Stories from East Bradford
Young Writers Day
Students at East Bradford Elementary School took pen to paper at the school's annual Young Writers Day on March 22. The day was filled with grade level assemblies which challenged young writers to talk and write about the workshop's theme of anti-bullying. Students were encouraged to explore the creative process through video, music, storytelling, movement, and short writing prompts.
Award-winning author K.M. Walton worked with students in grades 3 - 5 and talked about being kind to everyone you meet.
Walton, a West Chester University graduate and author of the novels Cracked, Empty, and Ultimatum asked them what it means to be contagious. One student replied, "it's like when you have the chicken pox!" Another student answered, "gossip can be contagious."
"Here's why I asked all of you that question because kindness is contagious," said Walton. "Everyone deserves to be treated with kindness. No matter what. That's the biggest point I'm going to make today."
Walton then challenged the students to brainstorm ideas in their journal on how they could create a chain of kindness at the school.
The students filled their notebooks with ideas that they shared with Walton - pick up trash, invite someone who looks lonely to sit with you, say please and thank you, say hello, compliment someone, hold the door.
"Everybody in this room has the power to show somebody that they care," said Walton.
Young Writers Day also featured local storyteller Bill Wood. Wood has been telling stories professionally since 1990 and has appeared at The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, the National Storytelling Association Conference and other venues. Bill is the author or co-author (with Vicky Town) of 6 audio-books, which have received awards from the Parents’ Choice Foundation and World Storytelling Awards.
Mr. Wood delighted kindergarten through second graders with tales based on his childhood memories using stuffed animals and puppets.
The day of creativity and imagination wrapped up with a school-wide assembly led by WCASD high school English teacher Jennifer Melek Ozgur. Mrs. Ozgur encouraged young writers through music, movement, and collaborative writing. In addition to teaching at Rustin High School, Mrs. Ozgur is a news columnist, poet, and children's author.
The East Bradford PTO sponsored Writer's Day.
Kindergarten Students Read to Their Furry Friends
East Bradford Elementary kindergarten teacher Deanne DiDomenico uses a unique approach to encourage literacy in her classroom.
Family Fun Night
East Bradford Elementary school was bustling with family, food, and fun when Principal Alston and his staff recently hosted a small gathering at the school. The evening included homemade meatballs, prepared by Principal Alston, and a variety of other culinary delights. Students and their families tried their hand at a variety of STEM challenges, including engineering a structure solely out of mini marshmallows and spaghetti. Students also put their coding skills to the test by incorporating math and ELA knowledge to program DASH robots. There was also a table set up where students could make a winter-themed craft to take home.
Two Elementary Schools Awarded Innovation Grants
Two elementary schools in the West Chester Area School District have each been named the recipient of a Title 1 Reward School Innovation Grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
Innovation Grants are awarded to promote the implementation of new learning structures and processes that will help meet individual student needs and may be used for programs, services, professional development, materials, and/or supplies to support the school’s Title I program. With a combined total of nearly $80,000, the schools will use the grant funds to incorporate technology into new literacy programs and will create more opportunities for learning to go beyond the classroom.
East Bradford Elementary School is the recipient of a $40,430 Innovation Grant, which will be used to enhance student achievement and parent engagement as it relates to reading. Students in kindergarten, first, and second grade will receive backpacks that contain multiple books to read and discuss in school and at home. Students in third, fourth, and fifth grade will receive tablets to use both in school and at home to read and respond to text.
Fern Hill Elementary School is the recipient of a $37,350 Innovation Grant. The school will use the funds to coordinate an after-school literacy program that uses tablets to create opportunities for students to collaborate.
Both elementary schools will provide opportunities for parents to get involved through teacher-led educational sessions, meetings, and workshops, as well as through the distribution of parent learning materials and resources.
In order to be eligible to compete for an Innovation Grant, Title 1 schools must be designated as Reward Schools. Both East Bradford and Fern Hill were recently designated High Achievement Reward Schools. In order to attain a High Achievement Reward School designation, schools must be in the top 5% of all Title I schools in Pennsylvania based upon aggregate math and reading PSSA scores. They must also meet a number of objectives related to attendance rates, test participation, and progress on closing the achievement gap.
East Bradford and Fern Hill are two of only 21 schools in the state that received Innovation Grants this year.
“It was an honor to have four of our Title 1 schools awarded the opportunity to apply for an Innovation Grant as High Achievement Reward Schools. Having not one but two schools earn an Innovative Grant exemplifies the great work that’s done across the district,” said Bob Sokolowski, assistant superintendent of the West Chester Area School District. “The digital literacy opportunities that will be coordinated as a result of these grants will serve as a fantastic support to our Title 1 students at East Bradford and Fern Hill, as well as their families.”
For more information, please contact Ms. Tracey Dukert, Digital Communications Coordinator, West Chester Area School District at 484-266-1170 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Elementary Students Compete in Chesco Reading Olympics
West Chester Area School District elementary school students recently competed in the Chester County Reading Olympics. The Chester County Reading Olympics is a countywide reading event held annually that helps students improve their reading comprehension skills by increasing the quality and quantity of books they read for enjoyment. The event also creates an opportunity for peer-to-peer interaction among the nearly 2,400 students who participate from across the region.
The competition is open to students in elementary, middle, and high school. Teams of 8 to 15 students are formed and must read a total of 45 books from a pre-selected list developed by librarians and reading specialists. Students have the summer and first half of the school year to read the books. “In the beginning, I let the students select any of the 45 books they want to read,” said Terri Rook, librarian at Glen Acres Elementary School. “As the weeks go on, we use a spreadsheet to figure out which books haven’t been selected or read yet, or have only been read by one person. This process allows students to choose which books they would prefer to read, which helps make reading during free time even more enjoyable.”
Each spring, teams from across the county come together and answer questions about the books they read at the Reading Olympics. Over the course of three rounds, teams accumulate points for every correct answer they provide. Teams are given blue, red, or white ribbons based upon the number of points they have earned. Volunteers from area schools serve as moderators and scorekeepers.
The following librarians and volunteers helped coordinate their elementary school’s participation in the 2016 Chester County Reading Olympics: Nora Congialdi, Dr. Mercurio, Jen Johnson, Elizabeth Gallagher, and Eileen Hutchinson (East Bradford); Matt Bloom (Fern Hill); Terri Rook (Glen Acres); Cheryl Chaborek (Mary C. Howse); and Joanne Ruse (Penn Wood).
Click here for more information on the Chester County Reading Olympics.
This article was prepared by Elyse Kistler, intern in the West Chester Area School District’s Communications Office. For more information, please contact Ms. Tracey Dukert, Digital Communications Coordinator, West Chester Area School District at 484-266-1170 or email@example.com.