Model School banner

Decherd Elementary School educational personnel proudly display a banner that reflects DES is among limited company in being one of 18 Model Schools throughout the nation.

Decherd Elementary is one of 18 Model Schools from across the United States that will share its transformational journey and best practices at the International Center for Leadership in Education’s 28th annual Model Schools Conference.

Plans initially were to hold the June 28 through July 1 event in Orlando, Florida.

However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the conference has been changed to a virtual format, and participants will share their ideas via computer.

Decherd Principal Chris Hawkersmith said he initially was going to fly to Orlando and probably would have had the opportunity to speak in front of several thousand fellow educators.

However, the pandemic has changed the format.

“I’ll still be speaking, but it will be slightly different,” he said, adding that he still welcomes the opportunity to share his ideas with fellow educators.

ICLE, whose mission is to challenge, inspire and equip today’s educators, selected Decherd Elementary on the grounds that it has made rapid and significant improvements in student achievement.

Hawkersmith said Decherd Elementary recognized the need for change, collectively established a vision, and its staff systematically worked together to create a learning environment that enables students of all abilities to thrive.

He said receiving the accolades is the icing on the cake to having such a successful program.

“Decherd Elementary is extremely proud and honored to be selected as a 2020 Model School,” Hawkersmith said. “It’s a huge honor. There’s only 18 selected in the United States, and that’s a very small percentage of all the schools out there. It’s quite significant to be one of them.”

The event provides a forum for thousands of passionate educators and leaders to share innovative ideas and best practices for developing future-focused classrooms.

Dr. Bill Daggett, ICLE founder and chairman, explained the path it takes to achieve Model School status.

 “Model Schools are doing the incredibly hard work of courageously leading the charge in the infinite game of education,” he said in a press release. “Each of the 2020 Model Schools exemplifies the strength of conviction that drives meaningful, long-term improvements and leaves our classrooms better than we found them.”

Selected annually based on a number of criteria, Model Schools must have substantive, data-validated growth year over year; evidence of a strong culture that puts students at the center of learning; and dedication to transforming instruction to meet the needs and demands of the future.

“We’re thrilled to be honoring the 2020 Model Schools for putting first a school culture that is future-focused and fosters strong personal relationships,” Daggett said. “These organizations truly represent courage in action.”