School Spotlight: Meadow Lake Elementary
Meadow Lake Elementary in New Hope offers special learning opportunities to educate and engage more than 600 students in pre-Kindergarten through fifth grade.
“We are really creative,” says Meadow Lake Elementary principal Nancy Benz. “We are always looking at ways to reach the students. We look at what kind of programming we can use to reach all of the students.”
Teachers research and facilitate unique programming to help teach concepts and skills.
Meadow Lake’s drumbeat class
At first glance, you might think a circle of students playing drums and learning how to stay on beat would be a music class. Instead, it’s a class of students learning social skills and how to best interact with others.
“We are teaching social skills through drumming,” says Shannon Lacy, who teaches the class. Lacy guides the students in discussions about a different topic each week. “We talk about friendship skills, leadership skills and teamwork while drumming. So they are not only learning how to drum with different rhythms and beats, but about social skills too.”
Meadow Lake’s focus on Kindness
Fifth grade teachers read the book “Wonder” aloud to students this year. “We read the book “Wonder” because it talks about being kind,” says Tori Kolste, one of the teachers. “We wanted our classes, all of the fifth grade, to have that notion of how we can be kind all year.”
Students focused on kind words in a variety of activities. Students wrote kind words about their classmates and then made inspirational artwork focusing on those kind words. The artwork lines a hallway and lift spirits when students pass. “To get to see a project they made that has kind words about themselves and their classmates puts a smile on their face everyday.” says Kolste.
Students also chose a rule to live by, or a precept. “My precept means to be kind to everyone,” says student Sumaya Ali. “To always say nice things and if you don’t have any nice things to say, then don’t say anything.”
Meadow Lake’s Junior Achievement
Meadow Lake Elementary has a long running Junior Achievement program in many grade levels. In second grade, volunteers come to the classroom to teach about careers. “What’s great about the Junior Achievement program is we get volunteers to come in and teach five lessons to our classrooms,” says Jeri Joy, one of the teachers. “We spend time talking about the community and talking about the government and how it all works together.”
Principal Nancy Benz says community involvement through this program and others is an asset to the school. Not only does the school have a vibrant PTO, but active support at fundraisers like the annual pancake breakfast. “There’s something special about Meadow Lake,” says Benz. “Part of it is the staff that has been here a long time and then, we’ve had generations come through Meadow Lake. That’s what makes it special.”