The following is a typical day in the life of a scholar at Hiawatha Leadership Academy – Morris Park.
NOTE: can add a photo for each; add more details about the learning experience
Morris Park scholars begin to arrive on school buses, pouring out in their yellow logo t-shirts and khaki bottoms; the school’s official uniform. Scholars are greeted by the smiling face of Eric Cruz-Mejia, the Transportation and Operations Coordinator. Clipboard in hand, he makes sure that their arrival runs smoothly, offering reminders to slow down as they hop off their buses in excited chatter.
Younger siblings follow closely behind their older siblings, friends walk in groups, backpacks on, some carrying books in their hands. Inside the building, Principal Jessica Hayes strolls the building. Excited scholars run up to hug her, others are eager to show her their latest art project.
The classrooms fill up quickly as students sit down to eat breakfast, which is served from 7:20- 7:40 am each day in their classrooms. Most of the scholars at Morris Park, and across Hiawatha eat breakfast in school daily. And as the clock nears 7:40 am, the classroom teachers begin to prepare scholars for their day of learning. Lingering Fruit Loops are spooned up, and milk cartons chugged back before scholars sort their left over breakfast packaging into recycling or trash.
Teachers hold morning meetings with the scholars, laying out the agenda for the day. Ensuring that scholars know what is expected of them; a Hiawatha Academies best practice. As scholars read the day’s agenda off the teacher’s board there’s a feeling of camaraderie and teamwork in the room: “we are all in this together.”
As first period begins, students sit in small groups of 4-6, allowing for more focused learning. Most classrooms have two instructors, to offer scholars more one-on-one time with teachers. The small groups also allow teachers to structure lessons at different learning levels, meaning no one gets left behind. The classroom walls themselves are a lesson waiting to be found; peppered with inspirational quotes, the week’s plan, and fast facts, both fun and weird.
In fact, learning and engagement is in play everywhere you look, exemplifying Hiawatha’s commitment to nurturing our scholar’s minds and characters. Whether in the scholar-made posters on how to properly recycle plastic and paper, or the kindergartner’s project on what aliens might be found in outer space, scholars are encouraged to be their best selves, use their imaginations, and have fun as they learn and grow.
All scholars eat lunch together in the cafeteria, where sounds of laughter and conversation can be heard over the noise of silverware and lunch trays.
RECESS & MOVEMENT
In the afternoon, if the weather permits, scholars take recess in the playground adjacent to the building. Kids chase each other in a game of tag, others kick a ball. Even when scholars are inside, they are often encouraged to move around. Hiawatha Academies recognizes the importance of physical activity to health and concentration.
Meanwhile, in the front office, parents gather happily greeting each other. They’re volunteering for the 4th grade field trip and their excitement is palpable – almost matching that of the scholars themselves. Natanael Moreno, the office assistant, answers the phone ringing on his desk. After a brief conversation in English, he switches over to Spanish in response to the parent on the other end of the phone.
As the afternoon heat builds up, 3rd graders gather for their weekly Writer’s Workshop. In a kindergarten class on the other side of the building, young scholars contemplate a math problem under the close guidance of their teacher.
Meanwhile, the gym begins to fill up with aspiring musicians, and the sweet music they make travels down the hall. Other special activities include languages and art.
As scholars spend time with specialists, teachers meet to share information about how each scholar is progressing, and to make plans for helping student who are behind catch up – and giving more challenging work to students who are already on track.
Satisfied, stimulated scholars flood out of the building, looking forward to a rest and then another day of learning ahead.