“When our kids leave fifth grade, they’re leaving with a well-established concept of themselves and what they’re good at and that’s going to serve them well into the future. We’re preparing our kids for middle school and beyond.”
Laurel Mountain Elementary School fourth and fifth grade students showcased their knowledge Dec. 11 at the school’s fall Enrichment Showcase.
The Enrichment Showcase is the culminating event for the students’ eight-week enrichment clusters that focused on a variety of projects ranging from science to volunteerism. The entire school participates in student focused enrichment clusters every Friday, which serves as the one hour each week that students have a direct choice in what they learn.
The fourth and fifth grade Enrichment Showcase featured groups of students like the Voracious Volunteers, who organized a toiletry drive that collected 2,012 items that will be donated to the Round Rock Area Serving Center. Another group completed a cooking cluster and made corresponding food items with children’s books, like “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.”
Whether it was science, film Minecraft or sports related, each student chose to participate in each cluster and spend eight weeks dedicating time to the project. Laurel Mountain staff surveys the students prior to each cluster to find common interests, then narrows the scope before beginning the cluster, Principal Jan Richards said.
“If we take the time in a systematic and organized way to find our students’ interests, they feel like they have a voice in what is being offered,” Richards said. “The kids ultimately make the decisions so when our kids make decisions in middle school and high school and on toward college, they have some experience at a really young age in what they’re interested in.”
Students taking charge of their own learning is a key goal in enrichment clusters, Enrichment Specialist Nicole Levitan said.
“We believe in educating our kids from a strength-based model and emphasizing their talents and their interests through school-wide enrichment,” Levitan said. “When our kids leave fifth grade, they’re leaving with a well-established concept of themselves and what they’re good at and that’s going to serve them well into the future. We’re preparing our kids for middle school and beyond.”