Posts Tagged ‘community service’

Teacher Feature – Elizabeth Sanders

April 30, 2013

Encouragement – Elizabeth Sanders states this to be the most important thing she can offer her students. “Every child is capable of being successful; they just need to find the success in themselves and believe in themselves.”


Elizabeth Sanders in her classroom on Hat Day which raises money for the SCW Relay For Life team.

Sanders teaches seventh grade students language arts and history at St. Clare Walker. Before coming to SCW 3 years ago, she taught language arts at Peasley Middle School in Gloucester. A native of Lancaster, Virginia, and graduate of Lancaster High, Sanders still resides there with her husband of almost one year.

After high school graduation, Sanders earned a Bachelor’s of Science and a Master’s of Art in Education from James Madison University. She declares, “I bleed purple!” concerning her JMU alumni status. Currently, Sanders is working toward her Master’s in Educational Leadership from William and Mary.

In her classroom, the focus is on reading. Sanders loves teaching novel units. She explains, “I enjoy sharing my love for reading, and I am always looking to spark an interest in my students.  When my students start talking about the novel we’re reading without me asking questions first, I know they’re connecting with the book. What’s even better is when a student asks, ‘Is there are sequel?’ or ‘Are there anymore books by this author?’” Every year, Sanders feels her main goal is to keep students engaged in school, and one way she accomplishes this is by helping students deepen or discover their love for reading.

Student role-play is another activity Sanders uses to enrich her students’ reading experience. This year she collaborated with Judy Murray, the SCW media specialist, on a Jerry Spinelli study. After reading Spinelli’s autobiography, Knots in My Yo-Yo String, students read another of the author’s works on their own and completed further research on Spinelli. Following their research, students were grouped together to do Spinelli interviews. Each group had someone play the role of Spinelli, and the rest of the students in the group were either interviewers or cameramen. Through this activity, students were exposed to an author and were able to show their acting skills during the interviews. Sanders states, “The creativity was amazing to watch. I feel that any activity that gets students thinking outside of the box is great!”

In addition to her time in the classroom, Sanders touches the lives of all SCW students through her work as sponsor of SCW’s Student Council Association. Each year, Sanders hosts the SOL pep rally, the variety show, and many other activities for the entertainment and enjoyment of the entire staff and student body of the school. She also sponsors the SCW Relay For Life team, and encourages all students to be community-minded and serve others.

With all that Sanders does for the students of SCW, it’s hard to imagine that she has any free time to herself. In addition to reading when she does manage to carve out a few moments, she enjoys scrapbooking, spending time with friends, and going to the beach, and she is a fan of the Atlanta Braves and the Washington Redskins.

The dedication Elizabeth Sanders has to the students of SCW makes her an asset to Middlesex Schools, and her nomination as SCW Teacher of the Year by her colleagues shows that others recognize her remarkable performance. She is a true asset to the MCPS family.


SCW Builders Club Serves the Community

November 15, 2012

Builders Club is a student-led service organization for middle school students dedicated to school and community service. The St. Clare Walker Builders Club includes fifty students from all three middle school grades. Any student interested in service and of good character is eligible to join.

Kiwanis International, a worldwide service organization whose clubs serve children and develop youth leadership, sponsors the Builders Club. Its purpose is to develop leadership through service.

Laura Norris, faculty sponsor of the club, states, “It’s important that students are given opportunities to work together in service for their school and community. It is rewarding to work with such a great group of middle schoolers who are excited to make a difference.”

The students at SCW participate in a variety of service activities. One of the most popular is Book Buddies. Twice a month, students walk from SCW to MES to read to the elementary school students. This takes place during the LASER period from 8:30-9:00 during the school day.

Patty Larson, teacher at MES, says, “My kindergarteners love when our middle school book buddies come to read to them. The middle schoolers do a great job reading and asking questions about the story. I love watching the little ones’ faces when they listen to their book buddies read!”

Another MES teacher, Kris Brizendine, agrees. “I would say that Book Buddies is great because our Kindergarten students look forward to the older students coming to spend time and share the love of reading with them. It is time that they can sit in a small group and listen to stories and get inspired to learn to read. After the middle schoolers leave, my students want to share their story and show me what part they loved. It is a wonderful program!”

Another project involves the Kiwanis Club and the Oyster Festival. Students volunteer their time to serve customers at the Kiwanis food tent during the event. Although it is a long day and hard work, it is a fun time for the students. By handling part of the workload, the students allow the Kiwanis members to further enjoy the festival as well.

Within school, the Builders Club sponsors many events to raise money for charitable causes. Hat Day allows students to wear a hat during the school day when they donate $2 to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Movie night and other activities raise money for Relay For Life and the American Cancer Society. Candy sales and other events also add to the club’s charitable giving.

Builders Club fosters an attitude of service and leadership skills within its members. These students are being prepared for life beyond middle school as caring citizens and strong leaders for our community.

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