The final Superintendent’s Spotlight of the school year shines on a group of Sanfordville Elementary students who recently turned what they’d learned in their classrooms about how communities function, into a charity drive that sent donations to multiple charities right here in their own community.
That creative and civic-minded group? All of the students in this year’s Partners in Education 1 and 2 classes – Taylyn Carter’s room, Donna Denny’s room, and Lauren Hughes’ room.
In summary, students in the Partners in Education (P.I.E.) 1 and 2 classes took part in a unit on community economics, which culminated in an outdoor market arranged, hosted, and enjoyed by the PIE students, their teachers, and parents. Students learned about issues that affect a community’s economy and wellbeing of its citizens, and about “needs” vs. “wants,” earning and saving, and how money changes hands in a community.
“After learning about community economics, the students began to question what people in our own community needed,” said Ms. Carter. “The students brainstormed ways they could help others in Warwick and, with the help of our PIE parents, were able to reach out to organizations in need.”
With their civic interests piqued, the motivated students took in donated items from their own homes and others’, and each class oversaw a different area of the community market during the event: a food pantry, a used bookstore, a second hand clothing boutique, an outdoor cafe, and a pet shop. Students worked at their respective stations to earn “bucks” they could then spend at the market themselves, reinforcing a lesson on earning/saving/spending.
Student Troy Haysom said the unit and project showed him just how important each individual’s role is in building and sustaining a healthy community.
“I learned the ways that everyone in a community works so hard to make sure there’s food and all of the stuff people need,” said Troy.
Student Martin Sheekey said that classes talked a lot about things they own and the houses they live in, having a nice TV, a couch and a comfy bed. He said it made him realize, “that we are lucky to have all the things we have. Because, we don’t really need a lot of it!”
Student Verdigris Bisla added, “We were donating lots and lots of things that we didn’t need anymore, just in case someone else doesn’t have it. Something you can donate is the clothes that you grow out of.”
Student Sadie Cirbus said that she learned how to be respectful of her parents because the project “helped (me) realize how hard they work to get me the things I need and want.”
Ms. Denny enjoyed observing the choices each student made with their earnings.
“They had to decide what they wanted to buy or participate in,” she said. “It gave them a real world understanding of what everyone has to do daily with the money they earn.”
Ms. Hughes loved that the students were so charged up by the real world connections they were making to their lessons.
“Kindness is important,” said student Ettamoya Bryne. “It’s good to care for people by doing that stuff for the community – gathering food, blankets, clothes, anything for people who need it.”
Student Avery Larsen reiterated the importance of kindness in helping others.
“If someone doesn’t have a lot, and you can give them more,” she said, “that can help them maybe live a better life.”
Students beamed with pride at how much they were able to give back to the community. Boxes and boxes of generous donations were delivered to Albert Wisner Library, Four Seasons and other Warwick clothing donation sites, the Warwick Food Pantry, and the Warwick Valley Humane Society.
“It was beautiful to see the students participate in a community economic simulation,” said Ms. Carter. “Once it was all over, they truly understood the value of money, having a job, and how fortunate we are to have so many of the things we want in our lives.”
Ms. Hughes agreed. “The students walked away from this experience with a newfound appreciation for everything they have. It was heartwarming to see the PIE families come together to support and help grow our vision.”
The teachers and students agree that they all feel especially lucky to live in such a strong and supportive community like Warwick.