Hutchison Beach Elementary School Rocks

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By By Glenda Nouskhajian, Principal, Hutchison Beach Elementary School

After a Category 5 hurricane and a worldwide pandemic disrupted our learning, Hutchison Beach Elementary was ready to R.E.S.E.T. for the 2021-2022 school year. Our faculty and staff aspire to Reach Each Student Every Time. How do we do this? By returning to what really matters most . . . each student. Resetting meant returning to foundations, such as basic skills, leadership and teamwork, and schoolwide traditions.

School ArtReturning traditions include school-wide picnics, our Winter Wonderland Festival, and quarterly “Rock Your School” days. On these special days, classrooms are transformed complete with decorations, costumes, and theme-based activities. Jurassic Park, Super Mario Bros, and even blackout rooms had students doing all classwork in neon! This November, our library is celebrating “DiNOvember.” Students will sort and classify fossils and rocks based on their attributes, collaborate with friends while completing puzzles, all while lil Dino friends get into mischievous ordeals in the library. This month’s theme is inspired by the book, “What the Dinosaurs Did Last Night: A Very Messy Adventure.” The adventure continues when Beach gets its first “StoryWalk©” which is a children’s story (literally, a book taken apart) along popular and regularly traveled hallways in the school.

For the past seven years, Hutchison Beach Elementary has been a Leader in Me, Certified Lighthouse School. Leadership principles are taught to all students through direct lessons, integrating lessons into the curriculum, and staff modeling. Students think critically about how to become self-reliant, take initiative, persuasively express their viewpoint, resolve conflicts and find creative solutions. They track progress toward goals in Leadership Notebooks and share these notebooks with adults in student-led conferences. Beach also utilizes the “House System” of the Ron Clark Academy. Belonging to one of four “houses,” students get a chance to develop relationships with students across grade levels, which help support and nurture their strengths and talents. Choosing a new service project each grading period, students compete across the houses to provide services or supplies to local non-profit agencies. Past recipients include Lucky Puppy and Ronald McDonald House. Giving back to the community and service is part of the culture at Beach.

Beach welcomes children from around the world as the “Newcomer” school for the Beach area. Students whose first language is something other than English come to Beach to become fully immersed in the English language with highly specialized teachers and paraprofessionals to support them along the way. Currently, twelve home languages other than English are spoken by our students. All students have the opportunity to join the “Foreign Language Club,” where they teach each other and our principal how to greet others in their languages, not just Spanish. But it’s not just newcomer students enjoying all the fun. Just about every day of the week, you can find students staying after school to pursue more knowledge about basketball, running, and even debate.

Whether you are new to Panama City Beach or just looking for a school “home” for your children, you’ve found it at Beach Elementary. Great Happens Here!