3 Elkhart elementary schools working to improve performance

ELKHART, Ind. (WNDU) - A trio of Elkhart Community Schools are working to improve student performance after poor Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress test scores.

Principals from Beardsley, Mary Beck and Hawthorne Elementary each presented an update on the school's progress to the school board Tuesday night.

The three schools were given "F” ratings after their most recent test scores.

The schools were each given $50,000 state grants to implement new programs to improve student performances.

The schools are undergoing cultural audits and tracking student-by-student data.

Principals say the schools are rewarding positive student behavior and say it's helping with student performance.

“Because we're changing the atmosphere and the behavior, they probably don't even notice the amount of learning that they are doing,” Hawthorne Principal Eric Chandler said. “The climate is different. Like they're safe. They're stable. They know they're loved. So that's a big thing that helps our schools.”

“To continue to build relationships with our students and families, work together as a team, and just continue to build background knowledge and capacity so that they can be successful adults,” Mary Beck Principal Tracey Kizyma said. “We want them to have a goal and have what it takes to achieve that.”

Those on the school board say when they have visited the schools that the kids are excited and eager to learn.

All of the principals have set respective goals on how much they want to increase their ISTEP test scores by.