Earlier this week, 6th – 7th graders from Brennemann and Stewart Elementary Schools met to discuss ways to successfully blend the cultures, traditions, and academic experiences of their two schools into one united school community.
Students began by forming small groups and taking a few minutes to simply get to know each other. Then, through an activity known as “Turn and Talk”, they discussed their ideas about what attributes make for a successful student, writing their words on paper cutouts of themselves that will later be displayed in the school foyer. The students also talked about the cultures and traditions of their schools – foundations that Brennemann plans to blend and build upon in the coming years.
“We want a full tapestry of who are students have been and who they will become,” said Sarah Abedelal, principal at Brennemann. “Our hope is that by exercising cooperation, collaboration and tolerance, our students will learn to respect and embrace each other’s traditions.”
This was the second event of its kind at Brennemann, and is only the start of the cultural integration plan that is being cultivated for the summer. Beginning in early July, for example, the school will hold weekly student gatherings centered around sports.
“Of course the students will be playing team sports,” said Principal Abedelal, “but we’ll also be reading books and articles about good sportsmanship and learning what it means to be part of a team.”
The goal of the sports program is to help create a seamless transition for all students when they return to school this fall.
“We want all the students to think of themselves as being part of the same team,” said Principal Abedelal. “And by spending time with us this summer, our new students will understand the routine of Brennemann and come to school ready to subscribe to our three promises – be there, be respectful, and be responsible.”
Brennemann will also offer academic enrichment this summer, including a literacy and math program for 2nd, 3rd, 6th and 8th grade students, and a math and science experience for students in grades K-1, 4 and 7. And to ensure that families are aware and involved, Brennemann will be holding monthly parent meetings and encouraging parents to become part of the Parent Mentorship Program – a project of the Logan Square Neighborhood Association that trains parents to act as recess and lunchroom monitors as well as classroom supports for teachers.
“Our goal is to create an atmosphere of collaboration and tolerance among all students and their families,” said Principal Abedelal. “We believe that Brennemann has a lot to offer our new students in the way of academics and culture, and that our new students will bring much to Brennemann as well.”