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Fourth-Graders' Artwork Embodies School District's Mission

4th graders holding their art with two teachersIn Jayne Silverblade's art class, fourth-graders Shayna, Leah, Molly, and Olivia proudly present their artwork. Instead of their usual landscapes, cartoons, or portraits, they created illustrations that depict the school district's guiding vision for Pequenakonck Elementary, titled Profile of a North Salem Fifth Grader. Their colorful pencil drawings brought different skills and attributes to life, including critical and creative thinking, communication, collaboration, citizenship, and continuously improving learning.

"Citizenship is important because if everyone was a good citizen, then the world would be a better place," said Olivia showing the drawing of two children holding the Earth.

"They are helping each other lift the world up," added Molly. Then she showed a drawing of two kids in a big field. "And this person is helping the other girl stand up. We collaborate when we play," she said.

Leah created her continuously improving learner depiction using inspiration from her former teacher, Cynthia Fox, who would encourage her students to add "yet" to their "I don't know" statements as a reminder that they are always learning. In Leah's illustration, students take a spelling quiz and say, "We don't know this...yet!"

"I thought about how people might look when communicating," said Shayna, who drew two students working on a project together. "Communication is important so you can ask for help and help others."

"Critical and creative thinking is important because you need to think before you do something," said Molly showing a drawing of a student thinking about math problems. "It's okay to get things wrong, but if you think before you act, you'll do better."

The interpretive art project was a collaboration between Dr. Julio Vazquez, Director of Instruction and Human Resources, and Silverblade. Vazquez is impressed with the students' artwork and plans to add their drawings to the official profile. He emphasized how the five components of the elementary school profile provide the necessary skills for students and operationalize the district's mission. The upper school's Profile of a North Salem Graduate builds on this foundation.

"Our mission is that our students are continuously improving learners who question, define and solve problems through critical and creative thinking," said Vazquez. "The Profile of a North Salem Fifth Grader is of utmost importance because it articulates and defines our expected outcomes for every one of our students."