What began as a project aimed at mixing students who attend the APPLE program at Franklin Elementary School with other Franklin students turned into a community service project that will keep some shelter cats and dogs cozy.
The Alternative Parent Participation Learning Experience requires parents to participate in classroom activities, and that means APPLE classrooms do more enrichment activities, such as excursions and interactive learning projects. Students who aren’t in APPLE can get a little envious of that.
“There is sometimes tension between the students in APPLE and the other students,” said Anne Walter, school counselor at Franklin. “The two programs rarely mix during the school day, so to help the students get to know each other a little better we formed a mix-it-up committee.” The students had some lunch programs together, and there were also some joint PE activities.
“It was the kids who came up with the idea of doing something for somebody else,” Walter said.
The students decided to make simple fleece beds big enough for a cat or a small dog. Walter said the students did the math and figured out how much fleece and other materials were needed.
And during one mix-it-up session last week, about 100 students produced 25 pet beds.
“It really was a blast to see them work together,” Walter said.
The students have yet to decide which animal shelter gets the beds.
The mix-it-up committee has helped students get to know each other and that’s important when they move on from Franklin. Although APPLE students come from all over the city, many Franklin students move on to Chase Middle School, where it won’t matter if they were in APPLE or not.
“This has helped them get to know each other,” Walter said. “It’s helped them keep their minds open beyond the labels we apply to each other.”