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50 things about Overton Elementary: Part 3

By Mary Allen Conforti

Special to the Post

SALISBURY — Part of growing includes innovating and adapting to the surrounding world. Overton Elementary has done just that! In this installment of “50 Things About Overton Elementary” to celebrate the school’s 50th year, it’s time to zone in on what Overton has done and is doing to dream big and bring innovations to today’s classroom.

30: It’s not every day that a school wins a major piece of advanced technology – but last June 30 was just that day! At an International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Conference last summer in Philadelphia, Principal Walden won the school a Box Light DeskBoard Mobile Cart. It can be used the same as an ActiveBoard but the added benefits are its mobility the ability to use it as an interactive table!

29: This year, several grades at Overton are exploring local artists who left their mark by implementing new creative techniques. Art teacher Lynn Kosinski is leading students to study artist Romare Bearden, who was from Charlotte and later worked in New York City and Paris. Bearden gained wide regard for his depiction of African American culture through unique collage work. Students are using Bearden’s same process and applying their own experiences of community to create their own original collage.

28: Children learn better when they are not distracted by hunger. Overton is fortunate to be able to offer universal free breakfast and lunch this year to all students no matter what their family income level.

27: Students are learning not just academics at Overton, but also being encouraged to grow and stretch their minds in new areas. This year, Overton began offering clubs for students that meet once a month during the school day. A variety of activities are offered including technology, tennis, dance, photography, knitting and recycling to name a few. Each club is led by a staff member who guides the students’ exploration.

26: During a recent club day, the technology club was able to use Overton’s new 3-D Printer. Using the Morphi application on iPads, students were able to design a three dimensional object and print it. Possible uses for 3-D printers are rapidly growing in today’s world and giving Overton students hands-on access to it is piquing student interest in design, marketing, science and engineering.

25: Speaking of piquing interest, have you heard of a Ga-ga Pit? Overton is dreaming big and dreaming octagonal! New outside play spaces are in the works including new basketball goals and blacktop area, benches for outdoor quiet space, and possibly even a Ga-ga Pit which is a popular camp game that is an enclosed version of dodgeball. Ga-ga is an interactive game that includes all ability levels and elementary ages.

24: Being outdoors is wonderful for recess time, but the great outdoors is also the world’s best classroom. That is precisely why Overton is embarking on a creating a new fifth grade field trip to focus on environmental education and exploration. This year’s fifth grade class is planning to go to Camp Don Lee in Arapahoe in April to study ecosystems, natural habitats and marine life – all subjects that are covered in fifth grade coursework. This year’s fourth grade class has already begun fundraising for their own trip as fifth graders and their chance for a true hands-on, knee-deep immersion into science.

23: Each school day consists of 420 minutes, but the Hour of Code is what’s catching everyone’s attention. Hour of Code is a special enhancement time in the Media Center that introduces students to how the language of computer programming works. Beginning several years ago, students in kindergarten through fifth grade have the chance to learn about coding and try their hand.

22: A program in its inaugural year at Overton is the popular “Girls on The Run” for girls in third through fifth grades. Led by school social worker Victoria Curran, this program uses wellness and running to help girls focus on confidence-building and personal empowerment. The curriculum has been wildly successful around the United States, and Overton’s first class of runners just kicked off this February.

21: Part of growing as a school is learning to meet the needs of the students which can encompass physical, emotional, intellectual and more. As Overton strives to nourish these areas for each child, an easy solution for one need has been found. Fresh fruit. Fresh vegetables. Kids are growing every day and they need the fuel to keep going. Overton’s grant through the school nutrition services provides fresh fruit and vegetables snacks for students daily. Snack items include apples, celery, grapes, carrots and pineapple.

Just as organisms found in nature adapt to better equip themselves to survive and thrive, Overton Elementary is doing the same. Just ask fifth graders for examples of animal adaptations when they get back from their field trip or pose a question to budding artists who create expressions of community. Perhaps one of our clubs can explore more new ways that Overton can grow and innovate and dream for next school year. After all, Overton’s 50th year is not the end but rather the beginning of the next 50.

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