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B'ville: Highlights from Elden Elementary

Student philanthropy

Elden students show their caring and concern throughout the year with various fundraisers and collections. During the holiday season they collected food and gifts for local organizations. In response to the earthquake in Haiti, they collected spare change and had a Hats for Haiti day to raise money for the American Red Cross' relief efforts. They have also used art as a service project.

In the fall, under the direction of art teacher Karen Smith-Collins, 133 Elden students collaborated with students across the country in a unique service project called the Fundred Dollar Bill Project, a nationwide drawing activity that combines community service with creativity in an effort to raise funds to clean up lead-contaminated soil in New Orleans. Using a template of a one hundred dollar bill, students across the country created their own unique bill designs. The Fundred organization is collecting these student-created bills from schools around the country, and will present them to Congress with a request for an even exchange of real bills in order to clean the contaminated soil.

Fifth-grade DARE graduation

In January, the school held its fifth-grade DARE graduation. DARE stands for Drug Abuse Resistance Education. It's a program used in schools nationwide to provide students with skills to avoid drugs, alcohol and violence, as they become adults. School Resource Officer Christine Weeks visited the fifth-grade classrooms for 10 weeks in the first half of the school year to teach students about the dangers of substance abuse as well as how to avoid violent situations.

Parent participation

Cardamone said parent participation and support is strong at Elden. The school's PTA has funded several guests and activities this year. The PTA brought local artist Jane Darovskikh and political cartoonist Frank Cammuso to the school for presentations.

The PTA also coordinated the school's PARP program. The theme this year was the Reading Olympics. Students were treated to a special guest to kick-off the Olympics. Al, the Syracuse Crunch's mascot, helped to get students fired up to read for 15 minutes each night during the three-week program.

On the last Saturday of March, the PTA hosted an enrichment day for students. About 300 students were able to try different activities that are not usually offered in an elementary school, such as dance and sewing.

The PTA now offers its monthly newsletter online at bville.org. Cardamone said the PTA hopes that by putting the newsletter online, they will be able to greatly reduce the number of newsletters copied and sent home to save paper and money.

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