The 2006-2007 was a great school year for Payson Elementary students and staff.
"Our focus as a school has been to focus and improve on our writing," said principal Will Dunman. "We have dedicated many, many hours and in-service days to the writing processes with our students."
He and the staff are anxious to see the fruits of their labors as students move on to the next grade.
PES earned a "Highly Performing" label from the Arizona Department of Education.
Each year PES highlights the scientists of the future in their annual PES Science Fair. This year, 188 students have created an experiment to share with family and friends.
PES offers after school classes called Panther Projects. Payson Elementary School Panthers from all grade levels can take part in the after school program, from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday.
On the traditional academic side of the after-school program are math preparatory, writing and science classes. Tutoring is also offered.
Students can hang out and play ball games or find out what fuels their bodies to play and learn in the fun-food-nutrition class.
Those who wish to know where some of that food comes from (and flowers, too) can join the gardening class.
Computers and ham radios classes are available for the technically-minded.
There are board games for those students who love strategy.
Scrapbooking, paper crafts, knitting and drama add even more fun to the learning stage.
Panther Projects serve anywhere from 150 to 200 students each week.
Credit for Kids helps fund Panther Projects. PES collected $21,147.66 in 2006.
"I'd like to thank the community for all the support you give to our students," Dunman said.
This year some new staff members have added at the school.
Stephanie Tuer found her way back to a second-grade classroom.
She and her students have had a wonderful time, Dunman said.
After many years of teaching at Julia Randall Elementary School, Kathy River joined PES as a third-grade teacher.
Also new to the PES staff is Carol-Lyn Ryden. She came from JRE to teach fourth grade.
"I think the biggest project we have been working on is our student's behavioral expectations," Dunman said. "We call it Panther Pride."
Students are asked to "Be respectful, be responsible, be safe."
Students know the rules and are able to explain what they are doing and how that applies to one of those rules.
"(Students) have really done an awesome job," Dunman said.
A huge part of Panther Pride is rewarding the students who are doing the correct things. So, each quarter PES has a reward day.
"We were treated with Popsicles from our local Wal-Mart," Dunman said.
A schoolwide bingo day was the students' reward the second quarter.