Pineview’s “EPIC” Move from an F School to a C

Pineview’s “EPIC” Move from an F School to a C

Pineview Elementary School, one of five Leon County Schools in the Florida Department of Education’s (FDOE) list of the state’s lowest performing elementary schools, is working hard to get off that list.

For the 2017-2018 school year, Pineview received an F from the FDOE in overall performance.

A new principal and assistant principal took over leadership of Pineview at the end of that school year and now, one year later, Pineview leapt from a low F school to a solid C.

“We still have a long way to go,” said Pineview’s new principal Carmen Conner, “I recognize that, but I’m super-duper excited about what we accomplished.”

Conner credits the dedication and efforts of her entire team for this improvement.

Conner transferred from Roberts Elementary to Pineview three weeks before the last day of school in 2018. She was joined by a new assistant principal, Oronde McKhan, formerly a guidance counselor at Gilchrist Elementary. She said other than a few teachers who transferred to different cities, the teaching staff stayed on board.

“We (Conner and McKhan) started off by developing relationships with our teachers and I think that was a big part of what made everything work,” Conner said.

 “We developed relationships with our teachers and provided them with everything and more than they needed and that trickled down to the students,” Connor said.

From there, they developed an EPIC plan.

“EPIC is an acronym for how we attacked any curriculum that we put in front of our students,” she said.

They set high expectations (E), carefully planned (P) the instruction imparted to the students, and then implemented (I) the plan. Then they either completed or corrected (C) the plan based on its success.

It sounds like a simple plan, but the results were dramatic. Math improved from 33 percent proficiency to 47 percent. Reading proficiency went from 25 percent to 32.

But the big leap was in the gains children, especially the children who scored the lowest, made in their overall learning.

“Last year 33 percent of our students made learning gains, but this year 57 percent made learning gains,” Conner said, “It’s gratifying. Our students are learning and it’s measurable.”

Pineview, located on the Southside of Tallahassee, is a Title 1 school, meaning over 40 percent of the students are considered low income. Conner said kids in Title 1 schools are just as smart as any other kids. They just have a different set of circumstances to deal with.

She said most of the students at Roberts Elementary, located in Tallahassee’s more affluent northeast side, attended preschool. The parents of children in Title 1 schools cannot afford preschool or simply can’t work out the logistics of sending the child to a half day of school when the parent is working all day. The children’s lives are also more transient with children sometimes living with grandparents or moving constantly for parents’ employment opportunities.

As a result, Conner said, the low-income student is often as much as two years behind the more affluent children, before they even walk into Kindergarten.

She said another problem that she didn’t see at Roberts is absenteeism and tardiness. She said if the weather is cold or rainy, many students are absent from Pineview. Many of the children walk as much as two miles to school each day. She said a bus stop was added this year that significantly increased attendance. She said adding some of the kids’ favorite activities first thing in the morning motivated kids to try harder to be on time.

Conner is very proud of the strides made this year and said Pineview will push further forward in the upcoming school year.

“I still smile about it (Pineview’s improvement). I still get excited about it, every time I think of it,” she said.

18 Responses to "Pineview’s “EPIC” Move from an F School to a C"

  1. Well really Title 1 money does not pay for mentors and volunteers because they are just that ….volunteers. You wouldn’t go to the soup kitchen to help and then expect to be paid for it. Why can’t people just volunteer and mentor these young kids out of the goodness of their hearts? These kids have single parent homes and need extra support or the kids that do have 2 parents at home rarely get to see their parents because they work multiple jobs. They may be in elementary school but they know and understand the whole school grade system and how they are a part of the results. These kids work hard and they deserve to be recognized for it. They may not be an A yet but they will be.

  2. I started reading the post from people and instantly felt disappointment. I can’t believe such negativity when a school is working towards doing better. I volunteered in the Leon county school system for many years and support any Positivity for helping to make a school better and the children within the school. What people need to realize is that some of these kids get no positive reinforcement at home and coming to school and having people believe in them can be their ticket to success. Way to go Pineview! You rock.

  3. Pineview, Sabal Palm, Oakridge, and Riley all had extended hours — it wasn’t much — just 10-15 minutes more of school each day— but it was more than the other schools.

  4. Relationships, trust, high expectations…keep on going Pineview staff and admin! So proud for you and the kids. Walking the halls and seeing motivated children excited to learn is what it’s all about! Bravo!

  5. The kids at Pineview worked extremely hard and we should show them appreciation and let them know that they have improved. If people don’t like the speed in which improvements are happening then please feel free to come and dedicate some time. Come spend some time with a child and mentor them. Stop complaining and help. Be a part of the village that helps all kids in the community.

