The Glen Meadow Middle School focused on social and emotional learning during their first two days of school, Sept. 4 and 5, by emphasizing the “Glen Meadow Way: Respect yourself and Others; Take Responsibility for your Actions; and Reach your 100 percent.”
The students had an abbreviated schedule, leaving at 12:30 p.m., with professional development in the afternoon for teachers and staff. Students then began their academic schedules on Friday, Sept. 6.
Principal Rosemary Gebhardt said, instead of following their usual schedules, students completed different classes taught by all the teachers: digital citizenship, communication and respect, study skills and organization, unity, safety, team building, adventure based games, problem solving, class meetings, and the IT talk. Gebhardt added, she had a lot of people helping her this summer.
Additionally, she said, the Center for Prevention and Counseling clinicians taught all day on Wednesday.
For the two days, she continued, the homeroom stayed together, and students met all the teachers in the building. Thus, she said, the students forged relationships with other people and would feel comfortable asking for help when needed. Furthermore, she said, the students know their secretaries, who can help them, too – the Directors of First Impressions.
Gebhardt said the school wanted the students to play, have fun, and connect with their classmates. In addition to the Glen Meadow Way, she said, the school requested each student be the best version of themselves, and said, “We’re going to help you.”
She also leveled her conversations during each class meeting, Gebhardt said, according to grade and expectations. During her eighth-grade class meeting, she told the students, “They are the upperclassmen. They are in training. It’s almost time for high school. They are picking high school classes in two months, so let’s get going. This is just a drill for high school. This is it, and we are going to do it together.”
As Gebhardt walked throughout the halls, students came to give her hugs. She commented that she had had all the students at Walnut Ridge.
She also commented about bulletin boards which students had completed during the summer, including “The power of yet. I can’t yet, but I will.”
Gebhardt added new signage to the building, including the name of the school, because she wanted to soften it. She said local artist Art Frisbie has painted in Walnut Ridge, Cedar Mountain, and now Glen Meadow, as she has transferred to different schools throughout the district.
"They want students to be happy, safe, and learning,” she said.
Art Teacher Sarah Ulrich taught students about unity. Part of her lesson included having each student color a unity pinwheel. The 700 pinwheels will then be placed in the main hall showcase.
Also, at one point in the two-day schedule, each graduating class lined up to form the number 24, 25, or 26 on the lawn, representing their class of 2024, 2025, or 2026. After students formed the shape of their graduating year, a drone took their picture.
In the hallway, the “Count Me In!” attendance prizes wait in a nearby showcase to be awarded to students.
“Please just come to school,” Gebhardt said.
Gebhardt said Superintendent Karen D’Avino endorsed the program, gave some ideas, and “they ran with it.”