Principal’s Corner: From Fresh Air Day to Safe School Ambassadors, Glenshire puts kids first | SierraSun.com

Principal’s Corner: From Fresh Air Day to Safe School Ambassadors, Glenshire puts kids first

Kerstin Kramer
Special to The Sun

Glenshire Elementary School is a wonderful place to be. The warm, caring, family-like atmosphere combined with the student-first focus creates a place where students and adults thrive.

We have an amazing group of educators and support staff that focus on the whole child and integrate social, emotional, and physical development activities into their classrooms.

At Glenshire Elementary, and across our school district, we use the Second Step curriculum to teach students to be kind, respectful, safe, and responsible. Our school counselor and teachers weave mindfulness practices into their classrooms to support the developing self-regulation skills of our students.

In addition to the direct social-emotional instruction in the classroom, we have a fifth-grade Safe School Ambassador program that engages student leaders in promoting a positive school culture.

These Safe School Ambassadors help to resolve conflicts, defuse incidents, and support isolated and excluded students. Our ambassadors and administrative team use restorative practices to promote a peaceful school climate where students actively participate in addressing issues and incidents at school.

We cultivate student leadership at Glenshire Elementary, and this year we had two outstanding student-led projects.

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The first project was Fresh Air Day where students encouraged families to walk, bike, carpool or take the bus to school to reduce our impact on our neighborhood. On Fresh Air Day, students observed a 30 percent reduction in school traffic on neighborhood streets and congesting the parking lot, and 75 more families were enjoying the fresh air together.

The success of the Fresh Air Day is prompting a district-wide Fresh Air Week this May. The second project is Keep Truckee Styrofoam Free. Students conducted research and developed a plan to reduce styrofoam for the Town of Truckee. They did a fabulous job presenting their ideas to the Truckee Town Council recently. We are so proud of our student leaders and all they are accomplishing.

With our student-first focus, we strive to meet each student's individual needs by providing instruction at their ability level. We do this through classroom lessons, intervention, enrichment, and accelerated learner support. For example, if a third-grade student needs additional reading support they receive small group, focused lessons.

In another example, if third through fifth-grade students have already mastered the skills in a math unit, then they participate in enrichment math lessons with our accelerated learning teacher.

We are extremely grateful for our Parent Teacher Organization, which provides a wide range of before and after school enrichment classes as well. Classes include violin, guitar, ukulele, drumming, hip-hop, chorus, martial arts, improv, yoga, science, and track. With the academic support and opportunities to extend learning during the school day and beyond, student needs are met.

I feel so lucky to be part of this amazing school community. Our students have a sense of joy when they come to school; they are engaged and want to be here. Our staff is passionate and dedicated, and they create the caring environment we are known for.

We put kids first, and students thrive as a result!

Kerstin Kramer is the principal of Glenshire Elementary.