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Culture Night Hansol Dallas (Korean Folk Performance Group) at Culture Night, helping students play traditional Korean instruments.

Editor’s note: The City of McKinney is full of great schools in thanks to the parents, teachers and students! In an effort to showcase the city’s outstanding academic institutions, McKinney BubbleLife is featuring what makes each school stand out.

Minshew Elementary, located at 300 Joplin Dr., can pride itself not only on its academic programs but also its safety events and environmental efforts. Below is information, provided by Christy Pool and the Minshew PTA, about the school and its programs, including an Olympian guest speaker and a culture night filled with food, music and stories.

Park Get-Together
Minshew Elementary boasts an extremely diverse population with students from all over the world. From Bangladesh to Australia and Mexico, characteristics of many cultures are fused into the environment of Minshew. Every year, we have newcomers to the area from other cities, states, and countries. In an effort to greet new students and to help returning students get back into school mode, Al Conley, principal, and Intera Neslon, assistant principal, hosted a popsicle park time before the first day of school. Students from the neighborhood were excited to have playtime with the principals and to see friends again. 

Math Night
PTA keeps academics at the forefront of their agenda by sponsoring academic themed nights throughout the school year. The first of these nights was Math Night, held in September. Students, armed with their math caps and their parents in tow, swarmed the school cafeteria to participate in various math challenges. “I don’t always think I am the best in math, but on Math Night, I feel like I am a real mathematician,” said a 3rd grade student when asked why they chose to attend. It doesn’t really matter if you like or dislike math, on Math Night, it’s hard not to have a good time. 

Bike Rodeo
One of the most important events to a neighborhood school is a bike safety education event. This event, also PTA sponsored, is held annually in October and is attended by students and local McKinney police officers. During this event, students are allowed to bring their bikes or scooters to the school and the police officers show the kids how to safely ride their bikes in neighborhood situations. Safety lessons include how to make sure you have an appropriate helmet and how to make sure that you are wearing it correctly. Students are also taught how to cross the street and to be aware of the situations around them that could affect their well-being. We want to thank Cadence Cyclery for helping officers perform safety checks. The community is always willing to lend a helping hand!

The Green Team
Giving back to and taking care of the community and the planet is important to the students at Minshew. Under the leadership of PTA board member, Casey Roby, The Green Team kicked off the school year with a special guest speaker. Martha Cavazos works for the City of McKinney and is responsible for Environmental Education. Teaching children to care for their environment seems to be second nature for some. There are ads and promotion campaigns everywhere encouraging us to be more green minded. Knowing about an issue and doing something about an issue is different.

Says Roby, “From the time they could walk, I have taught my children the importance of not littering, conserving water, turning off unused lights, etc. What I have discovered in volunteering in the schools is that not all children know how to help care for the environment. Conservation is now a part of my family’s daily routine and I would like for it to become the same for more people.

It takes minimal effort to make eco-friendly choices once you recognize all the ways that you can help. By founding the Greeniacs at Minshew Elementary, I have an opportunity to reach out to more people and encourage them to do some of the same things to help our planet. After all, we only have one planet and these children are our future." 

The Greeniacs participated in their first community event recently at the McKinney Trash Bash. 

Engaged Learning Model and MISD Board Presentation
The face of education changes often and Minshew works to maintain a challenging learning environment while incorporating these changes. The Engaged Learning Model, also known as ELM, is a district-initiated model being implemented at Minshew. Students are given a Challenge Brief, which explains the expectations of the project. From this, students work together to research the necessary information required to demonstrate mastery of the learning objectives. The learning process is culminated in a presentation created by the group. A 4th grade group of students recently presented their project to the McKinney School Board at the open School Board Meeting. Using everything they learned about soil, root systems, climate, and habitats, the group redesigned the school butterfly garden complete with new plant suggestions, a design scheme indicating where the plants should be located and justification for the choice of the plants. This projected not only addressed the state TEK objectives for 4th grade science, but it also helped the PTA gain valuable information about how to make the butterfly garden more efficient. The ELM team will also present the project to the PTA board. 

Johnny Quinn
Education is not just about books and numbers. Education is also about how to rise to challenges and overcome obstacles. This year, the PTA sponsored guest speaker and local Olympian Johnny Quinn. The students were amazed to hear about how many times this finely-tuned athlete, who was at the top of his college football game, was knocked down while he tried to achieve his dream of being an NFL player. Johnny Quinn showed the students that although your initial dreams may not play out the way you imagine, if you keep pushing yourself and keep moving forward, other opportunities will present themselves. Not only were the students inspired by Quinn’s message, but the teachers came away with new motivation as well.  

Tis the Season
Holiday parties are a part of many companies and school districts alike. The staff at Minshew Elementary chooses to have a giving kind of party. Instead of having a catered affair with gift exchanges and ugly sweaters, the staff met last year at the McKinney Housing Authority to help the residents celebrate the season. Blankets, socks, games, and other trinkets were given to the residents while everybody enjoyed cookies, cocoa and conversation. Several residents and staff members choked back tears while we sang a few carols together. It was the best holiday party imaginable. This year, the staff has decided to continue giving to the community and will work together to provide the local animal shelter with much needed items this holiday season.  

Culture Night
Diversity is a reason for celebration, and if any school has diversity to celebrate, it is Minshew! The second annual Culture Night will be held in the spring. This is a night when Minshew families bring food and items representative of their culture to share with the entire student body. This is a very well attended event and families appreciate the opportunity to share a bit of their culture with others. The night was very special, as some families came and shared who had been a little shy and uncertain about how to become involved in the school. Al Conley, principal of Minshew Elementary, said, “We are fortunate to have so many cultures that make up our school and this night was a spectacular way to show it. This event culminated with Minshew families sharing food, customs, music, dances and stories with the community. Our school is a family made up of contributions from all over the world and our students see first hand how diversity enhances the human experience."

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