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If you’ve had the opportunity to visit our school recently, you might have noticed a mural painted by several of our dedicated parent volunteers. The mural depicts 14 different books, each relating to a specific topic that students will be discussing in class during their years in our school. This is part of the school’s “I’m Not Alone” campaign, a partnership with SEPTA. The goal of the campaign is to help students understand that whatever they are going through, they are not alone. Topics include empathy, being kind, and accepting differences, among others.
The books depicted in the mural were chosen by our staff, community members, and parents for being age-appropriate and serving as a gateway for greater in-class discussions on the topics. These books will be part of the “Empathy Book Nook” in the school library as a resource for teachers and administration.
While the program will be piloted in several classes this year, we anticipate that by the start of next school year, all classes will be engaged in this activity. Beginning in kindergarten, teachers will read at least one book to their class and design specific activities around the topics being discussed.
Our goal is that by the time students leave Washington Drive, they will be familiar with several of the books and the lessons associated with each. I hope the books also serve as possible conversation starters in your own home, as you see fit.
The books included in this initiative are:
“Strictly No Elephants” by Lisa Mantchev
“I Am Human: A Book of Empathy” by Susan Verde, Peter H. Reynolds
“The Snurtch” by Sean Ferrell, Charles Santoso (Hardcover)
“Red: A Crayon's Story” by Michael Hall
“Last Stop on Market Street” by Matt de la Peña, Christian Robinson
“We're All Wonders” by R. J. Palacio
“The Energy Bus for Kids: A Story about Staying Positive and Overcoming Challenges” by Jon Gordon, Korey Scott
“Calvin Can't Fly: The Story of a Bookworm Birdie” by Jennifer Berne, Keith Bendis
“Janine” by Maryann Cocca-Leffler
“What Does It Mean to Be Kind?” by Rana DiOrio, Stephane Jorisch
“Fur Is Only Fur Deep” by Julia Schettler, Sarah Neville
“Punk Wig” by Lori Ries, Erin Eitter Kono
“My Friend Isabelle” by Eliza Woloson, Bryan Gough
“Just Because” by Mac Barnett, Isabelle Arsenault
Thank you to the following WDPS parents who have dedicated their time to this initiative:
Monique Webb McKelvey
Courtney & Jeremy Quinn
Lisa Collet Rodriguez
A special thanks to Mr. Maresco for designing this mural that will be cherished by students and staff for years to come.