Student Leadership and Universal Acceptance

Jill A. Carter – Principal

Halethorpe Elementary School

We begin morning announcements every day with a student leader stating, “Good morning, Mingalaba, and Ni Hao Ma!”  This statement exemplifies the importance of student leadership and universal acceptance.  This greeting is typical in our school and it makes us unique.

Halethorpe is one of the most distinctive and welcoming elementary schools in Baltimore County.  Many people do not know that over half of our students are from Burma.  In addition, many of our children came to this country as refugees.  Yet, when walking the halls of our school, you would not realize that many of our children have only been in the United States for a short period of time.

As you walk from room to room, you will see all children engaged in learning experiences that encourage them to read, write, speak, reflect and think critically.  It is very common to see small groups collaborating around tasks.  All teachers and support staff are on the same page; as a result, they are able to provide support structures allowing for universal access to grade level material and content.

We strive to incorporate VAKT strategies to support the needs of English Learners and the learning styles of all children.  If you visit our school, you will see push-in and pull-out ESOL support, extended day programming addressing the needs of gifted math students and the needs of English Learners, clubs addressing a variety of student interests, Cloze practices supporting vocabulary learning, math mats supporting problem solving strategies and Mathematical Practices, and inclusive practices throughout our school.

Another thing that makes us unique is the culture of acceptance.  We utilize Restorative Practices and have daily class meetings.  All of this has led to a culture in which children look out for each other and adults continually teach the importance of supporting our school family.  We have created a safe, supportive, engaging learning environment in which all children can thrive.

 

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