A new principal and building projects are among the biggest changes at Frontier Elementary for 2002.
Gail Gorry replaced the school's founding principal, Sue Myers when Myers retired at the end of the 2001-2002 school year.
The primary building project is turning the school's serving cafeteria into an actual cooking cafeteria to meet the needs of the students.
"I have a wonderful staff, a great community and super kids," Gorry said.
One of the programs she is most excited about is the district's "Character Counts" focus.
"We're doing a lot with the six pillars of character: trustworthiness; respect; responsibility; fairness; caring; and citizenship," she said.
Each week two students from every class are honored for their outstanding exhibition of one of these six pillars.
Another part of the Character Counts project is having students design and make quilts. The first is to be hung in the school's physical education dome, the others will be given to RTA Hospice in the fall. The hospice foundation is building a hospice house next to the school, so the students are adopting it as their community project, Gorry explained.
A couple of grants have made it possible to enhance the program. With one grant, a digital camera was purchased to take photos of the Character Counts award winners. The photos are then posted around the school. Another grant is paying for the quilt project, Gorry said.
She said the six elements of the Character Counts program are tied to the schools rules, discipline practices and its academics.
"It is a way of life more than a program," Gorry said.
While the school philosophy is to teach the whole child, including art and music, Gorry said the staff is changing lessons so that their teaching is aligned with the state and national tests. She said they are rewriting their lessons and tests to mirror what students will be faced with at test time.
"A lot of time is taken. ... There is an accountability for what they are learning," Gorry said.