Occasionally, a trek to a conference allows me the opportunity to make a site visit to a school or two. And that’s exactly what I did in late April! While en route to Greenville, North Carolina for the North Carolina Center for Afterschool Programs’ Synergy Conference, I made two stops. I visited Walking Classroom adopters at Sugg Bundy Elementary and at Elmhurst Elementary.
Stopping by Sugg Bundy Elementary
My first stop of the day was an 8:00 a.m. visit to Sugg Bundy Elementary, which is among the over 20 Pitt County Schools serving elementary students. Located in Farmville, North Carolina, the school takes its name from the two adjacent schools it comprises. H. B. Sugg Elementary serves 485 students from pre-kindergarten through second grade and Sam D. Bundy Elementary serves 398 students in third through fifth grades. Both schools are led by a single principal, Allison Setser.
One of the instructional coaches at the school, Andra Jones, received the school’s Walking Classroom materials through a grant from the Kenan Charitable Trust in September of 2017. The program was then implemented by Leonard Paulk and Shawn Talbott, the school’s P.E. teachers during the morning intervention time, and used by a different grade level (third, fourth, or fifth grade) each nine weeks.
During the last nine weeks, the program was being used by the fifth graders. After meeting Ms. Jones and being introduced to Mr. Paulk and Mr. Talbott, I met a small group of students in the gym. Following a preliminary discussion on the day’s podcast, Heart & Circulatory System (4-#6, STEM-#31, Combined-#128), we were ready to walk, listen, and learn.
Due to the light drizzle outside, the students, Ms. Jones, and I took to the halls. With wide hallways and interconnected buildings, the layout of the school is very conducive to walking, and even inside, the students can cover quite a bit of ground!
As Ms. Jones and I had no WalkKits, while we walked, we chatted a bit about how The Walking Classroom is being used this year. Since it is primarily used for enrichment, we discussed potential future use with different cohorts of students.
Although the students normally would have a follow-up discussion or take the comprehension quiz following the walk, their time was limited due to testing, and they completed the walk just in time to head to their next class. I quickly thanked Mr. Paulk and Mr. Talbott, leaving some TWC treats for them to later deliver to the students, then headed on to my next destination.
Next Stop? Elmhurst Elementary
After a 25-minute drive to the east, I was at my next location, Elmhurst Elementary, in plenty of time for my 10:00 a.m. visit with Chris Hill, the school’s fourth grade science and social studies teacher. Mr. Hill received his Walking Classroom materials in November of 2017, shortly after they were purchased by the school district.
Located in Greenville, North Carolina, Elmhurst Elementary sits just behind East Carolina University’s football stadium! Another of the Pitt County Schools serving elementary students, Elmhurst Elementary is led by principal Colleen Burt and has 412 students in kindergarten through fifth grade.
I signed in at the office and shortly thereafter, I was directed to Mr. Hill’s classroom. There, the students were preparing to listen to Food Chains (4-#42, STEM-#33, Combined-#130), by viewing some supplementary (and rather entertaining!) videos. A brief discussion followed, and then Mr. Hill introduced key vocabulary, sharing definitions of the new words the students would be meeting through the podcast.
The WalkKits were distributed, and because of rain, we completed our walk inside the school building, making multiple laps around the cafeteria. Following the walk, we made our way back to Mr. Hill’s classroom, where he distributed the comprehension quiz for the students to complete.
After they finished, we had a little “Q and A” time before the students headed to lunch. I made sure I got some photos (and shared some TWC swag with the class) before I left, then stopped at the office to sign out before departing for my drive to my hotel!