Combs HS students give back to Combs kindergarten

J.O. Combs Unified School District was happy to provide the opportunity for kindergarten students to attend free full day kindergarten. With that opportunity came the additional chance for kindergarten students to participate in specials, including physical education, technology, general music, and library. Technology, particularly, was a new challenge for five year olds, who are digital natives, but their experience has been with touch screens. They had to learn how to log in using the keyboard and use a mouse.

The counselor at Combs Traditional Academy, Jette Thompson, is also a counselor at Combs High School. She and Tyseea Briggs, kindergarten teacher at Combs Traditional Academy, discussed the needs of the kindergarten students one day. Ms. Briggs had previously worked with the Child Development program at Combs High School when she was at Ranch Elementary School and asked Ms. Thompson if she felt that she could help work out a similar situation this year, where early release students could come over and provide some support in the classroom.

Ms. Thompson suggested working with honor society students and students from the child development program, as they need service learning hours. Ms. Goodrick, the child development instructor at Combs High School, was happy to see her outreach program expand and Ms. Briggs was happy to welcome the help. The high school students arrive prior to specials and travel with the kindergarten students and help them log in on the computers in the technology class or pick books in the library or follow directions in physical educational. They also spend time in the classrooms after specials, where they provide invaluable help from opening snacks and tying shoes to just helping keep students on track.

One of the high school students, Ivette Campos, shared that she really loves working with the kindergarten students.

“They are so excited about everything and so genuine. They are funny and cute and just say what’s on their mind,” she said.

Ivette plans to attend Central Arizona College following graduation, then go to Arizona State University to pursue a career as a teacher.

Emily Sabo, the librarian at Combs Traditional Academy, shared that “their help has been invaluable in ensuring that every child has their needs met. In addition to helping the students stay on task, they ensure every child has help finding books that fit their level and interests, make sure every child’s question is answered, and help keep the library a fun learning environment by sparking a love of reading.”

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