Our social and emotional learning program is a unique attribute of our school that provides various volunteering opportunities (e.g. Peer Mediation) and programs (e.g., 5th Grade Advisory) that enable our students to develop significant lifelong skills. These programs, as well as the Classroom Monitors and Morning Greeters, allow our upper-grade students an opportunity to practice civic responsibility and critical thinking. For this reason, I am happy to introduce the Literacy Leaders volunteer program, an initiative that will further cultivate these important skills in our fifth graders.
Typical of our vivacious, motivated and creative students, the Literacy Leaders volunteer program was created after seven 5th graders expressed an interest in “helping out” the administration and office staff during their recess time. Initially, the group dedicated their time and effort to supporting with simple, but much needed, tasks in the main office. After a while, these tasks became few and far between. Being turned away due to insufficient work, the group brainstormed other things that could be done to “lend a hand.” And so, the idea to push-in to a classroom and read was born! What began as an extra set of hands in Ms. Sarah’s and Ms. Liz’s classes has grown into a new opportunity for our fifth graders to deepen their sense of leadership and responsibility, while collaborating with K-2nd grade teachers and younger students. On a daily basis, Literacy Leaders visit K-2nd grade classrooms between 11 am and 11:25 am to help support with literacy-related activities. To date, this has included conducting a whole-class read aloud, reading one-to-one with a student and even helping to reorganize a classroom library.
As a 5th grade teacher at Lab, I marveled at our students’ commitment to our school as many of my own students were Peer Mediators, Morning Greeters and Classroom Monitors. As an assistant principal, I continue to be amazed by our students’ dedication to make our school a warmer, better place. More significantly, I feel grateful for the opportunity to closely collaborate with our students to bring their noble ideas (such as this one) to fruition.
I look forward to the expansion of this new initiative, and I am confident that the benefits to our literacy volunteers and K-2nd grade students will last a lifetime. Fifth graders wishing to participate in the Literacy Leaders volunteer program are encouraged to see me by Friday, February 27th , to be added to the schedule.