By Alan Sorensen
by Alan Sorensen
The Havre Daily News
Friday, May 14
Lincoln-McKinley School students are exposed to the best in elementary school technology, but also bask in the light of a caring faculty and staff.
As with all good companies, employee enthusiasm comes from a contagious, sincere enjoyment of students expressed by Lincoln-McKinley Principal Karen Swenson.
Swenson said her school has several programs not found at other Havre elementary schools.
We have a partnership Head Start class every morning Monday through Thursday, she said. And there is a special education preschool which is held three afternoons a week.
The chapter kindergarten is available to eligible kindergartners five afternoons a week.
The school also provides the only breakfast program on weekday mornings that enables its students to start each day with a good breakfast.
I enjoy visiting with the students before school and at lunch time, Swenson said in response to a school-wide survey. Lincoln-McKinley has a very relaxed atmosphere each morning with students entering the building for breakfast. They often stop and chat.
Our friendly staff members greet the students personally as they move through the halls.
Swenson said another enjoyable part of her job involves student behavior.
The students and staff work hard to promote an atmosphere of kindness and respect and have been extremely successful, she said. We focus on appropriate, respectful behavior throughout the year with a variety of special goal plans.
The rewards given out when the students reach one of those goals were ice cream floats for everyone in the school.
Swenson said Lincoln-McKinley students regularly receive compliments from visitors regarding their outstanding behavior in assemblies and throughout the school.
Lincoln-McKinley is a warm, friendly inviting school with wonderful students and staff, Swenson said. It is a privilege to be principal of this school.
School secretary Vickie Knight, in her 11th year with the district, is involved with every aspect of the school. She enrolls students, greets the public, keeps attendance and enrollment data, stores all sorts of information on computer, and gives tours of the building. She takes care of minor injuries, schedule appointments, visits with students, and tries to keep everything running smoothly.
The most enjoyable part of my job is the sparkle that I see in a students eyes whenever I see them in the school setting or in the community and they say, Hi, Mrs. Knight.
It is great to see such loving and caring students at Lincoln-McKinley. The students at Lincoln-McKinley are very respectful to each other as well as to adults and visitors in the building. They have pride in their school.
Knight is aided in her duties by Lucile Warford, a green thumb worker for about 2 1/2 years. She does what ever needs doing, including putting on Band Aids and drying tears.
The students teach me something new everyday, Warford said. They are a never-ending source of amazement.
None faculty staff also find joy in providing their numerous support services to Lincoln-McKinley students.
Diane Lowry is a K-3 transition specialist who facilitates students moves into all district schools and is involved with parents.
Lowry, whose been with the district two years, said she derives joy from watching how a childs face lights up when (his) parents come to school and help out.
It really means a lot to the children and makes them realize that they are important, and so is their education, she said.
Pati Zorko, librarian at Lincoln-McKinley and Sunnyside, has been a district librarian for three years. She creates materials and units as she teaches to the curriculum guidelines. We are in the process of automating the library, so that has had a big impact on teaching the kids how to find materials.
She particularly enjoys having her students pull everything shes taught them together and producing really fine products.
Thats when all the technology, the variety in resources, and skills lessons show the students that the library is not just a storeroom or warehouse for books, Zorko said. Its a really fun and interesting place to be. Its more like an airport where you can board a plane to go anywhere, anytime.
Assistant librarian Cheryl Schaub, with the district for 20 years, said she enjoys just about everything associated with working in the library and with the children. She particularly enjoys watching them at play, acting like a character in a book, and the imagination and creativity the little ones come up with after reading a book.
Three cafeteria workers feed Lincoln-McKinley students twice a day: Linda Hinkle, cook manager, 16 years with the district; Debbie Kallenberger, cooks helper, four years; Bonnie Shiflett, assistant cook and cashier, 19 years.
They prepare breakfasts for their students and for satellite distribution to all of the areas Head Starts. They also fix lunch for all of their schools students and one Head Start.
It makes me feel good to know how much the children care about what we do, Hinkle said. there are some days you can see their faces light up when they come through the line, because they enjoy eating here.
Our children have come a long ways when it comes to manners. There are always some who come up to give you a hug, no matter where you are.
Kallenberger said she really enjoys greeting (students) everyday and watching them learn manners and grow through the years.
Even after all her years in the kitchen, Shiflett continues to love her job. She enjoys watching the changes, growth and manners from a scared little kindergarten child to a fifth-grader getting excited about going into middle school. Watching how excited the students get when we are serving something they really like. I really enjoy coming to work everyday and serving all the students coming through the breakfast and lunch time.
John Cowdery, a custodian with the district for 30 years, had nothing to add.