Blue Ribbon Showcase

Lake Road hosts inaugural Blue Ribbon Showcase
Posted on 04/02/2019
Students perform a STEM activity for city councilman Ed DeGaris and Rebeca Pacheco, executive director of the Butler County Community Resource Council.

Lake Road Elementary School hosted its inaugural Blue Ribbon Showcase on Tuesday, March 19, to share with the community the journey it took to achieve the coveted national honor.

A community partner, a parent and an educator joined Principal Erica Weadon in sharing their perspectives on the elementary school’s success before the guests—about 50 in attendance—participated in breakout sessions detailing the winning combination of programs in place for students. 

“We battle each and every day for our students, and an army has to have a leader,” stated Amanda Johnson, fourth grade teacher. “Erica Weadon has high expectations, and in turn we have the same high expectations in the classroom.” 

The National Blue Ribbon, the greatest honor an American educational institution can achieve, was awarded by the U.S. Department of Education in October to 349 of the highest performing schools in the country, including Lake Road. 

When Weadon took the helm in 2010, she reflected, “a lot more wrangling than teaching was going on,” with 400 office referrals documented, a pattern that first had to be corrected in order to score in the top percentile on the Missouri Assessment Program test for consecutive years. That number presently stands at 38 as the current school year winds down, she reported. 

The administrator attributed the refined focus to comprehensive implementation of the school-wide positive behavior support program along with the cultural initiative Capturing Kids’ Hearts, which introduced tools such as the social contract to the educational environment. 

Andy Moore, parent of fourth grader MacLaren, shared how his daughter is a member of the fishing club, and looks forward to reading by flashlight on Fridays. Moore and his wife Mandy find the student-led parent conferences most “enlightening,” he added. 

Asked what she likes best about going to school, MacLaren told her father that: “The teachers like our ideas and we get to try it.” Moore commented how this climate is what creates “buy-in” from the student body. 

David Stewart, the pastor at First United Methodist Church, serves on Lake Road’s Bright Futures site council. During a state gathering for the congregation last year, religious leaders determined the No. 1 way to combat generational poverty is to “make a difference in third grade reading levels,” Stewart explained. 

“My delegation said, ‘We already do this,’” Stewart said. The pastor remembered how when he initially accepted his leadership position with the North Main Street church, the membership was helping Lake Road obtain therapy dog Airial, a black Labrador retriever now 9 years old. 

“Spend a few minutes of your day hanging out with these kids here,” Stewart suggested to the audience. “It not only makes a difference for them, it makes a difference in our hearts.” 

Following the program, visitors were given an opportunity to attend multiple sessions in the classrooms overviewing some of the systems in place introduced earlier, plus others including the Rotary Good Habits Store established to help boost attendance. Educators also talked about the Professional Learning Community model used to monitor progress and make common formative assessments. 

Weadon took time in the library with the public to elaborate on her vision to expand the configuration to grade six by the 2020/21 school year, and eventually become a STEAM academy that focuses on project-based learning, merging science, technology, engineering, art and math. 

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Cutline: Students perform a STEM activity for city councilman Ed DeGaris and Rebeca Pacheco, executive director of the Butler County Community Resource Council.

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