HOWELL – New Jersey Commissioner of Education Lamont Repollett recently visited Memorial Elementary School as part of a school spirit contest.
School spirit days are usually on Fridays at the school, but on Dec. 16, students and staff members dressed in red, white and blue and put on their Bulldog gear to welcome Repollet as part of a school spirit contest organized by the state Department of Education.
“During his visit, Dr. Repollet got the chance to see what I am privileged to see every day; that our students and staff are kind, thoughtful and creative. It was an honor to open our doors and share with Dr. Repollet and his staff the amazing work taking place at Memorial and Howell,” Principal Ray Gredder said.
Upon arriving, Repollet took part in a student-led discussion with the school’s fifth grade PAWS Patrol – a group of students who help give advice, complete special projects and serve as a branch of student voice in the school. They discussed topics that ranged from school safety to inclusionary practices and school equity, according to a press release.
Repollet then took part in an engineering design lesson in the school’s Bulldog Think Tank – a STEAM lab in the media center funded by a $10,000 grant from OceanFirst Bank. Repollet helped students as they designed, created and engineered new inventions after reading “The Most Magnificent Thing” by Ashley Spires.
The lesson was co-taught by media specialist Jennifer Stenard and technology teacher Skye Donzelli and highlighted the school’s commitment to inclusion, according to the press release.
Repollet visited a fourth grade class where teacher Sonia Rivera and guidance counselor Samantha Murillo co-taught a lesson about joy and gratitude.
The lesson was a part of the school’s and district’s commitment to social and emotional learning and also highlighted the school’s commitment to push counselors, coaches and relevant specialists into general education classrooms as educators and co-teachers, according to the press release.
Joining in the visit were Howell K-8 School District Superintendent of Schools Joseph Isola, Assistant Superintendent Bruce Preston, Director of Pupil Services Dorothea Fernandez, Director of Innovation and Technology Claire Engle and Board of Education Vice President Al Miller.
“It was great to be able to highlight some of the fine work being done at Memorial and across the district and we are always glad to have the support of our central administration and Board of Education,” Gredder said.
“As for our students, their discussions with Dr. Repollet highlighted the need to give students a voice in their education. They inspire me every day and I am honored to serve them. I was thrilled the commissioner gave them a platform to discuss issues they feel strongly about. I am also extremely grateful for our amazing staff, they always seem to find new ways to inspire me,” the principal said.