Eastons Samuel Staples Elementary School is HOT. As a Higher Order Thinking school, it has utilized the arts throughout its curricula since 1994.
And the school has benefited. Out of the 550 elementary schools in Connecticut, Staples has consistently ranked in the top 50.
"I have been so fortunate to have teachers, as essentialists, who value the arts and share my emphasis on collaboration," said Kim Fox-Santora, principal of Staples. "In addition to their teaching responsibilities, they have a steadfast commitment in working collaboratively with the classroom teachers in order to promote higher order thinking through the integration of art, creative movement, technology and music across all content areas."
The art department is where it begins. Teachers Amy Traggianese and Alan Bates provide the foundation for the school's integrated curriculum. "Today we're making fish using geometric shapes," Bates said, with his trademark high energy. "It goes with what they're learning in math."
Down the hall is the physical education department, headed by 30-veteran Bob Menegay and his wingmen, Jason Studeny and rookie Jimmy Tierney . "We have an interdisciplinary unit in the spring with second grade that involves their nutrition unit and the food pyramid. We do a lot of [interdisciplinary projects]."
Media specialist Lynne Duffy also proactively collaborates with the classroom teachers. "Because technology can be fun, the students often don't realize they are actually learning," Duffy said.
The music department is led by Don Cooper and Chris Russo. "As experts in their disciplines, they enjoy infusing their expertise into new content," Fox-Santora said. "I have some of the finest music, media, physical education and art teachers in the state of Connecticut."
The Easton PTA funds Staples' membership in the HOT school program. The Easton Learning Foundation also provides funds for various initiatives, and Staples maintains a strong relationship with the Connecticut Commission on the Arts.
All of these factors contribute to Staples' high state ranking. The school has a lot to offer Easton residents, and the numbers to prove it.
Do your children go to Staples? What do they enjoy most?
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