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safety patrol
You might have noticed some students in bright orange vests out at the Elementary School bus loop at dismissal time. They’re stationed in a couple of different locations — maybe by the front door, or closer to the parking lot — and they’re quick to lend a helping hand, rain or shine. 

That’s our Safety Patrol at work — four rotating positions held by fourth-grade students who are eager to volunteer and help younger kids stay safe at dismissal time. 

Earlier this school year, ES Special Education Teacher Rebeccah Dennie revived the program, which had dissipated when schools pivoted to virtual learning in 2020. 

The “safeties,” as Ms. Dennie lovingly refers to them as, come down to her room a little after 3:00 PM. They pull on their vests, head out to the bus loop, possibly plant a bright flag or safety cone in a particular location and — if the weather calls for it — shovel and salt walkways. 

“The majority of their job is making sure kids are walking and staying on sidewalks until everyone gets on the busses,” she said. “I try to be strategic where I place them, so that they can be near their bus.”

Some posts are more desirable than others, she said. The main entrance? Coveted, because it’s the UPK/Kindergarten door, and those students are always happy to say hello. 

There’s a spot by the parking lot that the kids call  “Dumpster Duty,” which Ms. Dennie said is probably one of the less active locations — and has the added allure of being next to a big ol’ Dumpster.

And the door by the staff room is just an all-around great spot to be at. It’s where the 3rd and 4th graders flow out of at the end of the day, and the kids have deemed it the “high-five zone.”

Since it began last November, the program rotates through students each month so that four new students are routinely appointed and get to have a chance to don the coveted high-visibility orange vests. 

“The first four who did it in November took it like it was life or death,” she said. “They were so sad when it was over with. So now they’re my substitutes, and if a student in their class is not present to do it on a given day, they happily step in.”

One of those students is Levi W., who described his tenure in Safety Patrol as a highlight of his time at Williamson Elementary School.

“It turned out to be one of the greatest months in school history,” he said. “That month was so fun. (Being on) Safety Patrol, you make a lot of new friends, and people recognize you throughout the school as a leader.”

Ms. Dennie echoed Levi’s sentiments. The PRIDE attributes — perseverance, responsibility, integrity, dignity and excellence — are all applied throughout each month they serve on Safety Patrol. 

“It’s teaching them to be good role models, especially being the fourth graders in the building,” Ms. Dennie said. “They get to see a majority of kids at dismissal so it’s great having them take responsibility of the tasks they need to do.”

Sometimes, Ms. Dennie said, they’ll as

k a student to stop running who will deliberately ignore them. And while that can be frustrating for a Safety Patrol member, it can be a great learning experience too. 

“It teaches them to advocate for themselves if they need help with a situation,” Ms. Dennie said. “But it’s also creating that sense of community throughout the school, and it rewards them for showing their PRIDE behaviors.”

Thanks to Ms. Rebeccah Dennie for her leadership in running this stellar volunteer program for our students!

 

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