Berry Elementary School orchestra director Susan Sweeney hosts monthly parent nights in which students work with their parents to master skills they are working on in class. Sweeney also serves as the orchestra director at Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer and William B. Wade elementary schools. In addition to Berry, Sweeney hosts parent nights at both Jenifer and Wade. The goal of the monthly meetings is to connect school and home and encourage students and parents to work together so music skills are practiced at home. Parents report they are better equipped to support and assist their children as they practice and learn their instruments at home.
Maurice J. McDonough High School hosts monthly purple folder days to support students in the Secondary Academy of International Languages program, also known as SAIL. The SAIL program is a regionalized English language development program that assists students in attaining English proficiency and high levels of academic achievement. Teachers and staff at McDonough meet with SAIL students, review assignment folders and provide strategies to help students meet program goals. The SAIL program is also located at Thomas Stone and Westlake high schools.
Walter J. Mitchell Elementary School hosted a Math and Science Fair Night on Dec. 6. Parents and students were invited to attend and participate in hands-on activities. Teachers from each grade level modeled strategies for use in helping children learn about the flexibility of numbers. Students participated in demonstrating number talks for their parents. Student science fair projects were on display in the school’s media center, where parents and students could view the award-winning entries and talk with Mitchell science teacher Christina Reighard.
Walter J. Mitchell Elementary School hosted its annual Grandparents/Special Persons Day last month. Students invite family members or someone special in their lives to school for an hour-long visit. More than 500 guests visited the school Nov. 21 and participated in classroom activities with Mitchell students. At the end of the event, students and their guests took part in a quick photo shoot with Lifetouch photographers.
Mary H. Matula Elementary School is hosting before school book clubs for students interested in reading. This is the second year the school has offered the clubs. Students can choose from different topics, authors and themes. Clubs run for six weeks and meet weekly for 30 minutes. Matula teachers and staff manage the book clubs and work with students to explore a book, author, or theme with discussion, projects and crafts. Popular topics for the most recent book club session included the STEM Tales/Fractured Fairy Tale Book Club in which students helped Rapunzel escape her tower, build a house for the Three Little Pigs and designed a new bed for Goldilocks. Another popular club this session was the yoga and meditation book club, in which students learned yoga poses and how to use meditation to relax. The Matula Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO) helps to fund the book clubs.
Kindergarten students at Mary H. Matula Elementary School recently participated in a fun guidance lesson with school counselor Nina Ogasawara. The students learned about different ways to share by using Play-Doh. They learned about dividing, playing together, taking turns and trading. Students worked together to build snakes out of Play-Doh, took turns rolling Play-Doh into a cup, traded seats in order to use a different color of Play-Doh and divided the Play-Doh so each student could have a piece. The lesson is one of several used to teach students about Matula’s monthly character traits and the three R’s – respect, responsibility and right to learn.