The GROW Academy of Shafter has continued to grow its student population, as well as its progress in the classroom.
The GROW Academy was one of the first schools in the area to return to in-person teaching during the pandemic, with a majority of the students preferring to return to the classroom, instead of the distance learning option.
According to Principal Brooke Webb, this decision was a good one for the students and staff as well.
"There is really no replacement for learning in the classroom, with your fellow students, being able to interact with them on a daily basis," Webb said.
The school has maintained its improvement that was made in the 2019 school session, which saw them increase English Language scores by 22 points and their Math scores by almost 10 points. Despite these increases, the school is addressing needs in those departments to get them at the state standards, which are a barometer for all schools in California.
Officials said their dedication to individualized learning and differentiated instruction is an important element in ensuring that they are meeting the needs of all of their learners with the ability to serve all of their students with a more personal focus.
They are also focusing on STEM related instruction, with having a small group instructor for their first through fifth graders. This allows them to work closely with the classroom teachers to ensure that the differentiated lesson plans are implemented. They are addressing their specific needs, helping in their academic, social and emotional growth.
Another highlight is the Edible Schoolyard, which gives the students the knowledge of where their food comes from and how it makes it to the dinner tables.
Students are busy helping maintaining their gardens, hoeing weeds, picking crops and planting seeds, everything that is required to make a productive garden. They also are learning what to do with the food once it is at the table. They are taught basic recipes, as well as having cooking time with their own families. The recipes come from different teachers and staff, and students' families' recipes that they have had for generations.