Ziegler School works to develop leaders

RaSean Smaugh reads a book in class.— PHOTO BY ABDUL SULAYMAN TRIBUNE CHIEF PHOTOGRAPHER

Changing the world one student at a time is the motto at William H. Ziegler School at 5935 Saul St.

Ziegler continues to provide students with tools to succeed academically and personally.

“What makes Ziegler so unique, is that everyone is on one accord with one another,” said first-grade teacher Nyree Williams. “We all make sure that we provide our students with the best education that our students deserve. We come in early, we stay late.

“We want to make sure that when our students leave Ziegler they will not only be leaders, but they will also be prepared for high school, college, and life,” she added. “Everyone works extremely hard, so the students will be successful. It’s a collaborative effort among everyone, and it makes us proud to see our students take that next level in life.”

Ziegler, a K-8 school, participates in the Leader in Me program. Based on “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” the program produces transformational results such as higher academic achievement, fewer discipline problems and increased engagement among teachers and parents. It also equips students with the self-confidence and skills they need to thrive in the 21st-century economy.

“For this school year our goal was to provide leadership,” said principal Paul Spina. “We wanted to inspire leadership in every student. At Ziegler we focus on a learning environment where all learners, children and adults, grow and succeed,” he added, “where teachers value and accommodate diversity of cultures, languages, learning rates, and types of intelligence. We recognize that all students deserve the opportunity to develop their potential in order to establish and grow as responsible citizens in our community.”

For Arianna Reynolds, going to Ziegler is like being around family every day.

“I think what makes this school so unique is the unity that we have here; we’re like family,” Reynolds said. “When the principal sees us in the hallways, he’ll stop and talk to us. He asks us how we’re doing in our classes and how everything is going in our life. He really cares about us and that’s what I really like about him.

“The teachers are amazing. They do a really good job of teaching us. They all balance the schoolwork with different projects, which is kind of fun. I really like going here and I’m looking forward to all the other things that I will learn at this school.”

The School District of Philadelphia, Vetri Foundation for Children and the Independence Blue Cross (IBC) Foundation recently launched the Eatiquette Program at Ziegler. The program equips schools to prepare and serve nutritious meals cooked from scratch to children, and educates students and parents on the importance of nutrition.

Serving more than 500 students at Ziegler, Eatiquette is part of the “Eat Right” component of the IBC Foundation’s Healthy Futures program, a $3 million initiative focused on improving child wellness in the Philadelphia region.

Eatiquette aims to transform a child’s lunch from the traditional cafeteria assembly line to an environment where children gather around round tables, pass plates of food to one another, and experience social interaction and communication. Family-style eating creates an interactive environment where kids don’t just eat lunch, they dine. Teachers and adult volunteers model for students how to set a table, how to work together as a team, and how to try new foods.

“One of the many things I like about Ziegler, is the fact that they really care about our well-being,” said Kimberly Tabora. “We have a lot of programs at our school that promote healthy eating and being active. They are making sure that we not only eat healthy food, but that we also move around. They don’t just want to see us succeed academically, they also want us to live a healthier lifestyle and that means a lot.”

Programs in the arts at Ziegler include vocal, instrumental and choir music.

“I’ve learned so many different lessons in this school,” said Christal Charles. “Ziegler is already a good school academically, but with the various programs and the activities it really helps us grow personally. This really is the best school to go to, I really love going to school here.”

Kiara Ross also likes the different programs at Ziegler.

“Ziegler is a really good school,” Ross said. “There are so may different activities at the school. They always find a new way to involve students into different activities. I currently participate in the choir. It’s a lot of hard work, but I love learning new music and being able to receive different opportunities through music. Ziegler really does prepare you for the next level.”

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