This year Somerset has taken a new approach to assemblies; short weekly assemblies every Monday morning to focus on the school’s motto, One Somerset.
During each assembly the student body gathers in the gym to hear from their teachers and building leadership about initiatives, holidays, updates and goals for the school.
Fifth grade teachers Grace Waylen and Erin Serafin lead the assembly planning and at the beginning of the year sat down with building leadership to set the areas of focus. First they looked at big school goals, along with state regulated celebrations, initiatives, seasonal happenings and important pieces of information for students schoolwide.
“We looked at some ways we want to cultivate community at Somerset,” said Serafin. “I think we want the assemblies to feel really organic and to feel like this is what is going on in our school and our community right now. How do we share information so that people feel engaged and involved in something in addition to their grade level?”
To target this question they thought about ways students could share with other students the work that they are doing in their classrooms whether that’s an art project, field trip or poem.
Additionally the school choir performs often at the assemblies because it’s a platform for the group to practice on stage. It’s also an opportunity for students to share with their fellow Superstars the songs they are working on.
“We were excited about the opportunity for students to share with other students,” said Waylen.
Students and staff alike appreciate the assemblies and what they offer.
Fifth grader Mataya Aass likes the assemblies and said, “It’s a different way to hear from your teachers.”
Classmate Luke Slater also enjoys the assemblies. He said, “it’s important for the whole school to get together to get to know one another.”
Both Aass and Slater like that the assemblies give updates to the weeks ahead and also provide reminders about rules, such as reminders of what’s acceptable behavior on the playground.
Teachers have provided positive feedback to Serafin and Waylen and as the assemblies continue, Serafin and Waylen hope the teacher involvement grows. One step they’ve taken to encourage other teachers to participate is they’ve developed a sign-up sheet for teachers to use to make sure the opportunity is always on their radar.
Principal Tara Gray said she loves seeing the students’ excitement and she looks forward to starting the week all together.
“Our weekly assemblies help all of our kids and staff feel a part of ONE Somerset,” said Gray. “Through singing together, read aloud books and special presentations, we have common experiences that build our sense of community.”
After the weekend, the assemblies also help reset students to focus on the new school week.
“The assemblies are like a warmup on Monday before you go to your classroom to do hardcore learning,” said Aass.