Lewiston - National Title I Distinguished School

  • Students riding horses to school
    An alternate form of
    transportation to school.

    Lewiston Elementary is a rural school nestled in an agricultural area in northern Utah. The school serves over 500 students, kindergarten through fifth grade. Forty-eight percent of the students are economically disadvantaged, approximately ten percent are English language learners, and nearly ten percent are students with disabilities.

    Lewiston’s success story had its origins ten years ago when Superintendent Dr. Steven Norton set a goal for all Cache County students to be proficient readers by third grade. With the vision of all students succeeding by the third grade, attention was then focused on student performance within each elementary school.

    This provided the impetus for numerous curricular and service delivery changes. Many of these changes impacted Lewiston Elementary which was one of the lowest performing schools in the district.

    A research-based reading curriculum, employing direct instruction as its primary instructional strategy, was implemented throughout the district. At Lewiston Elementary, Title I funding along with additional state funding sources were carefully allocated to meet student needs. With the additional state legislative resources, literacy facilitators were hired to support the literacy effort.

    Small Group of Students   Small Group of Students
    Small Group Instruction

    Systematic and explicit instruction was incorporated into a tiered instructional model. Skill mastery data, crucial to reading acquisition, began to be regularly collected to determine academic growth throughout the elementary grades. Additional data collected includes DIBELS fluency measures, a phonics screener, comprehension and vocabulary probes, as well as Utah State End-of-Level assessments. Student progress continues to be monitored throughout the year to guide instructional adaptations. Differentiated grade level instruction, Tier 1, is provided with the assistance of two para-educators in every classroom.   Additional instructional time is provided during Tier 2 and Tier 3 intervention times for students below benchmark

    Incoming kindergarten data revealed academic deficits that needed to be addressed. Lewiston Elementary provided an additional 30 minutes of instructional time for all kindergarten students. This additional instruction has resulted in improved achievement for all students regardless of risk status. Extended learning time was also made available to first through fifth grade students through funding from REACH (21st Century Community Learning Centers) and Youth Connections from the Utah Department of Work-Force Services. Lewiston Elementary offers before and after school reading and math tutoring, as well as summer school remediation and enrichment. The students have also benefitted from the many PTA, VISTA and AmeriCorps volunteer hours that have been donated to the school.

    Volunteer working with student
    Grandma McKnight, a volunteer,
    works with a student
    Student working on computer
    Extended learning time
    Students working together
    Students working together
    First grade teacher delivers instruction
    Teresa Sainston, first grade teacher,
    delivers targeted instruction
    ELD teacher, Heather Bennet, teaching
    ELD teacher, Heather Bennett, teaching
    Teacher teaching kindergarten students
    Lisa Anderson teaches
    math to kindergarten students

    Lewiston Elementary enjoys commendable parental support. Parents attend school events in vast numbers and enthusiastically participate. They are involved in their childrens’ education. They volunteer at the school. The school population is geographically spread over 121 square miles. This does not deter parents from having high percentage attendance at school activites.

    The school instructional leadership has been guided by two administrators, Gary Thomas and Adam Baker. Gary Thomas, the first prinicipal to guide the reform efforts, organized professional development and furthered team building for teachers. He set high expectations for teachers and supported them as they strived to accomplish the goals established. Two years ago Adam Baker became the principal, and he has continued to support teacher efforts and celebrate student success at Lewiston.

    Lewiston teachers have spent many hours in professional development to master the techniques of instensive, systematic, and direct instruction. Literacy professional development supports teachers in the delivery of quality instruction in oral language, phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension and writing. Working in Professional Learning Communities (PLCs), teachers analyze data, review and plan curriculum, and coordinate services between English Language Development (ELD) and Special Education. Teacher focus is on positive student outcomes and the identification of the steps required to achieve that end. They also meet individually with the building principal to discuss student progress, special education referrals using the Response to Intervention model, and review opportunities for professional development. This success can be attributed to combined efforts from teachers, principal, and support staff.

    Lewiston Staff
    Staff of Lewiston Elementary

    Lewiston has added Tier 2 math interventions for students below benchmark. Each grade level utilizes a 30 minute block of time where students receive additional instruction in math. Teachers plan the curriculum and monitor the data.

    School Improvement Plan goals are supported by the data collected in reading and math and reviewed annually. Lewiston Elementary, after being identified as one of the lowest performing schools in the district, has made steady gains in closing the achievement gap through increased performance for all groups of students. Overall, the percentage of 3rd – 5th grade students scoring at or above proficiency on the Utah State End-of-Level Language Arts Assessment has increased from 79% in 2003 to 94% in 2009. On the Utah State End-of-Level Math Assessment, scores increased from 75% in 2003 to 89% in 2009. The focus on increasing academic achievement has produced positive learning outcomes for all students.

    Graph of Language Arts CRT Compared to State