  6. The teachers and staff at Pineview have worked very hard for the incredible gains they made. When you have students entering school 2-3 years below grade level, can you honestly expect to see all students miraculously on grade level within one year’s time? Let’s give credit where credit is due—- 57% of their student’s made learning gains this year. With the standard set as high as it is for our lower performing students, that 57% is worth celebrating. Great job, Pineview Elementary!!!

  7. The Department of Education sets the levels for the FSA tests every year. Think of it as being graded on a curve. That means the accountability system or school grades are fundamentally flawed for all schools in the State. There have been many articles written this year by newspapers from around the state about how the FSA scores are tied to socioeconomic factors.

    1. I hope that’s not true…. I hate nonsense approaches like that. Standards have to be the same for every student…just because a kid is in poverty doesn’t mean he doesn’t need to learn the basic skills to survive and contribute to society at the same level as everyone else. This kind of stuff leads to the Af.Act. recipients flunking out…they think they’re ready, and so do the universities that admit them, based on getting great grades at subpar schools. It’s not the students’ fault…they’re being failed by the state.

  8. O/T:

    I just saw THE Kraft Infinity ad and at the end of the ad the top of the ad stated “Replacement Ad.”

    There were no people in the ad.

    Again, this needs to go through the ethics board.

    When there is crime at this rate and we have a mayor out there doing pitch ads for a private business using his position as mayor this is very serious.

    Where is the investigation and breaking news on this?

  9. Yes we are most certainly celebrating a C! The attitude and atmosphere at Pineview are simply amazing! Surely you understand that you can’t go from an F to an A in 10 months? We are in a continual state of working to improve learning at our school. Our teachers and administrators are constantly trying new ways to help our students learn and improve math and reading skills. Can you at least forget about your obvious dislike for Superintendent Hanna for one minute and acknowledge that we are making strides in the right direction at Pineview?

    It must be exhausting to carry around all that dislike and sourness.

    1. You have to understand the pure hatred that Mark has for Rocky Hanna. It has nothing to do with Pineview. Congratulations on moving up 2 letter grades in one year. That is outstanding! Rocky Hanna could get out of a boat and walk on water all the way to the shore and Mark would opine that its because he couldn’t swim. Wishing you nothing but the best in 19-20!

    2. From the time we enrolled in kindergarten (and perhaps VPK these days) we were taught that a ‘C’ is average. Is less than 1/2 proficient at math really average? Is less than 1/3 proficient at reading average?

      The gains are to be celebrated. But grades aren’t assigned based on improvement. If a child scores a 10 on a test and follows that up with a 50 his improvement is far greater than the improvement that Pineview has made. But the kid still gets an ‘F’.

      Congratulations one the improvements, but a grade of ‘C’ doesn’t even rise to disingenuous. It’s criminal. Pineview is still failing more of the children than it’s reaching.

  10. At least it was an improvement. Shows what happens when the district actually takes action to remove an incompetent principal and her project manager. Kudos to the staff on improvements. Hope for a B next year.

    1. Rather than HOPE how about accountability, School grades mask lower achievement. If a child goes to a C school where over 50 percent of the students read and do math at the lowest levels but the Principal is doing a pep rally to celebrate a C, wrong priorities.

      Rocky will celebrate up until the citizens show him actual data. Rocky Hanna is an EPIC failure as an instructional leader as are his hand picked over paid political appointments known as Assistant Superintendents. Corruption as the school board sits silent.

      1. Celebrating small accomplishments, will only encourage the students to try harder. Showing students that they are able to achieve anything with hard work is what the school is clearly doing. But since you know so much how about you sign up to volunteer your time at the school, instead of making pointless comments.

        1. Michelle, first off Title 1 funds should be paying for mentors and volunteers as the law says, these kids should not be depending on the kindness of others, as you are suggesting by telling Mark to volunteer (as if you know he does not already). Second, these accomplishments mean absolutely nothing to an elementary school child, they are not at a level to understand school grades. What the school is doing, however, is providing effective administration. For example, Ms. Connor talks about how adding bus service for those who live closer to school helps with attendance. This comes at a time when Rocky Hanna has notified elementary school parents that a bus will not pick their child up within two miles. Ms. Connor just made a fabulously smart political move – Rocky can’t take that away from her school now. Its not just about making things better within the school, its about having the political acumen to get the kids what they need from a superintendent who is not known for his interest in helping vulnerable kids. Good for her.

          1. Well really a volunteer is just that a volunteer and they do so out of the kindness of their hearts. Title 1 funds do not pay for volunteers or mentors.

  11. Can we stick to the Facts?
    Grade 3 Reading 69 percent of students at the lowest levels in reading, grade 4, 84 percent at the lowest levels, Grade 5, 70 percent at the lowest levels.
    Math 51 percent at grade 3 in the lowest levels, Grade 4, 56 percent at the lowest levels and grade 5, 61 percent at the lowest levels.

    Not EPIC for more than half of the students at each grade level scoring at the lowest levels. Sad, not EPIC

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