How can you support students and their schools?

By Sarah Clark

How can neighbors and the community support local schools as students return to classes this fall?

Responding to that Bugle query, five area administrators offered several ideas.

Andrea Halverson, executive director of Northeast College Prep, said that besides donations of supplies, snacks, time and money; “Remember that September brings school buses and students walking and biking to school. Please watch carefully to help keep our students and their families safe.”

Katharina Schirg, director of International Programs and Communication at the Twin Cities German Immersion School, similarly asked for patience during times of high traffic as students and families get used to school arrival and dismissal procedures.

Other administrators mentioned specific needs for supplies or talents.

Beth Behnke, principal of Falcon Heights Elementary, said, “Donations of school supplies are much appreciated. Supplies most needed are sticky notes (“Post-its”), index cards, washable markers, colored pencils, tissues and paper towels.

Karen Duke, principal at St. Anthony Park Elementary, is hoping for some dedicated gardeners and traffic directors.

According to Duke, the school’s front gardens and Peace Garden have a plethora of weeds. She invites neighbors to “stop by anytime and do a little weeding. Five minutes. Fifteen minutes. It would be great to beautify the school entrance for when families return.”

In addition, if neighbors are interested in helping traffic flow safely during drop-off (6:50-7:30 a.m.) for the first couple weeks of school, Duke would appreciate the help as new families learn and returning families reacquaint themselves with the system for dropping off students.

The principal of Murray Middle School, Jamin McKenzie, also hopes to recruit volunteers from the neighborhood.

“If anyone specializes in a talent or has a hobby they are passionate about, consult our after-school program coordinator for possibilities to lead a class for our students. Please contact our Family and Community Engagement Coordinator, Stefanie Folkema at stefanie.folkema@spps.org.” 

Sarah CR Clark lives in St. Anthony Park and is a regular freelance writer for the Bugle.

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