Principal Shares Positive Developments Happening at Muskegon Heights’ Edgewood Elementary

Andrew Trzaska | February 28 , 2012

An outstanding educator award, the return of art and music programs, a school trip to see Mary Poppins and this month’s Black History Month competition were the highlights of Edgewood Elementary shared by principal Sonya Hernandez at Monday night’s Muskegon Heights board of education meeting.

Sonya Hernandez

Hernandez is in her first full year as principal of Edgewood Elementary.  In her time at the district, she has solicited community support for school supplies. Grand Haven-based Media 1 stepped up to help provide school supplies to students in January, and local Shriners donated coats to students.  Hernandez also put a call out for volunteers to help bring enrichment classes like art and music back to the school.

Arts And Music: Two volunteers have stepped forward this month to provide art classes to Edgewood students.  Suella Bailey, a recently laid off elementary educator, and her father are currently providing art classes free of charge, which allows teachers one 50-minute planning period a week; currently, teachers at Edgewood to not have a planning period during the day.

Additionally, 20 Edgewood 4th graders are part of the Carnegie Hall Link Up program, which teaches students basic music concepts and provides them a recorder to learn to play. At the end of the program, students will have the chance to play with the West Michigan Symphony on those recorders.

Art, music and other special enrichment classes have been cut not just in Muskegon Heights Public Schools but county-wide in recent budget cuts.

Educator of the Year: Hernandez commended Edgewood 5th grade teacher Chauncey Williams, who was recently awarded Outstanding Educator of the Year by the Greater Muskegon Jaycees.

“We’re proud of him and he’s so deserving of it,” said Hernandez.

Mary Poppins in Grand Rapids: Last Friday, 93 Edgewood students, parents, faculty and volunteers went to DeVos Performance Hall in Grand Rapids to see a musical performance of Mary Poppins.  The trip was completely done at no cost to the district; Broadway Grand Rapids provided 100 tickets, the McDonald’s restaurant in Coopersville provided a meal for the students, and community members donated the money for the busing.  Hernandez spoke to the educational value of the trip:

“Many of them and many of their parents had not had that kind of experience before.”

Black History Month Competition: 3rd, 4th and 5th graders each received a different topic to present: “What Black History Means to Me” for 3rd grade, inventors and innovators for 4th grade and African-American history from 1720 to the present for 5th grade.  Judging will take place on Wednesday at 11 a.m. and will be based on educational value, parental involvement and use of artifacts in their displays. Hernandez explained students were taking the competition seriously and were being competitive.

Those wishing to help Edgewood Elementary can contact Hernandez at (231) 830-3250 during normal school hours.

Andrew Trzaska

103.7 “The Beat” – local government beat reporter and political analyst