Board gets update on Park, Sunset Ridge

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Park principal Monica Schommer and Sunset Ridge principal Todd Mann updated the Board of Education at its regular meeting on Monday, Feb. 27 on each school's growth and goals along with exciting things happening in their respective buildings.  
Before the reports began, the Board recognized Mann, who will retire at the end of the school year after 15 years as the principal at Sunset Ridge. "It has been an honor to serve in such a fine school district,'' he said. "I've been so fortunate. I've worked with exceptional people.''

Schommer was appreciative of the Board's visit to the school earlier in the year along with the listening session with staff before Monday's meeting. She said both have a huge impact on morale.

She said staff's work began in August with trauma-informed care along with better understanding the impact of mental health issue. Staff have also done more work on this in recent weeks.

"It's not our job to fix the trauma but we need to be aware of the trauma,'' she said, noting the school has seen its fair share of adversity this year. "The staff at Park always comes through.''

She is proud of the school's wellness efforts, including yoga, a running club and  regular mindfulness. She believes it has led to higher levels of attention and behavior. She even read some excerpts from students about what the Mindful Minute means to them and the consensus with students is that it has helped them calm down and be more focused.

"It's really had a huge impact,'' she said. "It's a great place to be.''

Mann said Sunset Ridge's focus has been on continued achievement in reading and writing. He noted students do well but believes more can be done. He also said as the school population has become more diverse efforts continue to make it a more welcoming place. He is particularly proud of the Lions Pride program in which students of all ages are placed in one of more than 30 groups. He has seen a difference in how older students are helping nurture younger ones.

"It makes our school unique, it makes our school special and it makes our school better.,'' he said.

Mann stressed assessment meetings now look at curriculum and instruction from a cultural lens. He is excited that staff are continually asking how to help all Sunset Ridge families. He said staff continue to work for what is best for students school and the community.

He also is impressed with the wellness efforts and believes it is helping morale. He did notice one holdout.  "I did the heavy-sweat yoga once and that is enough for me,'' Mann said to laughs.

Sunset Ridge also held a two-week summer school in August, while staff met with students at Don's Mobil weekly in the summer to work on reading.

"I think our District embodies a strong sense of community,'' Superintendent George Mavroulis said. "These two schools embody that.''