Spectrum of Learning
In her weekly message to employees, Supt. Reedy describes a program that connects high schoolers with neighboring elementary school students.
I recently joined a group of La Cueva athletes visiting E.G. Ross Elementary for Jammie Read Day. The older students sat on the gym floor with small groups of pajama-clad first graders and read them "The Hog Mollies and the Rocky Road Relay Race," a book that encourages children to try their best and stay in the race no matter what.
Boy, if that isn’t symbolic of the work we do, not just the book’s positive message, but the interaction between the young children who are just beginning their educational journey and the high schoolers who are wrapping it up.
As I sat on the floor next to a friendly female athlete in spirit wear and a sweet little boy in Spiderman jammies, I reflected on how public education begins and ends pretty much in the same place – a place of wonderment and possibilities but also of anxiety and unknowns.
What we do as educators has an impact on this place, on the future of these students on both ends of the educational spectrum. Our good days, our bad days, our smart choices, our bad decisions – they can make a difference in the education, in the lives, of these children and young adults.
It’s something we should consider every day.
The program that brought the elementary and high school students together started five years ago by Debora Easton, a counselor at La Cueva who patterned it after a similar program for college athletes at her alma mater, Ohio State University. Its purpose is to inspire the younger students to want to do well in school and value reading.
“Not only do the elementary students benefit from this experience, but the athletes are provided an opportunity to give back to the community. They also reflect upon their journey through school and see firsthand how important mentors are in each person's life,” Ms. Easton said.
More than 60 LCHS Bears make three visits a year to neighboring Hubert Humphrey, Dennis Chavez, North Star, Double Eagle and E.G. Ross, where they read to the elementary school children, share a love of learning and serve as role models. These visits remind me of the days when I was a cluster principal helping to connect elementary schools with middle and high schools where many of the students would eventually attend. As I mentioned before, it’s an organizational approach we’re now revisiting.
One of my favorite things about the La Cueva and E.G. Ross relationship is the end-of-the-year return by seniors who march down the hall of the elementary school in cap and gown, celebrating the capstone of their public school quest to the cheers of inspired young fans in the midst of theirs.
I’d love to see all of our high school seniors make a trip back to their elementary school in cap and gown to celebrate their accomplishment and to encourage the children who are following in their footsteps. That continuum of learning makes my job, makes our careers, worthwhile.