We recently got the chance to visit the students and staff at Stout Elementary. A small, quiet school secluded in a peaceful neighborhood near Washburn University, Stout has a dedicated team of staff members that help provide a sense of community within the school. The level of engagement between teacher and student is matched only by the level of engagement between staff members. Everyone works together like a well-oiled machine to produce the best possible outcome for Stout’s nearly 250 students, and the result is giggling, happy faces, eager to learn…even on rainy Mondays.
Despite the dreary weather, Stout’s students and staff came to school ready to be productive. But productivity no longer means listening to a teacher lecture for hours on end about grammar and long division. Such strategies have been replaced by small group skill-building, hands-on learning, and by using the latest in classroom technology. These measures help ensure that students are engaged, participating, and even having fun throughout their lessons.
Another feature that sets Stout Elementary apart from many other Topeka schools is the numerous volunteers that visit regularly. Stout has more volunteers than any other school in the district and their impact on the school is substantial. The volunteers provide students with opportunities to work one-on-one with an adult, receiving extra help and guidance while they learn. The volunteers also assist the school’s busy teachers, making copies, preparing teaching materials and performing other clerical tasks so the teachers can focus on one thing: students. The volunteers come whenever their schedules permit; some come several days a week, while others come once every two weeks. But one thing is for certain: their help is appreciated by teachers and students alike.
Our visit to Stout was simply wonderful--- even the cold rain couldn’t dampen our spirits at this remarkable school! Cohesive staff members, delightful children and community volunteers that invest in our students make Topeka Public Schools a great place to be!
If you would like information on volunteering in our schools, visit http://documents.topekapublicschools.net/communications/visit/VISITvolunteerApplication.pdf