Otis Brock Elementary School students back in the classroom early

SAVANNAH, Ga,

Hundreds of students in Savannah-Chatham County headed back to school, as Otis Brock Elementary opened their doors for the first day of class.

News 3’s Courtney Cole spoke to the principal to find out why they’re back in school so early and how she plans to improve the learning experience for students.


On Monday morning, it may have been rainy and dreary outside— but inside the walls of Otis Brock Elementary school: students, teachers and the principal, Selina Ruth-Gillans, were excited for a new, fresh, earlier start.

“The extended year calendar is designed that we bring our children back early. So, we limit the time that they’re home and we limit that time that we have summer learning loss,”  said Principal Ruth-Gillans.

She says this is the first year any school in the district has done this.

“If all things go well, it may lead to an opportunity for other schools in the district to have this opportunity.”

This new method, coming after the school landed a spot on the ‘Chronically Failing Schools’ list based on their performance in 2016.

“I assure you that we will come off this list. We have three years to do it, [but] we’ll probably do it in a little less time,” Ruth-Gillans told News 3.

When I asked her how she was going to make this happen, she told me…”The plan is being in classrooms. I am the instructional leader, along with my assistant principal, we will be in classrooms. We have support for our teachers, we have 3 academic coaches. We’re also fortunate to have a school improvement specialist in our building along with a behavior intervention teacher.”

Ruth-Gillans says she, along with her staff, will focus on remediation, intervention and enrichment for the students .

She says it’s apart of the plan to establish expectations and insure high accountability.

“Everyone will see, when the scores are released, that if the teachers are held accountable, we can have the student growth we desire.”


In an effort to help make students more well-rounded, Principal Ruth-Gillians told News 3 world language classes will be offered this year, as well, for the first time.

 

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