School Spotlight: Palmer Lake Elementary
Palmer Lake Elementary in Brooklyn Park is a community school with a different vibe from other learning environments.
The school is moving away from the traditional classroom setting, where students sit in desks. Instead, Palmer Lake, has classrooms that feel and look like home.
“We went into a model with more flexible learning spaces and flexible furniture within the classroom,” said Palmer Lake Elementary Principal Billy Chan.
In 2016, the school implemented a student-centered learning plan. It means students have a say when it comes to their curriculum.
Palmer Lake Elementary is evolving into a science and technology school. An upgraded computer center is the perfect place to learn coding and other technical skills.
The school also partnered with Boston Scientific to create a science lab. The medical tech company provided the furniture, microscopes, goggles, and more.
School officials say the innovative science space is helping to improve state science test scores.
“Before we moved into the science lab our test scores were probably in the 20th percentile, but it has now increased to 30th percentile,” explained Chan.
The robotics club and Pride mentoring program also give students leadership opportunities.
“When there is new students we do tours around the school so they feel welcomed,” said one student.
Palmer Lake also has a music lab with instruments you don’t typically see at an elementary school: a DJ turntable, electric guitars and keyboards.
Teacher Dennis Loeks says the expanded music program is helping students embrace the gift of music.
Pointing to all the instruments, Loeks said “By 5th grade, all of this will be something they’re used to, and they will be able to show me everything they know on those instruments.”
Helping students be all they can be is the goal at Palmer Lake Elementary.
“We are going to inspire and prepare all students to achieve their dream,” said Chan.