DuBOIS — Wasson Elementary School has been the recipient of three grants this school year, according to Principal Kathy Ginther.

“I’m very thankful to work at Wasson Elementary and very proud of my staff and faculty and students,” Ginther said. “They’re all hardworking and none of this happens without all of them working as a team and with the community. So, I am very thankful and grateful to them for their hard work.”

Ginther said a team of teachers applied for a Highmark Grant and received $5,500. As a result, the school was able to buy the “I Can Problem Solve” program for grades kindergarten through fifth grade which helps them successfully solve everyday problems and promotes prosocial behaviors and positive peer relations.

“This basically tries to teach our students how to think, not what to think,” Ginther said. “We’re very used to asking them a question and getting that answer back. This program is saying, okay, what else could you have done? What should you have done? The next time this happens, what will you do? So that they come up with the alternatives and we’re not spoon feeding that to them and telling them what to think.”

The second grant received was a $500 First Energy STEM Grant.

“We were very thankful to receive $500 from this in Mrs. Smith’s room,” Ginther said. “They’re beginning to work on this project and it will go over the rest of the school year where they work on building an ecosystem.”

A third grant was the $500 Domtar First Book Grant.

“They called me and said, ‘You’re a Title school, we want you to have it, pick a grade and a book,” Ginther said. “All of my second-graders received a book, ‘Don’t Let The Pigeon Drive the Bus.’ They loved it. The people from Domtar came in, worked with the students, read the book with them, and did some projects. We’re very grateful for that, as well.”

Wasson also received the Distinguished School Award for High Progress.

“As a Title school, we were in the upper 5 percent,” Ginther said. “Our Distinguished Award was different than the other two schools. Ours was more about bridging that achievement gap (in math and reading on PSSA exams). We were pleased.”

Wasson still works hard create and maintain a positive climate, Ginther said.

“With that, we do quarterly celebrations. We recognize students not just for their grades, not just for their achievement, but for good character and positive traits, and kindness, and helpfulness,” Ginther said. “We try to do that each quarter. Presently we’re doing kindness challenge. Each day we read a couple of those that have been turned in. Anyone on the staff can turn those in and we acknowledge students for the kind things that they do. Each week we pull three and they get a special treat from the cafeteria.”

Other positive activities include peer mentoring, Breakfast Bunch and School Wide Behavior Plan, Backpack Blessings, Clothing Closet, Project Stay Warm, Shoe Share, Christmas Support and meal donations.

“We continue to work on the backpack blessings and we’ve done that with Mt. Zion Church and other church donations in the area, as well as our own cafeteria provides us regularly with some goodies, as well as peanut butter that we send home,” Ginther said. “Presently, we have about 35 backpacks go home each weekend.”

There are also many new learning opportunities.

“One that came to us from Luthersburg parents, the PTA, and our PTA, who work very strongly together and provided our students with the Mobile Ag Science Lab,” Ginther said.

Other learning opportunities include mindfulness training, Drums Alive, career cruising, grade level music programs, career projects, STEM challenges, and Read Across America activities.

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