By Misty DUPLESSIS
La Crescenta Elementary School Principal Kim Bishop is always looking for ways to expand her students’ cultural experience. Early in the school year Bishop formed a union with College View principal Jay Schwartz to develop a program they hope to permanently adopt. College View is a special needs school serving children who live the Glendale Unified School District as well as Burbank and La Cañada.
The program the pair designed is aimed at creating an understanding between students of the LCE gifted
class and students from the GUSD special needs school through a buddy system. The goal is for students to learn from each other through their differences.
Students from the LCE gifted class submitted applications to join the buddy groups. Those selected to take part in the program were chosen based on teacher and parent recommendations and the student’s ability to demonstrate they were able to give and get the most from the experience.
On Dec. 16 the second of five buddy meetings took place at La Crescenta Elementary. Students from both schools participated in a variety of holiday sing-a-long songs from Christmas carols, Kwanzaa melodies and Hanukkah tunes with the help of the music program run by parent volunteer Dr. Teresa Le Velle.
The groups also worked together to create festive crafts for College View students to take home. LCE students shared with their new friends their daily play equipment and enjoyed lunch together at their holiday party.
College View teacher Alan Schack said the students had a great time together at their first gathering which took place at College View during their Halloween carnival.
“It’s a little different for [College View] students. It’s a little tougher to break out of their usual routine, but they adapt really well,” said Schack. He added that the students enjoyed being part of the holiday program this year.
Pastor Randy Foster and four members from Christian Life Church were also in attendance to lend a hand to this budding experience. The church volunteers wanted to look outside its church and into the community. CLC volunteers plan to be present for future buddy gatherings.
The group plans to meet once for a joint field trip to a local farm and again at each other’s schools where they will create Mother’s Day crafts and get to know each other even more.