Welcome to Grangeville Elementary / Middle School
400 South Idaho Avenue, Grangeville, ID 83530
Phone: (208) 983-0400, Fax: (208) 983-3407
School started in a flurry with so many new faces, classes, and schedules. We are excited with all of the enthusiasm and still working out some of the bumps we expected with new schedules. We have heard concerns with some of the changes that have been implemented and would like to take some time here to help shine light on the situation.
The change of recess before lunch was prompted by years of research and the successful implementation of a similar schedule at Clearwater Valley Elementary in Kooskia. We are seeing students eating more, wasting less food (about 25%), and kids are coming back to class calmer and ready to get to work. We adjusted the schedule for a few weeks to make sure the lunch lines were moving smoothly and now, with the addition of a second keypad for data entry, the lines are going much faster. According to the National Food Service Mgmt. Institute, “When students go to recess before lunch, they do not rush through lunch and tend to eat a more well-balanced meal including more foods containing vitamins, such as milk, vegetables, and fruits.” The great news is, the research is lining up with the results that we are experiencing at GEMS now!
We also want to share that our school set two important goals last spring that are guiding decision-making and professional development in our school. These two goals are to improve reading instruction across the curriculum K-8 and to improve behavior supports through a positive focus.
We had some schedule changes because we added classrooms in K-5, which impacted all of the other schedules. One thing that is really important to understand is that all K-5 classes have two recesses scheduled each day as well as a special (PE, Music, Computers, or Art). Along with this, teachers are encouraged to take Brain Breaks, recess, or other outdoor activities when their students need additional breaks. However, scheduling a third grade-level recess results in an inflexible schedule that impacts our specialists, interventionists, and special education services. Flexibility is the key to making the schedule work for everyone, which is another reason we opted for the alternative teacher-driven break. Teachers’ professional judgment is valued at GEMS, and each teacher can make decisions that s/he thinks are best for their students each day. Even our older students need to get the wiggles out sometimes, so teachers are encouraged to adjust the learning environment whenever it increases students’ engagement. As we look at our schedules, if adjustments can be made that work for everyone, we will continue to do so.
Furthermore, we value the investment of our parents and community and want nothing more than an open dialogue and positive support of our school. We thank you for caring so much that you take time to share concerns and provide reflections. Here’s to a great school year as partners in our children’s education!
We encourage multiple ways for students to learn and parents to support the learning of their children. Please contact our school if you would like to learn about opportunities to become involved.
Dr. Susan Anderson
GEMS – Great Education Means Success!