At Lewis C. Cassidy Academics Plus Elementary School, students are learning more than just reading, writing and arithmetic. They are also learning the importance of giving back to their community and how to achieve their fullest social, emotional and academic potential.
“I have been going to Cassidy since kindergarten and this school has been the best learning experience for me so far,” said sixth-grader Brittany Walker. “I’ve learned so much in all of my classes. I’ve done numerous projects that helped connect academics with the community and the world. Math is currently my favorite subject. I love adding, dividing, subtracting and multiplying fractions. I’m excited for what I will be learning next.”
In addition to its core curriculum, Cassidy offers various programs to their students. In December, the school’s community service project was a drive for Jane Adams Place, an emergency homeless shelter in Philadelphia for mothers with children. Students gave away toys, bathing products, and winter accessories.
A popular program at Cassidy is Peaceful Posse, a peer-mentoring program. Fifth- and sixth-grade students participant in the program. The program meets every Friday. Fifteen girls and 15 boys are targeted for the program.
“This program was our way to combat bullying,” said Principal Deidre Bennett. “It helps the kids to understand that they have to work together and support one another. We’re trying to get them to work as a team peacefully in the same environment. It’s important to not just provide excellent education to the students, but to also give back to the community.
“I tell my students all the time you can be very intelligent, but if you don’t have the moral base it doesn’t mean anything. A part of being intelligent is understanding how what you do as a person can effect everyone around you. What we try to do with our students is to encourage and empower them to meet the challenges by being lifelong learners and critical thinkers.
First-year teacher Blair Robertson-Fisher not only takes pride in working for a school she once attended as a kid, but she wants to also see her students succeed. Her daughter currently attends the school.
“Coming back to Cassidy has been exciting new journey for me,” Robertson-Fisher said. “I attended this school as a child and I always loved the neighborhood because it’s where I grew up. Even though Cassidy is a large school, it’s very close knit. That’s one of the many reasons why I wanted my daughter to go here. She likes the school. She’s in the second grade, but in a different classroom.
“I really enjoy teaching my second grade students. In addition to teaching them the core curriculum, I always tell them that they can achieve their goal if they work hard. I also want my students to have confidence and feel good about themselves. If they’re struggling in a subject, they have my support. I’m there for them and because of that they try even harder. My students are truly the best and I love teaching them”
Cassidy recently started a math online program called “First in Math.” The program helps students with their math skills. Every class at Cassidy participates in the program except kindergarten. If a class has the highest points in the school, they are team of the week.
“First in Math is a good way for me to learn math,” said first-grader Zakayah Williams. “We learn math through different games on the computer. It’s a fun way for me to learn. I really like coming to this class.”
Cassidy made AYP again last year for the second year in a row. As a result, the school was awarded with the Keystone Achievement Award from the Pennsylvania Department of Education for outstanding Academic Achievement, along with 92 other schools.
Some other points of pride at Cassidy include Read Across America Day, the Eagles Book Mobile, school newspaper, the MAP after school program, Caps for Cuties, Boys Latin and the Eat Right Now Nutrition program.
“My experience at Cassidy has been excellent; it’s a really good school,” said sixth grader Tatiana Amaya. “They have a lot of opportunities here that I don’t think I would be able to have anywhere else. We have excellent programs that will help us achieve our goals and help us grow as a person. We have excellent teachers and a great learning atmosphere here. The sky is the limit for all of us. This school is helping me prepare for what I want to be when I grow, and it has been an exciting journey so far.”