Carter In The Classroom

Focusing on unique things school districts are doing to help children succeed.
Wayne Carter

Brag About Your School: Coleman Elementary

The Colts of Coleman Elementary show care and concern for their campus, which is why, they say, their school is North Texas' best.

The Cleburne ISD campus opened its doors in 1952. They teach pre-K through fifth grade and have educated half of Cleburne over the years.

The students begin their day every morning with "Something Good": they take a few minutes a share what is happening in their lives that they’re excited about.

"That tells me immediately what type of mood they are in," said Brenda Stepp, a second-grade teacher. "I can see if they had a hard morning. I just make a mental note of each child as they are coming in."

The caring transfers to the academics as well.

Ashley Hamel teaches math, but her class starts with more than just numbers.

"Fourth grade is a lot of brand new content, so things they've been good at in the past are hard for them," Hamel said.

Her students were struggling with multiplication, and it was really getting them down. So, she asked the students to write a letter to themselves about how it made them feel.

She collected the letters, and then asked the students' past teachers to write back and offer encouragement. Hearing from their former kindergarten, first- or second-grade teachers immediately surprised and put smiles on the kids' faces.

"It makes me feel great," said student Payton Phillips. "It puts my self-confidence up a bit."

With that boost, the students tried again, working in teams tackling the multiplication and gaining success.

This type of act is common all throughout Coleman Elementary — a focus on the students' well-being is the bare minimum here.

"I've been able to be selective of staff when I interview them and choose the ones who I feel love kids. I would rather have someone who loves the kids and is not just a good teacher," said Principal Marla Roth.

Love first, lesson second. The philosophy earned the high distinctions from the state in science, academic growth and closing the learning gap. The school scored a "B" on their state report card.

The students have dry erase markers and are encouraged to write on their desks. They sit on stability balls if it’s easier for them to learn that way. The teachers stay very connected to parents as well.

Laura Crowell has three children at Coleman and says while at work, she rarely worries about them thanks to the school staff.

"I got text messages from them and emails, they'll say your son's been quiet today I did my best to love on him extra today," Crowell said.

The pride is there too. Coleman Elementary received more nominations than any other school in North Texas for Brag About Your School and spend just a few minutes here and you’ll understand they have much to brag about.

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