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Ending The School Year With Gratitude - Ten Things I Love About My School

Gratitude is good for you. I admit, I feel pretty good after typing up this list. What would you place on your school gratitude list?
Ending The School Year With Gratitude - Ten Things I Love About My School
Photo by Chris Barker / Unsplash

The school year is always full of ups and downs. This year, I decided to take a moment and make my last few minutes in the school building positive ones. Creating this list helped me appreciate all of the great things at Arbor-Vitae Woodruff School - Home of the Muskies.

Gratitude is good for you. I admit, I feel pretty good after typing up this list. What would you place on your school gratitude list?

  1. The Location - My school is located in Arbor-Vitae, in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. It’s a beautiful area full of trees, wildlife, and lakes to explore. Our school mascot is a Musky. If you like to fish you know the Musky as the monster fish of “10,000” casts. I live and work where other people come on vacation.
  2. Character Focus - Integrity, Courage, and Compassion are our foundational character traits. We integrate character development across the curriculum and reflect on character throughout at the year at each grade level. I have two children that have attended my school, and as a parent, I am grateful for this character component.
  3. The Campus - The school itself is beautiful. We have a track, soccer fields, multiple playgrounds, a modern classroom, air conditioning, ample technology, and a great custodial staff that keeps things running smoothly. Having visited other schools, I am aware of how nice I have it.
  4. Parental Support - We have an active parent group that helps to support academic and adventure programming. Parents provide meals for teachers on conference nights and show their support during teacher appreciation week.
  5. Adventure - Each grade level goes on at least two adventures during the school year. We’ve gone cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, to summer camp facilities, mountain biking, tuning, wall climbing, hiking, and more. Adventure is a tool that is used to help students and staff learn more about themselves and spark personal growth.
  6. Student-Led Conferences and Portfolios - Students start curating a portfolio in Pre-K and contain to curate it through the end of their 8th-grade year. The 8th graders use their portfolios to create a passage presentation that documents their academic and personal growth throughout their time in elementary school. We also have student-led conferences twice a year. Most years we have 100 percent parent attendance.
  7. STEAM Class - Each grade gets to attend STEAM class dedicated to exploring Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math. Students learn how to solve problems using their creativity and content knowledge. They have access to 3D printers, robots, excessive amounts of cardboard, and more.
  8. Garden - There is a school garden that keeps evolving each year. It started as a Kinder-Garden. It’s a source of community service and summer school exploration. Our custodian has worked really hard to create a beautiful space along with handmade grow boxes.
  9. EL Education - EL Education is a national nonprofit that looks to transform public schools into places that promote equitable outcomes and encourage students to apply their unique genius to the world. This school framework has helped our school develop a vision where we guide students to realize their personal greatness. Their 10 Design Principles provide a solid foundation for public schools.
  10. The Staff - No one gets along all of the time, but I can honestly say that the employees at my school generally care about helping kids learn and grow. I am in awe at the genius ways they build connections with students. These last three years have been especially challenging in education, and my colleagues are a big reason I still enjoy my job.

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