|Kindergarten students said good morning|
on their way off to PE class
Principal Blaine Helwig and his Assistant Principal Chao Lin Chang greeted us outside.
We were quickly escorted to the front office where I met Mr. Helwig's wonderful office staff and Parent Support Specialist Richard Castillo. Mr. Castillo has been instrumental in increasing parent involvement and helping Graham cultivate partnerships. Graham recently started a beautiful community garden with the Chinese church in the neighborhood and has new picnic tables outside for families. Fabulous!
|Graham's wonderful office staff and|
Parent Support Specialist Richard Castillo
I was so impressed to see that Graham's entire school community is dedicated to accelerating its English Language Learner student population. Mr. Helwig shared that Graham had one year where they were almost low performing, but now almost 50% of their 800 students are commended! In fact, in the three short years that Mr. Helwig has been the Principal at Graham, the campus has gone from Academically Acceptable to EXEMPLARY two years in a row! Way to go Scotties!
As you travel through the hallways, it is clear that Mr. Helwig and his staff are creating and reinforcing a strong college-bound culture. Mr. Helwig is also a model for the importance of mentoring and has served as a mentor at three of our elementary schools: Oak Springs, Becker, and Zavala.
The walls at Graham are colorful and filled with science displays, including an interactive solar system, geography lesson, and posters to encourage reading.
Graham has also worked this year on several beautification projects such as adding an annex and extending their gym. They are working hard to ensure student safety and academics. Graham is also a model for the whole child and is participating in the Marathon Kids Program.
Our next stop was to see Graham's Teacher of Promise Desiree Holt, whose first grade ESL (English as a Second Language) students showed me their special song for learning how to say my name - Dr. C-A-R-S-T-A-R-P-H-E-N. It was adorable!
|Teacher of Promise Desiree Holt|
|Science Teacher Angie Roberts and|
her students-the future meteorologists of America!
I spoke with student Courtney Black, one of Ms. Roberts' students, who had recently received her academic "Drivers License." Graham has developed an incredible recognition program to help students learn math. Students must complete 100 addition, subtraction, and multiplication problems-each in 5 minutes. Students in 2nd grade who master each level receive special buttons to wear, and students in 3rd-5th grade get a "Drivers License," complete with school colors!
|Teacher of the Year Griselda Nunez|
|5th grade Math Teacher Elva Cantu|
Our last stop was in Elva Cantu's fifth grade math class. The students were reviewing conversions of math measurements.
I had a fantastic time, but it's now time to leave the community of Graham Scotties. Thank you for your hard work. You are true learning superstars!