When you walk into any school, you get a feeling about the culture of that school, perhaps from the adults with whom you interact, or from watching students interact with one another. The goal of any school is to create a positive culture that allows for a learning environment that will nurture and challenge each and every student. Unless you take the time to get students, parents, teachers, support staff, and the community on board, building this culture will not happen. Wyoming Elementary has an amazing staff that takes the time to build positive relationships with our students and families. The staff takes the time to acknowledge the students who show R.O.A.R. (Respect, On-Task, Achieve, Responsibility) during the school day. Our goal is to make sure that others have a chance to see the “ripple effect” of R.O.A.R. when students are out in the community.
Wyoming Elementary is lucky to be in the heart of Wyoming. We take full advantage of being a “community school”: a school that has a strong partnership with its community. At Wyoming Elementary, we have a strong focus on enhancing academics, youth development, family support, health and social services, and community development that will lead to improving student learning, stronger families and a healthy community. You might be asking yourself, “What does being a community school look like?” Here are a few examples of what it looks like at Wyoming Elementary.
In the fall of each school year, you will see the Wyoming Fire Department at the school, working with students on fire safety. You will not see students doing worksheets about fire safety. Instead, they will be participating in active exercises to learn how to stop, drop and roll; how to use a fire extinguisher; how to make sure each family has an escape plan; how to check smoke alarms, and how to call 911.
During the school day, you can walk down the hall and see the work of our Wyoming Reading Buddies, a group of adults who volunteer to support our students with their reading. We have 14 reading buddies who come in each week. We have seen a huge impact resulting from this program.
Have you ever taken a walking field trip? Well, you could join our second grade students as they learn map-reading skills and take a tour around the city of Wyoming. The students have to figure out how to find local spots in town before they return to school. The first stop is The First State Bank of Wyoming. Students get a chance to learn about all the services that bank provides to our community. The second stop on the trip is the Wyoming Library. Students get a tour of the library and a chance to hear about all the programs that it offers students and families. Now we are starting to get hungry. We need to get out our map to see what route we should take to find the local Dairy Queen for lunch and a treat. The students have to use their math skills to make sure they have enough money when ordering lunch. After lunch, the students head back to school to do some reflection about all the things that they learned on the trip.
Giving back to our community is an important part of being a community school. Wyoming Elementary staff and PTA have organized a Family Fun Run for our community the past 25 years. Fourth grade students designed and made place mats for our friends at Fairview Meadows Senior Living facility. The place mats were used by the residents during the holidays. The whole school supported the local toy drive to make sure no child in the community went without a toy during the holidays. Our school works with the Stagecoach Committee to make sure we have fun, interactive games for kids of all ages to play and enjoy during the event. The school worked with local Girl Scouts to build a gaga pit for all of the community to enjoy.
Our fifth grade students study government in social studies. Our staff invites some special guests from the City Council to talk about government and how local government works. You cannot talk about government without talking about money. The First State Bank of Wyoming supports our fifth grade students by teaching about checking accounts and money management throughout the school year. They invite students to the bank at the end of the year for a celebration of learning.
The Wyoming Elementary Parent Teacher Association is a key part of our community school. The PTA supports our students and staff by creating a school culture that is positive, proactive, and always looking at ways to make our school the best place for students and staff. When you walk into Wyoming Elementary, you will see all the improvements that have happened because of our PTA. They have created, funded, and supported the Wyoming Wildcats school shirt, Makerspace Room, SMARTBoards in the classrooms, digital devices that support student learning, playground equipment, in-house field trips, and several all school assemblies that support the mission of our school.
Each day you will see a line of parents signing in on the volunteer sheet in the main office. You will see more than 200 parent volunteers doing things like working in the classroom and supporting the teacher with parent communication folders, teaching Junior Achievement, working with students, volunteering for field trip supervision and many more activities that make Wyoming a better learning environment for all.
Wyoming Elementary has several building goals this year. We know that we have a better chance of accomplishing these goals because we have a community that takes great pride in our school and goes out of the way to support our staff in the process. If you ever in the neighborhood and would like to stop in to see some of the great things happening at Wyoming Elementary, or if you would be interested in volunteering, please give me a call at 651-982-8001.
Curt Slater is the proud principal of the Wyoming Wildcats.