Cultivating Character at Chisholm Trail Elementary

by / 0 Comments / 101 View / March 28, 2017

By Leah Edwards, Correspondent

If you think children these days lack a willingness to serve, you may want to take a second look at the happenings around Chisholm Trail Elementary in Belton, Texas. This year marks the beginning of a new program with the school theme as #CTDifferenceMaker. The idea for this particular project originated at the end of the 2016 school year when the PEACE team committee met and created this concept. The committee decided to create separate grade level projects while each grade decided where to focus their volunteer efforts.

“Our goal was to want them to contribute back to the community,” said Elizabeth McMurtry, principal at Chisholm Trail Elementary School. “The kids have really taken ownership of this program.”

Kindergarteners have turned their focus toward the Leukemia and Lymphoma society while first graders are writing letters to service men and women. This project simply began with letter writing to military service family members of the students. It has grown in scope to include local firefighters, police officers and anyone who makes a difference in the local community.

Second graders chose campus beautification as their yearly goal, and third graders created two free libraries, including one for adults and one for children. The library has been self-sufficient, and teachers keep an eye on contents to assess when they need replenishment. After readers complete the books, they return them on their own.

Fourth graders tackled recycling, and they equipped classrooms with recycling boxes. Each Thursday, they collect and transport the recycling to the proper place for the next phase of project completion. Fifth graders decided to collect pop tabs for the Power of One program at the Temple Ronald McDonald House. 66 pounds have been collected since Christmas in milk jugs outside classrooms.

“It’s not just that our students help others through community service,” said BISD Superintendent Dr. Susan Kincannon. “They gain from the experience, too. They learn what it means to be part of the community and part of a team, and they learn that they can make a difference regardless of their age or background.”

There is also an element of competition added to this experience as each grade works on their specific project. The PEACE team committee met recently and discussed their hope to keep grade projects a regular occurrence in the upcoming years.

“I’m really excited that Elizabeth and her team created this program and are already planning to continue it next year. I have no doubt that they are inspiring kids who will go on to serve and make a difference in a myriad of ways,” said Dr. Kincannon.