In Southampton County, nestled into a wooded area just off Southampton Parkway (Route 58), is a small elementary school which one might miss were it not for the blinking School Zone warning light.
Built in 1954, Capron Elementary School is the oldest, and smallest, elementary school in Southampton Public Schools, serving 180 students. Of these students, 56% are eligible for free (47%) and reduced (9%) lunch.
There has been a commitment by the school system for Capron Elementary students to have the same instructional opportunities as other county elementary students housed in the newer elementary schools built in 200? Classrooms are equipped with Smartboards, several computers with Internet services, computer-overhead interface and a full-size computer lab. The system also maintains a student teacher ratio of 13:1.
On Friday, November 21, 2014 all the students at Capron were invited to gather in the main hallway of the school for the drawing for a new girls’ and a new boys’ bicycle. Students’ names were placed into the drawing based on the number of books they had read for the School Board’s Bikes for Books program.
Dr. Allison Francis, principal, announced to students they had already earned more Accelerated Reader (AR) points this year than they had for the entire 2013-1014 school year – and the kids and teachers were extremely excited about that news. Dr. Francis challenged the students to triple the 1200+ points they already have this year – or, to even go for 5,000 points. There were no groans – only excitement about reading more.
Watching the pure joy on the faces of the two 5th grade students who won the bikes was like watching kids open presents on Christmas Day. Better than that, the excitement of the other students for their friends’ good fortune was like nothing I’ve ever seen among children that age.
Dr. Francis also announced the student body had brought in 672 canned goods for the Thanksgiving Food Drive, an average of almost 4 cans per student. When one considers that over half the student body is eligible for free and reduced lunch and receive supplemental packages of food to take home to assist with weekend meals, it is obvious these students know the true meaning of sacrificing that others will have what they need.
Originally, the plan had been for the class which brought in the most cans to have a popcorn and movie event, but great success should equal great rewards. As a result of the hugely successful food drive, students will be treated to a popcorn and movie treat Tuesday afternoon, November 25, 2014 just prior to being dismissed for the Thanksgiving break.
It has often been said that good things come in small packages. That is especially true at Capron Elementary School where Dr. Allison Francis and her staff are proving to their students, and the world-at-large, there is much more than the standards of learning (SOLs) that can be – and should be – taught to our children.
Most importantly, the staff, starting with their leader, do it by example. Others should take note!