A Week in the Life of Beardsley School

In the last two SOUNDINGS, you have read all about the UU’s commitment to the Beardsley school. Now see what we do – This is Us!

A volunteer is a person who believes that people can make a difference and is willing to prove it!

TUTORS


Sal Mollica: I’ve been reading with Beardsley third and fourth graders for ten years. It’s an incredible pleasure interacting with these students and their teacher, Peggy Lynch. The kids have been interested and interesting and the school very welcoming.


Jean O’Dell works with a group of advanced math students. One of her students wrote,”I loved your classes with me. I never knew about backward division and prime factors. Our classes inspire me to do better and your jokes made me laugh so hard. Being around you and learning math is so much fun!“


Mary Beth Mollica: Working with my first graders is the highlight of every Tuesday for me. After many years in Ms. Vogt and Ms. Oliwa’s classroom, I am always assured of guidance and support as I work with their adorable, eager, curious little learners!


Don Irion tutors children in math, and he also gave wise advice to new tutors at our Orientation Coffee in September.


Linda Hudson: I go to Beardsley for the hugs! Working with eager kindergarteners or struggling second graders is so rewarding. They love the extra attention and affirmation that I offer.


Marjolijn de Jager: In October 2005, I participated for the first time in Read Aloud Day at the Beardsley School. I was so impressed with the teacher, Mrs. Peggy Lynch, to whom I had been assigned, that I began reading in her class right away. I wouldn’t change “my” teacher for the world. I am there every two weeks and enjoy it as much today as I did that first day fourteen years ago. As a retired teacher myself, I do miss the classroom. Being with Mrs. Lynch and her students keeps me on my toes and reminds me each time what a fine and important profession it is. Thank you, Mrs. Lynch, and thank you for your great fourth graders!


Bob Trefry: I tutor students in 3rd grade math. It is the highlight of my week. The students are wonderful and the teacher, Ms. Enright, is terrific. It is extremely gratifying to help these children learn the skills that are the foundation of the understanding of math.

READERS


Ellie Grosso: I have been reading in both third grade classes for about 7 years, and sometimes I tutor the children in math as well. I look for books that are multi-cultural so that every child in the class can see a reflection of themselves somewhere in the books. I think this is really important. I read them funny books, sad books, fiction and non-fiction. Sometimes I sing to them. Several times I’ve cried right in front of the class because a book so moved me – some of them cried, too (Stone Fox gets me every time). We discuss the books together. What was the ‘moral’ of the story. Have you ever felt like that? They have so much to tell me and so much that they want to share. It is a truly enriching experience for us all and I feel tremendously lucky to have the privilege to get to know them.


Nancy Fishkin: I can’t overstate the joy I feel walking into Mr. Pacelli’s second grade for the last five years. To see the beautiful faces of the eager children confirms my commitment to this class and volunteering at Beardsley. I feel through reading (and snacks!) I can make a small contribution one child at a time with their “whole education.”


Jerry Goodwin, or “Mr. Jerry” as the students affectionately call him, reads to first graders each week.

ENRICHMENT


Julie Kennedy and her book group
I work with four bright and enthusiastic girls each week for an hour. We take turns reading a book out loud, stopping from time to time to discuss the themes it brings up. I hope our time together fosters a love of reading and helps them look forward to a school activity that brings out their strengths and bolsters their sense of accomplishment.


Authors Sari Bodi and Michaela MacColl with their Writers Workshop students
Sari Bodi: Michaela MacColl, a fellow children’s book author, and I taught a weekly creative writing workshop for a group of sixth graders at Beardsley and will start again in January. Using examples from novels, plays, non-fiction, and graphic novels, we introduced the students to different forms of writing. Then they explored their own creativity using writing prompts we suggested. By the end of the semester, the students were a tight-knit group and we had them improvise scenes with each other. The results were often surprising, and lucky for us teachers, hilarious.


Beth Cliff with her music and movement class
Working with the kindergartners has been a hugely rewarding experience for me. It is so uplifting to be around these little children who appreciate what we do together, with big smiles, lots of energy, and unconditional acceptance and warmth. I feel very lucky indeed. Equally important is the women I’ve worked with as part of this volunteer effort: Lynne, Linda and Anita were some of the first folks I met at the church, and I remember thinking “wow, these are pretty incredible people!” and so I was happy to stay on at TUCW ….

THE LIBRARY


Kathy Roberts and Linda Brewster work in the library each week.
Kathy says: My volunteer tasks in the Beardsley library primarily involve checking in, shelving and organizing books. I’ve always loved books and libraries and hope that my efforts help make the library more inviting for the children at Beardsley. And of course it’s a pleasure to work with the other volunteers.

THE BEARDSLEY COMMITTEE


Kathy Roberts, Linda Brewster, Jamie Forbes, Anita Pfluger, principal Sharon Pivirotto, Sari Bodi, Lynne Laukhuf, and Beth Cliff.
Members meet monthly with the principal to coordinate activities and address any needs the school may have.

Principal Pivirotto: Since 2001 Beardsley School has been blessed by its own cadre of angels known as the Beardsley School Committee. What initially began as tutoring and reading support has blossomed into a multi-faceted program of support for our students. TUCW volunteers provide both intervention and enrichment opportunities for our students. They work tirelessly in our library to catalog and maintain our collection, and we now have readers in every classroom. Volunteers have supported our students’ ongoing academic and emotional growth. This year the Committee has taken on an additional challenge to seek out diverse cultural programs. We are so grateful for all you offer to us, and it is truly appreciated!