School Spotlight: Crest View Elementary
Creating a sense of community that helps students learn is not simple when there’s a high rate of student turnover. Crest View Elementary in Brooklyn Park is working to rise to the challenge.
“You work so long with one student, you see progress, and then they have to move for life circumstances or whatever,” says Crest View Principal Shawn Stibbins.
As families move in and out, it’s harder to build relationships. But that’s the goal.
“Building relationships with students and getting them to a place where you create an environment in your classroom where you build community and students care about one another,” said Stibbins.
One way to do that is with college-age mentors from North Hennepin Community College. Fifth-grader Jalaya Seamons says the mentor she meets with every week through the One2One program is just like her. Together, they focus on home life and homework.
“If I wasn’t paying attention in class, she would say, ‘Here, I’m going to write this down for you and then you’re going to have this on your locker and you’re going to remember to do this in class,'” said Jalaya.
The idea is to get community members in the school to help serve as role models.
“It’s probably our fifth graders’ favorite day of the week,” said teacher Kaitlyn Leininger. “Just because they are excited to be with other adults who aren’t just us teachers here at school.”
Other students become mentors themselves.
“We help the lower grades in our school, and we help them with needs so if teachers need help teaching the kids multiplication, we’d go there and just help out a bit,” said fifth-grader Emily Yang.
She is part of a group called Power Puff Kids, who mentor younger kids. Part of the job is to help reward students for good behavior. Students earn tickets when they meet benchmarks of being respectful, responsible and kind. Then the Power Puff Kids draw a ticket and name a student of the week. It’s a relationship that pays both ways.
“You know, like the really happy good feeling you get when you help out a bit,” said Yang. “Yeah, that kind of feeling.”
Last fall Timberwolves guard Jamal Crawford brought inspiration and school supplies to Crest View.
“Our fifth grade students loved it,” said Principal Stibbins. “They were screaming and nearly knocked him over.”
It was a delivery of backpacks for students and gift cards for teachers’ classrooms that’s still remembered and adds to the idea of community.
“Its just the feeling in the building that students, staff and teachers get, know that we’ve made progress,” said Principal Stibbins.