School Spotlight: Park Brook Elementary
Fitness is the core foundation of everything they do at Park Brook Elementary. Every morning starts with a so-called brain boost. Students at this Brooklyn Park school move their legs and arms, to get ready to flex their brain power.
“I think the research is so clear, that if you increase fitness, you increase academics,” said Principal Scott Taylor.
Students also participate in various fitness activities around the metro. In January, they strapped on skis for the Mini Loppet.
Principal Taylor says the fitness initiative has reduced bad behavior in the classroom, and students are more focused on learning. He also credits fitness with helping to raise standardized test scores. In some areas, the school had top growth in the Osseo School District.
“Black students had the second highest percentage of students meeting or exceeding their goals in math in the entire district,” he said.
Unique opportunities keep the young scholars interested in learning. Park Brook is the only elementary school with woodworking as part of its curriculum. Retired teacher Paul Strand initiated the program.
“It’s an incentive. They know it’s part of the history of this building and they don’t want to mess that history up,” said the former teacher.
Park Brook is also the only elementary school in the district with a traveling Double Dutch jump rope team.
“They travel to other schools to kick off the jump rope for heart fundraising campaign for the American Heart Association,” explained Taylor.
Art, cooking, and choir classes are offered outside of the regular class day. Park Brook also offers field trips on the weekend for students. This weekend they are going to the ski festival at Wirth Park.