Making students feel part of one big family
- Prize Category: Supporting Healthy Lives
- Format: Panel discussion
- Country: United States of America
- Languages: Streamed live in English with automated captions in Arabic, English, French, Filipino, Hindi, Japanese, Malay, Portuguese, Serbian, and Spanish.
- Learn more about the Top Ten Shortlisted Schools in the Supporting Healthy Lives category on the World’s Best School Prizes website.
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About the school
Oak Knoll Elementary School, a co-ed in Menlo Park, California, USA, promotes emotional and mental wellbeing from the moment students walk through the door and are greeted with a student-led morning news broadcast set up by the school counsellor. The broadcast ends with the words “Together, we are Oak Knoll”, reinforcing students’ sense of camaraderie and closeness. During the pandemic, KNOL switched to a new phrase: “Together or Apart, we are Oak Knoll ”.
This ethos runs throughout everything the school does. Catering to over 600 children from diverse communities, Oak Knoll Elementary School has worked hard to ensure all its students feel included and valued. Teachers greet their students by the door each day by name, breakfast is provided for whoever needs it and the school counsellor works closely with every class to build resilience and emotional support. The institution is guided by the principle that everyone within the school is part of one big family and in order to support students in their endeavours, both they, the parents and the wider community need to be nurtured as well.
This work is supported by the myriad programmes Oak Knoll Elementary School runs such as a mental health centre that helps families, small scholarships to allow students who come from lower resourced communities to participate in after-school clubs, and gift cards that are given out during the holidays that are used in grocery stores. The Silicon Valley Bike Exchange provides bikes to students who request them and the school partnered with their local bookstore Kepler’s so each classroom mirrored the diversity in its community with material that is diverse in its characters and storylines.
Join us for an interactive session on reinforcing students’ sense of camaraderie and closeness.
Moderator: Alicia Payton-Miyazaki Alicia Payton-Miyazaki is the current Oak Knoll Principal and previous Assistant Principal. Alicia earned a biology degree from Vassar College and returned to California to do HIV research at Stanford Medical Center. That research role, Alicia recalls, set her on a path that defines her and her leadership ethic today. As a trained researcher, Alicia approaches education and leadership as an opportunity to change the human condition by making sure all people have what they need to succeed.
Speaker 1: Kristen Gracia
Kristen Gracia is the Superintendent of Menlo Park City School District and is also the previous principal of Oak Knoll Elementary School. Kristen started in Menlo Park City School district as a first-grade teacher and has been working as an educator in Menlo Park for over 20 years.
Speaker 2: Nicole Scott
Nicole Scott is the school counsellor for Oak Knoll Elementary School and has been an elementary school counsellor for 26 years. She has her masters in counselling from San Jose State University.
Speaker 3: Jenny Ryan
Jenny Ryan is a school psychologist at Oak Knoll Elementary School. She and Nicole Scott have been past Kent Award winners for their work with Embracing our Differences Month.