By Lynsey Fleck, Instructional Coach
The 2021-22 school year featured many amazing learning opportunities for students, excellent learner growth, and an ever-growing community of learners here at MELA. It also brought some obstacles, challenges, and many more interruptions to face-to-face instruction than we’d hoped for, which makes keeping the learning going is of extra importance this summer.
Below are a few things that you can do at home to help your child keep his/her literacy skills fresh over the summer:
And last but not least….
Go places, have experiences, and talk to your child daily. These things are critical to developing your child’s background knowledge and vocabulary, which have a huge impact on reading success!
We have worked hard this year to provide social-emotional learning for all students at MELA. Social-emotional learning teaches students crucial life skills, including the ability to understand themselves, develop a positive self-image, take responsibility for their actions, and forge relationships with the people around them. As we close the door on another school year, we begin anew with a summer full of opportunity and hope for everyone! This summer season is a perfect opportunity to take advantage of making social-emotional health a priority. After the exhausting year that students, educators and parents have been through, we all really need it.
We want to set families up well to easily incorporate wellness activities into your summer fun, so with the help of our Occupational Therapist, Amy Lou Anderson, we have created an SEL packet for the summer. If you would be interested in one of these, please reach out to Ms. Erin Rudbeck or myself, Mrs. Autumn Terlouw, and we would be happy to send one home with your student(s). We have also included different websites the provide free/reduced cost events throughout the summer:
Autumn Terlouw, MSW, LICSW
Erin Rudbeck, MSW, LGSW
Today we finish off our series of "We Love Our School" by hearing the perspective of our administration and office team. Read our bios here!
Written By: The Teacher Leadership Team (Lisa Horn-4th Grade Teacher, Jessica Anderson-Music Teacher, Kat Waltz-Kindergarten Teacher, Andy Theis-5th Grade Teacher)
What the Leadership Team does:
Teacher leadership is not a destination, but a journey. At MELA, the teacher leadership team helps administration and staff on this journey by providing a bridge to bring together all parts of the school community to create a more positive school culture and improve student achievement. Teacher leaders can be seen at MELA mentoring other teachers, facilitating professional development meetings, having weekly conversations with administrators, and taking initiative on different ways to increase student achievement. Here are a few words from the teachers that are a part of the leadership team:
Working at MELA, I now understand why the school is known as the “little school with the big heart”. The staff here are so kind and care about each other, uplifting the accomplishments of others during our weekly staff shout outs on Fridays. Relationships come first between students and staff above all else. Students are rewarded for positive behaviors by teachers with MELA tickets, celebrating them being mindful, empathetic, leaders, and being accountable in their learning. MELA is full of heart and you can see it in every student and staff member that brings their own unique identity and positivity to our school to make it a safe and welcoming place for all.
“Little School with a Big Heart” is what MELA is known for in our community. The positivity and inclusiveness between the staff, students, and families is what makes MELA a one of a kind school. The staff go above and beyond to ensure each student and family’s needs are met. The culture within the school is one of acceptance, love, and support. I truly could not ask to be a part of a better school community!
Between the incredible staff and amazing students, MELA is a very special place. From day one, I truly felt at home. Our close-knit community and commitment to building and maintaining relationships is a key component to our success. As a small school, students and staff and able to get to know each other across all grade levels. Staff members look out for all students regardless of grade or age. They say it takes a village, and I feel as if we are that village. MELA is an incredibly special school and it will always hold a place in my heart.
My favorite thing about working at MELA is the people. With our school being smaller it allows for so many opportunities to interact with other grade levels and staff. I look forward to Wednesday Passion Projects because I get to teach another grade level and build those relationships early as they move up to my class in the next year or two. MELA is my second home and I love coming ‘home’ everyday.
Trevor Abel, Dean of Students
One of the many groups of people who have a profound effect on the learning of scholars here at MELA are our paraprofessionals. Paraprofessionals are multi talented individuals who provide instructional, behavioral and other support to scholars both inside and outside of our classrooms. We have paraprofessionals who work with individual students as well as support small groups of students. They work with our classroom teachers to meet and support the individual learning needs and goals of our scholars.
We are fortunate to have six qualified individuals who serve our school as paraprofessionals. They are in a majority of our classrooms and do great work every day. One of the strengths of our paraprofessional team is their ability to build and maintain relationships with students. Most of our students know who they are, even if they are not in their classroom on a regular basis. Our paras each bring flexibility, and their own strengths to help us meet our goal of providing the best educational experience possible for our student population.
Here are some things that our paraprofessionals LOVE about working at MELA:
"One thing I appreciate about MELA is its small size. I can see our slogan, 'The Little School with the Big Heart,' at work each and every day. Constantly I see kindness and willingness to help from not only my own students, but students from every grade level. I feel that our small size grants me the opportunity to build relationships with scholars that I might not otherwise get a chance to see."
"Another thing I love is our after-school program on Wednesdays. I enjoy seeing scholars from almost every class play and interact with each other, while doing new activities that bring out their creativity. Additionally, I enjoy being able to spend time with the scholars that I otherwise don't get the pleasure of having in my own class."
"There is always a staff member to come by and cheer you up."
"I love the support and confidence that we get from our teachers."
"I love how we work together as a family here at MELA."
Our paraprofessionals are an integral cog in the MELA machine and we could not achieve our organizational goals and mission without their tireless work. So thank you paraprofessionals, one of the things we love about MELA is YOU!