Monthly Message from the Principal – August 2014
We’re off and running, and it’s been a wonderful start to the 2014-2015 school year! On the first day of school I had the opportunity to talk with all of the students about the expectations for our year. As always, I stressed that we are one school FAMILY (if you ask the middle schoolers, you have to insert a great, big elbow swing when you say this), and that the members of a family watch out for each other and take care of each other. As many of you know, the concept of family is so important to me both personally and professionally. I saw a terrific example of the St. Mary teachers and students putting this into action when I was visiting the classrooms earlier in the week. When I stopped by the Kindergarten room on Wednesday morning I was thrilled to see the sixth grade students reading with their Kindergarten “buddies.” In all honesty, nothing makes me happier than seeing older students helping younger students! (I attribute this to my upbringing as the oldest of seven children!) Younger children crave a positive role model to emulate and I firmly believe that when we facilitate a role model atmosphere within our school we are building and strengthening our school family. With that in mind, the St. Mary faculty has a “buddy” program that pairs our older students with our younger students for various activities throughout the school year.
Watching the sixth graders help their Kindergarten buddies read was incredibly impressive! Each one of the sixth graders was so attentive and patient with their little buddies and the Kindergarteners were beyond thrilled to have their one-on-one attention. Even more impressive was the fact that the sixth graders wrote the books they were reading! Mrs. Novena and Mrs. Clouse planned a Language Arts mini-unit together that began with the sixth graders learning about the components of emergent reader books. They were then given a letter of the alphabet to write their emergent reader about and were challenged to incorporate blends and diagraphs as appropriate for a Kindergarten reader. They completed the unit by creating and illustrating their emergent reader book before presenting it to their buddy and teaching them how to read it! This is the perfect example of a class project that gets me really excited as both a teacher and an administrator! Not only were the sixth graders studying the Language Arts standards of writing for a purpose and writing for a specific audience, they were also using what they learned to create something unique and meaningful, and (the icing on the cake) they were helping a younger student learn something new! How amazing is that? Kudos to Mrs. Clouse and Mrs. Novena for this wonderful min-unit and to the sixth grade students for the terrific example they set for our Kindergarteners! It’s moments like these, happening every day at St. Mary, that make us especially proud to be one school family!