Stapp Inspires Educator Spotlight-A vision after the storm

Welcome back! This is Erin, the Digital Marketing Manager for Stapp Interstate Toyota Once again, we are turning the spotlight on an inspiring educator in St. Vrain Valley Schools. This month’s recipient took me to a different place than before. I hope you are as inspired as I was after my most recent visit.

Andrew Moore

September 2013, in this part of Colorado, is synonymous with the devastating floods that hit the St. Vrain Valley area. We all know at least one person affected by the flood. Despite such devastation, we have heard stories; stories of hope, of neighbors coming together to help each other, and communities becoming stronger. The Town of Lyons was one of the worst areas hit, but it’s here at Lyon’s Elementary School where we have found one of the most inspiring and encouraging stories.

In the midst of cleaning up after the flood and trying to find some normalcy in life, the staff at Lyons Elementary wanted to find a way to take advantage of the resources available to them and make a positive impact on their community. From this vision, The Lyons Elementary Outdoor Science and Leadership youth initiative came to life. The desire of the staff at Lyon’s Elementary School is to connect their students to the community around them. They want their students to know that they have the ability to make a positive change in their world. Through leadership classes and authentic science programs, they are well on their way.

Through this initiative, Lyons students are being connected with their local ecosystem while learning grade appropriate science standards. Students are able conduct real life research, such as collecting data on macroinvertebrate biodiversity, or monitoring river health. They are able to present their research and make recommendations to the Town of Lyons Ecology Board.

Lyons takes a feeder based approach to this program, meaning this program extends into Lyons Middle Senior, where high school students, trained in leadership skills and river quality protocols mentor and lead younger students throughout the school year.  However, our time was spent learning about the elementary school program. In addition to the ecology-based science project, each grade has a project in the production garden. Students have different opportunities throughout their time at the elementary school. From composting; to soil production; to gardening; each grade is actively involved in the school’s initiative. Last year alone the school’s garden produced over 300 pounds of fresh produce that was donated to the Lyons Emergency and Assistance Fund Food Bank.

As with any successful project, you don’t need to look far to find a strong leader. At Lyons Elementary, that would be principal Andrew Moore. Andrew is in his sixth year at Lyons Elementary; quick math tells you his first year as principal was the year of the flood. Andrew is quick to recognize his staff and the hard work and dedication they have put into rebuilding the school and getting the Outdoor Science and Leadership program up and running. He is proud of the growth and the vision his school has, but humbly reflects any praise back to his staff.

He credits the program’s success on his staff’s shared commitment to their mission of “Cooperative, Creative, Community Based” learning.  

As I went on a tour with Andrew, I was able to see why the staff was committed and accountable to each other. The principal helps set the tone of any school, and I was able to see firsthand how this was done. First, Andrew seems to know the name of every student in the school. He is always engaging with them, a quick hello as we passed a student in the hall, or asking what a student was working on. We made a stop in the art room and a student came up and asked Andrew’s opinion on a piece of artwork. The student’s eyes lit up with pride with the genuine praise Andrew so freely handed out. Andrew’s concern extends to his staff as well. A staff member returning to school after an extended absence was asked about their first day back.

Andrew talked about teachers setting an example for their students to show up each day with their “best self”. Andrew takes this to heart and leads by example, and this example has helped the school not only recover from the flood, but become a thriving part of the community that is creating leaders for tomorrow.

To all the staff at Lyons Elementary, we know the recovery hasn’t been easy, but you should take pride in all the hard work you have accomplished. We are excited to watch the Outdoor Science and Leadership initiative continue to grow throughout the feeder system.

Andrew, thank you for taking the time to meet with us and to give us a glimpse of how far the school has come. We wish you and your staff the best.

 

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