Hillsboro Elementary School Principal Talks Math and Reading Scores & Community Involvement

As part of our on-going interviews with the Principals at each of the Pocahontas County Schools about their Math and Reading Programs, today we will hear from Mrs. Rebecca Spencer, Principal of Hillsboro Elementary School. She starts by talking about the Math and Reading (or English Language Arts) programs at the school.

“Hillsboro Elementary scores on the State Assessment last year showed that both our Reading and our Math scores were at state level or higher” said Principal Spencer. “Our English Language Arts scores are significantly higher than our Math scores, although both were at state level or higher. So our main focus this year is to increase the Math scores to increase fluency and proficiency and Math understanding and application. And Reading Language Arts needs to increase in understanding informational text, and then taking that and using it in writing. The greatest use for the state testing for Hillsboro Elementary is that the teachers use it as a tool to base their teaching on. And pared with the benchmarking that we use, which is to assess them every few months on the proficiency of what we’ve taught so far, it helps us focus more on what specific standard is needing more focus than another or what specific standard is having a difficult time with the students understanding the concept.”

After speaking with Mrs. Spencer for just a few moments, it was clear that she considers Hillsboro Elementary to be a rather special school in a rather special community, so we asked her about what has led her to feel that way.

“One of the greatest strengths Hillsboro has is the community” Spencer explained. “Our community is very good at supporting not only students, families , those in need, but supporting in a way that helps build them up and helps them better their circumstances and better their education. I’ve been here two years and one of the greatest things is the school is immaculate, and it is not just the work of the employees here. But anytime a student drops something, they pick it up, they clean it up. They are part of the school as a whole. They understand their value as a child not just as coming to learn, but as a part of the school, as part of the community. How can they help others, and how they fit into the system as a whole.  But the community has been phenomenal in supporting every student in the building in every aspect of the school. anytime we have an event here at the school, or anywhere in Hillsboro, be it something at the fire Hall or bingo here at the school or a fund-raising dinner, we have a large percentage that comes out to support the school that don’t have children in the school. they previously had children or grand children, but they’re just coming to support Hillsboro as a school as part of their community. That community difference can be shadowed in the students’ learning to be part of a bigger picture and to support each other. And it transfers into their academic performance as well as learning to be just good citizens and to be part of a community and what that truly means.”

In our next and last installment in this series, we will talk with Dustin Lambert, the Principal at Marlinton Middle School about that school’s remarkable academic achievements in the state wide assessment tests.

Story By

Tim Walker

Tim is the WVMR News Reporter. Tim is a native of Maryland who started coming to Pocahontas County in the 1970’s as a caver. He bought land on Droop Mountain off Jacox Road in 1976 and built a small house there in the early 80’s. While still working in Maryland, Tim spent much time at his place which is located on the Friars Hole Cave Preserve. Retiring in 2011 as a Lieutenant with the Anne Arundel County Police Department in Maryland, Tim finally took the plunge and moved from Maryland to his real home on Droop Mountain. He began working as the Pocahontas County Reporter for Allegheny Mountain Radio in January of 2015.

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