Mansfield ISD Magazine Spring 2017 - Page 24

Mastering Reading by Increasing Vocabulary T hrough the hallways of Mary Jo Sheppard Elementary School, young learners can be heard shouting out some pretty advanced vocabulary words. “Algorithm! Distinguish! Fiction!” the second-graders said as the teacher gave a definition of each term. The elementary school, like many others across the district, is focusing on building vocabulary to strengthen reading skills. The emphasis on vocabulary lines up with Mansfield ISD’s Vision 2020 strategic plan, which states that students will read on level or higher by the beginning of third grade and will remain on level or higher as an MISD student. A Small Team of Big Contributors Barker (right) said his small crew can typically move an entire campus in or out in approximately three days and mail is usually delivered the next day. A team consisting of only 10 people make all the deliveries and pickups to and from the 43 campuses and several department buildings within Mansfield ISD. Their services can sometimes go unnoticed; but when the devoted employees don’t do their jobs, everyone feels the effects. “We believe that if the students master their academic vocabulary, they will be reading on grade level, especially our second-graders,” said Dr. Lori Ayala, assistant principal of Sheppard Elementary School. “We distribute and collect mail, food and supplies, salvage and surplus, furniture, records, etc.,” said Brad Barker, MISD’s warehouse supervisor. “When schools move in or out of a facility, we’re the ones who move all of their assets too.” Teachers have started using several teaching techniques, like games and flipbooks, to make vocabulary fun and memorable. And the best part: student progress has dramatically increased. The workers in the distribution center work in all types of weather conditions. Even though the conditions can be a bit unfavorable at times, Barker said he loves his crew, and they love their jobs. “Everyone has met their goals so far,” Ayala continued. “Our goal at the beginning of the year was to pass with 70 percent. We’ve met that goal and went beyond that.” “I have a great crew. I rely on them, and they rely on me,” Barker continued. “I don’t have a big turnover. Most of my guys have been here between three to 15 years. Without them, the district wouldn’t run as efficiently.” The distribution workers are focused on not wasting money. Barker said that all collected materials are either recycled, put into surplus or auctioned away. Putting items into surplus is one of the new ideas Barker was able to bring to the district. Along with surplus, he said he loves figuring out what the district needs in terms of supplies and being able to be of service to others. “We just love what we do,” he added. No time is wasted as a teacher reviews vocabulary in the hallway. 22 Mansfield School & Family