Leaders at one East Tennessee school recognized a need in their students, and managed to meet it by taking advantage of some untapped assets inside their own building.
Every day starts the same way at Glenwood Elementary. All students from first grade through fourth have a daily hour-long math class, first thing in the morning.
That kind of intensive instruction has a proven track record for the school. The school had successfully instituted a similar plan for reading, so they decided to transition the plan for math.
This time around, children are grouped by assessment levels, with at least two teachers watching over.
It's a high, yet rare level of supervision the school makes possible by pulling all teachers into the traditional classroom.
"In each classroom, there's an assistant that helps with math, with our small group math," said first grade teacher Kristi Boruff. "Our librarian, PE teacher, our art teacher, music teacher-- they're all engaged in a particular classroom that they're assigned to."
School leaders say they realized their students needed more hands-on, small group instruction, but they also knew the school district couldn't afford to hire more teachers or assistants.
So, they crafted the master schedule in a way that allowed specialty teachers to lend support to their traditional counterparts.
It's paying off. A letter from the state confirms Glenwood is nominated as a National Blue Ribbon school, one of the biggest honors a school can receive.
Less than 10 schools in the state were nominated for a Blue Ribbon award. Glenwood will find out if they won in the coming weeks.