Greenwood Elementary School is home to 528 wonderful students from kindergarten through fifth grade. The 2019-'20 school year started off with a bang!

Several new staff members joined our team, and we welcome several new teachers: Amber Willige, special education teacher; Sinea Girdner, special education teacher; Dani Haggard, speech therapist; Ashley Hunnicutt, grade 4 language arts; and Cody Frusher, support staff member. Together, these team members provide quality services for students at Greenwood. Some familiar faces moved to new places. Jess Robinson joined the kindergarten team, and Ronda Reed and Heather Brozovich made the move to first grade.

Greenwood's PTO hit the ground running. PTO officers have met and started planning for this year's activities and projects. Thanks to our supportive PTO and their hard work and dedication, we were able to resurface the track and two basketball courts; provide additional books for our Guided Reading library; and provide an additional lower Action Based Learning lab for kindergarten and first-grade students. Their commitment to our students does not go unnoticed and will impact future generations for years to come. PTO will continue fundraising efforts by hosting the annual Jog-a-Thon, Greenwood's biggest fundraising activity, Oct. 11. Students and teachers will celebrate this event by dressing up to an "Eye of the Tiger" theme. Funds from this year's PTO budget provide materials and services to classroom teachers and to add playground equipment. Tahlequah Public Schools thanks our community for its support.

Greenwood is on the second year of the 21st Century Learning Center grant. This multiyear grant provides funds to improve student achievement with quality after-school activities. Greenwood's Students Taking Active Roles after-school program got off to a smooth start. Students spent the first three weeks getting to know grade-level mentors and youth staff leaders; participating in Power Hour (homework procedures); establishing expectations; and participating in other activities. Clubs will be added to the schedule throughout the year that are geared toward student interest. Some new and exciting clubs have been added: Little Sprouts Cooking Club, Mentoring Matters, and NASA Club. All this is made possible by funding from the 21st Century Grant and the Boys & Girls Club Program. TPS also received the USDA Grant and TSET Healthy Living Program that provided funding to bring the Farmers' Market to our third-grade students and for improvements to the outdoor classroom area.

During October, students will be reminded of the importance of fire prevention and other issues. Fire prevention will be promoted through school visits from firefighters along with lessons in fire safety. During the week of Oct. 28-Nov. 1, several school sites will participate in Red Ribbon Week. Greenwood events include several anti-drug themed lessons for upper grades, and activities where students learn the importance of staying healthy through proper nutrition, exercise, and staying away from drugs.

We want parents to feel welcome and included in their child's education. Our first parental involvement activity night of the year included "Games with Grands." Many grandparents attended and had the best time playing board games with their grandchildren. Camp Learn S'more is scheduled for late October, along with a Family Fitness Night to be scheduled in the spring.

To help communicate with busy parents, we urged parents to sign up for the parent portal through WenGage. This is a great way to check student grades and missing assignments, and pay for lunches online. Be sure to like the Greenwood Facebook page and a Greenwood PTO Facebook page. These are used to keep parents informed of happenings and upcoming events.

Good things are happening here at Greenwood!

Leon Ashlock is superintendent of the Tahlequah I-35 School District.

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