The following describes a typical day in the life of a scholar at HLA – Northrop.
HLA-Northrop scholars begin to arrive on school buses, pouring out in their blue logo t-shirts and khaki bottoms; the school’s official uniform. As scholars’ step onto the HLA-Northrop campus, they always find a familiar face ready to greet them: a staff member who coordinates their arrival, making sure things run smoothly through rain, snow, and shine.
Some scholars arrive with their younger siblings, whose backpacks seem far bigger than theirs. Other scholars walk in groups, excitedly catching up on yesterday evening’s events. Once inside the building, excited “good mornings!” are replaced by “see you later!” as scholars split off into their respective classrooms. As the halls slowly empty out, the classrooms fill up for another exciting day of learning.
Scholars sit down to eat breakfast together, which is served from 7:20- 7:40 a.m. each day in their classrooms. Most scholars at HLA-Northrop eat breakfast in school every day. And as the clock nears 7:40 a.m., the classroom teachers begin to prepare scholars for their day of learning. Lingering Fruit Loops are spooned up, and milk cartons chugged back before scholars sort their breakfast packaging into recycling or trash.
Teachers hold morning meetings with the scholars, laying out the agenda for the day. Ensuring that scholars know what is expected of them is a Hiawatha Academies best practice. As scholars read the day’s agenda off the board there’s a feeling of camaraderie and teamwork in the room: “we are all in this together.”
For HLA-Northrop’s K-4 scholars a day of learning begins with a little bit of exercise, maybe even some Zumba, offered through our SPARK! program. HLA-Northrop scholars understand how exercise benefits learning, which is what our SPARK! program demonstrates. As bodies are stretched, scholars’ minds and moods are readied for the mental workout ahead.
As first period begins, students sit in small groups of 4-6, allowing for more focused learning. Most classrooms have two instructors, to offer scholars more one-on-one time with teachers. The small groups also allow teachers to structure lessons at different learning levels, meaning no one gets left behind. The classroom walls themselves are a lesson waiting to be found; peppered with inspirational quotes, the week’s plan, and fast facts both fun and weird.
In fact, learning and engagement is in play everywhere you look, exemplifying Hiawatha Academies’ commitment to nurturing our scholar’s minds and characters. Whether in the signs over the classroom door reminding scholars to “dream big, work hard,” or the math problem disguised as a question about colorful flowers, scholars are encouraged to be their best selves, use their imaginations, and have fun as they learn and grow.
All scholars eat lunch together in the cafeteria to build a strong school community. Laughter and conversation can be heard over the noise of silverware and lunch trays.
RECESS & MOVEMENT
In the afternoon, if the weather permits, scholars take recess in the playground adjacent to the building. Kids chase each other in a game of tag, others kick a ball. Hiawatha Academies recognizes the importance of physical activity to health and concentration, which is why we make time for physical activity throughout the day.
Meanwhile, parents filter in and out of the front office throughout the day, where they find Office Manager Victoria Krook’s smiling face. The front office is more than just a place for parents to find answers to their questions. It’s also a place for congregation with plenty of seating for kids and adults alike. And if you’re lucky, maybe even a bowl of candy.
As the afternoon heat builds up, kindergartners contemplate a math problem under the close guidance of their teacher, their focused eyes seeking an answer. In another classroom across the hallway, a Global Studies lesson is underway, as students discover just how big and varied their world is.
Meanwhile, the gym begins to fill up with aspiring musicians, and their music travels down the hall. Other special classes include languages and art.
As scholars spend time with specialists, teachers meet to share information about how each scholar is progressing. They also make plans to help scholars who are behind catch up and to give more challenging work to scholars who are already on track.
Satisfied, stimulated scholars flood out of the building, looking forward to a rest and then another day of learning ahead.