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What’s New at Wayside Elementary

Yong-Mi Kim, who is beginning her second year as principal, said that teamwork among teachers is a focus at Wayside Elementary.

The school’s schedule devotes time for regular planning meetings between all teachers in a team. While the teachers are discussing lesson plans and student achievement, their charges are taught a special period of “character education guidance,” which was developed by a guidance counselor and a student support specialist at the school. These classes are taught in rotation by the principal, assistant principal and head of professional development. They include topics such as preparation for middle school with organized note-taking and study skills.

Beginning this year, fourth- and fifth-grade students at Wayside will move to a block schedule where teachers focus only on specialty areas, such as math and science. Kim noted that this would require less time for class transitions in addition to maximizing teachers’ talents.

Construction on an eight-room addition to Wayside Elementary is scheduled to begin this summer, and it is expected to last one year. Students will continue their classes at Wayside during the project.

Kim said that the school recently received new computers and a bathroom renovation with money provided by the PTA.

KIT LUNCEFORD of Potomac is PTA president of Wayside. She served as a vice president for two years before her current position, and she has three children in the school system, including two at Wayside. Lunceford was a Montgomery County public school teacher from 1988 through 1995 at Burning Tree Elementary in Bethesda.

“Our PTA is very well-organized, so it’s one of the easier PTAs to step into as president,” she said. “Our treasurer knows her stuff, we have a lot of great activities every year, and people have done a great job of taking binders of information and passing them down year after year.”

Lunceford is also proud of the PTA’s large group of parent volunteers. She said that 60 parents have volunteered in the art classroom alone.

The fall is an active time for Wayside PTA members. The annual Fall Festival and Haunted House is held Oct. 21. There are cake walks, games and raffles, and parent volunteers decorate each classroom for Halloween. For the 17th year in a row, Wayside students will also participate in the annual Halloween Young Run on Gude Drive, which is sponsored by the Montgomery County Road Runners Club. Children compete in the quarter-, half- or 1-mile events, and Wayside had a 55 percent participation from the student body last year.

The PTA’s community service committee has chosen to make homelessness awareness its focus for the year. In October, parent volunteers will collect brown bag lunches to distribute at a local homeless shelter. In addition, students can participate in a Mini-Walk for the Homeless during the Wayside Halloween Parade. The cost for registration is $15 and all proceeds benefit the National Center for Children and Families.

Lunceford said that one of her goals for the year is to increase parent participation at PTA meetings. To achieve this, the PTA is organizing staff presentations on different aspects of the curriculum, such as science or math, at each general meeting.

The PTA also hosts Bingo Night, Multicultural Night and two book fairs (one at Barnes & Noble and one at the school). Giles said the parent group is currently working with the principal for a possible Science Fair this year.

Lunceford said that one concern about Wayside is the safety of students and parents during drop-off and pick-up, since Glen Road becomes very crowded during these hours.

“Drivers are not very patient with the line that backs up on Glen Road,” she said. “Numerous accidents have occurred, but luckily, so far, without any tragic endings.”

Wayside Elementary Calendar:

* Open House – Oct. 9, 9:30-11 a.m.

* Fall Festival and Haunted House – Oct. 21, 4-7 p.m.

* Halloween parade – Oct. 31, 2 p.m.

* Book Fair – Dec. 4-8

* Community Service Night – Dec. 5, 7-9 p.m.

* Spirit Week – Jan. 23-26

* Bingo Night – Feb. 2, 6:30 p.m.

* Multicultural Festival – March 23, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

* Teacher Appreciation Week – May 7-11

* Spring Fling – May 19, 4-7 p.m.

* Play Day (grades K-2) – June 4

* Field Day (grades 3-5) – June 6