How Palmetto Elementary School helps create more confident, curious and empathetic students
Academic rigor is important. But away from the books is where children learn people skills, empathy and character building. Being exposed to a variety of experiences is what makes them agile and resourceful. Or at least that’s the theory behind Palmetto Elementary School’s after school offerings.
School leaders say they understand the need to provide a broad base of extra-curricular activities to its students, which is why they work to provide a thoughtfully-planned variety of before- and after-school programs and clubs for all ages, interests and levels. “We try to plan our calendar so activities don’t overlap, so every student can participate in multiple programs,” said PES Principal, Eric Torres. Altogether, PES offers over 30 different programs or clubs, allowing children to remain safely on campus outside of school hours.
Local pottery and canvas studio, Art Thyme, offers enrichment classes for all grades every day after school in clay and ceramics or paint and mixed media. Also available to fourth and fifth grade applicants is the more exploratory Art Club, directed by the school’s art teacher, Mr. Burns.
Clubs & Special Interests
There’s leadership-based staples like Girl Scouts, Future Educators of America, National Elementary Honor Society and Safety Patrol. A recent addition last year is the Palmetto Earth Program Green Team. “We teach students how to be good environmental citizens at both school and home. Students learn about alternatives to single use plastics, recycling, and helping pollinators like bees. We even use our green thumbs in the school garden,” said program parent, Kim Foley. For science and math lovers, fourth and fifth graders can stretch their scholastic legs with Lego Robotics, Math Bowl and Geography Club, which include both afterschool meetings and several weekend competitions throughout the year.
Probably Palmetto’s most decorated program, with Miami-Dade’s 2018-19 Teacher of the Year, Oliver Diez, at the helm, numerous titles, and not just one, but two PES alum who’ve gone on to study and play at Julliard, the program is designed to teach music literacy and enthusiasm to every student through the door. Performance Arts groups include Chorus, Beginning Band, Concert Band, Jazz Combo, Orchestra, Drumline, and Cheerleading. Last year there were approximately 160 students enrolled in the various groups. “The PES Performing Arts program has added an extra dimension to my son’s elementary education. He is active in chorus, concert band and drumline and has a genuine love and appreciation for all types of music and instruments. Its given him the opportunity to become not just an observer of the arts but an active participant,” said fifth grade parent, Nancy Lopez Levy.
Operated by Jane Forman Sports, they are committed to making youth athletics more accessible through a variety of after-school sports programs. At Palmetto, they offer tennis (PK-5), soccer (K-5), basketball and flag football (2-5), and a 2 pm Sports Hour (PK – 1).