The principals from three elementary schools updated the Board of Education at its regular meeting on Monday, Oct. 23 on the start of the school year in their respective buildings and highlighted efforts to engage students and adults.
Northside's Roz Craney said the school's SPLASH mentoring program continues to impact everyone. He said this year's focus is on positive mindsets. He also said Northside has started an outdoor garden club, along with an indoor tower garden club in Mr. Follen's class through a grant from the Education Foundation.
He noted every student and staff member participated in a Run, Walk, Move event two weeks ago. Every staff member ran at least a mile and he thought 90 percent of students did as well. Craney also thanked Northside parents for their efforts on the Dolphin Dash and newly developed Dolphin Dance.
Northside opened up student council to all fourth-graders and made it more of a leadership academy, he said. They also implemented a student idea to acknowledge classes that aren't tardy. He makes an announcement each day and prizes are awarded. Craney said it has improved tardiness by 40 percent.
Sauk Trail's Chris Dahlk shared that all elementary schools have staff participating in trauma-informed training during professional development days this year. She also noted the Justice League, a mentoring program involving MHS students along with children from Sauk Trail, West Middleton and Elm Lawn, held a kickoff event last week.
She said Sauk Trail has developed an Ambassador Club to develop leaders among fourth-graders. There are also more Makerspace opportunities available every day and efforts continue to build more higher-level thinking into classroom curriculum. Some staff participated in blended learning training over the summer and she is excited that it will help all students reach their potential. The school is also trying to create more student voice with its PBIS program.
Sauk Trail sent a questionnaire to its families in the spring to find out what it does well and where growth is needed. She said parents noted the school does a good job of making them feel welcome, but needs to improve showing parents how to help children at home along with academic expectations.
Dahlk also shared Achievement Gap Reduction (AGR) data, which she received on Friday and is required to present twice a year. The program specifically targets students who are eligible for free or reduced lunch. AGR helps fund staff to support three possible strategies; class size reduction, 1:1 tutoring or instructional coaching.
Park's Monica Schommer noted teams of Professional Learning Communities (PLC) have formed within the past year and every grade is represented.
"It's been very well-received and bubbled from the bottom up,'' she said. "That's been a great thing for us.''
Park continues to try and provide more wellness opportunities for staff, including purchasing a journal for every staff member who wants one and regular calming moments. The school's student leadership team is open to all third- and fourth-graders. The students get to practice their leadership skills regularly and also post positive messages around the school, she said.
Superintendent George Mavroulis complimented all three for pushing to give students leadership opportunities. "Imagine the kind of leaders they will be when they get to high school,'' he said.