SURRY — Students at the Surry Elementary School took on an additional course load this month, as community members spent Friday afternoons at the school sharing their interests and their expertise. The so-called “mini-courses” have been part of the school curriculum for more than 10 years, but for the first time, the program was designed, organized and taught exclusively by community members.
Principal Marianne DeRaps said increasing community involvement in the school was one of the goals she adopted at the start of the school year.
“When I was hired, I heard loud and clear: ‘We want people involved with our school. The people in Surry have a lot of knowledge and gifts to share with our students,’” DeRaps said.
Several activities have been started throughout the year that bring students and community members together, and the revival of the local Parent Teacher Community Organization (PTCO) has strengthened those ties.
“This PTCO is becoming everything we wanted it to be to make the community part of the school,” DeRaps said. “Having these 100-percent community-run, community-designed and community-led mini courses meets the goal. It culminates all we’ve been trying to do this year, and it’s just a start. It does take a community to make a school great.”