Administrator’s Corner: Fun learning opportunities for students 

Published 8:00 pm Friday, April 15, 2022

Administrator’s Corner by Nicky Edwin Severtson

Spring is here and with springtime the energy and excitement for the end of the year learning, celebrations, events and field trips is felt and heard by all of our Sibley community.

Sibley teachers continue to collaborate and focus on student learning by delivering engaging grade level Minnesota standards lessons and creating a Responsive Classroom environment. 

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The Responsive Classroom approach is a student-centered, social and emotional learning approach for success both in school and out of school.  There are four Responsive Classroom domains that focus on emotional competencies of cooperation, assertiveness, responsibility, empathy and self-control, along with academic competencies of academic mindset, perseverance, learning strategies and academic behaviors. 

The four domains of Responsive Classroom are: effective management, positive community, developmentally responsive, and engaging academics. Effective management practices are used to create a calm and orderly environment that promotes autonomy and helps students focus on their learning. Positive community practices are used to create a safe, predictable, joyful and inclusive learning environment with a sense of belonging. Developmentally responsive practices are used to respond to student’s individual, cultural and developmental learning needs and strengths. And engaging academics are practices used to create and deliver rigorous and engaging instruction. 

Responsive Classroom practices, knowledge and skills coincides with our High Reliability Schools framework and Second Step lessons. All three of these practices emphasize social emotional learning and reflect on how we teach and use effective teaching strategies that engage our students in their learning.  

Our grade levels have many fun events planned this spring. All school assemblies in our gym together as a school have been joyful to get back to.  Field trips are being planned for our Sibley students and what a wonderful opportunity to provide every student with real world experiences and connections to what is happening in school.

Sibley first graders recently attended Oxbow Park and Zollman Zoo, where they were able to see over 30 species native to Minnesota. They learned about compassionate animal care for animals that rendered physical injuries and were not able to return to their natural habitat. Fifth graders had the opportunity to learn about Minnesota history at the Freeborn County Historical Museum and our second graders will be attending the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center to learn about seeds and apple cidering. Fourth-grade students will have the opportunity to see natural canyon passageways sculpted by water from an underground stream at Niagara Cave. Third graders visited a dairy farm, potato farm and a hog farm to learn about the agricultural industry. Finally, the Albert Lea Fire Department will be visiting Sibley first graders to teach about fire safety, and second-grade students will be attending a musical, “Frog and Toad” performed by our very own ALHS students.

As we wrap up the year, remember to finish the year strong. Creating a habit with your child of good attendance is so very important. It not only teaches your child responsibility but also important life skills including persistence, grit and determination. The student who attends school regularly has a better connection to their classroom community and is able to develop strong social skills and friendships with their classmates. At Sibley we will continue growing together, every learner, every day.

Nicky Edwin Severtson is principal at Sibley Elementary School.