Academic achievement – it takes a village

Above is group of students from Moon Lake Elementary School in Mentone.

The students of Moon Lake Elementary School are making their mark on the world at an early age. The students at MLE were awarded an “A” through the state issued test all students at all schools are required to take.

This test is given in the fall and then again in the spring. The “A” is not easily attained, and MLE was the only school in all of DeKalb County to receive a mark at this level. The test for elementary students is based on achievement, academic growth and attendance. This year marked the second year in a row that MLE received an “A.”

It was the goal of Mrs. Lance, principal of MLE, to receive the states top grade. She has worked in the field of education for over 20 years and has served as principal of MLE for four of those years.

“The first time my eyes were opened to illiteracy was when I was in the fifth grade and another student in the class was not able to read,” said Lance. “I was shocked, that made an impression on me that I have never forgotten.”

Mrs. Lance said it is a group effort, everyone from the school nurse to the secretary to the community works diligently to assist the students. Local residents who are retired teachers, and other professionals, volunteer one day a week to assist in one-on-one reading time.

Each child is individually evaluated and a path for success is designed for that child. The staff of MLE meet weekly to discuss the program for achievement and make adjustments to the plan as needed.

Lance praises the parents for their role, stating that the parents usually raise around $10,000 annually to help provide resources and activities for the students. She said the role parents perform outside of school is vital.

“We are also appreciative of Mentone Educational Resources Foundation (MERF),” said Lance. They provide the school with an Art/Music teacher weekly to work with our students. MERF also provides free tutoring, scholarships for students that need to attend our After School program and field trips.

Reading is not the only focus at MLE, Mrs. Lance and her staff promote “hands-on” learning. “I don’t want the students to just read in a book about how plants grow,” said Lance. “We have them grow a garden so they can actually see it happen as they read about it.”

The library is provided by the community and local churches. It takes a village to teach a child.

The school's motto is:

“Learners today, leaders tomorrow.

— Marla Ballard’s Who's Who appears in the Times-Journal Thursday editions.

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