New 'Wass Wolf Packs' Program Aims to Build Character, Sense of Community at School
All Wass Elementary students will meet monthly with their Wolf Pack in order to reinforce character traits and build a sense of community at the school.
Responsibility. Respect. Integrity. Perseverance.
These four values are the tenets of the Wass Wolves' Way and the basis of Wass Elementary School's brand-new Wass Wolf Packs program, which launched Thursday at the school. The program aims to build character and a sense of community at the school.
"We're not replacing parenting," Wass Principal Matt Jansen said about the program on Thursday. "We're just bridging the gap in character education between home and school."
Jansen said Wass gym teacher Mark Cavataio and Wass art teacher Sarah Clos have taken the reigns on the Wass Wolf Packs project, which divides the school's 415 students into 22 "packs" of roughly 18 students, with 3-4 students from each grade level. Students will remain with the same Wolf Pack and pack leader – usually a grade level or special area teacher – for all the years they attend Wass.
"I feel that, being the art teacher, you can feel separated," Clos said. "This helps us be more involved, too. ... I'm excited to see this happen, and it's going to give everyone a better sense of belonging at Wass."
Thursday's launch marked the culmination of a year of hard work by teachers, staff and parents. The Wass Character Education Committee began implementing the character program "11 Principles of Effective Character Education" last year with the goal of supporting the Troy School District’s vision statement of “providing a high quality education with focus on relevance, relationships, and rigor” and further integrating it into the Wass community, according to a press release from the district.
To develop the four core values, the school used SurveyMonkey, an online survey tool, to gather input from both parents and educators at the school last year, Cavataio said. Following a flood at the school over the summer, Jansen said the school also completely redecorated and added new signage throughout the building that prominently displays and emphasizes the Wass Wolves' Way values.
"The Wolf Packs are such a neat opportunity to work with the younger kids," said Wass PTO co-President Peggy Chinoski, who was on hand to help Kindergarteners find their pack for the first time on Thursday. She added that students, including her fourth-grader, Patrick, have been very excited to kick off the program.
"I love that it is just building a sense of community with all grade level students," second grade teacher Jackie Pronovich said, "and I like that they are working together to build relationships within grade levels and between peers."
For more information about Wass Elementary School, visit the school's website.
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