Castleton Elementary School will offer students more support in math, English Language Arts and counseling in next year’s budget, as well as an Innovative Learning Lab that will engage students in all grades.

“There’s a lot of things coming to CES to support students in the proposed budget,” said Principal James Derby.

Math support will increase by 0.5 full-time equivalency (FTE) to provide additional help for students who struggle in that area. Much of that support will help upper elementary grades.

Classroom libraries will receive more funding for books and resources. The classroom materials are organized by reading levels that help put texts in students’ hands that are challenging but understandable.

“When teachers have high quality books with a wide range of levels and topics, they can use them for instructional groups, recommend appropriate books and give students choice,” said Assistant Principal Keri Rosher. “Having books that are high interest and appropriate really helps children be invested and engaged in reading for longer stretches of time, which research shows improves reading skills.“

The budget also funds professional development opportunities as the school plans to improve its ELA curriculum.

To support the district’s increased focus on mental health, and provide more support for 6th grade, the school counselor position will be made full-time (from its current 0.5 FTE).

“More and more we see our students and families who need support,“ said Mr. Derby. ”With the addition of 6th grade and helping students career plan and transition to high school, that type of support is critical.”

Kindergarten through 6th grade will benefit from an Innovative Learning Lab, a hands-on, collaborative learning space created from the old main office as part of the last Capital Project. A teacher will lead a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) focused program for the Innovative Learning Lab by collaborating with classroom teachers to offer engaging learning opportunities.

“We’ll operate it much like we do our library, where someone creates authentic, project-based learning experiences for students in a different way outside the traditional classroom space,” explained Mr. Derby.