Millbury's Elmwood St. School Gets Students Involved

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Mrs. "B", librarian of the Elmwood Street School wearing her Shark's hat promoting the "Reading is Cool" program.
Mrs. "B", librarian of the Elmwood Street School wearing her Shark's hat promoting the "Reading is Cool" program. Photo Credit: Steve Balestrieri
Mrs. "B" holding up the forms that students fill out for reading their books.
Mrs. "B" holding up the forms that students fill out for reading their books. Photo Credit: Steve Balestrieri
The count right now is more than 7,000 but the school is aiming for 21,000 by the end of the deadline.
The count right now is more than 7,000 but the school is aiming for 21,000 by the end of the deadline. Photo Credit: Steve Balestrieri
The Sharks are all on-board with their program and donated a poster that many of the players signed for the kids at Elmwood.
The Sharks are all on-board with their program and donated a poster that many of the players signed for the kids at Elmwood. Photo Credit: Steve Balestrieri
Jumping rope for heart health, students are having fun, and raising money for a great cause.
Jumping rope for heart health, students are having fun, and raising money for a great cause. Photo Credit: Steve Balestrieri
Another great aerobic exercise is a step-up exercise.
Another great aerobic exercise is a step-up exercise. Photo Credit: Steve Balestrieri
With just a short week due to snow days, Elmwood students still collected a lot of food for the local Food Pantry. The graphs for each grade are listed above.
With just a short week due to snow days, Elmwood students still collected a lot of food for the local Food Pantry. The graphs for each grade are listed above. Photo Credit: Steve Balestrieri

MILLBURY, Mass. —The students and staff at the Elmwood Street School in Millbury are aiming for 21,000 -- books, that is -- as the “Reading Is Cool” program is hoping to exceed the mark they set last year.

In addition to the reading program, the school has a great many other programs going on at the school. Principal Sue Frederick and Assistant Principal Corey Burke recently invited the Daily Voice up to Elmwood to see some of the things that the students are up to here in town. Those started with the “Reading Is Cool” program that is sponsored by the Worcester Sharks organization and one that the Elmwood Street School is very much on board with.

The program includes:

·         A set of Top Reader of the Month medals

·         All-Star Reader medal* (From this point forward, any new registrations for 2012-13 will not receive the Reading is Cool medals)

·         Bookmarks for every student

·         Certificates of [articipation for every student

·         Incentive poster reminding students of potential prizes

·         Tracking poster for students to record monthly totals

·         Top reader poster to acknowledge outstanding readers

Students track the number of pages they read each month on Student Reading Logs that they get from school librarian Mrs. “B” (Judy Bastarache) and all progress gets logged on to the big board outside the library. Last year, the school set a goal of 20,000 books read and it was met. This year, the goal is 21,000 and right now the students are over 7,000.

Another program the students are involved in is the “Jump Rope For Heart” where students get healthy, exercise and raise money and awareness for the American Heart Association. Students are jumping rope, doing a lot of cardio exercises and are having friends, relatives and residents sponsoring their activities with a big fund-raiser that can be downloaded at www.heart.org/jump. The students that morning were enjoying themselves and eagerly jumping from one activity to the next.

With tough economic times, the need to feed the poor and underprivileged in the area has become a bigger need than ever and the students at Elmwood have stepped up in a big way.

The teachers and administrators have gotten the students on board with helping the Food Pantry at the Millbury Federated Church. Every week the bags of canned goods and non-perishables that students bring in literally line the floor of the hallway at the school.

The teachers are using it as teaching point and they’re using graphs to show how much they’re collecting and which classes are doing the most.

The students of the Elmwood St. School are not only learning about school subjects but about being responsible citizens as well.

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Keeping track of reading progress is fine. I have issue with keeping track of each class's total of how much is given to the food pantry. Reaching out to help those in need should not be a contest. Wrong lesson to be teaching. Give from the heart not for pride of being the best givers. The school as a whole should feel good about helping not feel bad because their class has given the least.