Adams – Cache Valley’s “Learning Pit School” Receives Hope of America Award

LOGAN, UT: On Wednesday, May 23, four students at Adams Elementary – Belle Christensen, Madilyn Carr, Linkoln Hansen, and Jesse Rodriquez – received the Hope of America Award from Kiwanis Club. The winners are among the 142 fifth graders at Cache Valley’s 25 public and charter schools who received the award this year. The Logan Kiwanis Club has been giving out the award since the 1960s to recognize youth leaders in Cache Valley who exemplify the qualities that make America a great nation – the good hard-worker who has high moral standards and demonstrates great leadership and community building.

HOPE OF AMERICA: Award winner Linkoln Hansen said, "I am very honored to receive the Hope of America Award. To me, the award shows people what they could be and how to get there." His peer award winner Madilyn Carr added, "I think it means that I will try harder to work toward success and try to do my best in school. And, it means happiness."

“The children’s examples put us on fire! They ignite in us the hope we need at a challenging time in our history,” said Kiwanis President-Elect Preston Parker, who presented the awards at Adams Elementary. “The time is now for both children and adults to work extra hard in upholding the values of our nation’s Founding Fathers.”

“The Hope of America Award does a lot for our students in recognizing the power of youth who epitomize survival and thriving qualities America needs,” said Principal Sundee Ware, who is very much an epitome of these qualities herself, according to fifth grade teachers Natalie Phillips and Angela Wiser. In not just helping her teachers and students work hard and succeed, she also takes pride in delighting them with an element of surprise on special occasions, such as donning the Greatest Showman circus master outfit at the award ceremony.

"THE LEARNING PIT”: Principal Ware has recently championed a new learning culture at Adams Elementary, based on the extensive research of University of Auckland Professor John Hattie on “what works best in education.” The key is the introduction of a new model called “The Learning Pit”, whereby teachers monitor the students’ progress by systematically offering reassurances that a meaningful learning experience necessarily involves one’s feeling challenged, overwhelmed or even lost “in a pit.” The point is that great learning requires hard work and that while yet “in the pit”, there is a lot one can do – keep trying and working hard, and using specific strategies and the help of teachers and peers to “climb out of the pit.”

To this end, Superintendent Schofield acknowledged the important fact that students come from different family backgrounds, where the value of hard work, persistence, and taking responsibility for one’s own learning may be taught in variety of ways, and some more successfully than others. “In order, then, to help all students succeed in life, consistent consequences for inappropriate behaviors must be accompanied by relationship building, and the ongoing demonstration of what citizenship and responsibility mean,” he explained. “Providing positive role models with the help of exemplary peers and mentors can often be a powerful tool for transforming bad behavior to good behavior in the classroom setting.”

FLAGSHIP SCHOOL DISTRICT: There are multiple approaches the schools in Logan City School District use in applying these principles to enrich the learning experience for students. Several schools are having success with the "Leader in Me" program, while others like Adams, are exploring new venues of success. Known to be a leader who gives school principals a lot of individualized support, trust, and autonomy in finding a path that is right for them, Superintendent Schofield says that the schools share a "flagship plan" for the School District to be a “flagship school district” in Northern Utah and Southern Idaho. “All of our 18 schools have elements that currently make them flagship schools, and they all continue to grow as the staff identify student needs and how they plan to address them,” he said.

KIWANIS CLUB: Kiwanis is an international service club founded in 1915 in the U.S. with more than 600,000 members in its professional and youth clubs in more than 80 nations and geographic areas worldwide. Its mission is to change the world by serving children, one child and one community at a time. The Logan club’s major projects include (1) support of USU Circle K, a collegiate service organization that promotes service, leadership, and fellowship, (2) establishment, mentoring, and scholarships for Kiwanis’ own Key Club, America’s oldest and largest student-led service program for teens, at Logan, Mountain Crest, Ridgeline and Sky View High Schools, (3) support of Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) at Bear River Head Start in helping to turn the tide of the alarming literacy crisis in America today through strong leadership, quality content, and an active and engaged community, and (4) sponsorship of 2018 Little Bloomsbury Pioneer Street Fair and Multicultural Celebrations at Chinese Moon Festival on September 22 at 200 E Corridor.

JUNE 7 GOLF TOURNAMENT: The Club will be hosting its annual “Kiwanis for Kids” golf tournament on Thursday, June 7, from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the Logan Golf & Country Club, with registration beginning at 8 a.m. Community members are invited to support the fund drive to benefit children in the Valley and play at one of Utah’s premier golf courses for a mere $350 per team. The fee includes breakfast, lunch, and on-course treats with raffle and attractive silent auction items. For more information on the golf tournament, contact Kurt Kohfeld at 435-757-2142. Email: Kurt.kohfeld

For information on club membership or making a donation, contact:

Daryl Arnell at 435-881-4557, email: daryl.arnell

Preston Parker at 661-772-753, email: preston

Richard Elwood at 435-713-1804, email: relwood

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