They leave East School after Lido Elementary students returned to home school.
Story and Photos by Rosemary Leonetti.
It was “Westward Ho” for students and staff of Long Beach’s West School on Monday. Although they will not be able to return to West School until early spring, they completed one more leg of their long journey back to their home school after Hurricane Sandy.
When Sandy swept through Long Beach, the superstorm caused some damage to all schools in the Long Beach public school system, but West School was one of the hardest hit. When classes resumed on Nov. 13, West School was still not ready to receive students back, so these students doubled up with students at the district’s East School.
Although students and staff shared many new learning experiences and made new friends at East School, conditions there were crowded. Since Lido Elementary students, who had been doubling up at Lindell School, were able to return to their home school on Jan. 2, more space was freed up at Lindell School. So West School students and staff packed up their supplies and prepared for one more temporary move further west, bringing them just a little bit closer to home.
Lindell Principal Karen Sauter and her staff made sure their new guests received a warm welcome on their first day, creating signs and planning special activities to make their West School friends feel at home. This latest pairing of resources also opened up the opportunity for some unique learning experiences for all. For example, Lindell kindergartners in Tracy Polete’s class invited Leslie Blankopf’s class to join them for a reading celebration called “Pigs, Pancakes and Pen Pals.”
The students in the two classes, who had actually exchanged pen pal letters earlier in the year, were thrilled to finally meet one another. After reading “If You Give a Pig a Pancake” together, they shared a breakfast of pancakes, made pink construction paper pigs and participated in writing exercises together — a positively perfect lesson in the letter “P,” which also stands for perseverance.
“There is a silver lining here,” West School Principal Sandra Schneider said. “Students are making new friends and teachers are working with colleagues and sharing ideas to create new learning opportunities for their students.Throughout this difficult time, students and staff at East and Lindell schools have been very generous with their space and their resources.”
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