Expanding Circles, Our 2023-2024 Theme Celebrated

The Community School Campus gathered for a community building activity.

Our theme for 2023-2024 was Expanding Circles.

Although we are Community School, we sometimes get stuck in comfortable spaces and have a hard time making room for new people and new ideas. I am incredibly proud of the ways that staff worked to expand their circles within and outside of our campus. We had new additions to our after-school clubs and planned evening get-togethers for families to play board games and meet new people.

Middle school students performed a play and invited students from TAP centers in Roanoke City to visit our school, as well as taking it on the road to a local preschool. Our Spanish students continued to provide Bilingual Storytime for new and current preschoolers to listen to stories in Spanish and English. For the first time since 2019, our MS choir students were able to visit with and sing to the residents at a nearby retirement home.

Teachers were encouraged to take advantage of the many resources in Roanoke and the wider Blue Ridge region. For Fall Festival, our levels went to unfamiliar venues to camp and experience novel challenges. Throughout the year, our students went to plays, libraries, parks, restaurants owned by parents and staff, the art museum, and Center in the Square. We had visits from the Bee Lady, a pot-bellied pig who likes to read, Roanoke Ballet Theatre, and performers from the Roanoke College Theatre Department.

Our upper elementary students invited speakers from the Frontier Culture Museum, Appalachian Storytellers, and a representative of the indigenous community to enhance their understanding of Virginia history. They also visited City Hall and met with a City Council representative. Classes collaborated with Hollins theater students to write and perform monologues. Parents came into classes to share their interests and professions, and students did Zoom interviews with authors.

At all levels, making friends and keeping them was a big topic of discussion. Thanks to Brooklyn for beginning and the art club for finishing up, the panels on friendship displayed near the playground. This year, our students gained a new perspective on where they are from and what is happening around them and found many ways to expand their circles.