Early Childhood Success by SHARON WELLS Principal, Meadow Ridge Elementary School What happens when you take 185 developmental kindergarten students and all of their teachers and put them in one school for the first time? Amazing collaboration and magical results! The 2011-2012 school year was the maiden voyage for having all of our youngest learners come together at Meadow Ridge Elementary School in the newly formed Early Childhood Center. Our year was filled with exciting opportunities for our developmental kindergarten (DK) students. All of them participated in our school walk-a-thon last fall and our mileage club this May, focusing on being healthy in the process. We had monthly whole group celebrations around academic themes such as the study of penguins, Dr. Seuss and his wonderful rhyming books, the “Polar Express,” and learning about water filtering systems used in undeveloped countries. Speakers were brought in to talk to the classes and special assemblies were held for the interest of our DK students. The DK teachers had the gift of being able to collaborate with each other in one building for the first time as well. Previously being in seven separate buildings, it was difficult to get together and share ideas and provide each other with support. The teachers met in monthly Professional Learning Community meetings, often ate lunch together to brainstorm new ideas, and had curriculum planning meetings throughout the year to develop and create an inspirational and effective program to best prepare their students for kindergarten. A new program doesn’t go without the need for problem solving. A critical part of our new journey was the transportation of students from all Rockford elementary schools to and from Meadow Ridge. Special identification tags were used to identify students in the DK program and buses were labeled with animals that coordinated with the tags. Paraprofessionals worked at each school to help transfer students to appropriate buses. Special thanks to the Rockford Transportation Department for the creativity, patience and coordination efforts for this to all happen with safety as a top priority. As our first year wraps up, we are looking forward to yet another opportunity for positive change and success when next fall our DK program moves to an all-day, everyday schedule (this change is pending Board […]
Meadow Ridge Elementary School
‘Quiet leader’ understands importance of helping others Nate Kolenda, 11, is the son of Kevin and Stacey Kolenda and brother to Owen, 8. Nate is known as a student who always gives his personal best. He is described by his teachers at Meadow Ridge as “a quiet leader” and one who leads by example. He is always eager to help other students, and teachers have often chosen him to help younger students in the school. Nate understands the importance of community helpers and proves this understanding by his volunteer work with first graders. He is a patient and kind young man who is good at mentoring. Also an athlete, Nate plays football and travel hockey. Whether in academics or athletics, teachers and teammates know he always puts in 100 percent of his effort. This hardworking student takes school seriously. “Nate pushes himself and wants to do his best,” his teachers say. In addition to school, hockey and football, he is also active in church and his religious education. This quiet leader who is also a positive and generous student is Meadow Ridge’s Example in Excellence for 2011.
Bishop Hills has hosted a local art show for many years in April. The winners from every elementary school in the Rockford area are on display. The residents are always impressed with the extraordinary talent of these young art students. Thursday, April 14, a reception was held. The residents, teachers, parents and friends were able to meet the students behind each piece of art. There are photos on Bishop Hills’ Facebook page or you can stop by Bishop Hills throughout April, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Residents of Bishop Hills gave each artist a special certificate.
Self-determined young man a quiet leader in classroom Jake Fath, 11, is the son of A.G. and Amy Fath and brother to Ryan, 3. Jake is a caring student, who is eager to help his classmates. This self-determined young man is a quiet leader in the classroom who motivates others by his example. His teachers say he is an inspiration to work with and is a person who peers respect and look up to. Jake is very active through Cub Scouts in collecting food for those less fortunate. He has a positive attitude in all he does. “Jake always has a smile on his face and is eager to help others,” his teachers report. He is a self-motivated student who is quick to look for opportunities to achieve. He always gives 100 percent to the tasks before him and helps other students do their best. As an athlete, Jake has earned ribbons for his performance in track, he has a trophy from participation in football, and enjoys playing sports with his friends. His favorite sports include football, soccer, baseball and track. He has earned Cub Scout patches for completed projects and numerous awards. Jake is also helpful at home and enjoys being with his family. The staff at Meadow Ridge Elementary School is proud to present Jake Fath as an Example in Excellence. • • •
Jeffrey Schatzer started off March is Reading Month by presenting writing strategies and samples of his books to the kids at Meadow Ridge Elementary School. The students were entertained by Schatzer on March 3, when he presented at two assemblies, one for upper elementary and one for the early elementary. Schatzer is a Michigan author who has won several awards for his books. He was featured at the summer Reading Rocks in Rockford Festival last year, and is scheduled to appear this year on August 7, as well. He has written such books as “The Elves in Santa’s Workshop,” “The Bird in Santa’s Beard,” “Professor Tuesday’s Awesome Adventures in History: Book One, Chief Pontiac’s War,” and “Fires In the Wilderness: A Story of the Civilian Conservation Boys.”