Curtner Elementary School’s Principal, Maria Hartman-Hernandez, has a big vision for the new school year.
And part of that big vision has already been underway cosmetically…
The passage of the Measure AA bond brought fresh paint to Curtner’s buildings. Students and families returned to school this week to see striking green and blue colors!
Also, via a collaboration between Maria and Curtner students, along with some funds from the Curtner PTA and the MUSD Student Services Department, painting has been done across the blacktop at Curtner to brighten and enhance the experience for kids. The painting brings some fun concepts to life across the playgrounds. And Juan Marroquin from the MUSD Maintenance Department worked hard to paint these unique concepts on the blacktops over the summer. The painting includes a “mirror me” game painted on the Primary Kids’ side that evokes Twister, and even a “Walk the Plank” path for kindergarteners to play during recesses. The painting is not fully completed across the entire blacktop, but it’s getting there!
Also, an organization called Playworks will be coming out this year to guide Curtner students through recesses with structured game play.
With the support of Playworks, Curtner will also be able to provide a space for 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students to become junior coaches. They’ll receive training from a Playworks coach, who will be on campus throughout the year to help them become agents of change; they’ll also ensure that the students are managing recess, alongside an adult, in ways they feel are equitable and structured. Playworks will also provide training to Curtner's noon duty supervisors so that they can monitor recess in a way that’s consistent for the kids.
“It’s very exiting and I’m happy that Playworks will be joining us this year. That’s one big shift we’ll be seeing,” said Maria.
Another big change? Volunteers from the parent community will also be coming in to give students Art once a week.
"In the short run, we want our students to be highly academically capable. And in the long run, we want them to be change agents,” said Maria. "We want to grow structures to enable our students to change society. And staff will be looking closely to see how students develop identity in a diverse society, how they can be just in that society, and how they can take action to enable justice for others. That’s the core foundation.” She also mentioned the essential core piece of using Empathy as a lens.
Another HUGE change that Maria is hoping to make happen this year: Switching the Curtner mascot from a Stallion to an Eagle. Maria noted that the meaning of a Stallion came from a different age and time, and that the mascot should be changed to reflect the new culture that Curtner embodies. Not only has Curtner been the nesting place for a pair of bald eagles over the past few years, but what the Eagle represents is something that is in alignment with Curtner. Three words Maria uses to describe what the Eagle represents: Hope, Vision, and Leadership.
A survey was recently sent out to parents to see how the community feels about the potential mascot change, and Curtner staff will also be engaging students in dialogue over the mascot switch to get their thoughts.
All in all, the 2019-2020 year looks to be an exciting one for the Curtner community.