On a recent trip to pick up my daughter from play practice at Orchard School, I noticed a sign reading, “Orchard Core Values: We promote learning through respect for ourselves, others, and our environment.” I have not noticed this sign before, but it certainly rings true in light of the many events the school sponsors between the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday breaks.
Most Orchard classrooms host an open house, where parents can experience an abbreviated day in the life of their child’s learning for an hour or so in the morning. These days help the parents understand exactly what their child is learning, and the methods used to instruct.
Hour of Code
The Orchard School library recently received a grant from the American Library Association to fund activities for students during the 2018 global Hour of Code and Computer Science Education Week, which the school has participated in since it began in 2014.
Scholastic Book Fair
Scholastic Book Fairs serve as important fundraisers for the classrooms. Not only can one shop for classroom wish list items, but regular orders are also matched by book gifts to classrooms.
Traveling Mural Dot Project
Inspired by the book “Maybe Something Beautiful” (Rafael Lopez), students decorated giant paper dots to create a large mural. They cut the mural into 10-foot lengths and sent portions to other schools around the country. Orchard School will also receive 10-foot lengths of murals from schools in New Jersey, Texas, Connecticut, Illinois, Virginia, South Carolina, California, and Washington. Ultimately, the mural will be a reflection of Orchard students connecting with their national community of grade school students.
Mitten Tree and Student Giving
Orchard School focuses on community families in need with a giving Mitten Tree every year. Parents largely drive this fundraiser without a lot of student input. In addition, this year, fourth grade students and teachers took the initiative of coordinating an additional Project of Giving by preparing and wrapping gifts for children in the community.
Every year, the PTO works with parents to host a cookie swap for Orchard teachers and staff, showing their appreciation for the hard work and dedication given to the school and students all year.