Elkhart Community Schools recently named JeNeva Adams the new principal of Mary Beck Elementary. She’ll be moving to Mary Beck from the assistant principal role at Elkhart Memorial High School. The Elkhart Truth asked her a few questions about the upcoming school year.
What’s it like to transition from high school to elementary school?
With about 500 students, Mary Beck is smaller than Elkhart Memorial, which has about 1,800 students. It’ll be different, Adams said, but kids are kids.
“I’m excited. It’s just smaller kids,” she said. “It’ll be an adjustment with the kindergarteners though. I’m excited about seeing their little faces.”
Adams said she’s looking at curriculum from a different perspective than she did at Memorial, since children are just starting to learn when they get to elementary school.
“In high school, they’ve already gotten all the information they need to move forward,” she said. “Where in elementary, you’re teaching them all the steps. You’re teaching them the ABCs and the 123s and the foundations of actually learning how to go about their educational career.”
What are you excited for this year?
Adams said her new situation at the elementary school will be exciting for her.
“I am excited about my students for the 2014-2015 school year having a very successful academic school year,” she said. “And getting to meet them all, and welcome them all in.”
What programs or extracurriculars are you excited to maintain?
“One thing we’re definitely going to be doing is have students demonstrate increased ownership of their own student data,” Adams said.
That means helping kids understand their test scores and how they’re progressing through ECS curriculum. They won’t just hear about their grades, they’ll be keeping track of what they’re learning next and what they’ve already learned.
“They’ll know and understand where they’re at through the year,” Adams said. “So they’ll know exactly what’s going on and what they’re learning and what they’re supposed to be learning.”
What do you want to improve at Mary Beck Elementary?
Adams wants to significantly raise Mary Beck’s language arts ISTEP scores.
“That’s a goal we’ve set, and I believe I have a school that’s going to do it,” she said.
Mary Beck Elementary had one of the lowest passing scores in the ECS district this year, with only 43.3 percent of students passing both the language arts and math exams.
“We’re going to focus on the curriculum that the district has given and continue to move forward with that,” Adams said.