Glenwood Springs Middle School will be out today making world better |

Glenwood Springs Middle School will be out today making world better

Garfield County Commissioner John Martin was one of the many community speakers who presented to Glenwood Springs Middle School students this year. So far this year, the school has welcomed over 50 special guests in an effort to engage the community.

Glenwood Springs Middle School (GSMS) is hosting a community service day in support of EL Education’s Better World Day on Friday.

Students will spend the day working in and out of school on different projects to give back to the community that has supported their learning this school year.

Participating in Better World Day with other EL Education schools throughout the nation is one of the ways GSMS has focused on community engagement as a new EL school this year.

“The most recognizable change for us as an EL school is a heavier focus on crew and crew development; new opportunities for public displays of student work; and increased community engagement,” GSMS Principal Joel Hathaway said. “We want to be kind and compassionate in the crew; super involved in the community; and have our learning be engaging and relevant and public.”

Students will start their day at a kick-off assembly and then will alternate between on-site and off-site projects. Projects will take many shapes — everything from helping with sewing projects for charity to assembling appreciation bags and notes for local emergency service providers to helping with community park maintenance.

“Each crew decides what project to do, and for some students that means doing a project they might not feel comfortable with at first,” said Autumn Rivera, a sixth-grade science teacher at GSMS. “We want to challenge students to step out of their comfort zone and take a risk in their learning.”

This initiative has already received an outpouring of support. The school secured monetary donations from the community, as well as a grant from EL Education to help support the initiative. Additionally, many parent volunteers have donated supplies to help support different projects.

Hathaway explains that EL Education is a “network of schools working together on a common vision for student success and school improvement.”

Better World Day is one example of the resources and coordination that come from being a part of the network.

“These are the sorts of learning experiences we want for our students,” said Superintendent Rob Stein, a former EL Education principal and parent. “EL Education encourages students to be leaders of their own learning and emphasizes the importance of building strong learning communities in which all students can succeed.”

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