215 Hours of Community Service Learning in Skyview Middle School Flex Day
I.N.S.P.I.R.I.N.G. rippled throughout Kasilof, Soldotna, and Sterling on Thursday, December 14, 2018, when Skyview Middle School students assisted in elementary schools, at the Food Bank, visited Kenai Peninsula College, and visited local Soldotna businesses.
Principal Sarge Truesdell explained,
“The Skyview Middle school staff worked with our students to create a “flex day” for students to experience voice and choice in their 6.5 hour school day. Students provided teachers with feedback about activities they wanted to see offered in the flex day schedule. Administration created a master schedule that included enough academic offerings for students who needed and or wanted extra time to work with their teacher in core academic areas, and provided several enrichment and fun activates in each of the 90-minute blocks. Through an online program created by the KPBSD internet technology department, students selected their academic and enrichment schedule for the day. Along with on campus academic and enrichment actives were also community work service opportunities and field trips. One group of students chose to go to Kenai Peninsula college and tour the campus and dorms, another group chose to donate their time at the Kenai Peninsula Food bank, and 30 Skyview students chose to visit their former elementary schools and spend the day with future Skyview Middle School students!”
Arriving on time at elementary schools and ready to work, the schools created schedules for students. Every elementary school that feeds into Skyview Middle School was enthusiastic to welcome Skyview students in their building. Shanna Johnson, Skyview Middle School teacher said, “The teachers were excited to have them in their room assisting in a myriad of ways. The extra set of hands during a Christmas Fair, was invaluable! These were just a few of the comments given to us. Every time I asked our student, ‘How is it going? Would you do this again?’ A resounding ‘YES’, came from every one of them!”
Sterling Elementary Principal Kelly said that students were super excited to be there this morning. At Soldotna Elementary, a student was working with kindergarten students, building a craft. The schedule was about to change, and Mrs. Murr’s first-second grade combo teacher was looking forward to students “running” a reading group. She planned on modeling how it would be done, and then letting Skyview enthusiasm take over.
The Soldotna Montessori helpers were all assistants at the Christmas Fair, helping the younger students choose a gift. Some were calculating the cost of purchases, others were walking students back to their rooms. Student William Stang said he was looking forward to the next hour block, when he and his friend were going to be in the “Hot Seat,” answering questions about middle school life and how it was different!
At Redoubt Elementary, students read aloud and helped 1:1 as math buddies. K-Beach Elementary students helped everyone get ready for lunch and with outside activities.
Tustumena students had an interesting “no power” morning at the school. They learned what it takes to adapt curriculum and locations. The Skyview assistants helped kindergarteners get geared down from recess, while first grade was reading stories in the library. Sixth grade teacher Mrs. Werner said, “Can we do this again soon? They are doing individualized math tutoring and have been invaluable today!” Fifth grade teacher Mr. Michaels said, “The Skyview student has been an outstanding asset today assisting in small group, we would love to have them again!”
Bill Withrow, Redoubt Elementary principal said,
“All I can say is AWESOME! This has been a tremendous event for everyone involved. Staff at Redoubt has nothing but positive things to say about all the students who have come back to Redoubt and work with students of all ages. We are hoping that this is something that becomes an annual event or even grows to something bigger. Awesome idea!”
“During the flex day we accumulated more than 215 community work service hours,” said Principal Truesdell. “The student flex day at Skyview was created as a pilot to meet the academic needs of our students as well as give kids opportunities to give back to the community. Administration is collecting feedback from our stakeholders to see if we should offer a student flex day multiple times each year. For a number of years the Skyview Middle School site based council had a community work service goal and the student flex day provided the time during the day where students could be off campus working in the community but not miss new academic instruction.”