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This Steubenville, OH School Will Blow Your Mind (in a Good Way!) (VIDEO)

by Lindsay Ferrier on January 4, 2013 at 9:00 AM

Wells AcademyWells Academy, a public school in Steubenville, Ohio, has every excuse to be struggling.

The poverty rate among students is greater than 50 percent. The class size average is 26 students per class. The amount spent per student is lower than it is in most other districts nationwide.

Yet Wells Academy is the number one school in the state of Ohio.

What's the school's secret?

Check out our latest Moms Matter video after the jump -- and see for yourself.

As a parent of four (two now grown) and a reporter who has covered many, many public schools over the years, it was very clear to me after spending a day at Wells Academy that what they're doing here is working.

In addition to the Success for All program mentioned in the story, a few things stood out that are working at Wells.

While admission is first come, first served, parents in the district do have to apply for their child to attend Wells. I think this simple requirement ensures that the parents of these students care. They care enough to learn about Wells, fill out an application, get it in on time, and work out transportation for their child to go to the school. Instantly, you end up with a more involved group of parents to support what the teachers are doing at school.

Parents and teachers alike also said the uniforms have really made a difference at Wells Academy, particularly since income levels among students are across the board. Uniforms have helped level the economic playing field, helping to ensure Success for All.

I loved seeing students in every class team up on their classwork. With larger class sizes, working together helps free up the teacher to help more people and makes sure that no one gets left behind.

Wells is working, and I hope that more school districts take notice of the Wells model. What do you think? Would you like to see your school district follow in Wells Academy's footsteps?


Filed Under: education, moms matter

Comments

18
  • Cass
    -- Nonmember comment from

    Cass

    January 4, 2013 at 10:32 AM
    Is it really that the school is so much better? The school isn't getting kids with parents that don't care to fill out the applications- that's going to positively skew the results. I personally think we have a responsibility to at least try to educate every child, so I wouldn't support every school going to this first come, first served application system.
  • Lucia
    -- Nonmember comment from

    Lucia

    January 4, 2013 at 11:37 AM
    My little sister's school (it's a public school) technically has uniforms. They call it mandatory standard student attire. It's where there are basic colors (navy, khaki, white) and optional colors (dark green and grey). Students must wear polo shirts in the basic or optional colors with no markings or designs unless they are the school logo, which can be purchased in the office. I don't know if the uniforms have anything to do this, but that school is five stars and the only blue ribbon school in Nevada.
  • Rosas...
    --

    RosasMummy

    January 4, 2013 at 12:27 PM
    I'm from the UK where every school
    Has a uniform, I think it definitely makes a big difference. I remember how crazy everyone acted on non uniform days. I also think uniforms help prevent the sexualisation of young children bcos if u have a little girl with a little girls body and no make up, and they have to wear exactly what everyone else is wearing they invariably end up looking (and feeling I think) just like a little girl.
  • Hollie
    -- Nonmember comment from

    Hollie

    January 4, 2013 at 2:54 PM
    Personally, would love to see Uniforms (of a sort) at the public schools in my area. I BELEIVE that the "differences" of the students would not be so note-worthy and thus, cause less stress. I would love to see kids be kids again and not be small adults. With the "bonus" of "haters", bullies, and the snobs of school areas. I just want kids to be kids, REALLY!!! Let them do their hair the way they want, make up if they want, but keep the clothes on equal footing for EVERYONE... This is ALL just my opinion!!! I am sorry if I offend you with it. I just want a equality for my kids that I feel I never got...
  • marip...
    --

    mariposa21

    January 4, 2013 at 3:52 PM

    Too bad then they go to High School and for "rape crews" :*(


  • Maevelyn
    --

    Maevelyn

    January 4, 2013 at 4:34 PM

    to Cass, on the other hand if all parents had to fill out applications all parents would have to think about educating thier children. I think a major problem is that many parents don't take ownership of their childs achedemic future. Our educational system caters to the lowest common denominator so much so that it encourages parents to be completely passive. The fact is that you are going to pay for your child to have a quality education, with your time if nothing else. 


  • LLICE
    --

    LLICE

    January 4, 2013 at 8:18 PM

    My kids went to a similar type school in Alaska; in addition to finding transportation to\from school, parents volunteered 6 hours a semester (teachers assts., playground monitors, tutoring, cafeteria or study hall, Parents Night.) Parents had a separatebclassroom for printing work papers, collating, etc. The school was not responsible for discipline; if a child got into trouble a parent was phoned & was responsible for disciplining their child. 

    Students consistently tested one grade level or more above other schools in the area. It was a great program for bright, motivated students, my kids lved it!


  • LLICE
    --

    LLICE

    January 4, 2013 at 8:22 PM

    Oh, uniforms weren't an issue, it was Alaska. When kids routinely play 'broom hockey' at recess in sub-zero temps they're covered head to toes every day!


  • Amy
    -- Nonmember comment from

    Amy

    January 5, 2013 at 1:58 PM
    I am a teacher in a school near Steubenville. This school does not accept everyone. It is not a first come first serve. The students who wish to attend this school must pass a test first before they are allowed to enroll. Also, this school does not enroll students with special needs. Students with special needs must also take the same tests as their fellow classmates so their scores count. Of course each student at Wells Academy passes the state test, they were screened before they were "accepted". If I had a class full of students with above average IQs then they would all pass too. Sorry but I think this video is very misleading.
  • Ariel
    -- Nonmember comment from

    Ariel

    January 5, 2013 at 3:55 PM
    I'm a teacher and know nothing about this school but I was looking at their stats at the beginning and thought: 1. "The poverty rate among students is greater than 50 percent." Most schools that are thought of has having high poverty are much higher than 50%. If they were closer to 60 (or another percentage) then this reporter would have written that number. So, I'm assuming they are between 50 and 54%. The school I was a sub at for 4 months, had a rate of 98%. 2. "The class size average is 26 students per class." This is the legal number for most elementary classroom for my state. (I teach PreK and the legal number is 20). Some teachers have to have over this number because there are not enough students in each class if they were to split them. So, the teachers have 28+ in a class. 3. "The amount spent per student is lower than it is in most other districts nationwide." This makes sense seeing as how the poverty rate is lower. They aren't going to get some government funding because they only get some if they have a high poverty rate. They are also not going to be approved of some grants or other things because of other factors...a major one being poverty rate. BUT...I'm sure they always have fundraisers and other ways to get or make money--like asking parents to buy things for the school and/or classroom.
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