My students are very kind and caring. A few of them have had COVID and really understand the physical impact it has on people. They want to learn and appreciate the things I do for them to make it easier for them to learn.
Our school district is completely rural.
Students either ride a bus or have personal transportation to and from school. There are no towns within walking distance to the school. During the past two school years, our students experienced extreme isolation from their peers because of the physical contact restrictions and the actual distances they were apart. Many families faced economic hardships because of job shutdowns. Several of our students and their families have livestock operations. Many students have livestock projects through 4-H. Many of them suffered loss during the extraordinary winter storm in February 2021. These traumatic situations contributed to many students feeling anxious, uncertain, and depressed. (Waddell, et al) When we stop and consider where our students are today, they were just second graders when they had their last “normal” year of school.
Our 5th grade team recognized the learning and social/emotional deficits of our students. In the areas of reading comprehension and vocabulary, our students need access to high quality literature to improve. They also need a learning environment that is comfortable, personalized, and increases their ability to stay focused on their learning. We also know that students need a place to feel safe and that has resources available to help them stay calm and refocus when necessary. Our current seating is completely inadequate. Students are not comfortable, as the desks do not fit them. The CLASS grant would allow us to transform our classrooms with multiple flexible seating options to meet student needs. By doing this, we would be able to create a more pleasant environment. Students who are comfortable are more likely to be more engaged learners, which should lead to greater academic achievement. We would also use CLASS grant funding to supplement our current calming areas which will allow students to have other resources to meet their social/emotional needs.
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