Thank you Ms. Curtis... Arcado has great teachers!

Real Estate Agent with Century 21 Results Realty

My oldest son is getting ready to graduate Kindergarten.  And he has been loving it.  Much of that credit needs to go to his teacher, Ms. Curtis, at Arcado Elementary School in Lilburn, GA...

The class that he is in is a 'multi-age' class that includes Kindergartners and First Graders.  It is called a CLE class, or Continuous Learning Environment.  And for my son, it has been a marvelous experience.  Each Kindergartner is paired up with a First Grader.  They work as a team, with the First Grader mentoring the Kindergarten student.

Ms. Curtis with Jackson

Ms. Curtis has said that because half of the students were in the same class the previous year (the Kindergarten student complete First Grade in the same class), they are able to teach the new students how everything in the class works... and it really works...  It is like chaos crossed with military precision.  All of the kids know their roles, and while they might be all over the place during play time, when Ms. Curtis quietly calls them to order, they all go where they should be, and do whatever is scheduled to come next...

But the format of the CLE class is only part of it...  Ms. Curtis is just a great teacher.  She really cares for the kids, and each time we have been there, we have seen previous students rushing over to say hi to her... and we have spent a lot of time in the class.  Which brings us to another reason that we have enjoyed having Ms. Curtis as a teacher.  Garrett's younger brother has been welcomed in the class with open arms... and there are several younger siblings that have visited the class and received the same welcome.

In fact, at activities like Arcado Night at local restaurants, Jackson rushes to see Ms. Curtis.  And she is always eager to see him too.  He is looking forward to Kindergarten so that he can be in Ms. Curtis' class... just like his big brother.

Communications have been excellent as well.  And one of the things we look forward to as a family is the regular 'photo-shows' Ms. Curtis produces for the parents.  She shoots a lot of pictures in class and they are assembled in photo-shows.  Garrett loves pointing out all of his classmates and telling us everything that happened (oddly, he doesn't remember all of that 'stuff' when we try to talk about it during dinner ;^ ).  The photo-shows and newsletters help to keep us connected between our visits to the class.

But results are where it counts in scholastic performance.  And Garrett is excelling in class.  Despite not quite being done with Kindergarten (there are a few more days of class), he is almost at the levels required to complete First Grade in reading and math.  And he loves going to school.  He loves reading and working on his math problems.  He loves taking the tests on his reading and math studies.

To me, THAT is the measure of a teacher.  Ms. Curtis is not just providing the tools and knowledge to allow my child to learn, she is helping to instill the desire to learn (I think he gets some of it at home, too...  ;^ )

One of the things that makes me very happy... Garrett will be with Ms. Curtis next year as well.  Instead of being the 'co-Pilot', and learning from his partner, he will be a 'Pilot' and helping a new Kindergartner learn the ropes.

Arcado ranks quite well in comparison to other Gwinnett County Elementary Schools.  Gwinnett County has one of the best schools systems in the state...  Ms. Curtis is in good company.

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Bruce Kunz
C21 Solid Gold Realty, Brick, NJ, 732-920-2100 - Howell, NJ
REALTOR®, Brick & Howell NJ Homes for Sale

Lane, This is a great story. I'm not familiar with the mixed level classes, but the idea certainly makes sense. It's what we do (in most cases) in adult life - learning from those who have there and expanding on it. While Ms. Curtis deserves a lot of the credit, your involvement is huge in making the whole thing work as well. Congratulations on a successful experience.

May 18, 2010 05:15 AM #1
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

I could not handle that many kids that young.  I have trouble with my own.  You live in a nice part of the country. 

May 18, 2010 07:11 AM #2
Patsy Overton
Patsy Overton Interiors, Atlanta, Georgia - Duluth, GA

Lane, FYI, I just clicked on your Twitter link to follow you.  The icon in your signature seems to be linked with FB, and it pulled up that page instead.  Thought you'd like to know.

May 18, 2010 07:44 AM #3
Terri Onigkeit
Keller Williams of Northern Colorado - Fort Collins, CO

What a fantastic idea. Kids love to feel important and help. They learn better when they are busy. How did the first graders do with their new work?

May 19, 2010 02:17 AM #4
Lane Bailey
Century 21 Results Realty - Suwanee, GA
Realtor & Car Guy

Patsy - Thank you.  I think I have that taken care of now... 

Thank you all.  Ms. Curtis is a great teacher and we have loved having our son in her class... we are looking forward to the next year, as well as hoping that Jackson gets to be in her class when it is her turn. 

Terri - The 1st Graders seem to be more advanced than some of the other classes.  Part of that has to go to Ms. Curtis.  She pushes the kids to always do a little better... even if that means that they are ahead of the class.  I think part of it is the system she works under... there is no better way to learn something than to teach it to someone else.

May 20, 2010 04:02 AM #5
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