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School Improvement Plan Update: Cushing

Cushing Students

Caption: The Cushing School Chorus Performing at the Scituate Performing Arts Center, under the direction of Peter Mundt. 

Why do we have a Cushing School Improvement Plan?

  • Improve student academic achievement and school culture.
  • Identify academic and priority goals along with strategies for each school. 
  • Ensure alignment with district goals and consistent practices across elementary schools.

Cushing School Improvement Plan Goals, 2022-2023

Pillar 1: Culture of Collaboration and Personalization

Goal: By June 2023, the Cushing Community will meet the diverse needs of all students (socially, emotionally, and academically) and staff by focusing on creating a safe and welcoming environment where everyone feels comfortable, valued, and included as equal members of the learning community.

Pillar 2: Culture of Excellence

Goal: By June 2023, the Cushing Community will actively cultivate a culture of equity and excellence by creating and sustaining curriculum and instructional practices that lead to high-quality learning for each and every student. We will build the capacity of our educators and students to meet challenges and opportunities of learning and teaching in a dynamic and evolving environment. 

Cushing Elementary School Council, 2022-2023

  • Ellen Davis, Art Teacher
  • Kate Martin, Fourth Grade Teacher
  • Julie Barron, Parent Representative
  • Suzanne O’Brien, Parent Representative
  • Pat Keeley, Community Representative
  • Nicole Brandolini, School Committee Rep
  • Heather O’Toole, Second Grade Teacher
  • Natalie Waggener, Parent Representative
  • Scott Williams, Principal 


Caption: Cushing students at our fall “This Is Our House” Assembly with Mr. Adams!

Cushing School Data

The elementary schools in Scituate use multiple measures to closely monitor the growth of each individual student. For example, the graphic below shows how quick tools are used to collect information about the acquisition of reading skills.

What is the most recent data used to make instructional decisions?

  • Benchmark Assessments
  • Holistic Student Assessment (HSA)
  • MCAS

ELA Measures


This computer based assessment is administered throughout the year. The STAR reading tool assesses a student’s ability to gain meaning from a text. The computer adaptive program is about 34 questions that takes approximately thirty minutes to complete. Below is the data that was collected at the beginning of the year as well as the most recent grade level data at Cushing:


DIBELS, Dynamic Indicators of Basic Literacy Skills

DIBELS is a set of short (one minute) assessments that are used with all students in grades K-4 three times a year. The information collects the basic skills needed to be an effective reader. The skill tested varies by the grade level. If a student does not reach the grade level benchmark during an administration window, their progress is monitored to ensure growth. Below is the Cushing Dibels Reading Assessment: 


Math Measure

Universal Number Sense Screener

Three times each year students in kindergarten to grade five participate in a math screening tool. The screeners are quick assessments that help to identify skills and concepts that indicate readiness for grade level content, as well as identify students who would benefit from additional support. Each interview is conducted between an individual student and an educator from Cushing. This information will be collected again in January and June.


Social Emotional Measure

Holistic Student Assessment (PEAR)

Students in grades 3-5 participate in the HSA survey. This information will help staff tailor teaching and supports for our student body as well as identify each student’s unique strengths and needs.


Cushing MCAS SPRING 2022 Math

Grades 3-5 Average Student Growth


Cushing MCAS SPRING 2022 ELA

Grades 3-5 Average Student Growth


Focus Areas for Growth

  • Every student will meet or exceed grade level expectations
  • Elementary alignment in curriculum and school systems
  • Continued support for social emotional learning

What Now?

  • Core Curriculum Implementation - My View Reading Resource, ST Math, Bridges Math Intervention
  • Data driven small group intervention and supports 
  • Social/Emotional Learning (HSA, PEAR survey results)

Looking for ideas at home?

  • Students benefit from making writing a regular part of their routine. Providing your student with a journal and encouraging them to take a few minutes each day to journal will increase their stamina with writing.
  • Reading with your student and to your student is the best way to practice the skills they are learning each day.
  • Lexia is a wonderful computer program. Students have access to this program at home and in school. If you are not sure how to log your student into the program, please reach out to their teacher.
  • ST Math is a new computer program for Cushing School. This program is designed to increase a student's understanding of challenging math concepts by solving high level problems that require the use of critical thinking skills. It is recommended that all students use the program at home and at school.

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