Park Brook Elementary’s hours may run from 8:50 a.m.-3:20 p.m., but a school visitor will often find the building bustling with students both before and after that time due to the school’s tradition of offering a variety of clubs.
“I think the clubs make a huge difference, especially when I look at test scores and behaviors at this school,” said Principal Scott Taylor.
Several of these clubs began a winter session on Jan. 22, including a ukulele club, Spanish, Hmong, world languages and a new black joy club. The clubs are funded through Targeted Services, which is state funding meant to support before and after school and summer programming for students.
Park Brook started the school year with a boot camp for grades 1-5 that enrolled 140 of the school’s 320 students. They also hosted a Girls on the Run club, both of which began the second week of school.
“We want to get the fitness level, movement and engagement going right away,” Taylor said. “And these opportunities extend beyond that to help students develop their academic, behavior and social skills as well.”
Other clubs that run throughout the year include cardio drumming, choir, language clubs, double dutch, two different reading groups and a morning game club.
The morning game club takes place Friday mornings and focuses on students learning English. Taylor said playing board games gives English language-learning students the opportunity to make interactions and connections in English in a playful environment.
The clubs are typically offered a couple of times each year right up until the end of the school year. Taylor said their last boot camp doesn’t begin until May to let the fields dry out from a typical year’s snow melt and to end the year on a high note for those participating.
“We’re signing kids up for something to start in May when traditionally that’s when everybody starts slowing down and stopping,” he said. “It just gives a sense that we’re not finished yet!”