Inspiring Student Achievement in 3 Dimensions - Case Study: Conway Elementary School

Our vision of student achievement has three dimensions: Mastery of Knowledge and Skills, Character, and High-Quality Work. See what this looks like in action at Conway Elementary School, a public district school in Escondido, California.


- Out of the 23 schools for like 10 years in a row, it was the lowest-performing school.

- And we all were worried.

- Tried so many different things so many times being here for so long.

- The kids weren’t getting to where we knew they could be.

- Not seeing that change.

- What we’re doing now is not working.

- We were working hard.

- What can we do differently?

- The previous principal, Kim Reed, led the staff through the process of starting to change the culture here. That’s where EL Education came in. I came on board the following year. Reading through core practices, it was one of those moments of oh, my gosh, where have you been all my life? I felt the crew spirit when I arrived. People were doing work together, they were invested, it resonated with a lot of us that this is how I want to teach, and this is how I want my kids to learn. That has really gotten the attention of our district because they want to know what is really happening because we are absolutely seeing those results.

- The model itself is a different approach, allows everybody to reach for their potential. I know I’ve changed a lot.

- EL has brought us together in kind of a common mind.

- And that felt really powerful, that it was coming from us.

- The only way that you’re going to get students to do the type of learning to really yield the results; it has to be meaningful to them. The mastery of knowledge and skills, character and the high quality of work should be the definition of how we are measuring our students. This year was the first year that we implemented school-wide student-led conferences.

- When I first heard about this, I’m like, okay, this should be interesting. What’s he gonna say, right?

- And I also have my symbols book of the USA.

- It’s awakening, honestly. Your child is telling you the report on himself. He tells you what his strengths are, where he’s struggling, what he plans to do about it.

- I think that’s says a lot just on the character. I think that takes a lot.

- The first day I came to the school, my teacher introduced me to grapples, and I told my teacher that is it these things that superheroes in comics use? And she was like I think, but it’s about if you make mistakes your brain is exercising and getting more muscular. I was like oh, okay, then I’ll try it. Four fives, and two. Got it! No, no, no, wait. In my class, we’re learning about fractions and mixed numbers and other interesting stuff. It’s very very fun because once we’re done doing what we think is the right answer, we talk with our table, agree and disagree and talk about our answers and how we solved them. No, no, no, no, wait. Everyone thinks differently, and you might not even be right but making mistakes is like giving your mind a growing mindset.

- Looking at mastery of knowledge and skills is very important. But you’re not going to get those results unless you address that character piece.

- The meditation that we do every morning, we talk about how we want to be the masters of our minds, not letting our minds master us. The title of our expedition is: Epic Tales of Human Rights.

- Mostly for their children, to have a better education.

- Today in Crew, we held a discussion about their connection to human rights and what they can do to foster human rights in the world.

- Education is Article 26. “Everyone has the right to an education.”

- They can relate the human rights to our norms here: Excellence, Perseverance, Integrity and Compassion.

- A good reference for both I think the families at home and school and especially if we have them both work together.

- [All] E.P.I.C, epic is a way to be.

- The first time that I saw a Thursday assembly, for one, it’s weekly. It’s like you’re at a little party, honestly. Pep and cheer and announcements. Everybody’s rowdy about it, they promote universities.

- [All] LMU fight, fight, fight, Rawr!

- It’s not your traditional one where there’s punitive action.

- Our discipline rate has declined significantly. Since implementation, we have reduced our number of incidents by 75%.

- And then there’s that other level, and that’s the high quality work piece.

- It was definitely a sense of joy when he started showing the fact that he can do prideful work.

- We’ve actually been taking care of trouts in my classroom.

- We’re releasing trout because it’s very important for the ecosystem to be balanced.

- We’re making tiles to make a map of our Escondido local watershed.

- Having them really define what that criteria is for creating that high quality work and giving them examples of it, they will rise to that occasion.

- What could you say in a description?

- A white flower, and stem-like leaves pointing to the ground.

- Let’s critique some of those tools she used because I hear in her writing some things that we’ve already learned about.

- When you get a group of people together and the parents that know that they need to change something. We’re constantly revising.

- It’s a passion now, I think for a lot of us, that we want to see it to fruition. Can be a shining star in our district. This model is what learning is supposed to be.

Read More

Created By

EL Education

Resource Downloads

Please log in to access the downloadable resources.

Related School