WILMINGTON — At all three Wilmington elementary schools, there’s a commitment this year to “low-stakes writing” as a learning tool.
Only a few days into a new academic year, all Wilmington City Schools (WCS) principals gave reports at the Monday night board of education meeting where many of the district’s new hires, mostly teachers, were introduced to attendees and board members.
An example of low-stakes writing would be a teacher, while in the middle of a classroom lesson, asking the pupils to “stop and jot” or “quick write” what they just heard or read. For one thing, this provides students the time to process their thinking and put something in their own words.
Low-stakes writing assignments typically don’t carry a lot of weight grade-wise, hence the term “low-stakes”, according to the website Edutopia.
East End Elementary School Principal Jen Martin said teachers there are committing to have students try the technique at least three times a week.
Denver Place Elementary School Principal Cortney Karshner-Rethmel said she’s also asking teachers in her building to utilize low-stakes writing three times per week. She said one instance of this sort of writing will occur prior to a lesson, another writing exercise will occur during the lesson, and one afterward.
Low-stakes writing is a big part of their three-year plan, added Karshner-Rethmel.
And new Holmes Elementary School Principal Dr. Marilee Tanner, likewise, said students there in the K-through-grade-two school will practice low-stakes writing. The approach allows students “to really make those connections,” said Tanner. She comes to WCS from Sycamore Community Schools.
At East End, there is an intentional effort to build relationships and trust within the building that houses preschoolers and fifth-graders, said Martin.
Twice a day young students at Holmes will take part in a “mindful minute,” according to Tanner. These are breathing activities scheduled for after the announcements and also after lunch/recess to help the children focus and be ready to learn.
High School Principal Dr. Matt Unger said a focus in that building is on developing a climate of high expectations.
WCS Superintendent Mindy McCarty-Stewart said the staff convocation prior to the first day of school held a lot of positive energy and support.
In business conducted during the session, board members approved an increase to the salary of the superintendent for the 2019-20 school year. The salary will be $123,165.
In another personnel matter, Gina Magoteaux was employed as an educational aide at Denver Elementary, and Tonya Gehringer as an aide to psychologists.
Elizabeth Biggane, who in June was approved as the district-wide psychology aide, has accepted an MH teacher position at the Wilmington Middle School for the 2019-20 academic year.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.