For one minute students from Edward Heston Elementary could be seen hula hoping, jumping up and down, and waiving their arms side to side as they participated in the “Let’s Move in School: Jam World Record” campaign. Based on first lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” program, the campaign raised awareness about the importance of making activity a daily habit and ensuring kids learn healthy habits at a young age.
“It’s really important for the kids to feel they accomplished something and be a part of something globally,” said Audrey Fields, literacy and math lead. “The gym teachers taught them all of the movements. They need to be aware of what’s going on in the world and understand the importance of good health and nutrition. It was a good way to be active and get their blood flowing early in the morning.”
For third-grade student Jason Stanton, participating in the campaign wasn’t anything new to him because he gets his exercise from playing sports. Stanton likes to play football, basketball and baseball.
“I like to move around and have fun, so the best way for me to exercise is through sports,” he said. “Basketball and football are the ones I like the most. I don’t play for the school right now; I just play with friends where I live. But I just don’t like sports. I also like to write, draw and learn math. This year I’m learning my times tables and how to write sentences.”
In addition to the core curriculum, students at Heston also participate in art, which was added last year and music. The music program consists of the choir and glee club, which performs concerts throughout the year.
“I take a music class that teaches what a note is and how rhythm is a part of all music,” said third-grader Zakeer Robinson. “It’s interesting, but I want to learn how to play the guitar. I think this class will help me with that. I’m looking forward to learning how to play.”
In 2001, Heston opened it doors to middle school students. The school added sixth first and added a grade each year. The middle school students have a different dress code compared to the elementary students.
“Many people would think that with the school adding the grades it would be an adjustment for everyone, but it really wasn’t a problem at all,” said seventh-grader Savante Thomas. “Everyone gets along and look out for each other. I would just tell the younger kids to learn as much at they can. Don’t be afraid to ask us to help you with anything and just keep reaching for the stars because if you do you will succeed.”
Heston is also starting a pilot this school year that will include an all guys and girls class for middle school students. The concept came from first-year principal Angela Gaddie Edwards. Edwards has been a part of the school district since 1995 and has been a principal for the eight years. Prior to coming to Heston, she was a principal at Morton McMichael Elementary School.
“The separate girls and guys class was something I did at my previous school and I saw a substantial growth in overall performance,” Edwards said. “We were able to bring in different programs and speakers geared toward just males and females. I wanted to start that same program here. The pilot is basically a trial run, if it’s a success with the students and parents it is something I would want to continue to do in the future.”
Seventh-grader Hakima Rahman likes the idea of having a class separate from the boys, because it will help students learn more about themselves and see things from another perspective.
“I like the idea of just having a class for girls,” she said. “I think it will add to what is already being taught to us. When we normally learn something we hear it from a perspective that is geared toward everyone, in these classes we will get to hear another perspective. It’s always good to learn from different people because it’s the only way it will help you grow as person.”