2014-2015 School Year Recap
We’ve just kicked off our fourth year of the Super Citizen Program for students in grades 3-5. This year will be our first year to implement the Hands on Liberty – Super Citizen Program for students in grades 1-2.
While we are blessed to begin a new year with many returning schools, we are super excited about all of the new schools that will be joining us in providing their students with the Super Citizen “experience.”
Currently, our Super Citizen Programs will touch the lives of over 25,000 students in either 2nd, 3rd, 4th or 5th grade. Wow!
And we won’t stop there…our goal is to have our programs touch at least 42,150 by May 2016.
As we gear up for a momentous year, we would like to take the time to reflect and spotlight some of our schools that truly went above and beyond to implement the Super Citizen “experience” this past school year.
Those schools that were deemed “outstanding” all contained a common thread when it came to the success of the Super Citizen Program – teachers and administrators who made it their mission to include civic education into their already daunting schedules. These educators were not only innovative in their delivery of the program but many times incorporated their own activities to enrich the experience for their students.
Please join Liberty’s Legacy and the Liberty Learning Foundation as we salute the following schools for their outstanding implementation of the Super Citizen Program(s):
Haleyville Elementary (Haleyville City)
Monte Sano Elementary (Huntsville City)
Lacey’s Spring Elementary (Morgan County)
Lauderdale County Schools (Lauderdale County)
Hokes Bluff Elementary (Etowah County)
Albertville Primary (Albertville City)
Pike Liberal Arts (Pike County – Private)
Eufaula Elementary (Eufaula City)
Are you interested in learning more about what it takes to become a Spotlight School?
If so, contact the education director who will be working with your school during this upcoming year or call (855) 4LIBERTY. Future newsletters will spotlight schools and teachers who are truly making a difference and building the foundation of civic responsibility in their students through our programs.
Spotlighting Super Schools & Super Teachers
Monte Sano: Big Innovation in a Small School
Monte Sano’s long history of high-performance on state and national assessments sets the stage for an environment that promotes the success of each student. While this school boasts a historical heritage of over a hundred years, opportunities through art, community involvement and technology help transcend this small school to one of 21st century cutting edge.
Through the instructional leadership of Principal Melissa Lindsey and the innovation of Ms. Faith Plunkett, Liberty’s Legacy witnessed the implementation of the Super Citizen Programs through an alternative forum, the technology classroom. Ms. Plunkett teaches both Super Citizen Programs through her education technology classes that all students rotate through during the year. As Plunkett teaches the program, she adds her own personal touch and incorporates technology into the Super Citizen lessons.
For the past two years, she has organized the Monte Sano Market Place as part of the Torch Team Project. This allowed the students to create a product to sell, develop a marketing plan, experience “real-life” financial dealings and develop goals. As a result of the students’ hard work, the community’s support and the tireless efforts of Lindsey and Plunkett, Monte Sano’s Market Place has been a tremendous success. This project has helped to fund eight Statue of Liberty replicas that were presented to their Torch Team Heroes at their Graduation/Celebration during the last two years.
“I think we have future entrepreneurs here at Monte Sano,” says Monte Sano Principal Melissa Lindsey. “The crafts are amazing; they were excited about doing it.”
“We’re doing it so we can honor somebody else, who has made an impact on our lives, and that was really important to me,” said 5th grade teacher Faith Plunkett. “I have a student that was so inspired, he is planning on getting his business license, and has started creating his own website for advertising. I am so proud of him. This is another reason why I love this curriculum and project based learning.”
Fifth grader Millie Mathis feels her hard work will pay off saying, “It feels really good thinking that the money that we earned is going to go someone that we appreciate and that has done a lot of hard work and when we see their happy face then its gonna feel really good.”
Behind the Scenes – Next Great Americans Tour Bus
As you watch your calendars counting down the days until Libby Liberty and the Next Great Americans Bus Tour visits your school, you may not realize the hard work it takes for our lady in green to get there. Liberty’s Legacy’s Tour and Events Team have actually been planning this 2015-2016 Nationwide Bus Tour since this past May. There are countless hours that go into making sure the bus is road ready and our tour schedule is on point. And the two masterminds behind it all are Tour and Events Manager Tawanna Vickers and her trusty sidekick Nick McLendon.
