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Marshdale promotes literacy with birthday book giveaway

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By Deb Hurley Brobst

At most elementary schools, birthdays are a special day for students. Sometimes the principal acknowledges birthdays with a card or a visit.

Marshdale Elementary School principal Christie Frost goes a step further — she gives each student a book.

Frost, a former librarian, says she uses student birthdays as a way to help improve literacy and to alleviate some students' fears of the office.

"When it's a student's birthday, they come down to my office, where I have a special bookshelf," Frost explained. "The student picks out a book and I write 'Happy Birthday from Mrs. Frost' inside."

She said she sometimes converses with students about their favorite authors and the types of books they like to read.

"It helps me interact with students in a positive way," Frost said. "It helps them know I'm another adult in the building who wants to help them."

Marshdale PTA funds the project to the tune of about $1,000 per year, which averages out to $2 or $3 per child.

"I think it's a pretty inexpensive investment in literacy," Frost said.

Parmalee sets oral interpretation fest

Interpreting poetry and speaking in front of a group are just two of the goals of the Parmalee Elementary School oral interpretation festival set for the week of Oct. 27.

Students in the school memorize poems and recite them in front of a group, according to principal Ingrid Mielke. Students will compete in their classrooms, and the top three speakers compete in a schoolwide oral interpretation competition tentatively set for Oct. 29.

Students are evaluated by a panel of judges and awarded small prizes, said Julia Davis, a second-grade teacher who organizes the festival.

"I think (the oral interpretation festival) is really important for the kids," Davis said. "Poetry is a gateway to comprehension, fluency and understanding. It's a great way for kids to build confidence. It hits the whole gamut of learning. You will get inspired because these kids are truly amazing."

Davis said students learn a variety of poetry - funny, serious and music lyrics - and some students write their own.

"It's never dull," she said.

Wilmot's annual carnival is Oct. 10

Wilmot Elementary School's annual Bandana Day carnival and silent auction will be from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 10, at the school, 5124 S. Hatch Drive.

The event, which is open to the Evergreen community, is a fund-raiser for the school sponsored by the Wilmot PTA.

The Wilmot PTA raises more than $20,000 each year to support the school. The group made the decision many years ago to raise money without asking students to sell items, so events like Bandana Day are important fund-raisers.

"We support programs not funded by the Jeffco School District," Wilmot PTA president Victoria Burge said. "We hope this year's Bandana Day will raise more than 40 percent of Wilmot PTA's annual operating budget."

For the 2008-09 school, Bandana Day fund-raising carries a special responsibility for the Wilmot PTA.

"Currently, the classroom technology available to students at Wilmot is below that of other neighborhood schools," said principal Dannae McReynolds. "Wilmot PTA has committed to help me invest an additional $200,000 over the next three years to raise the technology at our school to the level of other local elementary schools."

Marshdale sponsors parent classes

It isn't easy for parents to find new and challenging ways to make math fun to learn for their children.

So the Marshdale PTA came up with a series of parent nights to help give parents ideas, skills and games theat they can use to help their children.

Last week the PTA sponsored two math nights for parents, according to principal Christie Frost. Each teacher prepared a game or activity that parents could use at home with their children. Parents rotated to different tables during the one-hour session to get materials and directions to use the games at home.

"At the end of an hour, the parents walked away with a lot of different activities," Frost said. "We feel like the more strategies parents have to work with kids, the better students will do in school."

The idea was formulated after several parents expressed an interest in making sure their children were challenged enough in math, Frost said. "Some people aren't comfortable with math, so this is a good way to help build their comfort level."

Similar workshops to help parents work with their children on reading and writing will be Dec. 11.

Other workshops include a bully prevention class Nov. 13; a discussion of helping children make better choices and take responsibility for the consequences Feb. 19; and Internet safety March 12.

School-wide camping trip was a success

Twelve families joined Rocky Mountain Academy of Evergreen director Ryan Lucas on a school-wide camping trip near Buena Vista in mid-September.

As Lucas puts it: "Forty-five people, 12 families, four bags of marshmallows, three ATVs, two nights, one day at the hot springs, zero trips to the (emergency room) equal the first RMAE camping trip."

Lucas said the trip was great, with families becoming friends and enjoying the outdoors together. He expects to make this a yearly tradition at the school.

Have school news? Contact Evergreen resident Deb Hurley Brobst at deb@evergreenco.com.