All they want for Christmas

December 20, 2004

Editor's Note: Reporter Julie E. Greene recently asked three Tri-State area school principals what would be on their Christmas wish lists that also could apply to other Tri-State area schools.

Dear Santa,

Jump rope, Candy Land, basketballs, construction paper, crayons - these are all things local elementary schools would be grateful to receive this Christmas, said Michelle Martin, principal of Winchester Avenue Elementary School in Martinsburg, W.Va.

But, beyond games and balls students can play with during recess, rain or shine, there are intangible gifts Tri-State educators are asking for this holiday season.

"I would like to have students that always get along," said Jack Appleby, principal of Greencastle-Antrim (Pa.) High School and director of secondary education.


"We always would like to have understanding parents and faculty. That would be great," Appleby said.

Attendance at the high school's monthly Parent Partners meeting has been disappointingly low, Appleby said. The meetings on the first Tuesday of the month are a great way to communicate with school system officials about how things are going.

Appleby also would like it if the parents and students that educators really need to see at open houses would feel comfortable enough to come. That way, they could work with teachers as a team to help the students, he said.

E. Russell Hicks Middle School Principal Roger Stenersen wished schools could have more mentors for students. The middle school works with Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Washington County to provide some students with mentors. If their personal needs are met, then their academic needs can be better met, he said.

Both Appleby and Stenersen wished this holiday season for business partners or sponsors.

E. Russell Hicks recognizes students for their academic achievements or behavioral cooperation by giving them coupons such as $5 off at a movie theater, Stenersen said.

Other schools have similar programs, so coupons for discounts off popular items or for free gifts for such recognition programs would be a great gift idea for a business' neighborhood school, Stenersen said. As suggestions, he mentioned compact discs, books or coupons for discounts on electronic games.

Appleby said the Greencastle-Antrim School District has a foundation to which businesses can make donations and tag the money to go to a specific program.

"It's pretty common in our world that we have a lot of support for the athletic program, but an academic booster group is rare to nonexistent. That would be a great gift," Appleby said.

An academic booster group could support programs such as Latin, which the high school has and is not in danger, he said.

Appleby said educators at any school would consider it a great gift if students displayed proficiency on their state's standardized test.

Don't get educators wrong, Santa. They could still use supplies and play equipment.

Martin said elementary schools such as Winchester Avenue always can use markers, construction paper, rulers, white and colored chalk, scissors and crayons.

Jump ropes, kickballs and basketballs are good for recess and board games such as checkers and Candy Land are good for students to play when it's raining outside, Martin said.

Don't forget the teachers.

Teachers always can use organizational items such as index cards and folders, even if the folders are used, Stenersen said.


Tri-State area educators

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