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School of Distinction

Beachwood listed among state’s best schools

School earns award for third straight year

Northwest Guardian

Published: 01:26PM November 14th, 2013
Beachwood listed among state’s best schools

Dean Siemon/Northwest Guardian

Fourth-grade teacher Jeana Gallinatti leads groups in a classroom exercise Nov. 5 at Beachwood Elementary School on Lewis North.

For the third straight year, Beachwood Elementary School was named a School of Distinction.

The Joint Base Lewis-McChord school is one of 55 elementary schools to receive the award — one of three in the Clover Park School District (Oakwood and Tillicum in Lakewood) — honored by the Center of Educational Effectiveness, who select schools in the top 5 percent of improvement of all schools in Washington state.

The Beachwood staff put in the time and effort for constant evaluation to target where improvements need to be made.

“We always know where our kids are,” said Meghan Eakin, Beachwood principal. “There’s never a question of how they’re performing.”

Eakin credits the school’s continued growth to a collaborative effort by the faculty to monitor each student’s learning throughout the school year. Teachers form teams to look at student performances over time and select students who need interventions, and a plan on how to provide for the students.

“We monitor progress weekly and then we have other district and state tests,” said Kristapher Finney, a special education teacher at Beachwood Elementary. “Then we do our own non-formal testing.”

The school has a pull-out program where students who need interventions are taken out of the classroom for 30 minutes as the instruction is going on to work on getting the students brought up to the standards and goals the student has.

Interventions are also done in the classroom with teachers providing group instruction for those students as well.

“The strong message here is that the first intervention happens in the core — everything in the classroom,” Eakin said.

Eakin also noted Beachwood faculty has had some turnovers, with 13 new staff members hired in the last two years.

Eakin said it speaks a lot about the school to be able to continue their student growth despite the change in staff.

“The hiring teams that did the interviews really focused on people who could come in and fit in with our collaborative model,” Eakin said. “We’ve seen that with all of the staff that we’ve added in the last few years.”

While working at Beachwood Elementary for nine years, Interventions Director Kim Vesely noted the increasing student growth is not only because of the collaboration of teachers and the testing evaluations, but also because teachers are focusing on teaching the students to think why.

“It’s not just doing the math, it’s figuring out the reasoning behind the problem and being able to explain it,” Vesely said. “I think that has helped students in a lot of growth and you can see it on the walls of the classroom ­— it’s the answer and the process to find it.”

Members of the Beachwood Elementary faculty were invited to a special reception and awards ceremony which recognized all 2013 Schools of Distinction Tuesday at the Puget Sound Educational Service District in Renton, Wash.