School Spotlight: Bradford Academy – Elementary School

Bradford Academy:

Students Served: 1500+
Grades Served: Pre-K – 12th Grade
Year Established:  2003
Elementary Principal: Justin Hauser
Elementary Vice Principal: Sara Fields

Board Members:

Hriday Prasad
Mark Baughman
Dylan Luna
Lee Caldwell
Theresa Vaughn


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Part I: Bradford Elementary School

In this special three-part series, Bradford Academy is being featured as the May/June school spotlight story. Each article part will focus on initiatives and achievements made primarily by the specified Bradford school, as well as the school in its entirety.

This year has symbolized a strong year for Bradford Academy, specifically in the elementary. Bradford Academy has risen to the occasion, and their strength as a team has them shining above other neighborhood elementary schools in the area. From the leadership to teachers and different departments throughout their buildings, Bradford Academy has managed to create a cohesive unit.

“We have brought a lot of positive changes to our school,” explained Sara Fields, Elementary Vice Principal. “These changes are already starting to show and will continue to show in the upcoming school years.”

The top priority has always remained the same – the students. It is clearly evident that Bradford’s students drive forth positive changes, and inspires those at Bradford to be who they are and do what they do! At the elementary level, building a sense of “family” is crucial. Because Bradford Academy knows and acknowledges this, Bradford strives to create positive relationships with everyone who steps through their doors. Staff within the elementary are continually receiving compliments from parents for the family-like atmosphere that has been created. This is why families choose Bradford Academy. The family-oriented staff creates a caring and positive environment that is conducive to learning.

Building Community
Bradford Academy works to build a sense of community within their own school through creating greater relationships and trust with one another. Not only has Bradford continued to strengthen the relationships with their staff members, but they also value building positive relationships with their students and families. Bradford’s elementary school has implemented new parent nights, Parent University, and offers Title I Dinners. On those nights, parents are invited into the building, have dinner, and learn about the different resources and events that are taking place in the school.

Bradford Elementary has also implemented after school team building activities. It allows them the opportunity to get to know each other outside of work and build relationships and friendships that can be carried over into school. This not only creates a comfortable environment for staff but also influences community amongst the students.

One of the biggest accomplishments Bradford Academy has experienced this year has been overcoming difficult situations. Not too long ago, Bradford Academy was named a priority school by the state. Immediately, the leadership team began brainstorming changes that needed to be made in order to get Bradford off the list. The staff at Bradford was nothing short of amazing when being told about the changes being made, and they showed perseverance and persistence in their teaching.

The students at Bradford have also shown resiliency, as it relates to their new curriculum. The curriculum is rigorous, but the students strive for excellence every day. Through daily opportunities, administration make varies visits to classrooms, where students are constantly participating and intrigued by the instruction. The growth students have made due to the new curriculum is surreal.

“We are already seeing improvements in less than a year,” explained Fields, “I can only imagine how this growth will improve in years to come.” Bradford students actively step out of their comfort zones and enjoy learning about different cultures, different times in history, etc. “Their curiosity has blossomed, which leads to a whole new way of learning,” expressed Fields.

Preparing for College
Bradford Academy’s mission statement states, “Bradford Academy strives to instill the qualities of character, excellence, creativity, and service into our students as they become prepared, global leaders.” Bradford does a phenomenal job of preparing students for college by living up to their mission statement. Teachers incorporate the qualities of character, excellence, creativity, and service into their lessons, as well as provide their students with hands-on learning experiences. Lessons are tailored to meet the needs of each student, as they know every child learns differently. Students are engaged at Bradford, which enables them to take ownership of their learning.

Bradford implements a Character Education Program in which students focus on a specific trait each month. Students are nominated and recognized by grade level for every trait, showcasing that they’ve gone above and beyond in leading that trait by example.

Excellence is the expectation held at Bradford. Teachers prepare excellent and meaningful lessons that students can relate to while students produce excellent results. Through data-driven instruction, Bradford’s educational team works together to see how they can best fit the needs of each student. Teachers also hold individual conferences with their students and set personal goals with them. Bradford students see the bigger picture and work towards their goal; the big goal being college.

Every student is unique and that is what makes them special. Teachers encourage their students to think outside the box and allow freedom in their learning. Some teachers have started using flexible seating in their classrooms to allow for more creativity in their learning. Students excel when they feel that they are allowed to express themselves creatively. Encouraging creativity prepares students for college courses, discussions, presentations, student habits, and career interest.

At Bradford, students contribute to a variety of academic service learning projects as well as service projects for those in need. Some of the projects that Bradford students have participated in are: make cards for kids at the hospital, cards for veterans, coat drives, food drives, Jump Rope For Heart, benefit dinners and more. Projects like these hit home for some kids. Service is a great quality to learn in preparation for the real world.

#BradfordStrong is often said to represent who they are and to remember that together, they can do anything. “It is refreshing to know that I come to work every day to my home away from home,” said Elementary Principal, Justin Hauser. “As a staff, we get together for social events and enjoy team bonding outside of work. It is important to build positive relationships as adults so that we can act as positive models to our students.” It is rewarding to watch Bradford families gravitate to the school and feel that connection. Bradford has a welcoming atmosphere where teachers love to learn, students feel happy, and parents are proud. Bradford’s leaders and staff are truly proud of what Bradford has become. As a student-driven school, Bradford strives as a team to ensure that students become the best they can be! Teachers go above and beyond every day, just to make one child feel special.


[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=”20″]“I am proud of the relationships we build with our students,” Hauser adds. “In the end, it’s about the kids. I am proud that each day, my staff asks themselves how they can make a difference today. I am proud to be Bradford Strong!” [/perfectpullquote]


How Bradford educators motivate their students to learn…

Brittany-Murawski-Bradford-elementary-school-teacherBrittany Murawski, Kindergarten teacher at Bradford Academy

What keeps your students aiming for success in the classroom?

My students keep aiming for success in the classroom for a couple reasons. First and foremost, my students are beginning to realize the importance of school and how certain skills will help them be successful in later grades. 

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Katelyn Mathews – 5th Grade Teacher

I love to motivate my students daily during our school day. I like to use positive reinforcement strategies during our lessons. For instance, we use ClassDojo in our class which motivates my students to participate on a daily basis, students are able to eat lunch with me based on their behavior, and I like to assign classroom jobs. Also, I like to motivate my students to read by having a class library that pertains to their interests. I notice that a lot of my students enjoy DEAR time when they have the option to pick a book they enjoy. These are just a few ways I like to motivate my students in our classroom at Bradford Academy.

Amanda-Truitt-Bradford-elementary-school-teacherAmanda Truitt – 2nd Grade Teacher

I motivate students to learn by providing engaging and hands-on activities. I use interactive games for my students to play to learn and comprehend the content being taught. I also motivate my students with incentives by using ClassDojo, table points, and a treasure jar system.

Kelsey-Pavelich-Bradford-elementary-school-teacherKelsey Pavelich – 2nd Grade Teacher

When motivating my students to learn, I use both incentives and activities that interest them. Many of my students love to sing and dance, so we play videos and create songs that go along with our daily learning objectives. Additionally, I implement incentives for students who finish early, such as peer-to-peer coaching, and whole-class incentives like periodic dance breaks.