Dear Hickory Grove Families,
Welcome to our school!
We serve more than 750 students and their families in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade. Our mission remains to inspire a strong school culture by meeting the social and emotional needs of each and every student and staff member. We believe that creating an environment that is conducive to learning is just as important as the information being delivered. Through a safe, respectful and caring learning environment students can more deeply engage in all aspects of the learning process. My experiences have shown me that as individuals, young and old, we most often rise and fall to the level of expectation presented. Therefore, we vow to maintain high standards for all stakeholders and relentlessly support every child that enters our doors.
At Hickory Grove, we are building upon a tradition of excellence. We have met or exceeded expected academic growth in each of the past three years. Our three-year data trend shows consistent growth in the core subject areas of reading and math. While we are proud of this success, we refuse to rest on our laurels at the expense of our students. Members of our school community (teachers, parents, administrators and district leaders) meet each year to develop measurable school improvement goals aligned to our current needs. At Hickory Grove, our continuous improvement plan addresses three areas we deem to be the pillars of success: culture, academics and the social/emotional well-being of children. To build culture, we focus on developing and sustaining positive and meaningful relationships that strengthen our sense of community. This includes relationships with our school staff, parents/families, community members, business partners and of course our students. Academically, we maintain strict alignment with state standards while seeking to engage and involve students in relevant and interesting learning. Throughout the year data is continuously collected and analyzed for the purpose of monitoring student performance and developing a plan for support. Finally, our dedicated SST Team meets weekly to identify student needs and align appropriate supports.
It is truly my privilege to serve the Hickory Grove students, staff, families and surrounding community. As the parent of two elementary students enrolled in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, I recognize the great responsibility that I assume as the leader of this school. Let me tell you a little about myself and my background. I am originally from upstate New York and now reside in Davidson with my wife Katie and our two children, Grace and Anna. Katie is also an educator and currently the Dean of Instruction at Davidson Elementary. Grace will be a seventh-grader this year and Anna is going into fourth grade. In addition to spending time with family and friends, I am an avid sports fan and proud supporter of our Carolina Panthers and Duke Blue Devils! I earned my bachelor's degree in elementary education from Lynchburg College (now the University of Lynchburg) in Virginia, and a master's degree in school administration from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. This is my 19th year in public education. Before becoming principal of Hickory Grove, I was a classroom teacher, dean of instruction, assistant principal and interim principal at two elementary schools within CMS.
I believe that with the proper supports every child can succeed. As the leader of Hickory Grove, I will make every decision with the best interest of our children in mind. Thank you for choosing CMS and Hickory Grove for your student.
Matthew A. Bower, Principal