Parent & Child Magazine released on August 20 its ranking of the Coolest Schools in America, selecting Chrysler Elementary School of Journalism as one of 25 schools across the nation to hold the honor.
The schools are featured in the August/September issue of the Scholastic publication for having found “ways to engage students, families and communities inside the classroom by thinking outside the box.”
Chrysler Elementary, a K-5 program that has a focus on writing in all academic areas and is widely known for having published student authors, is one of only two schools selected in the state of Michigan.
The full listing of schools, as well as a description of the Chrysler program—affectionately titled, “Pride of the Community”— can be viewed at http://www.scholastic.com/coolschools/?eml=PCM/el/20120817/SchoolSites/img/CoolSchools.
Featured as an inspiring model for all, the description of the Chrysler program presented by Parent & Child Magazine states:
“Published authors and exhibited artists walk the halls of this school every day. They’re the students here, who are benefiting from Principal Linda Whitaker’s dedication to showcasing their accomplishments. In an effort to boost students’ writing skills and engagement, Whitaker decided that education needed to become more tangible. So she reached out to the community, and now local instructors and artists (including Rosa Parks’ nephew Asheber Macharia) collaborate to provide instruction on writing and the arts, while parent fund-raisers and community donations ensure that students see their work validated in print or framed at the nearby Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. Significant gains in achievement show that it’s working: Writing scores leapt from 48 percent to 86 percent, and student engagement and confidence is through the roof.”
Chrysler students published their 13th book to date on June 12, 2012 titled, “Chrysler Elementary Presents: Bullying Hurts Everyone.”
The book publishing program has been in effect since 2008. With each book, a group of students from the same grade level will work collaboratively to write the material for the book. “Bullying Hurts Everyone” is a collection of third-grade essays.
“Our writing scores have gone up tremendously since the program was implemented,” said Linda Whitaker, who was principal of Chrysler when the award was designated. “This has become a part of their everyday curriculum. When we’re asking them to describe something that is relevant in their lives—like bullying—it makes it easier for the students to use descriptive language skills, which enhances their overall writing skills.”
Whitaker said the students have won numerous contests for their work and the program has boosted their self-esteem.