Elementary School Named 2018 Vision in Action Winner: The Whole Child Award

Washington’s Hamilton Elementary School Named 2018 Vision in Action Winner: The Whole Child Award
Posted on 03/27/2018
Hamilton Crew in Boston

BOSTON, MA - ASCD, a mission-driven nonprofit dedicated to excellence in learning, teaching, and leading, announced earlier today that Hamilton Elementary School in Port Angeles, Washington, is the recipient of the 2018 Vision in Action: The Whole Child Award. Principal Gary Pringle accepted the award on behalf of the school at ASCD Empower18, the Conference for Every Educator, in Boston, Massachusetts.​

Vision in Action: The ASCD Whole Child Award recognizes schools that have moved beyond a vision for educating the whole child to actions that result in learners who are knowledgeable, emotionally and physically healthy, civically active, artistically engaged, prepared for economic self-sufficiency, and ready for the world beyond formal schooling. ASCD honored Hamilton Elementary School for exceeding that vision.

“Hamilton Elementary School demonstrates dedication to the whole child approach to education. Distinguishing themselves from schools across the nation, Hamilton has gone above and beyond to ensure that every child is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged,” said Deborah S. Delisle, ASCD CEO and Executive Director. “Hamilton Elementary School is raising the bar for schools and educators around the world.”

“Collaboration, high expectations, challenging curriculum, frequent monitoring of teaching and learning in a fun, safe and nurturing environment is the culture known as ‘The Hamilton Way,’” explained Pringle.

Hamilton Elementary School takes pride in having healthy students, staff, families, and community. As a Fuel Up to Play school, Hamilton integrates health, nutrition, and physical fitness into school activities and curriculum. Usage of a filtered water station increased from 8 percent to 72 percent during a single academic year. The Families in Training (F.I.T.) program encourages families to be healthy and active through monthly challenges and family fitness nights. Hamilton also provides the Rainbow Runners Club, a Unicycle Club, and a breakfast program for all students. As of 2016, 78 percent of Hamilton students met four or more Healthy Fitness Zone Standards, up from 32 percent in 2010.

Hamilton Elementary takes precautions to ensure the physical and emotional safety of the school population. By adopting the Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports (PBIS) program, the school employs behavioral interventions to encourage a positive school climate. These interventions recognize positive actions with Super Citizen Awards, good behavior calls and postcards home, and monthly Golden Awards for classrooms. Since the implementation of PBIS, office referrals have decreased from .9 to .2 per day, and the school is working toward reducing absences and tardiness to below 5 percent.

“The Hamilton vision is to inspire and empower students, their families, and staff to take on the challenging and exciting journey to achieve academic excellence. We do this by creating learning and working environments where high performance, kindness, self-responsibility, and playfulness are the expectations,” Pringle explained.

Hamilton’s vision emphasizes the importance of rigor, with school educators supporting students through measured engagement for continuous improvement. Washington State developed eight evaluators for teachers and principals known as the “State 8,” supplemented by components of Charlotte Danielson’s Framework for Teaching, to increase engagement, understanding, and achievement. In the 2016–17 school year, three grade levels measured a 10 percent growth in reading, math, and science. Hamilton students monitor their own progress, graphing growth in a variety of areas and establishing evidence-based goals. Students also use fitness trackers, tablets, and notebook computers to integrate technology with research skills. Hamilton also focuses on professional learning by having educators establish one professional and two academic growth goals per year.

“At Hamilton Elementary School, the focus on a whole child approach to education is a cornerstone of our school improvement plan and is included in our data collection and analytic process,” explained Pringle. “Every staff member is keenly aware of the assessments used in math, science, reading, and writing, so every child can develop the skills needed to reach their full potential and lead a productive adult life.”

For up to 45 minutes per day, a Response to Intervention team helps students in smaller, focused groups in core curriculum, strategic intervention, and intensive intervention. Paraeducators and community volunteers provide additional support; a district-funded after-school tutoring program offers extra math support for 3rd through 6th grade students; and a separate program offers additional academic challenges for students exceeding core subject standards. Hamilton teachers receive dedicated time to collaborate and to review Hamilton’s strengths and weaknesses throughout various levels of the school. Hamilton students can depend on support from a school counselor, psychologist, occupational therapist, and nurse. When in need, Hamilton families receive food and clothing supplies through partnerships with the local food bank and the Port Angeles Education Foundation.​

We will ensure that all students continuously and measurably increase their academic and citizenship skills. The mission of Hamilton Elementary School exemplifies how the school strives to prepare students not only academically, but also as citizens who are prepared to contribute to society. School test scores measure no significant gap in low income, special needs, gender, and ethnicity. The Student Assistance Team meets weekly to discuss academic, physical, and social needs of students and creates plans to support and challenge them. In 2016, Hamilton students met or exceeded the state average in 90 percent of measurement areas, a 5.6 percent increase over the previous year.

Hamilton Elementary School’s motto, “Hawk Heroes, Help Themselves and Others to Learn,” demonstrates the core of the school’s heart and encapsulates why the school was selected for the 2018 Vision in Action: The ASCD Whole Child Award.

“Hamilton is honored, humbled, and pleased to be the recipient of ASCD’s 2018 Vision in Action: Whole Child Award! It is a true testament to dedication and hard work of the entire Hamilton Hawk family,” said Pringle.

Schools throughout North America applied for Vision in Action: The ASCD Whole Child Award. As the winner, Hamilton Elementary School sent a team to Empower18 ASCD’s Annual Conference and Exhibit

For more information, contact: Leslie Malone, leslie.malone@ascd.org or Patsene Dashiell, pdashiell@portangelesschools.org.

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VIA Boston -  Representing Hamilton Elementary School and the Port Angeles School District at the ASCD Empower18, the Conference for Every Educator, in Boston, Massachusetts awards ceremony in Boston, MA are (from left) George Kheriaty, fifth grade teacher; Rebecca Gundersen, fifth grade teacher; Julie Smith, secretary; Rebecca Gransbury, paraeducator; Krista Winn, P.E. teacher; Gary Pringle, principal; and Marc Jackson, superintendent (not shown).

HAM in Boston

HAM crew in Boston – Hamilton team and Supt. Marc Jackson accepting the Whole Child Award in Boston, MA.

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Ham Whole Child 013 – Principal Gary Pringle (center, with back to camera) breaks the news to his staff that Hamilton Elementary was selected to receive national recognition for the Whole Child Award.  Superintendent Marc Jackson (far left) and Board Director Sandy Long (far right) were on hand for the good news announcement.