Top WNY Elementary School Embraces Love of Learning

June 11, 2014 Updated Jun 11, 2014 at 8:24 AM EDT

By Elizabeth Carey

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June 11, 2014 Updated Jun 11, 2014 at 8:24 AM EDT

Business First is out with its much anticipated elementary school rankings today.

We paid a visit to the number one elementary school in all of Western New York to find out its secret to success.

Ledgeview Elementary School, in Clarence, moved up to first place from fourth last year. In the past eight years, Business First researchers say Ledgeview has never ranked lower than eighth place.

Take a walk through Ledgeview and you can't help but notice that children are engaged in their work. Both principal Keith Kuwik and teachers agree that a balanced program leads to academic success.

"There's a strong love of literacy and learning at Ledgeview," said third grade teacher Melissa Graham. "Reading is very important. The bulk of our day is spent on ELA, reading and writing."

"We have a hands on math program where try to have a longer math period daily so that kids really can develop that numeracy," Kuwik added. "We balance that with a very strong co-curricular program with two hours of phys ed every week, with three to four music classes a week for our older students."

Both agree that the atmosphere at the school is conducive to learning, while also allowing students to enjoy themselves. And, they say, that doesn't change during New York State testing.

"We try to keep everything low key, not stressed," Graham said. "It's an elementary school so they should be happy and joyful. We try to keep it that way and when testing comes around, we don't make a big deal of that. We just encourage kids to do their best all of the time."

Yet Ledgeview does score well on the state testing. The Business First elementary school ratings are based on four years of NYS test data for third and fourth graders.

Kuwik says he wants his student body to take the skills from Ledgeview to middle school and beyond. That's why he encourages them to embrace a love of learning, for life.

"Our goal, really, is to develop a child that is well-rounded, that is balanced and really wants to learn and wants to be the best that he or she can be moving forward," he said. "That's our goal. We want to develop life long learners, kids who love learning, who want to learn, want to grow and are happy, responsible citizens."

You can get complete rankings for all 276 elementary schools in WNY at: http://www.bizjournals.com/buffalo/news/2014/06/10/profiles-of-western-new-yorks-elementary-schools.html

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