The school year at Bruin Point has started strong, bolstered by large plans, summer activities and work that sets the tone for a new learning experience for students.
During the summer Miners Trading Post held its annual fundraiser for the school in July and the benefit raised $4200 that was passed to Principal Dina Wise in a check the first week of school.
“That fundraiser is the lifeblood of our school for a lot of the extra things we need each year,” she said. “That and the financial support we get from Sunnyside Co-Generation each year goes a long way in providing for many of the things we need to make our programs much better.”
The enthusiasm for the school and its programs shows not only by the communities participation in these projects but in the community closeness people display when it comes to the school and its operation. A good indication of that was the large turnout at back to school night on August 27. The cafeteria was full of people for dinner and family pictures. Wise stated we want to create a school family that includes students, parents, and siblings. The family pictures will be on display in halls and cafeteria to help students make home and school connections. We are in the process of building a school family that is inclusive of our students' families. During this time we will play games and share strategies for families to use at home to help their children with composure and self-regulation skills. The School Family increases connections between adults and children at all levels and learning. The School Family creates a positive culture and climate for optimal development and learning. During the general assembly, Mrs. Wise continued the family theme with a team-building song that got everyone up and connection with one another. She then introduced new faculty members Joset Wells the new Second Grade teacher, Christopher Elrod teaching 5th grade and the new school Counselor/LCSW Chrissy Bishop. Parents then went to their student's classrooms where teachers shared expectations and excitement for the upcoming school year.
The school has seen some growth this year with a few more students coming through their doors, but it is still the smallest elementary school in Carbon School District, which creates an atmosphere in which all the teachers and staff know all the students in the school.
“We have one class for kindergarten through fifth grade,” stated Wise. “And we also have a 3-4-year-old preschool program. Last year we had 134 students in the school, and in the four years, I have been principal here the school has grown each year. Because of the small student body, kids get a lot of individual attention here, and it is easy to connect with our students and their families.”
Each morning as students walk through the door the Wise and her staff great the kids individually, often high fiving them as they go into the cafeteria for breakfast. After breakfast, the students say the pledge of allegiance, recite the Bear Motto and hear some words of encouragement for the day from Wise. There are also school announcements done there, for both the administration and for the school government. A Brain Smart Start activity takes place every morning to connect the students to the faculty and staff and to each other including mindful breathing to get students minds and bodies ready to learn
Then the kids are ready to go to class and learn. This years emphasis will once again be what the district priority was last year, reading.
Wise says that the leveled reading program began last year helped students to make some great gains, and they hope for much more this year. The school's goal is to increase the number of students reading independently on grade level by 10%. Students are encouraged to use the library, which is a bright and colorful room with lots of books and comfortable places to sit and the halls are filled with carts of leveled books.
“We not only have the leveled books students can use, but we are also looking for books that will be of high interest to them,” said Wise. “This year we have noticed that they are really liking graphic novels and we are working to get more of them incorporated into the library,” said Wise.
Of course, the emphasis on learning just can’t be about reading, but that is the root of all instruction that goes on. Math, science and other subjects will have a strong emphasis and with the individual help kids get at the school the programs are set to be successful. To help ensure all students success the School Community Council has budgeted funds to pay teachers to tutor students who have gaps in their learning.