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Indian River County schools work to keep grades up

Posted at 5:18 PM, Aug 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-09 05:19:04-04

If you were an incoming first grader, it would be hard not to like Betty Barth’s classroom.

There’s a library with lots of new books.

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“First grade we’re really teaching them how to read," said Barth.

And there’s “flexible seating.”  Kids will have the options of standing, kneeling, or sitting while they learn.

“I have a lower table with the wiggle cushions also," said Barth.

It’s Barth’s first year at Vero Beach Elementary after several years in Sebastian.  She's grateful to The Learning Alliance of Indian River County to help her buy a lot of supplies.  Barth, who wanted to teach closer to home, never thought she’d be at VBE.

“There was a bad stigma around the school and the community and other schools like, ‘Oh you don’t want to work at VBE,'" siad Barth.

But Vero Beach is coming off a big year where it shed its “F” grade for a “C”.

“Over the summer we spent a lot of time vetting every single employee we were bringing into VBE.  We did intensive professional development," said Principal Cindy Emerson.

Vero Beach Elementary isn’t the only school seeing a positive turn around.  At Dodgertown Elementary, a new roof will fortify the outside, while teachers inside Tuesday focused on strengthening student learning.

“This is my old stomping ground.  Where I went to elementary school K through fifth grade," said teacher Jennifer DeGraeve.

Gains at Dodgertown last year took the school off the list of the lowest 300 state performers, but the new principal says you can’t rest on your laurels.

“We can’t just focus on one area they scored the lowest in our performed the lowest in," said principal Aretha Vernette.