said every student routinely gives up time on the playground to give extra time to study for state testing. “All the extra time we have to bring in the students who are struggling, the students that need more practice on certain activities.
I really like the idea of placing them with partners that are at different levels because they can help one another,” Taylor added.
These are good learners who are striving to succeed. And, that’s what makes Barack Obama Elementary such a “Cool School.”