Welcome Back!

Students who opted for face-to-face instruction returned to schools yesterday with smiles beneath their masks and high expectations of getting back to the “new normal.” Students in specialized programs and preschool returned two weeks ago. Although class sizes are small because many families opted for their children to remain remote, teachers and administrators say things got off to a great start. “It’s surprisingly refreshing,” said ILC teacher Chalisa McCray  (3rd left column). “I’ve been pleased with the things Colonial put in place to keep everyone safe and the kids are responding well to that, they haven’t been complaining about the masks or the cleaning,” McCray says.  Ashley Bryson (3rd center column), a preschool teacher for Colonial’s Early Education Program (CEEP), echoed the same sentiments. Under the Department of Health and Safety guidelines, preschoolers aren't required to wear face masks but most families send the children to school wearing them. Bryson says that hasn’t been a problem, and neither have any of the other safety protocols like constant hand washing and keeping children’s personal belongings separate from each other.  ”They truly enjoy being here and as long as you’re consistent with your routine they pick up on it so much quicker than you would think, they honestly are rock stars!”
Lori Edevane ( 3rd right column), a paraprofessional at Southern, is also happy to see students back saying many need one-on-one attention and socialization. “At first it was very scary.  I’m more comfortable now that it’s been a couple of weeks and they really enjoy being here” she says. Southern Assistant Principal Rich Bryson says his building came alive when students in specialized programs returned. “It’s nice having the kids back and seeing the interaction with teachers. Most of us have been very positive because of all of the safety precautions and everyone has been very professional.” Now that more students returned to Southern Bryson says,” I know the teachers are excited to come back. I know there is some nervousness out there too but they know the district has done everything to keep people safe and that’s been in the forefront of every decision made.”
  Ursula McCoy,(bottom) an Assistant Principal at William Penn who has been helping at two other elementary schools temporarily loves seeing how excited youngsters are to see their teachers in person. Administrators like herself and teachers often use one word to describe teaching remotely--"challenging.”  As for the additional students who returned this week, McCoy says, “A lot of planning goes into it. You try to put the needs of the students, the needs of the teachers, the needs of the community, and the parents at the forefront of all of the decisions being made. We definitely want to keep everyone safe and provide a top-notch education to the best of our ability.”  As challenging as the circumstances may be, just watching the students at CEEP come to school for in-person instruction has been inspiring to McCoy who says,” It’s exciting, the kids jump out of the car because they’re so excited to be here!”

Elementary School Happenings

Carrie Downie's Good Samaritans

The Power of WE often works in mysterious ways. Last week a silver-haired woman stopped by Carrie Downie and dropped off an envelope filled with $300 worth of grocery store gift cards with a letter that read:

Dear Principal Timm,
I am thankful that we are at a point in our lives that we do not need the stimulus check we received. I know there are many who are experiencing hard times and are in need. Enclosed please find six $50 gift certificates to Food Lion. Please distribute them as you see fit to any families in need.  May today be the new beginning, 
 - Stay Well, A New Castle Neighbor.

No one knows the identity of the mystery donors but Principal Timm wishes to thank them for quietly making a difference in the lives of some of his neediest students.

The Spirit of Giving Continues

Generosity is contagious in Colonial Nation. Wilmington Manor teacher Bree Williams, a lifetime Colonial,  wanted to do something special for students in her kindergarten class. She and her dad built and delivered custom desks along with wobble chairs (because sitting still can be tough for a kindergarten student), and Home Depot gift cards so they can get the paint to make their desks their own.  “ It was a labor of love! It allows me to do my two favorite things; build with my dad, and serve my students and their families!” Wow, the Power of WE  is awesome!

Wilbur Student is a Hero!

A seven-year-old second-grade student at Wilbur is being hailed as a hero after saving his family when their home went up in flames.  Yanique Rainford,  Jr. was featured in the News Journal and on 6ABC. The Action News story below...but wait, there’s more. The firefighter who first encountered Yanique at the scene graduated from William Penn. He and his fellow firefighters put out the blaze. Thankfully, no lives were lost, but the house was destroyed. Here's the 6ABC link:https://6abc.com/boy-saves-family-after-home-goes-up-in-flames/9667093/

Tiana Sirmans Featured on 6ABC...Again!

Pleasantville fifth-grader Tiana Sirmans was featured in an Action News story because she has big ideas for President Biden. Click the arrow to view yet another story about Colonial’s youngest go-getter!


Ice Cream Anyone?

