What’s Cool at Public School

Student engagement is the spark that lights a flame of interest, which can ignite a fire that grows into a passion. In order to engage a curious student, an educational program must attract children on a real level – stimulating their interests and helping them grow into lifelong learners, not just yearlong students.

Our local public schools are doing just that, creating special activities that challenge kids to think in innovative ways and open up their world to new possibilities. Here are just a few of the unique programs offered in our area schools.

Lew Wallace Elementary School PS 107
Indianapolis Public School District

Lew Wallace Elementary offers two new pilot programs that combine technology with future opportunity. Open to 5th and 6th grade students, the Coding Club and the Website Design Club teach kids about building a website and software coding. Using a free online website called code.org, students in the Coding Club learn how to perform different tasks and experiments. The Website Design Club offers students lessons in creating websites through a program called wix.com. These two clubs introduce Lew Wallace kids to the skills and abilities needed in today’s workforce. The school is hoping to find volunteers who can share their knowledge on coding and website design. If you are interested in sharing your talents, contact Principal Floyd.

Clarence Farrington Elementary School PS 61
Indianapolis Public School District

Clarence Farrington Elementary has kids developing money management skills in their Young Bankers Club, a program that partners with Fifth Third Bank to give 6th grade students an opportunity to learn about strategic financial issues. In the Young Bankers Club, students are asked to participate in a stock market challenge, where they are given a pretend amount of $5,000 and asked to purchase a stock. Students then track the progress of their stock to learn how market conditions can affect their investments. At the end of this program, the winners of the stock market challenge will be invited to the Fifth Third Bank’s headquarters for breakfast with the bank’s president. By investing in their students, Clarence Farrington is giving elementary kids the knowledge needed to invest in their own futures.

James A. Garfield Elementary School PS 3
Indianapolis Public School District

James A. Garfield Elementary School has started a local food movement with their very own Community Garden, a program that teaches students about the connection between food and nutrition. Started by Sarah McAfee, a Parent and Community Coordinator at Garfield, the garden was built in an empty lot across from the school. Distressed by her student’s accessibility to healthy foods, Sarah decided to grow this garden in order to educate students and their families on the benefits of eating healthy. Teachers form lesson plans around the garden and students physically maintain the area during the school day. Families at the school are encouraged to take home the local and organic fruits and vegetables that are produced in the garden as well.

Winding Ridge Elementary: School of Inquiry and Performing Arts
Metropolitan School District of Lawrence Township

Winding Ridge Elementary teaches its students about the simple act of kindness through the Sparrow Club. This club invites students in grades 4 – 6 to perform simple acts of kindness within their own community. This year, the Sparrow Club has chosen to tackle assorted projects in order to raise money for a local family with a young child who needs medical assistance. The Sparrow Club is more than a fundraiser; it helps to teach kids the joy of helping others and the meaning of selflessness.

What unique programs does your public school offer? Send a message to [email protected] to share your stories!

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