Recently, several administrators and I watched a new video about Grenada Elementary School, produced by our communications department. When the video ended, one viewer said what many of us were thinking.
"That makes me want to go back to elementary school."
It's probably not a thought you've had very often. But if you spend much time with the kids and staff at Grenada Elementary, you'll understand that impulse.
The video reflects what we see at GES all the time. The administrators are positive and complimentary of their staff and students. The teachers are excited about the unique teaching methods they've employed to inspire the students.
And the kids, well … their pride, excitement, and glowing expressions say it all.
Several teachers and principals appear in the video to tell the story of Grenada Elementary. Their words reminded me that — through all the planning, number-crunching, and fine-tuning of our district's innovation planning — it's the teachers who are out there on the front lines every day, fulfilling that vision. They work instinctively to make these kids successful, and our district flourishes from their efforts.
GES has shown remarkable versatility in working with children according to their needs. Some kids thrive in traditional, single-age classroom settings, where they advance from one teacher to the next through multiple grades.
Other kids need a more familiar surrounding. Our looping teachers have the same students for successive years, which provides them a friendly, familiar face and establishes a routine that allows for faster progress.
Finally, a multi-age classroom combines kindergarten and first-grade students. Teachers have witnessed both groups excel from interacting with each other. The older students mature faster as they take on the responsibility of helping teach the younger children, who are encouraged to excel like the older kids.
The district-wide expansion of technology can be seen at GES through the use of in-class computers and the popularity of the iReady program. This computer-based curriculum creates tailored lesson plans that challenge students at their individual skill level. That means slower students don't get lost, and more advanced students don't grow bored. The encouraging scores reflect a phenomenal level of growth in students who are capable of working beyond their grade level.
Last year we started to implement our Project Lead the Way emphasis into the kindergarten and first grade. Within the next couple of years, the program will be embedded in every class at GES, preparing students to excel in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) so that they can help meet the critical national demand for young people fluent in the modern sciences.
Some of GES's greatest strengths lie outside the traditional classroom. Meg Wood, the K-1 music teacher, cited studies that prove music helps the brain develop. Meanwhile, her popular plays and musicals, which involve every child in K-1, encourages creativity and self-confidence at
at a critical point in these kids' development.
Likewise, the hands-on learning that
happens at the Kidzeum, in the advanced
LEAP classes, and throughout the school
indicates a commitment to non-traditional
learning. Phyllis Chism, a K-1 looping
teacher and 2016 GSD Teacher of the
Year, says the difference is motivating the
children. "If you walk into our classroom,
you'll see children moving," she says.
"You'll see them talking, you'll see them
standing up. If they're moving, they're
Perhaps the most striking quality on
display at Grenada Elementary isn't new or
innovative at all. It's just inherently good
It's the obvious love these teachers have
for their students.
Our K-1 multi-age teacher, Polly Oakes,
says it best:
"I promise our parents that we will treat
these children as if they're our children….
We're a big school, but once you get inside,
it's like a bunch of little families together."
Take ten minutes and watch this Grenada
Elementary School video for yourself.
It can be found at our YouTube channel,
"Grenada Schools Presents" — http://bit.
Celebrating Homecoming 2017
GHS cheerleader Lindsey Ingram (left) adds a little flair to Jayden Alexander
(right) to show his school spirit.
with GES students
McClain (right) during
GES students (l to r) Caroline Harrison, Gracie Kay Mitchell, Jo Thompson,
Olivia Lee, and Jenna Costilow show their homecoming excitement by
dressing for tacky day.
Freshman students (l to r) Iyonia Bankston, Austin Jarrett, Bratton Willoughby,
Javarious Boclear, Jakayla Farmer, and Malaija Petty demonstrated
teamwork in the Charger Olympics tug of war competition.
Career Clusters-sponsored by:
The non-profit education group Advance CTE (Career Technical Education) created a program called Career Clusters, which categorizes the world of work into 16 different areas. Each cluster represents a major sector of the job market. The program allows students to explore and prepare for careers by acquiring broad, adaptable knowledge and skills that apply to all jobs in a given field.
Within each cluster, Career Pathways reflect a narrowed set of knowledge and skills shared by multiple occupations. Within each Career Pathway, students can find individual careers, where they will ultimately apply their knowledge and skills.
Students at Grenada High School learn about Career Clusters and the many related pathways and careers by taking STEM labs in ninth grade. Instructors break down each cluster, clarifying what it actually means to be a lawyer, a computer programmer, a social worker, or a financial planner. This fundamental knowledge of how society works and the skills required for various occupations helps students focus their studies in high school and beyond.
Each month we look at one of the 16 Career Clusters, and this month we'll examine Human Services.
Students who enjoy interacting with people — whether by helping, comforting, serving, or supplying goods — should consider work in the Human Services field. The right person will find value in serving other people and putting the needs of others first.
Students entering this field will find a variety of jobs and will learn how to use skills in communication and problem-solving to provide support for families and individuals.
The five pathways that lead to specific careers in the Human Services industry include:
Early Childhood Development and Services Pathway
People with careers in early childhood development and services nurture and teach children. They provide services in childcare centers, nursery schools, preschools, public schools, private households, family childcare homes, and before- and after-school programs.
Counseling and Mental Health
People working in counseling and mental health services assist people with personal, family, educational, mental health, and career decisions and problems. Mental health care may be provided in hospitals, clinics, schools or private settings.
Family and Community Services Pathway
Employees with careers in family and community services help the homeless, housebound, and infirm cope with circumstances of daily living; counsel troubled and emotionally disturbed individuals; train or retrain the unemployed or underemployed; care for the elderly and the physically and mentally disabled; help the needy obtain financial assistance; and solicit contributions for various social services organizations.
Personal Care Services Pathway
People with careers in personal care services assist individuals with their personal appearance, including shampooing, cutting, coloring and styling hair; giving manicures, pedicures, and scalp and facial treatments; providing makeup analysis; cleaning and styling wigs and hairpieces; and providing personal fitness training. Also, within personal care services, funeral directors and attendants make funeral arrangements for grieving families.
Consumer Services Pathway
People with careers in consumer services assist individuals with decisions and problems relating to finance, real estate, insurance, and consumer goods. Some of the careers include credit counselor, consumer advocate, banker, real estate agent, customer service representative, account executive, and small business owner.
For more information on required and recommended classes for a pathway to the human services industry, Grenada High School students should make an appointment with their counselors. For more information on Career Clusters, visit the Advance CTE website — www.careertech.org — where you'll find useful resources including a description of all 16 Career Clusters, a list of credentials required for each Career Cluster, and a Student Interest Survey that uses your responses to help guide you to your top three Career Clusters of interest.
2017 GHS Homecoming
(back l to r) GHS Principal Jerry Williams, 2016 Homecoming Queen Consuela Johnson, 2017 Homecoming Queen Ky'Nyja Robinson, brother of the Queen Ky'juan Weathers, GSD Superintendent Dr. David Daigneault, (front l to r) Children of the Court Mary Ashton Surrell and Nelson Kelly