Sally Mauro Elementary Opens Year with Fresh Ideas and Success

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Carbon School District Press Release

For Blake Allen, coming back to Sally Mauro Elementary as the principal last year was like coming home since he had started his teaching career there eight years ago. He sees leading the school as an honor, even in these odd, tumultuous times called 2020.

“This is a very special and unique community,” he said. “The opening of school this year went very smoothly because of the parents’ support and our staff being so prepared to do what they had to do to get the kids back into the classrooms of our school. Each school in the district has had its own problems, but the issues that I thought were going to be substantial, like the little kids wearing masks, are not issues at all.”

Allen went on about “the amazing staff” at the school and how they worked so hard to prepare so kids could get a good education while remaining safe at the same time.

“For the teachers to have their students sitting down in front of them in person… well, they have been willing to do so much to just have that,” he said. “Before I was in this profession, I just thought teachers taught and that is all. But they, and other staff, fill so many roles for students, from being someone who comforts them to a person that provides emotional support.”

This year, cleaning the building and being sure things are sanitary isn’t just the custodians job, it is a job everyone takes seriously.

“We have staff members that have volunteered to do so much extra this year,” he said. “Our number one concern is to keep the staff and students healthy. We are willing to jump in and do anything to make that happen.”

He said, personally, the situation has helped him to gain a new perspective on every staff members’ position at the school.

As with all schools this year, having group activities, other than in the classroom, has been difficult because of health protocols. But, Allen said that they have a new plan in which they are going to do sidewalk math outside of the building as part of their Math Facts program.

“Certainly we have begun the Ninja Math in the classrooms already,” he explained. “There are a lot of awards and incentives for students to work on their math skills. With part of our TSSA (Teacher and Student Success Account) money, our Leadership Team came up with the idea of having an activity outside each month doing math with chalk on the sidewalks. We will have the concrete covered with work that the students do. There is something about kids having chalk and a sidewalk that is fun and creative,” he added with a smile.

Another area in which the school is concentrating this year is behavior. This means everyone will be involved, including students and staff.

“We know students could improve in this area,” he said. “And really we are going to push that same concept with the teachers, by following certain steps when referring a student to the office for how they are behaving. I want us to use how we handle behavior problems as a teaching moment.”

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