At Webster, students are setting goals for themselves regarding their monthly progress in reading fluency and math facts. To be in the 'Cougar Zone', students must match the MPS benchmarks of proficiency for math facts, and attain 30-40 points above the MPS benchmarks at each grade level in reading fluency. Students chart their own progress and continue setting higher goals through the year as they become better readers and mathematicians. This has become a very motivational program for students at Webster. They know their goals and are excited about their academic growth and success. When students attain the 'Cougar Zone', they are recognized on the morning announcements, and are presented with a Cougar Zone t-shirt by the principal.
The Story of the Bell Tower
The Webster Bell
project began during the summer of 1995. While
reading the history of Webster it was discovered that the original
Webster School, built in 1910, had a bell. When the school burned and
was rebuilt on Sirrine Street the bell was moved to the new location.
The current Webster School was built in 1959 and for some reason the
bell remained at the Sirrine site that is now Franklin Elementary.
Dr. Finley met with the Franklin Principal with the plan of
"bringing home the Webster Bell." Franklin did not want to release
the bell. In October of that year a 12-minute video was produced for
the Webster staff to gain support for the return of our bell.
Franklin officials declined to return the bell as they had grown
fond of it.
It was decided that if Webster could not have the original bell, a new
one would be purchased; a bigger and better Webster Bell. The original
bell didn't amount to much. It was a small steel bell common with
schools built around the turn of the century.
A call was placed to the U.S. Naval Ship Yard to explore the Possibility of a "ship's bell". This did not pan out. Several other calls led Dr. Finley to the Verdin Bell Co. in Cincinnati, Oh. A refurbished bell that had been cast in St. Louis in 1929 was procured. The cost was $10,400.00! Verdin was to hold this bell until the money to pay for it was raised.
Funds were pursued for the next
seven years. Two years into the project it was not going well and efforts were about to be surrendered when an unexpected donation occurred. Mr. Reid Tollman, a very successful attorney, stopped by the principal's office one evening. He had heard about the bell project. Mr. Tollman had graduated from sixth grade at Webster and thought the bell project was a good idea. He handed over a check for five-hundred dollars. This gave new life to the Webster Bell project. Several other large donations followed, one being from TRW Corp. right here in Mesa. Our student council and PTO both made significant contributions. The Webster staff also contributed to the project. Students bringing in small change from home resulted in raising a million coins for the bell fund.
By the fall of 2001, it was evident we were going to make it and the bell was officially placed on order. Construction of the bell tower began and what started as a dream was about to become a reality.
The New Webster Bell was dedicated in May of 2002. Seven students were nominated as honorary bell ringers. More than 100 adults and nearly 1000 children joined in the ringing and dedication of the new bell. Students are nominated by their teachers to ring the bell each morning. To be nominated a student must maintain a good
attitude and strong academic effort in school each day. The ringing of the Webster Bell signals the beginning of another day of learning.