District News

Wampus Students Thrive

Students have flourished in unexpected ways at Wampus during the past year. “A life-long lesson from this experience was not to take anything for granted and be grateful for what you have,” said Mrs. Peggy McInerney, Wampus Principal. A life-long skill that grew from the pandemic was developing children’s organization, promoting resilience, problem-solving, and confidence. Each student became more accountable for their space and more responsible for their belongings. “For children to develop these skills at the foundational level sets them up for future success,” said Mrs. McInerney. “To be successful, you need organizational skills physically, mentally, and emotionally as well as executive functioning skills as students become more independent learners.”

Wampus students learningWith social distancing rules in place, Wampus class sizes became smaller. “Small group instruction is what our students need now,” said Ms. Jeanne Marie Key, grade 4 teacher. “Students are less distracted, and get more one-on-one time.” Wampus teachers have also been encouraged to utilize the outdoor spaces generously provided by the Byram Hills Education Foundation. Classes are taught on the spacious new deck equipped with tables, benches, and overhangs and allow for fresh air, easy social distancing, and a welcomed change from the classroom.

The social/emotional piece is a significant component of student success. “Students take encouraged risks in our group setting and feel safe and secure,” said Ms. Lisa Pena, grade 5 teacher. Students can navigate independently and have become more flexible socially and emotionally, which are essential real-life skills. They are more comfortable volunteering in class, have more confidence, and are more compassionate.

Technology has also helped Wampus students get through these unusual times. Teachers were all given ViewSonic, a technological tool to help with blended learning, as new platforms became necessary for synchronous and asynchronous work. This District-wide grant was made possible by the Byram Hills Education Foundation. “Another new digital platform was I-ready, an adaptive assessment tool to monitor student learning. It individualizes a learning path for reading, writing, and mathematics as it tailors to the strengths or needs of students,” said Ms. Kelly Moriarty, grade 4 teacher.

The entire Wampus Community is proud of their work, as seen by the happy faces around the building. Wampus students thrived on the consistency of being in school every day and came in each morning ready to learn.