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July 11, 2014, 5:28 am

Gompers shines as pride of Wynnefield

Known for being one of the best neighborhood schools for elementary students in the Wynnefield area, Samuel Gompers Elementary School provide opportunities for all of their students to reach their personal best academically and personally.

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. Gompers has made AYP in six of the last eight years.

“We’ve always take pride in providing the best education for our kids,” said principal Philip DeLuca. “Our teachers here do a great job of working together to change children’s lives. We have teachers here that not only go above and beyond academically, but also personally.

“We realize that the majority of our students live in the area and so does a lot of our staff, so we always want to make an effort to not only teach them lessons in the classroom, but also lessons that they can apply in their own community. We want to see all of our students succeed, and the best way to have them succeed is to provide them with the best academic experience in the classroom.”

In addition to the core curriculum, other highlights of the school include art, the school newspaper, gym and computer. The computer lab at Gompers is used by students scheduled for weekly lab classes to enhance the classroom curriculum. Students use the Internet to learn research skills. They use Microsoft Word, Appleworks and PowerPoint presentation software to complete classroom projects. Gompers also has one computer lab for full classroom instruction.

In 2008, The Heart of America Foundation and Target awarded Gompers with a library makeover. Gompers was one of 23 schools to be awarded with the makeover. The project included new books, technology, paint, lighting, customized wall art murals and reading corners. There is also a mini-computer lab in the new library.

Gompers also teamed up with the West Philadelphia Alliance for Children (WEPAC). The non-profit organization helps restore libraries in the West Philadelphia area. The organization also fully stocks the library with books for the school.

“What makes this school so different is all of the different things we learn while we are here,” said fifth-grader Roy-yae Weatherbe. “Through the classes and different programs we’re not just learning at school, but we are also learning about the world. Everything we do is hands-on and everything that we learn connects with what happens in everyday life.

“The teachers make sure we getter better in all of our subjects and they are willing to help when we don’t understand something. They really make learning fun. This school will help me become a better student and person.”

One program that is new at Gompers is Robotics. Gompers guidance counselor Margaret Bryant-Renwick spearheads the program. Renwick is also a former chemist and science teacher. Through the University of Pennsylvania, Gompers was able to receive kits that will help students build and program robots. There are also parent volunteers that helps with the program.

Last year, the students at Gompers placed in the World Robotics competition in St. Louis. The competition had three different components including robot design and research, core values, and the actual project or task students have to complete within two minutes.

“Because of my background in science, I’m always looking for new ways where I can inspire students to work towards careers in science,” Renwick said. “Robotics is a good way for students to get involve with the First Lego League. Robotics teaches them core values like teamwork, integrity, respect, inspiration, determination, and responsibility. All of these different values will help them grow as individuals. We’ve had a lot of support since starting the program and the kids really love it.”

While sixth-grader Abdul Q. Gardner wasn’t part of the Robotics team last year, his interest in building things is what made him want to be a part of the program this year.

“I always like building things with my hands, so this program is a good way for me to build off of my passion,” Gardner said. “I’m looking forward to learning how to build and program robots. I want to be a scientist when I grow up, so this club will really help me with my dream.”

For fifth-grader Saffiyah Franklin, participating in the robotics program was a new experience for her.

“When I first heard about the program I really didn’t know what it was,” she said. “Once I researched it and found out what it was I knew right away that I wanted to join. Robotics is not an individual sport at all. The program teaches you teamwork and patience.

“Everything we do we have to do together. The competition was definitely a new experience for all us. We met different teams around the country and now we know what it takes to be the best in the competition. All of the lessons we have learned in Robotics and at Gompers will help us succeed in the classroom and in life. This school really does give us the best opportunity to live out our dreams.”