"GP2W" stands for Great Place To Work. The four characters serve as a reminder in communication among our staff of the culture of our district. Each week through the school year, our website will feature an article on one of our schools, departments, or people explaining how they make SDPC a Great Place To Work!
by Traci Boyles, Principal
American playwright Michael Goldenberg once said, "In my own life, when I was most inspired by a teacher, it always involved a real dialogue, a looseness and a real caring and compassion. It was not without rigor, not without discipline, not without standards, but all that was done out of love." At Crosswell Elementary, our teachers inspire with relevance, educate with rigor and build lasting relationships through love for their students and our school.
Students frequently wonder and often ask why they are learning something. When teachers wrap a rigorous lesson's content in relevance, it helps the students to connect content and activities to their future lives. Elizabeth Johnson, 2014-2015 Teacher of the Year, creates meaningful lessons each day when she delivers STEM instruction to our third, fourth and fifth grade students. Using problem solving skills and diving through research, students engineer projects that help them understand the world around them. Third graders have used paper engineering, Aurasma applications for research on the iPad, and literary skills in paraphrasing to create frog life cycle pop up books. Fifth graders have used biology, metrics, and research to build aquariums or terrariums that incorporate real producers, consumers, and decomposers. Fourth graders have researched meteorology and constructed weather instruments to measure and understand how weather impacts our daily lives; they experienced a real weather event when storms produced tornado warnings this week. Mrs. Johnson said, "I get to work with a variety of teachers and it is really a team effort in the STEM lab. The classroom teacher and I team teach so the students get the most out of the collaboration that goes on in my classroom." Mrs. Johnson is also one of our STEM Club leaders which provides an extension opportunity after school that involves a team of third through fifth grade students working together on this year's challenge, "What is the future of learning?" The team will generate a question, develop an innovative solution, and share the information with the community prior to competing in January. These learning experiences encourage students to value the information that they are being asked to learn, and our teachers motivate one another to dig deeper and work together to deliver rigorous, relevant lessons.
Forming lasting relationships among students and staff is critical to a school's success. The Crosswell staff is known for the friendly and inviting atmosphere that they create. When you walk through our halls you will see how our Cubs CARE by showing that "Cubs Always Respect Everyone." Deni Menchyke, 2014-2015 Support Employee of the Year, understands the importance of these respectful relationships in her work as a special education assistant. Ms. Menchyke shares in the joys and challenges that her students face each day. She uses her warm personality to encourage and connect with students inside and outside of the classroom. Whether she is leading a small group with their reading or dropping off Christmas presents at a student's home, Ms. Menchyke values each child as a unique individual. "Crosswell has such an amazing and supportive staff. I feel blessed to be a part of such a special school." This caring attitude is one of many examples of how our staff builds relationships with students, parents and each other in the Crosswell family.
The Crosswell Elementary staff believes that it is important to challenge our students to set goals for success in and beyond the classroom. Our goal is to deliver rigorous and relevant instruction that engages students, and to provide an environment that fosters lasting relationships full of care and compassion.