Last school year, the Next Great Americans Tour Bus traveled approximately 4,600 miles. They made 40 tour stops and visited over 86 schools across the state of Alabama and even into Chattanooga, Tennessee. This year they predict they will beat that schedule visiting even more schools.
“We are blessed to have a dynamic team that allows us each to carry out duties and responsibilities to ensure that the NGA Tour is the best experience possible,” says Tawanna Vickers. “Although, I do help out and share the driving responsibilities, Nick is pretty much solely responsible for the maintenance and maintenance logging, upkeep, cleaning, stocking and any other physical responsibilities of the bus. My main focus is working with the Education Team to schedule our Tour Stops, reaching out to the schools, and sharing information needed to the schools to ensure they have a successful experience at their school.”
Vickers works hand in hand with our Education Team to determine what schools the NGA Bus Tour will visit. Once the schools share their preferred timeframe and the funding is determined, Vickers starts planning the bus route determining what schools the bus stops at first. Looking ahead, their busiest time is coming up in September; the team will have 14 stops scheduled in 10 days!
“We want to reach the biggest number of students in one stop as we possibly can,” says Vickers. “We try to be logistically mindful when scheduling to keep from traveling back and forth long distances, therefore, we try to do week long South Alabama trips and stay in the North for week long stays.”
From changing the engine and generator oil, to tire inspections, even cleaning the water system, roof, and of course the bus itself- it takes a lot to keep this bus moving safely while on the road.
“Most people plan a road trip and think, we can stop for a restroom break, quick meal and back on the road in 15 minutes. On the Next Great Americans Tour Bus, there is no such thing as a 15 minute stop,” says Vickers. “Using truck stops to fill up requires some patience, they stay very busy and you have to wait your turn in the gas line. Pumping the gas takes time and we typically fill, dump and sanitize the tank while we’re there and do extensive cleaning on our very large windshield. Our average stop is at minimum 40 minutes. You sure don’t take time for granted when traveling on the Next Great Americans Tour Bus.”
The Tour and Events team is also responsible for the setup of the stage and production of Libby Liberty’s performance. Their team sets up equipment, staging, lights, and even sound, while coordinating the stage performance with the school. But Vickers says that attention to detail and time spent on the bus is all worth it when they visit the wonderful schools participating in the Super Citizen Program.
She says, “Knowing the impact that we are making in children’s hearts makes this the best job in the world to me. Every year brings on more adventures and I can’t wait to see how much farther we can take this bus. “
Interested in bring Libby Liberty and the Next Great Americans Bus Tour to your school? Talk to your education team representative from Liberty’s Legacy today.
Helping Hands Project
You may wonder why the “Helping Hands” portion of the program is so important. This activity brings the program full circle. Students are engaged and excited about participating in lessons where they will learn more about character, financial literacy, civics and career readiness. Students that participate in the “Helping Hands” project learn to identify good character traits and recognize those traits in others. They build discussion skills by working together to decide on a “Helping Hand” recipient. Students sharpen public speaking skills as they introduce their “Helping Hands” award recipient. The students are also introduced to the people within their community and the jobs that they hold.
“Helping Hands” also plays a part in bringing communities and schools together. Both the “Helping Hands” award recipients and the students that select them are impacted and share an experience that will last a lifetime.
Click on the link below to view the Helping Hands Project in action!
Attention Teachers! In future newsletters, Libby Liberty will be answering questions that students may have for her…this could be a question about how she came to our country, about her home in New York Harbor or why her skin is green. Your education director will mention this opportunity to the students when she visits your classroom during the program or through an email reminder. Letters may be submitted at anytime by mailing them to our office in Huntsville, AL:
PO Box 1461
Huntsville, AL 35807
The 3rd grade students of Eufaula Elementary in Eufaula, AL wrote to Libby Liberty at the end of their program this past school year. Many students shared with Libby the lessons that they had learned through the Super Citizen Program.