All About Sugar Creek
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1. What is the mission/philosophy of the school?
Step inside Sugar Creek Elementary School and you are immediately greeted by the faces of a diverse group of happy, active students, a friendly staff, and attractive, colorful hallways. Sugar Creek has maintained a long-standing tradition in our community of providing a stimulating, caring environment in which children are offered opportunities fostering intellectual, social, aesthetic, physical, and emotional growth.
Each year, the site council has reaffirmed the primary importance of low class size. As a result, the school constantly strives to keep class size low. Our class sizes for the 2008-09 school year average just 16 to 1 for Grades K-3, and 23 to 1 for Grades 4 and 5.
The school’s mission states, “The community of students, families, and staff at Sugar Creek Elementary School strives to provide a safe, supportive environment where all are encouraged to experience the joy of learning and are challenged to do their best.
2. How is the school organized?
Arranged in primary (K-3) and intermediate (4-5) units, the school offers single or multi-year (multi-age) placements with a teacher. Sugar Creek provides music, physical education, and visual arts, a full range of special education services, and enrichment activities as well.
A Library Media Center (LMC), health room facilities, lunchroom, full-sized gymnasium, and large computer lab provide students with well-equipped auxiliary learning spaces. Within these spaces as well as the classroom, students attending Sugar Creek have a rich array of learning resources at their disposal.
State-of-the-art technology opportunities are available in the classroom and also the computer lab. A dozen interested teachers received new SMART boards for the 2009-10 school year, and were provided extensive training on how to incorporate them into the classroom experience. For most work, students remain in the classroom where teachers integrate the classroom computers into existing curriculum. For special computer situations such as learning a new program, students might gather in the computer lab with the teacher, the building educational technology coordinator or technology assistant.
School physical resources are only as good as the people using them to guide and direct students. For that reason, we point with pride to the fact that Sugar Creek teachers are among the most experienced in the district; they excel in unlocking the potential of students through the use of a wide variety of materials and teaching methods. A school counselor, school social worker, psychologist, and learning resource coordinator, experts in reading, math, bilingual education, English Language Learners, special education, and technology all serve to support and provide information and assistance to teachers and deliver direct services to students.
3. What is the curriculum/teaching methods used and method of student evaluation?
Teachers follow a comprehensive school district curriculum with provision for extended activities and additional units of study. The curriculum, by design, is dynamic, and is adjusted and updated regularly to reflect the changing needs and interests of the children. Often children work together to solve problems; at other times individuals share their work with peers and stimulate classmates to investigate new topics. In order to coordinate efforts, teachers plan together to ensure that students are not only challenged as individuals, but are also integrated into a variety of groups.
In addition to a rich array of learning experiences that occur daily within the classrooms, resource teachers offer enrichment classes and special learning opportunities for students depending upon need, ability, and interest. We have a vibrant PTA, which regularly schedules assemblies for all segments of the student body.
Because not all children learn in the same way or at the same rate, teachers select from a variety of approaches depending upon the needs of the children. The learning that takes place represents a blend of the best practices presently found in educational research. For years, Sugar Creek teachers in Verona have blended newer methods with the “tried and true.”
4. What is the role of parents?
A look around the school on a typical day reveals parent participation on many different levels: in partnership with the teachers and their children in teacher-parent conferences, assisting the teacher in the classroom, or perhaps leading a Junior Great Books discussion group.
Leadership opportunities abound within the school. Parents serve on the site council, as leaders within the PTA and Parent Advisory Council, as volunteers, or as mentors to students. Additionally, the school actively provides parents and others interested in moving to the school community an opportunity to visit the school and classrooms. Our school actively participates in the Dane County United Way’s efforts to advance reading skills by hosting Schools of Hope volunteers. Parents and community members who choose to volunteer develop a learning relationship with a child and receive training on how to work one-on-one with children.
The school site council conducts parent surveys asking for their opinions on a wide variety of school quality questions. This survey provides parents with a direct voice in school improvement efforts. Parent conferences are held during the school year and can be requested at any time to discuss special concerns.
5. What is special about this school?
Our school is the proud home of over 110 bilingual students from numerous countries, including an estimated 100 Spanish-language speakers. In grades K-3 they are often educated in both English and Spanish, as research has found that the use of the native language to learn English can have a profound impact on their academic success.
Children wishing to learn foreign languages, typically Spanish, can do so through the After School Program. They provide lessons for a small fee, and students must enroll separately in these classes. They are always held within our school building on Late Start Monday mornings or after school.
For many years, Sugar Creek has sponsored CHAMPS (Champs Have and Model Positive Peer Skills) leadership opportunities for fifth grade students. The students work in small groups to develop leadership and human relation skills. Often the groups will choose to work on volunteer projects within the school; other groups might decide to take on a service project within the community.
Students, staff, and parents look forward to many special events throughout the year including bi-weekly all school community gatherings, Youth Art Month, Music In Our Schools Month, a school prairie, science fair, special authors’ celebration, school gardens and a wide variety of carefully planned field trips to complement the school curriculum. Our school actively supports the arts, and in the last few years has raised funds for two new pianos, a new art kiln, and in-line skates for physical education.
Our school practices Positive Behavior Supports, whereby we teach appropriate behaviors and give recognition to students who do what they are supposed to be doing. Children of all ages are expected to assume an appropriate degree of responsibility in caring for themselves, for one another, and for the classroom and school environment. School-wide social skills themes are introduced in Kindergarten and go through fifth grade. This emphasis on responsibility and respect extends throughout the school and has resulted in a strong learning community with children as the direct beneficiaries.
Sugar Creek is a school for all students and parents, a school that provides the resources, social rights and privileges to which all students/citizens have a claim and are entitled.
Principal Todd Brunner
Sugar Creek Elementary School
420 Church Avenue
Verona, WI 53593