When new principal Val Anderson wanted to know about problems on Keystone Elementary School’s playground, she turned to the experts.
The school’s fifth- and sixth-graders.
Reinventing an idea from her previous assignment as vice principal at North Pines Junior High, Anderson started a playground safety committee.
Kelsey Solberg, a fifth-grader, perches on a playground bench and thinks for a few minutes before she ticks off the problems.
“Our Big Toy has bees in the holes. And everytime a kid puts their hands in them, they get stung,” she said, glancing over her shoulder toward the jungle gym.
“And the tunnels, sometimes kids jump off them and land on each other.”
Solberg and the dozen other students on the committee meet with Anderson once a month. Most of the students ran for ASB posts. Anderson wanted to channel their civic energy into a useful area.
And useful it has been.
She’s learned that there’s too much gravel under the swings for the older children to be able to swing. There’s too little sand in the sand box, “but they suggested we wait until spring.”
She’s learned that the older students worry about children falling off the slippery monkey bars.
Kelsey’s friend and fellow committee member Coranda Marshall thinks one answer to that would be a rule allowing only children who know how, to hang by their knees.
Anderson suggested painting on a covering to offer a better grip.
If the playground committee members are out at recess after lunch, they keep their eyes out for littler children who are behaving recklessly.
“But they don’t like to listen to us,” Kelsey said.
Youth leaders in the Valley
Several Valley students have been named to join the Youth Leadership Spokane Class of 1998.
They include the following: Jason Key, Bianca Koepsell and Mirella Funaro, all juniors from East Valley High School; Tori Bragdon and Jessica Crick, juniors from Central Valley High School; Reginald Lee, a junior from University High School; and Jennifer Eubanks, a sophomore from West Valley High.
The program, which teaches youth leaders about their community, opened with a retreat on Tuesday. It will continue through May.
The audience at the Opera House was in wild motion. Hands flew everywhere. One, two. One, two.
Jung-Ho Pak, leading the Spokane Symphony Orchestra’s Symfunnies concert for fifth-graders, stood at the front of the stage with six children. The six were guest conductors for the National Emblem March.
One by one, they took a turn, each leading the musicians through several bars of the march.
“The next time you see an orchestra,” Pak said, “take a look at the conductor. See if he’s conducting big or small, fast or slow.
“You guys are now true conductors. Welcome to the club,” he added.
Nine classes of fifth-graders and a fourth-grade class from Seth Woodard Elementary School were among the audience.
The students offered mixed reviews. The music, most agreed, was wonderful.
What else was cool?
“I liked it when he moved his hands big,” said Savanna Frank.
“When he talked about big sounds and little sounds,” said Jessica Gudgel.
“It was interesting to see the people play,” said Jake Ulmer. “Especially when they have so much talent.”
Not every child was reverent. “I nearly fell asleep,” yelped one girl.
, DataTimes MEMO: The Education Notebook is the spot the Valley Voice devotes to telling our community about students’ accomplishments, about learning in classrooms across the Valley. Teachers or parents whose students have earned honors, feel free to toot your horn. Contact Marny Lombard at the Valley Voice, 13208 E. Sprague, Spokane, WA 99216. Call: 927-2166. Fax: 927-2175. E-mail: MarnyL@spokesman.com
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