Thursday, January 9, 2014

School Information Series: Club Boulevard Elementary

Stir Crazy Mom and founder of SoDu Parents Posse, Kat is spearheading out latest series of posts.  In our quests for the best Durham school for our respective kiddos we are learning a lot, so we will be posting what we have learned about the schools we visit, impressions, and information. We would love your input as well, so if you have something to add about a school, please add it to the comments section of the post.

School Type: Durham Public Schools Magnet

"Club Boulevard Elementary is a Humanities Magnet. Instruction at Club centers on the study of literature, culture, and human interest and promotes individual creativity, exploration of diverse cultures, and the development of personal values. Club features the integration of the arts and sciences in thematic units, authentic literature, and a focus on Howard Gardner's multiple intelligences." (from DPS website) The below info is courtesy of a SoDu Parents Posse member, after a tour.
  • There are generally 80-90 Kindergarten lottery spots open each year; last year there were 250 applications.
  • There are 3 Kindergarten classrooms and 2 combined Kindergarten/1st
  • The same instruction/stay together all day except during math. To determine if a child will be in a combo or Kindergarten only class, assessments are held before the school year begins to ensure that there are students across all learning levels in each class. Students who attended preschool are more likely to be placed in a combo class.
  • Student:teacher ratio (for 2012-13 school year) is 12:1 (as well as the teachers themselves, this also includes assistants & student teachers). Many of the current Kindergarten & 1st at Club and specifically requested to teach there upon graduation.
  • Teacher assignments are made in mid-June. There is a kindergarden readiness event in late May.
  • A typical day for a Kindergartener (in a K/1st)
  1. 8:35am: Breakfast
  2. 8:45am: Students may begin to enter the classroom
  3. 9:00am: Morning work
  4. Morning meeting
  5. Literacy Club (45 minutes, M-R) or Art (F) (Topics for Literacy Clubs are chosen by each group of 
  6. Specials (Specials are music, art, dance, PE and Spanish, and are held in a separate building on the 
  7. Science
  8. Recess (30 minutes)
  9. Lunch (12:25-12:50pm)
  10. Movement
  11. Writing
  12. Literacy Centers (small group instruction)
  13. Quiet Reading (10-20 minutes)
  14. Snack
  15. Afternoon meeting
  16. Dismissal (3:30pm)
  • Math (Kindergarteners have a rest period before beginning math – it’s 25-30 minutes at the beginning of the year and slowly gets shortened as the year progresses. Students may bring a blanket or towel from home to rest on, but mats are not provided. Student who do not sleep may have quiet time.)
  • The students do community-based service projects throughout the year.
  • There are after school programs available from 3:45-5pm on Tuesdays or (and?) Wednesdays. They run for 8 weeks and are $35-$45 for the length of the program. These are held in the Cafeteria and are generally non-academic focused (hula-hooping, karate, etc.).
  • Buses are provided county-wide.
  • There are many opportunities for parental involvement both in the classroom & with the school/PTA in general. 
  • Families are kept informed in a variety of ways – school-wide info is posted outside the office and is available on the website; classroom specific info is provided in a newsletter, and some teachers have class blogs. 
  • All visitors to the school must check-in at the office by logging into the computer and printing a visitors badge. It does not appear that the doors are locked, there are also many points of entry in the school.
  • The school is very clean and cheerful looking. Students in the halls & classrooms were well behaved. The school is very diverse – almost every year it’s 33% Black/White/Hispanic.

1 comment:

Abby Bartel said...

Hi there. Thank you so much for including Club Blvd in your 'School Information Series'. It is a wonderful school.

As the parent of a Club Blvd first grader, I am very aware of how daunting this school selection task can be. I would love to answer any questions your readers may have regarding Club Blvd as well as clarify a few bits of information from your post. A whirlwind tour is such an overwhelming way to learn about a school.

First,regarding security, a topic at the forefront of every parent's mind, please rest assured that Club Blvd is a safe school. I'm quite certain that the school doors were unlocked only because of the touring groups. On a typical day, the doors are secured by the Associate Principal during the first hour of the day. Visitors to the school must be buzzed in by the secretary to gain entrance. I can personally attest to this as I have found myself locked out after a volunteering session in my son's classroom (out in the new addition) when I'd forgotten my scarf, and had to be let in by the classroom assistant. The staff members wear keys around their necks to open all secondary building entrances.

Secondly, there are two kinds of afterschool programs at Club Blvd. The first is through the school district and runs from 3:30 until 6 daily. This program is a great resource for working parents. The kids are walked by their teachers to the gymnasium where they are met by their afterschool teachers. I am unsure of the cost of this as my son has never participated however information regarding that program can be found at: http://afterschool.dpsnc.net/.

The afterschool program mentioned in your post is an additional program sponsored by the PTA and called 'Extended Day'. It is a program that happens for 8 weeks each semester and provides personal enrichment classes to Club's students. For a nominal fee ($40 or a PTA scholarship for those in need), students can participate in a once a week class offered on Tuesdays, Wednesday, or Thursdays from 3:30 to 5PM. Classes offered in the past two years include: Art and Famous Artists, Frisbee, Yoga, Hip Hop Dance, Rhythmic Drumming, Mad Science, and Hula Hooping. These classes are taught by parents, volunteers, and paid staff members. Depending on interest level, students can take up to two Extended Day classes. My son participated in Hip Hop Dance taught by his dance teacher last Spring, and Rhythmic Drumming taught by a third grade teacher this past Fall. He has absolutely loved these opportunities for additional active learning with his school friends, and I've loved watching him explore new areas of interest.

As far as parent involvement, there are many, many, many opportunities. Parents are openly welcomed to volunteer in their student's classroom (usually after the first 4 weeks of school... a time period reserved to settle students into routines.) I have volunteered in both my son's kindergarten and first grade classrooms. Also, there are opportunities to volunteer elsewhere in the school. My husband helps with before schoool check-out in the library so as not to interfere too greatly with his work schedule. Additionally, there are many opportunities to help within the very active PTA. Club's PTA coordinates many school community events including the Mayfair (a Spring fun festival), a Talent Show, a Multicultural Night (with lots of delicious edibles), a Fun(d) Run, a Winter Celebration and the Extended Day program among other things. The PTA is a great way to get involved, meet fellow Club parents, and really become a part of the school.

Again, thank you so much for checking out Club Blvd. It is a great place to learn! Please don't hesitate to contact me with any questions or clarifications regarding the school. I will be happy to help.

All the best,
Abby Bartel
(mom of Linus)
abbyjbartel@gmail.com

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