There was a feeling of excitement at Lakewood's Patterson International, a kindergarten through sixth grade school, as students began to pack the school's blacktop awaiting their first day back to …
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There was a feeling of excitement at Lakewood's Patterson International, a kindergarten through sixth grade school, as students began to pack the school's blacktop awaiting their first day back to school on Aug. 14. Children were happy to see their friends, parents dropped their kids off for their first day of kindergarten and staff seemed cheerful about the new school year.
While parents dropped off their kids, Patterson International Principal Lance Williams talked about what he's looking forward to about the new school year for himself and the 345 students who go to the school.
Your school was able to get some upgrades from bond money that Jeffco voters passed?
We have new playground enhancements and equipment. I have a parent who went here in 1961, and she told me she used to play on the same swings that were here. The old playground was made with wood, so the kids would get splinters. We would constantly be battling that. They also redid the blacktop a little bit.
Through the bond money we were able to get some new security cameras. We had the choice of putting them inside, or outside. I chose to put them outside, and we now have a 360-degree view outside so that we can see what's going on. I feel confident that teachers and myself and staff control what's going on inside.
What're you most looking forward to this new school year?
For me, it's personal because this is my second year being principal here. I feel like I know all of the families. I also know most of the kids by first name. I feel like I know what's going on with climate and culture in the building instead of learning so much about my job last year. This year, I feel like I can hit the ground running.
What made you want to become an educator?
Growing up, I felt like I had some good mentors, teachers and people who helped mold my life. I guess as a child, some of the decisions I made weren't the best. I always want and hope that I can help these children or any student I work with learn from their mistakes and know that everyone is human, everyone makes mistakes, but life goes on and it's how you learn from those mistakes that's going to improve your life.
What're some goals Patterson has for its students this year?
One of the things we're focusing on is trying to build relationships with kids so every kid has multiple trusted adults they can come to. We know if we can establish those relationships with kids and families, kids are going to learn. There's a quote from a lady named Rita Pierson. She says kids don't learn from people they don't like. We need to make sure kids trust us and can come to us. We can do the work we need to do, and that starts with relationships.
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