School of the week: At McKinley, students sharpen their academic skills | The key to learning

A neighborhood school, William McKinley Elementary School provides academic and emotional support and educational opportunities for students and their families.

Located at 2101 N. Orkney St., the school’s vision is for its 313 students to think critically, challenge systems, and advocate for the rights of all people, including those with disabilities. look different from themselves.

“One of the things we are constantly focused on here is making sure that regardless of what is happening on the outside, our children are in front of us to grow and succeed and that we provide effective teaching every day,” said the McKinley manager. Marilyn Carrion-Mejia.

At McKinley, teachers focus on grade-appropriate instruction. To help students who may have struggled because of the pandemic, teachers have used small group instruction.

“We know there were students who probably didn’t connect as much as they should have last year,” Carrion-Mejia said. “We wanted to make sure that once they were in the building this year, they would receive proper instruction.

“For students who are still struggling to follow an education appropriate to their level, we offer reading and math lessons in small groups that take place every day,” she said.

“We have a literacy officer who provides students with additional reading support,” she added. “We also have a partnership with AARP and they provide small group instruction for struggling readers in the lower grades.”

To help students prepare for the future, the school uses Naviance college and career readiness software.

“Our senior students take different assessments and do different activities on Naviance,” said Michelle Eckert, head teacher at McKinley School. “Naviance helps identify areas where the program thinks they would be inclined to do well for college and career.

“Our counselor takes this information and has conversations with our middle schoolers about the options Naviance is suggesting to them,” she added. “We also have teachers in the lower grades who speak to students about different careers as well.”

McKinley has a school-wide initiative based on social-emotional learning. The day often begins with 30-minute community meetings that address students’ mental health needs.

“In addition to community meetings, we have a clinical coordinator who provides mental health support,” Carrion-Mejia said. “We have a counselor who does one-on-one sessions and small group counseling.

“We also have a partnership with Net Northeast Treatment Center,” she added. “They provide our behavioral health support at school.”

McKinley offers students a variety of after-school programs and clubs. The school also has physical education, health, visual arts, technology, and music.

“We have a club preparing for the Broad Street Run,” Carrion-Mejia said. “We have jewelry making, knitting and crochet. We work on chess and checkers.

“We also have a partnership with Norris Square Community Alliance,” she added. “They’ve worked in our building for years and they have an after-school program with our students.”

The high caliber of teachers adds to the enthusiasm of McKinley students. Eckert praised the teachers and support staff for their hard work and dedication.

“In addition to preparing their lessons for the classroom, we have quite a few teachers who donate their time after school to run after-school clubs,” Eckert said.

“They put a lot of time and effort into not only making sure they’re giving students a grade-level education, but also finding different ways to provide fun activities for kids,” she added. . “We just have amazing staff at McKinley.”

The principal said she wanted her students to leave McKinley as lifelong learners.

“I want students to leave with a desire to learn,” Carrion-Mejia said. “I want them to continue learning every day. I also want them to know that they can do anything they can think of as long as they put in the time, effort, and work hard.