From: Bossier Press-Tribune
January 6, 2012

Teachers attend, learn from Landmark School in Boston

Eight elementary school teachers recently visited the birthplace of the American Revolution to start their own educational revolution.

Educators from Curtis Elementary, Legacy Elementary and Meadowview Elementary attended a weeklong training session at the world-renowned Landmark School in Boston, MA.

A-Kids-Choice Foundation, established by Denise Bankston, paid for all eight educators to attend the session.

Now these teachers are reaching out to their fellow educators in hopes of spreading the knowledge and success gained from a local non-profit organization.

Although the Landmark School is dedicated specifically for children with language-based disabilities, the Bossier educators discovered that the methods and principles used there are also applicable to improving the education of all students.

Samantha Bailey, a first grade teacher at Meadowview Elementary, said she has implemented several strategies in her classroom since visiting the Landmark School in July, including better organization in the classroom itself and more small group activities.

It’s all about learning strategies,” Bailey said.  “We focus on the students as individuals at their own level and provide them opportunities for success.”

The eight educators collaborated with other teachers Wednesday morning during the first of many teacher in-services on what they learned at the Landmark School.  Ashley Grantham, a fifth grade teacher at Meadowview Elementary, said the goal of the first group to Boston is to share as much knowledge as they can to provide all students with a better educational surrounding.

We are lighting the fire and passing the torch,” Grantham said.  “We want to be a domino effect so it will just keep growing and growing.”

“Through A-Kids-Choice Foundation, Meadowview Elementary has also received $20,000 to purchase and incorporate new interactive technology methods into their classrooms.  The school received a $10,000 check prior to the Christmas break, but Barrett was surprised with the second $10,000 check Wednesday morning, delivered by Bankston herself.

According to Barrett the money couldn’t come at a better time.  “This is tremendous, “ Barrett said.  “We have great, hard working families, but this is a hard time for everyone right now.”

Barrett said Meadowview decided not to pursue traditional fundraising methods this year simply because they just don’t generate enough profit.

“We are careful of what we as our families to provide for the students, Barrett said, “They support the students academically, but what we lack is funding for some of the technology that we really need.”

Along with the $20,000 donation from A-Kids-Choice, Meadowview also received 10 iPads and $6,000 from Bossier Parish Police Jurors Brad Cummings and Barry Butler to fund Meadowview’s “Bird’s Eye View,” a program that integrates science and social studies with reading and math at all grade levels.

Barrett said A-Kids-Choice Foundation is truly what their philosophy at Meadowview Elementary is all about.

“We are taking care of our children, one family at a time, Barrett said.

Amanda Crane