DuFief Elementary School celebrated its 5th annual Ability Awareness Week Oct. 17-21. The program teaches students that each person is special, despite differences or disabilities.
The school invited in a variety of speakers to talk to students, including Samantha Cohen, a Wootton High School student who has dyslexia; Ken Coppage, a disabled veteran who uses a wheelchair; Ms. Wheelchair Maryland, who talked about the need for accessible transportation; and Aaron Anderson, a business owner who was diagnosed with ADHD when he was 5 years old.
Students also participated in an assembly with the Maryland Ravens wheelchair basketball team.
“They play basketball for the kids and have teachers and students get in the wheelchair and see what it’s like,” said Suzanne Pape, school counselor. “A large part of why we do this is so our students really understand the differences and the challenges that some of our kids have. … The P.E., music and art teachers do activities to show them how challenging it is to say, be blind and paint. Or to play music when you have a disability. Even the media center puts books out about how people learn differently.
“The kids really get a lot out of the whole week. The message is: We need to accept everybody.”
Rock Creek Forest Students Launch Environmental Partnership
Rock Creek Forest Elementary School was honored at a ceremony on Oct. 14 for its sustainability efforts and participation in the U.S.-Taiwan Eco-Campus Partnership Program. The program pairs schools in the United States with schools in Taiwan to utilize project-based learning and to focus on sustainability topics such as energy, water, climate change, and school gardens. The program is sponsored by the EPA and the National Wildlife Federation.
Northwood Cross-Country Race Gets Students, Adults Moving
Northwood High School hosted the 8th Annual Consortia Cross-Country Championship Races on Oct. 15. Before the eight high schools in the Downcounty and Northeast Consortia raced to take home the Consortia Cup, runners from age 6 to 68 participated in races for elementary school and middle school students, and an open 5K race.
Finishers included students and staff from many schools from both consortia and even school board member Jill Ortman-Fouse. The eight high schools that participated were: Northwood, Montgomery Blair, Albert Einstein, John F. Kennedy, Wheaton, James Hubert Blake, Paint Branch and Springbrook.
The races are run on trails constructed and maintained by student volunteers from Northwood’s Environmental Science Academy, and the school’s cross-country team. The property was owned by the state highway administration, but Northwood parents and students— backed by funding from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation—have worked with the county Environmental Protection Agency, and Potomac Appalachian Trail Club to begin transferring the land to the Maryland National Park and Planning Commission.
With eight years of races many of the high school runners remember running when they were in elementary school, and now college students are returning to run in the open race. The older runners cheered the youngsters on in the early races, and the consortia high school runners cheered for each other at the county, regional and state meets.
Omegaman and Friends Visit Cannon Road ES
October is National Bullying Prevention Month and students at Cannon Road Elementary School participated in a special school assembly that featured Omegaman and Friends.
Students watched the superhero presenters snap a baseball bat in half, rip a phonebook in two and bend a solid steel bar—all while listening to their message about the importance of being kind to one another and promoting positive choices.
Key MS “Blues the School” to Stomp Out Bullying
From Oct. 3–7, the Counseling Department at Francis Scott Key Middle School hosted a school event called “Blue the School” to raise awareness and activism about the importance of stomping out bullying. This event was held in conjunction with National Bullying Awareness Month. Each day had an anti-bullying theme.
In addition, the school created a banner to hang in the rotunda of the building with signatures from students who committed to “stomping out” bullying in the school. Staff decorated doors with anti-bullying themes. Dr. Eric Minus, a director of school support and improvement and former Key principal, delivered a keynote address to students. A schoolwide pep rally featured a nationally acclaimed dance team committed to bringing awareness to social issues like bullying and dating violence.