Post office delivers excitement at Confluence Academy-Old North
Post office delivers excitement at Confluence Academy-Old North
Posted on 10/22/2012
Old North post office delivery

When was the last time you sat down to write a letter to a friend? You know, with a pen and paper, an envelope and a stamp.

 

Students at Confluence Academy-Old North are writing letters to friends, classmates, teachers and staff and sending them through the school’s new post office.

 

The post office project is the idea of Heather Kristof, physical education teacher. It is designed to get students excited about writing while reinforcing what they’re learning about the parts of a letter, spelling and grammar. “I heard about a similar program and thought it would be great for us to do it.”

 

The process and expectation for writing friendly letters is a Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) performance standard.

 

“The more opportunity we provide for students to write will increase their ability and desire,” said Kristof. “We have already seen a huge increase in students actually writing and wanting to write. Teachers are working with their students each day on writing the letters in the proper form and making sure that they are not sent unless they are free of errors.”

 

Before they are sent, the letters have to be written correctly, with the five parts of a letter – date, greeting, body, closing and signature. The envelopes have to be written properly – with a name, address, city, state and zip code for the sender and the receiver. As postage, they are using stickers or a rubber stamp.

 

The addresses have names such as Billiken Way, Triton Street and UMKC Kangaroo Drive. They are based on the mascots of the colleges the grade levels have adopted as their theme.

 

“Students love getting mail on delivery days,” Kristof said. “They get extremely excited to receive and observe who in their class gets mail.”

 

“Many teachers have commented that their students want to write letters when they complete their daily work,” she said.

 

Twice a week, during the last hour of the school day, a staff of students works in the post office. They are fourth through eighth graders who applied for the job. The application involved a one-page letter written by the student to explain why he or she should be chosen, and references from two teachers. Each quarter, a new staff of students will work in the post office.

CAON post office 1

  Student workers sort mail for delivery to classrooms at Confluence Academy-Old North. 


The post office is located in the PE office. Milk crates stacked in rows serve as the sorting station.  If an envelope is incorrect, it is stamped ‘Return to Sender.’

 

Each classroom and office has a small blue and white plastic mailbox. Larger mailboxes are set up throughout the school. The carriers wear blue messenger bags with U.S. MAIL on the flap.

 

Aveounia Burns, fourth grade, is one of the student workers. She enjoys the job because she gets to visit classrooms and sort the mail. She writes letters to a friend, Jaya.

 

Danieyah Price, fourth grade, explained why the job is important. “It’s important because if people want to talk, but they can’t, they can write a letter.”

 

“I like delivering mail,” said Treasure Robinson, fourth grade. It makes her “feel happy to get a letter.”

 

“The job is important because people might need letters to tell their friends important stuff, and to tell their teachers important stuff, too,” said Robinson.

CAON post office 2

 Treasure Robinson, fourth grade, checks the mail before putting it a mailbox for delivery. 


“Students also love writing to their current and former teachers. They enjoy getting letters written to them from a teacher who cares. It makes students feel that staff appreciates and values them as a person,” said Kristof.

 

“The support of teachers has been extremely positive. They feel it is a very creative and worthwhile project. They were 100 percent on board as they knew this would drastically improve students’ writing skills,” she said.

 

Teachers are also using the letter writing initiative as a closing activity to check understanding of a lesson. For example, teachers ask students to write a letter to a friend to explain the lesson objective and what was learned.

 

“We are certain that this project will positively impact student writing,” said Sonya Murray, principal.

 

“An unintended positive result of the letter writing has been the fact that it has helped foster a community and a sense of belonging for staff and students. Teachers have shared that students want to write letters to our principal, former teachers, other students and their parents," said Murray.

 

The official evaluation of whether the project impacts state test scores will come next year. MAP testing takes place in the spring. Scores are released to schools in late summer.

 

Confluence Academy-Old North is also involved in a pen pal writing program with students in Uganda, Africa. They are partnered with a school of approximately 315 students. Kristof explained that students from Old North are matched with a child. “The students can write letters, cards, Christmas greetings, share holiday experiences and share culture and traditions,” she explained. The experience will help the students make “cross-curricular connections to social studies while providing real-world experiences.”