Mountain Park Elementary opened its doors in 1973. We are truly a neighborhood school where families contribute to our accomplishments and culture. A few of our staff and many of our parents were MPE students. Our school is one of the reasons many choose to remain in or return to our community. There is tremendous pride in being a Mountain Park Mustang. Our school has been recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School in 2003 and 2013!
Our students come from neighborhoods of single family and town homes. Approximately 7% of our students are eligible for free or reduced priced meals. 15% of our students are identified as special needs and 15% are identified as gifted learners. Over the past several years, our student population has become slightly more diverse with 79% Caucasian, 6% African American, 7% Hispanic and 4% Asian students. 4% of our students are served in the ESOL program.
Mountain Park's mission statement is Learn to Think! Think to Learn! This mission guides our work. In addition to exemplary performance on both normed and criterion referenced tests, our students and school have been recognized for accomplishments in other areas e.g.: Georgia Young Author's Competition, Fulton Technology Competition, Fulton County Spelling Bee, PTA Reflections, Evergreen School, Adopt-A-Stream and Energy Star awards. Staff members have been recognized as the Georgia Gifted Teacher of the Year and Fulton County Counselor of the Year. Teachers have received numerous grants and have been selected for leadership opportunities in the district.
We are proud to be a part of the AK12DC (Atlanta K-12 Design Challenge), a consortium of public and private schools working to incorporate design thinking in schools. We have been fortunate to be part of this initiative alongside the Lovett School and The Westminster Schools, among others. This work allows us to engage teachers and students in design thinking, use this innovative strategy to solve problems in our school and engage students in higher order thinking through the design thinking cycle. We also have the opportunity to be supported by Scott Sanchez, a professor at the Stanford dSchool who meets with our team and administration regularly. The Dobbs Foundation is funding a case study of Mountain Park and our work with design thinking. Last year we were featured in a video describing our work https://vimeo.com/230792463
Here is another video from 2016, which illustrates our design thinking work: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7t2-v3pUBY&t=11s
Aligned with our mission statement of "Learn to Think, Think to Learn", it is our goal to foster students who love to learn and are critical thinkers. Through our implementation of the Schoolwide Enrichment Model (SEM), based on the work of Joseph Renzulli, students are challenged to go beyond the Common Core Curriculum and become navigators of their own learning. The Schoolwide Enrichment Model's $20,000+ budget is completely funded by parent donations and enables us to bring gifted pedagogy to all students.
Differentiated instruction at all levels enables students with learning challenges to thrive as well as provides challenge for those working above grade-level. Teacher teams operate as Professional Learning Communities (PLCs), freely sharing best practices, analyzing student work and looking at data to enhance and promote learning for all students. At Mountain Park we employ the Advanced Content Model for Talented and Gifted instruction. Students who attend the TAG program go to that class for 50 minute science and social studies classes each day as opposed to a one day pull-out (Resource model) where they miss regular class instruction.
Our school community consists of high-achieving students, dedicated staff committed to continuous improvement, involved parents and business partners who support a rigorous learning environment. We are invested in supporting the whole child. Visitors often comment about our warm and inviting atmosphere. Teachers and staff truly care about students and one another, creating a nurturing and collaborative environment while maintaining high expectations for all. We work as a team.
Along with encouraging critical thinking, we support activities that foster student leadership such as Student Council, Interact Club, Drama Club, Art Club, Safety Patrols and WMPE, our student produced daily news show. Student Council utilizes design thinking and an empathy-based process to solve problems for students. Our Interact Club sponsors monthly service projects, including Relay for Life, Jar Wars for Cystic Fibrosis, Angel Tree Project (gifts for senior citizens) and Reverse Trick-or-Treating at a nursing home, among others.
Our teaching team is committed to continuous improvement. We volunteered to be one of the first schools in our district to undergo a School Quality Review by Cambridge Education America. We embraced feedback from this process to improve learning. This includes ongoing professional development, peer workshops, peer observations and collaboration with teachers outside of our school. Teachers believe that all of our students can succeed and are deeply invested in ensuring that they do.
Our highly involved parents are an integral part of our team, supporting our students and staff. We consistently maintain 100% PTA membership. Parent and community volunteers are visible daily: in the classrooms, media center, cafeteria, serving as academic assistants and mystery readers, working with our Schoolwide Enrichment Model, as well as producing an annual parent/teacher led drama production for over 275 students. Our generous parent support provides SEM speakers, experiences and materials, Cultural Arts performances, Field Day, and technology/facility enhancements.