School Spotlight: Woodland Elementary
Respect and leadership skills are part of the foundation at Woodland Elementary, the newest elementary school in the Osseo School District. And thanks to open enrollment, the school is also very popular.
“We expected to have about 675 students, but currently we’re about 730 this year,” said Woodland Elementary Principal Toni Beckler.
Beckler says strong academic success and programs aimed at closing the achievement gap are a big draw.
“We spend a lot of time with relationships. A lot of times doing those extra activities, working on the social/emotional part of a student, as well as academics.”
Woodland Elementary, nicknamed the Eagles, soars high, literally. The school built a positive behavior program around the acronym SOAR, which stands for Safety, Own your actions, Act with leadership and Resourcefulness.
Giving students leadership opportunities is a top priority. The school has four leadership groups, including the Spirit Squad, which is in charge of all school celebrations. Meanwhile SOAR ambassadors are helpers in the school teaching every single classroom how to do a “restorative chat” and help students solve small conflicts. Students in a third group, the SOAR Committee, give a voice to what they would like to see in the building. Students in a fourth group run a school store that’s just for them. Store clerks say they will use proceeds to buy a fancy drinking fountain.
Music is also an integral part of the curriculum. Woodland is the only elementary school in the Osseo School District that has a public performance for each grade level.
“It teaches kids to work together, to create an art that is bigger than what they could do themselves,” said music teacher Linda Burk.
Creating a loving environment, where everyone is respected and valued, is a tune that will never go out of style.
“We are there for each other, we truly love and care and support each other. And we’re going to do whatever it takes to get our students to where they need to be,” said Beckler.