Though Lamplighter and Walnut Hill Elementary had an existing partnership, faculty members at the schools hoped to build stronger relationships between their students. Because both schools are for elementary-aged students, Lamplighter and Walnut Hill had to collaborate to create meaningful partnership opportunities organized around tutoring.
During a networking meeting, second grade teachers from Lamplighter and Walnut Hill developed programming to improve second grade literacy skills at both schools. The educators decided to revamp their existing pen pal program to better foster the student relationships desired by the partnership. To kick off the improved pen pal program, the Walnut Hill students came to Lamplighter to hear a visiting author, Newbery-winning Matt de la Pena, speak. After sharing this experience, the students paired with their pen pals for playtime.
The investment of time and resources to unite the two schools over shared goals proved beneficial to fostering cross-school student relationships. Face-to-face interaction has made the students more engaged in writing meaningful and personalized letters to each other. Lamplighter and Walnut Hill intend to continue their student exchange next year.
To learn more about this program, read more at: http://www.prestonhollowpeople.com/education/learning-through-letters/.