DuBOIS — Many of the activities under way at Juniata Elementary School in DuBois have been initiated by the faculty and staff, according to Principal Barb Smith.
“A lot of this is through their own initiatives,” Smith told the DuBois Area School Board recently as she presented her mid-year report. “I’m just lucky enough to get to work with them each and every day.”
Smith said the school has monthly character assemblies recognizing the students for different character traits.
“This last month was one of determination and the students that were recognized for that quality,” Smith said. “I know it was really moving to me to watch some of the students that were selected, knowing how hard some of their challenges were and how they showed that determination in their everyday life at our school. That’s a really nice thing that we have going on there.”
There is also a lot of active learning underway, she said.
“In our life skills room we have them doing recycling but what it’s actually done, is it’s spread to the whole school. So, our whole school is now involved in a recycling project. All the students are learning how to best manage all of their resources,” Smith said.
Juniata also has a very active PTA, which works with the school staff closely in many ways.
Recently, some staff members, present and past, played a basketball game against family members and parents and some of their relatives to raise money for Make-A-Wish. The school was able to grant the wish of a young boy who is battling cancer.
“He’s one of our own students. That’s through the efforts of our PTA,” Smith said.
The PTA is also in the process of building a school garden.
“It’s been a long process to get that going. We now have a place that we’re going to put it. Hopefully in the spring we can get that off the ground and running. It’s really unique,” Smith said.
One of the other things with which the PTA has helped is Junior Achievement.
The PTA has also purchased Scholastic Newspapers for every classroom in Juniata.
“That has never happened in our past and it’s something that’s been very helpful educationally to our students. Also, it’s another piece of information that can go home and be something that’s family oriented,” she said.
Federal Program Grants have aided the district schools through, for instance, a Title IV grant funding STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics) activities, anti-bullying activities and technology, Smith said.
Smith said there is an anti-bullying assembly scheduled for the high school, middle school and all four elementary schools in the spring.