DALLAS -- Three elementary school principals offered a chorus of support for the faculty and staff at their schools recently. They reported on facilities, programs and personnel.
Scott McLeod (Lyle Elementary) joined Vickie Boer (Oakdale Heights) and Christy Perry (Whitworth) in commending the engineers and custodians at each of their schools for "maintaining and a clean and safe environment for students, staff and our community."
Those individuals are:
♦ Lyle: Myron Kliewer, engineer; Sandy Kluting, custodian.
♦ Oakdale Heights: Lonny Hayes, engineer; Gabe Hayes, custodian.
♦ Whitworth: Del Keeler, engineer; Chang Pho, custodian.
The principals informed the Dallas School Board at its Nov. 24 meeting of three projects that need to be completed at each elementary campus during the next three years to maintain the facilities.
♦ Lyle: Replace floor tiles, replace window frames and paint building, completely replace steam valves and traps as well as overhauling heating-ventilation units in two rooms.
♦ Oakdale Heights: Replace carpeting and add floor tiling; replace exterior siding and paint interior gym wall; repair parking lot and construct additional parking.
♦ Whitworth: Need three additional classrooms; replace original plumbing in main hallway restrooms, primary classrooms and other existing original plumbing; replace floor tiles in primary hallway.
All five Dallas School Board members joined with Oakdale Heights instructor Barbara Fawns in a couple of "brain gym" activities that are part of the morning routine to get students started.
Fawns had the board members cross their arms and hands and their legs in an exercise called the "hookup." That was followed by having them move their hands in a lazy 8 fashion at eye level while standing.
"We believe such movement exercises can enhance the learning," Principal Vickie Boer said.
Boer commented on other programs in place at the elementary level including "Team time -- that's where students discover that together everyone achieves more."
Other aspects of the learning programs in place in 2003 includes an emphasis on character traits and rewarding students for their behavior. Teachers participated in an October workshop dealing with bullying.
The principals agreed that larger class sizes and reductions in staffing are placing an increased load on the services for students that are struggling in programs such as Title I and special education.
Christy Perry told board members, "We want to celebrate our elementary staff. They have such a positive attitude even when dealing with lots of changes over the past few months."
Among the changes are 14 licensed staff positions including two specialists who have moved back to regular classrooms and a high school counselor who is now working at the elementary level.
The elementary music teacher, Brian Rebischke, "teaches 718 students at the three schools and still finds time to stop for a quick game of tetherball when he passes through the playground," Perry said.
Lynda Johnston teaches 472 fourth- and fifth-graders in her media skills classes. Her position resulted from abolition of full-time media specialists (librarians) at each school.
"The teachers show their commitment to the students daily regardless of the reductions that have taken place," Perry said.