Denver Place Elementary students love the ‘Glow Lunch’ experience


Denver Place has ‘new favorite’

By Gary Huffenberger - [email protected]



<strong>1st-grade PAX leaders</strong>: From left are McKenna Martin, Barrett Peelle, Julia Leppla, Mason Sodini, Alayna Woodgeard, Jett Naylor, Kylie Plymire, and Connor Abraham. Not pictured are Aubrie Bradshaw and Kara Groves.

1st-grade PAX leaders: From left are McKenna Martin, Barrett Peelle, Julia Leppla, Mason Sodini, Alayna Woodgeard, Jett Naylor, Kylie Plymire, and Connor Abraham. Not pictured are Aubrie Bradshaw and Kara Groves.


Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

Denver Place Elementary Principal Cortney Karshner-Rethmel gives a report to the board of education.


Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

Kindergarten PAX leaders: In a composite photo from left are Derreon Cosby, Charlie Edwards, Talyn Bryant, Natalie Borton, Liam Childers, Hadley Bingham, Kesleigh Young, Ellie Lohrey, Addie Piechocki, Holmes Elementary Principal Marilee Tanner, and student Graylee White. Not pictured is Mackenzie Ramirez Aldana.


Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

WILMINGTON — Twice since December during lunchtime at Denver Place Elementary, the cafeteria lights were turned down, colored lights brought out, hung and switched on, music played and glow sticks passed out to the children.

It’s called “Glow Lunch” and is a way to reward and celebrate positive cafeteria behavior among kids in grades 3 through 5.

“The kids love it. They ask almost every week if we’re going to have a Glow Lunch, so that’s a new favorite,” said Denver Place Elementary Principal Cortney Karshner-Rethmel.

It’s one of many components of PAX, in which the techniques aim to get children in the elementary grades to help themselves self-regulate their emotions and their behavior while in school settings. PAX techniques are also practiced by the teachers of kindergartners through second-graders who attend Holmes Elementary in the Wilmington school district.

In fact, Holmes Elementary Principal Dr. Marilee Tanner and Assistant Principal Amber Corcoran recognized a number of first-grade and kindergarten students as being PAX leaders during this week’s board of education meeting held at Holmes.

Tanner said she’s heard from parents who tell her sometimes the young students take PAX home and try to practice on their parents and siblings. The principal called that a great testament for PAX — that children are learning its techniques and then even teaching it at home.

One technique is called “PAX Quiet”. It can be used during times when early learners are doing something together, and they’ve learned that when they hear a harmonica, they are to stop doing what they’re engaged in, stop talking, raise a hand with the two-finger sign of peace, and focus their eyes on the adult.

So PAX can help teachers manage a classroom of young children.

Circling back to a cafeteria setting, the K-2 students at Holmes Elementary have their own lunchroom piece when it comes to PAX.

Students there are earning lunchroom toodles, said Tanner, for expectations in the cafeteria which are to stay seated, chest to table, and speak in a three-inch voice “which is a whisper.”

On other topics, Karshner-Rethmel reported to the school board that her building’s 3rd-grade students are working with the new phonics program — the same phonics program that Holmes Elementary has for its K-2 students.

“The [3rd-grade] teachers are seeing students more confident in their reading skills, and seeing the application of the phonics instruction,” said Karshner-Rethmel.

The new math program at Denver Elementary, with the name “Bridges”, is going great, Karshner-Rethmel said.

“It’s [Bridges] stretching them, making them think about the math and answering the question behind it,” said the principal.

Business operations report

Wilmington City Schools (WCS) Director of Business Operations Curt Bone gave a business operations report at the board meeting.

Under the heading of safety and security updates, Bone said the District Safety Plans were updated and will be filed with the Attorney General’s Office. “Our plans are reviewed with local partners, including the Wilmington Police Department, Wilmington Fire Department, Clinton County EMA, and our mental health partner.”

For a couple years, WCS has been using the Raptor Visitor Management software system to screen visitors with a scan of their driver’s license.

“Over the next several months we will be implementing the Emergency Management piece of Raptor. This will manage our required drills, attendance capabilities during an emergency, and aid in the reunification process during an emergency,” stated Bone.

Last summer security cameras were installed at Denver Place Elementary through a safety grant. WCS now has applied for a safety grant to install cameras at Holmes Elementary, and is hoping it too will be approved, Bone said.

The business operations director also addressed the supply shortages impacting schools and others.

He summarized, “Food products and paper goods shortages continue. We have been able to secure paper products that we need, but we had to do so through alternate suppliers at an increased cost. Bus supply parts are improving, but lead times are still long.

“Maintenance supply channels have improved, but we are still waiting on some of the manufacturers to fill orders. Some repairs and projects are on hold until the parts get in.”

Transportation remains an issue, he said, with only two subs and two open full-time positions.

“We have consolidated and eliminated three routes since the start of school,” said Bone. “We have added a van route and hired a new van driver.”

On Thursday, March 3 WCS canceled bus routes 17 and 34 to and from school due to medical emergencies and lack of drivers in its transportation department.

Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.

1st-grade PAX leaders: From left are McKenna Martin, Barrett Peelle, Julia Leppla, Mason Sodini, Alayna Woodgeard, Jett Naylor, Kylie Plymire, and Connor Abraham. Not pictured are Aubrie Bradshaw and Kara Groves.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2022/03/web1_first_grade_c-1.jpg1st-grade PAX leaders: From left are McKenna Martin, Barrett Peelle, Julia Leppla, Mason Sodini, Alayna Woodgeard, Jett Naylor, Kylie Plymire, and Connor Abraham. Not pictured are Aubrie Bradshaw and Kara Groves. Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

Denver Place Elementary Principal Cortney Karshner-Rethmel gives a report to the board of education.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2022/03/web1_karshner_rethmel-1.jpgDenver Place Elementary Principal Cortney Karshner-Rethmel gives a report to the board of education. Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

Kindergarten PAX leaders: In a composite photo from left are Derreon Cosby, Charlie Edwards, Talyn Bryant, Natalie Borton, Liam Childers, Hadley Bingham, Kesleigh Young, Ellie Lohrey, Addie Piechocki, Holmes Elementary Principal Marilee Tanner, and student Graylee White. Not pictured is Mackenzie Ramirez Aldana.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2022/03/web1_kindergarten-composite-1.jpgKindergarten PAX leaders: In a composite photo from left are Derreon Cosby, Charlie Edwards, Talyn Bryant, Natalie Borton, Liam Childers, Hadley Bingham, Kesleigh Young, Ellie Lohrey, Addie Piechocki, Holmes Elementary Principal Marilee Tanner, and student Graylee White. Not pictured is Mackenzie Ramirez Aldana. Gary Huffenberger | News Journal
Denver Place has ‘new favorite’

By Gary Huffenberger

[email protected]