The mission statement for Southwest Elementary was written and accepted when the school opened its doors in August of 1994. A school motto was added later that year. Each school year, the mission statement and motto is discussed with the staff, students, and parents. The school motto also appears on school stationary and other school printed materials. During the summer of 2007, it became very obvious that the school needed to revisit the mission and belief statements for their appropriateness. As an outcome of this need, the School Leadership Team met and with input from all stakeholders, determined that the school vision of excellence in education was still appropriate. The school mission, however, has been rewritten and now states: "Southwest Elementary School will engage students through a rigorous and relevant curriculum in order to prepare them to be responsible 21st century citizens". The belief statements were rewritten to support the school's mission statement and give a total picture about the work of the school. It was recommended that that motto remain the same. The information that follows will provide an overview of Southwest Elementary School and its' community, including students performance data, demographic data, stakeholders perspectives and unique characteristics of the school.
Southwest Elementary School is a rural elementary school located on Highway 53 just outside the city limits ofJacksonville. The school has been opened since 1994, when there was a student body of 700 students. The school was built to relieve the overcrowding at Dixon Elementary in the Sneads Ferry area and Blue Creek Elementary school located only two miles from Southwest. Previous enrollment for the last two years has averaged 790 students (including forty five pre school students). During the 2008 - 2009 school year, 36% percent of the total school population moved in or out of the school. This compares with the county average of 34%. The enrollment at the end of the tenth school day for the 2009 - 2010 was 708 which includes three pre-school classes, five classes of kindergarten students, seven classes of first grade students, five classes of second grade students, four classes of third grade students, four classes of fourth grade students, and four classes of fifth grade students. In addition, there is a second/third grade combination class and a third/fourth grade combination class. The student population consists of American Indian (6 males and 4 females), Asian (4 males and 6 females), Hispanic (29 males and 26 females), African American (47 males and 50 females), White (281 males and 263 females), and Multi-racial 43 males and 39 females). During the 2008-2009 school year 238 of the school's parents were federally connected.
The school's major mode of transportation consists of 13 regular buses along with one bus for handicapped students. An average of 500 students are transported daily by bus and approximately 290 students are transported by private vehicle . A bus coordinator serves the Southwest area schools and assists administrators in securing bus drivers for regular routes and scheduling field trips. Afterschool Adventure is a program sponsored by the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service with the support of the Onslow County Schools to provide after school services for students. Parents pay a small fee for this service. There are presently 40 students enrolled in the program (a waiting list of twenty additional students exists). Due to the socio-economic level of the students population (median household income of $29,869), Southwest Elementary qualifies as a Title 1 school. Approximately 300 breakfasts and 520 lunches are served daily. 52 % of the students enrolled in the school are identified as economically disadvantaged. Seven certified cafeteria workers in addition to a site manager serve hot breakfasts and lunches.