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Nov. 1—NEWBERRY — On Thursday, October 19, State Superintendent Ellen Weaver visited Rueben and Newberry Elementary schools to congratulate students on their outstanding grades on the state report card and participate in the donation of 25 guitars.
Weaver observed second and third-grade classrooms and read "If You Give a Dog a Donut" by Laura Numeroff to a first-grade class.
"We just released the state report cards last week and Rueben just popped off the page at me," Weaver said. "They are making incredible progress in both their reading and math."
Following the pandemic, both state and nationwide, students have been struggling with math and reading. The significant boost in scores shows that the student's and teacher's hard work and dedication to education are showing and paying off.
"I think there is a three-legged stool of success. You have to have a great principal who is building a great culture of innovation and flexibility. You have to have a great curriculum and then you have to have great professional development to support the teachers and give them the tools that they need to teach that curriculum well," said Weaver.
According to Weaver, Rueben Elementary School has all three legs to support the success of students. She said that each one was well-spoken, attentive and engaged in learning. The first-grade class read the book's title to Weaver before she finished asking them if they knew what the book was called.
After reading to the students at Rueben Elementary, Weaver made her way to Newberry Elementary School to participate in the donation of 25 guitars. SoundBite, a South Carolina-based non-profit, presented the guitars to Newberry Elementary students to support the school's arts and music programs. As someone who played the piano starting at eight, Weaver is especially focused on music.
"That's something I'm particularly passionate about because arts support academic achievement. So the opportunity to provide these new guitars to these students is going to open a world of possibility to them," said Weaver.
Newberry Elementary School was chosen because of the district arts coordinator, who stepped up at the opportunity SoundBites provided to support students on their musical journey.
"I was amazed at the incredible attention span, responsiveness and achievement of the students there. You had teachers who had the resources and the support that they need to be effective and fully engaged in their learning," said Weaver. "They have a wonderful team here."