Plymouth Elementary and Hartvigsen School are less than one hundred yards apart, yet that small gap is shrinking thanks to a partnership between the schools.
Along with friendly activities that cross boundaries, many Plymouth Elementary students walk to Hartvgisen School on a weekly basis to join Alison Wendel Bennett in her music class. The Plymouth kids play games with their special education peers, and help teachers and aides with academic instruction.
“When we first began our class, Plymouth students clustered together when they came to sit down,” she said. “Now they bounce in their chairs with hands raised when we ask for volunteers.”
Over time, Plymouth students developed more confidence in their interactions with Hartvgisen students. They also realized that their efforts helped their Hartvigsen peers achieve learning objectives or Individualized Education Program (IEP) goals.
“Hartvgisen students are more attentive to the lessons as they watch the Plymouth students,” Bennett said.
Perhaps one of the most significant testaments to the partnership was one Plymouth Elementary boy who while walking up the stairs with Bennett asked, “Can I work here? I’d like that.”