Pleasantville's Tiana Sirmans is also a 5th-grade class president. After interviewing  Ice Cream Scientist Dr. Maya Warren, this cub reporter thought it would be a good idea to have Dr. Maya give a virtual lesson on "The Science of Ice Cream. Teacher Lisa Mims agreed and she says, "Room 5 had an amazing experience with Dr.Maya! Room 5 not only learned how to make ice cream, but we learned about the science behind it. It was a family affair, as students worked with family members to make their own ice cream. A wonderful, authentic, experience and, the ice cream was delicious!" 

Middle School Happenings

Work-Based Learning Partnership

A business partnership with a company named Code Differently worked with students from all three of Colonial’s middle schools. The kids learned how to use HTML code to write and design websites.  The district’s Work-Based-Learning program linked the kids and the company together...that’s the way the Power of WE works!

High School Happenings

Presidential Inauguration Turned into Teachable Moments

When William Penn AP teacher Casey Eros heard  22- year old Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman (top left) recite her poem “The Hill We Climb,” at the Presidential Inauguration she knew she had to scrap her teaching plans for the next day. Eros was so inspired she immediately changed her writing assignment telling her supervisor, “ This was the perfect opportunity for students to put into practice skills they’ve been working on all semester...The best thing about teaching AP Language is that it’s rooted in the real world. Students examine the power that language has and how writers and speakers have used that power throughout history. Getting to see that power operating in real-time, being wielded by someone to whom the students can relate, is a learning opportunity I couldn’t pass up!” Eros said.

William Penn Integration A teacher Kristi Dionne had her students watch the inauguration on TV. She snapped the pictures above of her student Damian Pimentel(center) and Carlitos Garcia-Estrada (right) who immediately saluted when the national Anthem played and when Hail to the Chief started. The patriotic acts moved Dionne to ask if her students could participate in marching and flag ceremonies conducted by William Penn’s ROTC saying, “I would just love to see our kids, with their hearts for the military, be able to participate.”  Due to the COVID restrictions around gatherings, the ROTC has not held any ceremonies, but who knows what the future holds for these special patriotic students!

Work-Based Learning is on a Roll!

 Colonial's  Work-Based Learning Coordinator Anna Morgan is proud to announce that 10 students participated in a competition sponsored by Discover designed to help students with their interviewing skills. The William Penn team participated in workshops and had a great time, with two winning Pixelbook GO’s. Congrats to Sophia Hilliard and Ricky Cervantes-Lezama pictured above! 

Happenings at Leach

Kudos to a Special P.E. Teacher

Colonial teachers have always gone above and beyond for students, but one parent, Corey Wallace, wanted to express his gratitude to teachers at Leach, with special praise for Physical Education teacher Frank Hughes saying he deserves kudos for making a real virtual connection with his son, Khaiel.“ Wallace wrote, "Mr. Frank showed me that there is hope and life in virtual learning. I think that everyone could learn from him to make their class more lively. His class was phenomenal... Mr. Frank is the epitome of what a teacher should be in the time we live in currently. Mr. Frank is an irreplaceable asset to the Leach school. Thank you!” 

WE Feed!

One of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s most impactful quotes is “Life's most persistent and urgent question is, What are you doing for others?”. On Thursday, January 14th, Colonial School District staff answered his question the best way they know how by feeding kids. Those 18 years of age and under received a box of five (5) breakfasts and five (5) lunches to last through the four-day break. With what has been a fantastic partnership and another shining example of the Power of WE, our nutrition and transportation staff supplied over 37,900 meals during the long holiday weekend! Congrats again to this group for doing what they can to help our families during this pandemic.

A Heartwarming Surprise! 

Barb Lavigne has been among the nutrition service workers who have been delivering meals to the community on a Colonial school bus since the pandemic started in March. Like many of the dedicated nutrition workers and bus drivers, she has become very attached to students and families on her route. One youngster, in particular, touched her heart. Two-year-old Grayson has cancer and he just loves all things school-bus related. Lavigne decided to surprise Grayson with a toy school bus and a T-shirt to brighten his day. She hopes to get permission to allow Grayson to come onto the school bus to explore when things are safe. Colonial’s connection to the community is so special thanks to special employees like Barb Lavigne!

Boxes Filled with Gifts

Colonial’s elementary students will receive 2,500  gift bags filled with school supplies thanks to a statewide initiative sponsored by the Delaware Readiness Team. The volunteer-based group is working to strengthen communities by supporting school-aged children, especially during the pandemic. Colonial’s own Dawn Alexander (right), a preschool program coordinator, was among those who made certain the bags were delivered to the district. Wow, another community partnership that supports Colonial’s students!

Click on the Above Who WE Are Profiles

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