Stanwood Elementary program on TRACK
By Michele Stewardson
Published: Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013, 7:14 p.m.
Last year on Sept. 11, Kristy Pollak challenged her third-grade students at Stanwood Elementary School in the Hempfield Area School District to come up with a project to implement change as part of the nation's I Will Campaign.
She wanted her students to find a way they could make a difference.
Project MASK was born where students collected new and used clothing to give to local children in need under a project conceived by former student Margo Warnken of Hunker.
Come this September, Pollak is stepping her challenge up a notch.
Back on TRACK (Teaming up to Read, Refuel and Advance our Community Kids) will kick off Sept. 5 at Stanwood Elementary School.
It will combine reading, writing, fitness and technology. Families will leave with backpacks — donated by the New Stanton-Youngwood Rotary Club — full of healthy snacks and books for their home libraries.
Similar events will be held the first Thursday of every month.
The kick-off event will feature Zumba dancing for exercise as well as the theme, “Make Your Mark.” Activities will include a photo booth, abstract art, guest readers and creative writing.
In addition to the Rotary Club, the Lions Club and Hempfield Area School District board members have donated books to fill the backpacks.
“When you want to do something good, people want to get involved,” said Pollak, the mother of three children ranging in age from 3 to 6.
Dr. Kathy Harris, an assistant professor at Seton Hill University with a “passion for early-childhood development,” met with Pollak earlier in the summer about the program .
She said the monthly literary nights are paramount because family involvement is so important.
“She is going to reach so many families by bringing in so many multiple intelligences... ,” said Harris, who hopes her students may man a literacy or technology area.
The theory of multiple intelligences is a model that differentiates intelligence into various modalities, primarily sensory, rather than a single general ability.
Pollak “has been phenomenal in finding people in the community to support her project,” Harris said.
For Harris, partnerships for learning are really what it is all about.
Raymond Burk, principal at Stanwood Elementary School, couldn't agree more. He said after Pollak heard about a similar backpack program in Norwin, they began brainstorming.
“This first year, our hope is to provide as many opportunities as possible to parents, guardians and children to gain skills and strategies to be successful,” said Burk, who has been principal for six years.
He said the idea is to support the child's skill development and learn how to integrate it at home.
“My hope is for families to take an interest in education, learning, love of reading and more,” Pollak said. “I hope to have it be a project we can give to everyone so everyone can see the importance of an educational background with the focus not just on reading, but health and fitness as well.”
She said so many people want to get involved already and help in any way they can.
“People want to do good,” she said. “They want to be involved in something that can change the world.”
Michele Stewardson is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Greensburg officials get pay hikes
- Westmoreland County school children could use some more ‘Lunch Buddies’
- Greensburg Salem sticks with Solicitor Scales
- Tour of Greensburg worship sites will offer inspiration