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August 31, 2014, 4:13 am

Learning is fun at Penrose Elementary

At Penrose Elementary School, students are learning more than reading, writing and arithmetic. They are also learning history lessons, how to solve math problems and how to write stories — lessons that show how their education relates to everyday life.

“I have learned so much from this school so far,” said third-grader Morgan Thomas. “If I haven’t learned something from my teachers, I’ve learned something from other students. We all push each other.”

For third-grader Amruta Holavanahalli, any class that she takes with Mrs. Scalon is fun.

“Mrs. Scanlon is a great teacher,” Holavanahalli said. “I’ve learned so much in her classes. She makes sure we do everything to the best of our ability. She’s willing to help when we don’t understand something. She makes learning fun. I’m really happy she is my teacher.”

The mission of Penrose School is to provide opportunities for all students to reach their personal best. The school strives to consistently deliver research-based, quality instruction in the core content areas of reading, math, science, social studies, and 21st Century technology. The school has 642 students.

“My favorite subject this year would have to be math, but I really just like learning about new things,” said third-grader William Quiros. “The teachers that I have make every subject interesting and fun, so it’s kind of hard to not like something at this school. I learned a lot so far, but I’m looking forward to learning more this school year.”

In addition to the school extracurricular activities, other highlights of the school include art, computer, gym classes, a fitness workout room, and a state of the art library. The school also has a parent volunteer program and an Eagles Vision van program.

One initiative that is new at Penrose this year is “Nickles for Sickles.” The initiative is the school’s way to bring awareness to sickle cell disease. For three months, students learned about the disease through various projects. The culminating event took place on Nov. 16, where all students participated in a walk. The money that was raised from the fundraiser went to the National Sickle Cell Society of Philadelphia.

“We wanted to look at sickle cell disease because there are people in our community who have the disease as well as students in our school,” said principal Huie Douglas. “The fundraiser was our way of educating both the community and the students about the disease itself. It was truly a collective effort between the students, staff, teachers, parents, and the community. The money we raised went to a good cause, but I also wanted the students gain knowledge from the research that they did. We wanted to use our means at the school to help and impact the community, and I think we did just that through this project.”

Eighth-grader Bafode Keita said the fundraiser helped bring the community and the students together.

“It’s never easy for anyone to have an illness or to be sick, but I think what made this project so unique is the support everyone received,” said Keita. “A lot of the students didn’t really know what sickle cell was, but once we researched it and learned more about, we all knew how important it was to bring awareness to it. This project was a learning experience for everyone. I’m just happy we were able to make a difference.”

For eighth-grader Ndeen Al-Barqawi attending Penrose has not only helped her become a better student, but also person. She has been attending the school since first grade. She wants to attend Academy at Palumbo for high school.

“We are getting so many experiences at this school,” said Al-Barqawi. “We’re not just learning at the school, but we are also learning about the world. Everything is hands-on and everything that we learn connects with what happens in everyday life, which makes going here a life lesson. I truly learned a lot her. This school has helped me become a better student and person. I’m looking forward to building on what I learned here in high school.”