Our School is helping all students develop the World Class Skills of the Profile of the South Carolina Graduate through our creative approach to teaching and learning. Established in 1984, the mission of Ashley River Creative Arts Elementary School is to provide all students with the opportunity to reach their maximum potential through an arts integrated academic curriculum. Ashley River is a leader in arts integration, and is helping students develop the world class skills of the Profile of the SC graduate by teaching the South Carolina College and Career Ready standards in all areas of the academic curriculum, as well as the SC College and Career Ready Standards for Visual and Performing Arts Proficiency. This year we have been working hard to make sure all of our students are reading on grade level by 5th grade by the year 2027. Using MAP and iReady data, we put interventions in place for those students who were not showing growth and who were not performing to grade level standard. We provided reading intervention for students who qualified, using a part time interventionist, as well as by differentiating instruction in the classroom. We were fortunate to have a math interventionist this year that we purchased using Elementary and Secondary Schools Emergency Relief funds.
The students at Ashley River are taught critical thinking and problem solving skills while working in collaborative groups to create projects, solve problems, and demonstrate understanding. Through the arts, students are exposed to a variety of cultures and experiences integrated throughout the curriculum which create an environment of learning, creating, and self-expression. Teachers write units of study that incorporate all of the disciplines and use the arts as an equalizer for all children. Students are instructed in all academic areas, as well as visual arts, drama, music, media arts, cultural arts, physical education, violin, and dance. We added a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) studio in the fall of 2019, which was funded through DAP grant funds and donations from our PTA. In our STEAM Studio, our 21st Century Learners are more engaged in the creative process through designing projects, iterating and reiterating ideas, all while collaborating with others. Our arts specialists plan with the grade level teachers to incorporate academic standards into their visual and performing arts lessons. We were able to provide two artist-in- residency programs this year, for each grade level, in which visiting artists came to the school and worked with each class on a project incorporating the arts with the academic focus of the week. The artists took students through the creative process and the students were able to showcase their product (a dance, a work of art, a song, etc.) at the end of the week-long residency.
Each day at Ashley River begins with the morning news show, WUNI News. The show is produced and anchored by fourth and fifth grade students, enhancing their skills in communication, information, media and technological skills. We continued to offer club opportunities in the afternoons for fourth and fifth grade students this year. During club time, students were given the opportunity to work with students from other classes in one of the following: Golf/PE Club, Robotics, Chorus, Visual Art, Dance Troupe, Drama Troupe, Gardening and WUNI News.
Ashley River teachers strive to improve and refine our program through staff development, collaborative planning, and data-driven decision making. Teachers use digital content and ability grouping to differentiate instruction in order to meet the needs of all learners. Our teachers write grants to enhance our program, and we continue to be an Arts in the Basic Curriculum and an Engaging Creative Minds site. This year, we were invited to become an ABC Lab School, in order to share our teaching methods and strategies with other arts schools. Our PTA is a strong partner in helping to support these grants, which brings new and innovative ideas to our core instructional programs.
Working as a team with school, community, and parents, we will continue to achieve and create an excellent learning environment for students.
Michelle Conner, Principal
Tina Shaw, SIC Chairperson