Andrew Campanella: I read an article about how you have worked with students to get their written work published in a book form. I think that’s incredible! Could you tell me what inspired this project?
Glasmine Ellis: When I started out, this was what was at the back of my mind: We need to get students out of just doing an assignment and turning it in and getting a grade. What else can I offer students? I’m an English teacher and I like writing. I like playing with words and I like everything about the English language. So, when this book project idea came to me, I just took off with it.
Andrew: What kind of work do students do to create the book?
Glasmine: We’ll do some brainstorming and see what we want to write about, and then we collaborate and put the book together. They do everything: They design the cover of the book, write the entire book of stories, do the illustrations, and they put that together. This year they chose to write on stories from their vacations. Writing and designing the book takes weeks. Then we send the manuscript off to Studentreasures, a student-focused publishing company, and within two weeks or so they send us the published work.
Andrew: What are some of the ways that students are benefiting as they participate in this project?
Glasmine: They get to see their work exposed and put in something that is permanent. It’s not just something they handed in to their teacher as a finished assignment. Also, when we got to the exposure part of it — the students were going to be photographed and interviewed and put on television because of it — they were very happy. Some of the students were saying, “I want to be a teacher” or “I want to be a writer,” so it brings out a lot of fine things.
Andrew: That is great! How has Valley View Adventist Academy celebrated what school choice means to your students and families?
Glasmine: This year we had a joint assembly where all the kids came together and were able to express what the school means to them. We had nearly forty-five minutes of kids saying what being at this school means to them!
Andrew: What advice would you have for other schools that are considering participating in School Choice Week?
Glasmine: Just to have fun with it! It should be a fun week. Do fun things with the kids and at the end of the week have a big ice cream social or something like that. The important thing is to have fun and reach out to parents. Celebrating School Choice Week could also include an open house so that new parents could come in and see why other parents chose that school.