Lakewood’s school-wide collages reflect the school’s vision of a community where learners grow and belong

Every student’s image is included, along with their expressions of gratitude and what makes them unique

Visitors to Lakewood Elementary this school year have been immediately greeted by every single student at the school.

OK, not literally. But hanging in the front hall is a collage of all 260 students holding a banner proclaiming what makes them unique.

“Visitors love it!” says Principal Airess Stewart. “And students are so proud to see their pictures on the wall.”

The project was part of the Responsive Classroom goal of focusing on Hopes & Dreams at the beginning of the 2023-24 school year in alignment with AAPS’ focus on belonging and Lakewood’s vision as a community where learners grow and belong.

The idea came out of a staff Professional Development planning committee composed of Stewart, the Building Support Team, and classroom teachers.

“This was a great way to start the beginning of the year as a community-building activity,” said Stewart. “I shared it with the leadership team in October and we felt like it was such a success, we have the goal to do it three times this year.”  

Stewart read the book “Our Class is a Family” by Shannon Olsen at a whole-school assembly in September. She and Intervention Specialist Julie Johnston took the pictures, and Johnston organized the board.

A second collage that has just been installed is a gratitude board with individual pictures of each student and staff with the prompt: “I am grateful for…” The gratitude theme is in alignment with Native American Heritage Month, Stewart explained, noting that she read the book “We Are Grateful, Ostjaliheliga” by Traci Sorrel and Frane Lessac to each class and took pictures of each student. 

This new recently installed collage allows every student to express gratitude.
A board filled with staff pictures was part of the project as well.

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