Exciting Things Happening at Sonora

By Cara Maxwell
Sonora Elementary Parent 
I am a mother of three boys: Isaac, Grahm and Marshall.  Isaac and Grahm are twins in the first grade at Sonora Elementary in East Springdale.  Sonora is the district’s newest elementary school which opened its doors in August of 2011.  My boys entered at that point in kindergarten.  My family has been very happy with our experience thus far at Sonora.  I joined the P.T.A. last year and was a homeroom mom for one of the boys.  The staff and teachers that I have experienced are wonderful.  Both of my boys have been supported in every way needed while attending Sonora.  As a member of the P.T.A., I have gotten to know many of the other staff besides my boys’ teachers.  When you spend time at Sonora, you feel that you are a part of a community.  
Sonora is considered a low income school with a large minority population.  They provide a Family Literacy Program for parents to learn how to help their children succeed in school.  This is a very popular program for families whose primary language is not English.  Sonora is also one the few elementary schools in the state to house an EAST Initiative program.   While my children aren’t at the age to be a part of this program, they look forward to one day being a part of it.  The program has written grants for the school (yes, the students actually did this) and have been awarded several of them.  The most recent was a joint use grant to be used along with the Knob Hill Fire Department.   So, the program does a lot of things for the greater good of the school.  
Some other programs at Sonora include: Lego Robotics and Girls on the Run.  These are both extracurricular programs for children beginning in the third grade.  One of my sons is living for the day he is old enough to be a part of Lego Robotics!  One of the most exciting things that happened for Sonora last fall was being voted one of the Top 10 exceptional schools in the country by Parents Magazine.  Of course, my family already felt that way but to be recognized in a national magazine was in the words of six year old boys “awesome” for the school.  
Sonora holds several events for families each year.  In the fall they held their fall carnival at Ozarks Adventure Corn Maze.  Everyone who attended had a blast, especially the kiddos.  And fortunately, no one got lost in the maze!  Right before the holiday break they hosted the “A Christmas to Remember” program.  That is a very special program put on by a very gracious group and the families that attended all had a nice time.  It was a great way to kick off the holiday season for our family.  This semester Sonora is hosting an EAST conference for facilitators of the programs across the state.  We are looking forward to the upcoming Owl You Need is Love Family Fun Night.  My boys really enjoyed that last year.  
Overall, I am very proud to say that my family is part of the Sonora family.  I know there are only more good things to come from Sonora and am happy to be part of helping it to become even more “awesome” than it is!
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Last Semester at Lee

By Kate Morris
Lee Elementary School Parent and PTA President


Lee Elementary PTA received a $1000 grant from the Walmart Foundation. PTA used the money to stock the food pantry that is run by the school.  There was a recognition event to thank Walmart at the October Lions Pride assembly.

Lee Elementary has also become one of the pilot schools for breakfast in the classroom. Every child now has the opportunity to have breakfast at the begining of the day.  As a parent I think this is a very important program and believe it will give the students a greater chance to succeed.

Lee had 9 students paticipate in the Reflections contest that is sponsored by PTA.  After they were judged at the school level they were sent on to the state level.

Lee PTA conducted a Christmas Shop for the students to purchase gifts for their friends and family.  Prices ranged from 10 cents to 4 dollars. The Christmas shop provided an opportunity for all the children to get gifts that might not have had the chance to do so.

Kate Morris
Lee Elementary PTA President

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Thoughts on Serving Your School

By Keli Gil
Sonora Elementary School Parent
On January 20th 1961, President John F Kennedy gave his historic speech, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” As I sit and reflect on the words he gave the American people 52 years ago, I am struck by the similarities of our world from then to now. The players and specific issues have changed but the underlying tenet is still valid today.
As we all know on December 21, 2012, the peace and tranquility surrounding our schools was irrevocably shattered by the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut. As we step into the 2013 year our belief in the sanctity of our schools lays scattered around us like ashes after a fire. How do we sweep away the ashes and rebuild our trust in our education system? The Springdale School District has elected to install new security systems at every campus. Anyone entering the school will have to be allowed in by the office using a closed circuit video and an intercom system. This system will help with the safety and security of our school campuses but it is not perfect. No system is perfect. How can we as parents help to increase the safety of our schools? I challenge you in this, “Ask not what your school can do for you, but what you can do for your school.”
Studies have shown that parent involvement decreases violence in our schools, discipline issues and boosts student success in the classroom and beyond. Small things like reading to or with your child in the evenings, or eat a meal together and ask about their day. Show your child that they and their education are important. Please take the time as we embark on 2013 to spend time at your child’s school. Every school needs parents to help out. Even 30 minutes a month will make a difference in your child and the lives of every child you associate with during that time. Do not be afraid to ask what you can do for your school and your student. Many schools love to have parents available to read with the students, you can also join the local Watchdog Dad program and be a visible reminder that you feel your child is important.
For more parent involvement information you can try the following resources:http://michigan.gov/documents/Final_Parent_Involvement_Fact_Sheet_14732_7.pdf
To view John F Kennedy’s full speech you can view it here:
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