SYRACUSE — Warrior Time at Wawasee Middle School, a 30-minute period for all students in the school just before their lunchtime, was essentially a study hall or a time for remediation.
But beginning with the 2015-16 school year changes started to occur with Warrior Time. “Not all students need extra study time or remediation,” said Susan Mishler, Wawasee Middle School principal.
She decided to challenge teachers to change the focus of Warrior Time and provide opportunities for students to be engaged in different community minded ways, whether internally or outside the school walls in the local community.
Change has occurred, on a positive level, and enough for WMS to be recognized by the Indiana Department of Education for a Promising Practice. WMS was one of eight new Promising Practices recognized by IDOE today, Friday, Sept. 16. A Promising Practice “highlights a high-quality education practice or wrap-around service in communities throughout the state,” according to IDOE.
Google coding, planetarium presentations to community groups, robotics, dramatic arts and recycling are among the offerings during Warrior Time. New for the 2016-17 school year students will be building and launching rockets and starting a gardening club to provide students and staff with fresh vegetables and herbs. The school’s greenhouse, Mishler said, has been refurbished. In addition, an educational partnership is being developed with local manufacturer Polywood to teach the recycling process to students and challenge them to be more eco-friendly.
“It gives students something to look forward to outside of their normal classes,” Mishler said, noting not every student is involved in the newer Warrior Time programs yet but she hopes to see more of them become involved.
By December 2016, IDOE will recognize a total of 200 Promising Practices in honor of Indiana’s bicentennial. Each one is shared with educators statewide as an example of practices that have had a positive effect on students.
Being recognized by IDOE for something positive is welcomed because “we don’t always get positive news from IDOE,” Mishler commented.