Stowell one of nine Missouri schools being recognized

A.D. Stowell Elementary School in Hannibal will receive the state's Exemplary Professional Learning Communities (PLC) Schools award later this month. The announcement was made Wednesday by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Stowell is one of nine schools statewide that will receive the award during the 2019 Powerful Learning Conference, scheduled January 28-29 at Tan-Tar-A Resort in Osage Beach.

Stowell Principal Kyle Gibbs said the award “is an opportunity to commend our outstanding teachers for the work they do every day.”

"The Board of Education and I are extremely proud of the many accomplishments that have occurred and continue to occur at A.D. Stowell Elementary," said Hannibal Superintendent Susan Johnson. "Although we are so proud of them, it is wonderful to have this recognition from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Our faculty and staff work very hard to provide the best to their Stowell students and it is such a reward to have both local and state recognition."

Johnson said school representatives will attend the conference to "share those practices that take place at Stowell which led to this recognition." According to the state, more than 1,600 educators are expected at the conference.

"It is exciting to recognize the school leaders and teachers who are passionate about the long-term success of their students," said Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Margie Vandeven in a media release. "They rise to the occasion every day to ensure that a future generation continues to move Missouri forward."

Stowell applied for the award last year. PLC state consultants verified that Stowell met the implementation and achievement requirements for exemplary PLC schools.

Johnson is not shocked by the recognition. "I knew that Stowell was implementing the PLC model with fidelity, but I was pleasantly surprised that the state also recognized these effective practices," she said.

Gibbs said he was not surprised, because this is the most talented group of educators with which he has worked. "Since coming to Stowell four years ago, they have selflessly worked collaboratively to move from a good school to a truly great school," he said.

The process that has made Stowell an award-winning school did not happen overnight.

"Three years ago staff members joined together to embark on the PLC journey to move A.D. Stowell Elementary from 'good' to 'great,'" Johnson said.

As various goals were achieved, benefits were seen both in the school's culture and academic performance.

"As a school, we have witnessed growth academically, behaviorally and socially for all our students," Johnson said. "Students are rising to meet our increased expectations and are successful with increased rigor of our instruction. Students are taking ownership of their learning, setting goals and serving as leaders to continually improve our school."

Gibbs said that the Stowell staff members’ focus on the needs of the "whole child" helped it to achieve exemplary PLC status.

"We recognize that we have to meet emotional, academic and physical needs of all students to help them be successful," he said.