Fourth-graders suggest improvements to mayor

A group of Liberty Elementary School fourth-graders got the chance to
present their community improvement suggestions to Mayor Ronald
Stabak, Liberty Supervisor Charlie Barbuti and Parks and Recreation
Director Brian Scardefield during an open panel on May 16.

The open panel was conceptualized by the fourth grade student body
as a way for students to directly tell the community officials
what they wanted to see added to the downtown Liberty area to make
it a great place to live and play.

The panel was a capstone their reading/writing lesson, explained
reading/writing teacher Mrs. Jodi Fiddle-Lieberman.

Each student from the fourth-grade student body read a series of
articles that raised their own concerns regarding childhood
obesity, lack of physical activity and dependency on technology.

Using research and causal inference, they decided to write letters
outlining their suggestions for improving the Liberty community
and addressing those three concerns.

By preparing for and presenting at the forum, each student met the
following Common Core State Standards:
– Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an
experience in an organized manner, using appropriate facts and
relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes;
– Speak clearly at an understandable pace; and
-Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey
ideas and information clearly.

While preparing for the panel, each student wrote letters to Mr.
Stabak, Barbuti and Scardefield to express their concerns and
suggestions for to improve the economy, decrease obesity and
increase physical activity among Liberty’s youth. Eight students
were selected to represent the fourth-grade class and lead the
panel’s discussion topics.

The students introduced several ideas that would provide additional
options for family-oriented leisure activities in Liberty. For
example, one representative suggested to create a bike path or
widen the roads’ existing bike lanes to that students could safety
ride through town. This modification would save money on gas, as
well as encourage healthy living styles.

One representative suggested that Parks and Recreation hold a
snowman building contest in the winter, while another asked if the
town could host a “sweet treat baking competition” for children
and their parents to compete in. This event would help get kids
away from electronics and spend more time with family, student
Ishay Smith said.

Other suggestions included opening a petting farm, creating an
elementary basketball courts and closing Main Street to make a
roller rink.

“Today’s youth spend a lot of time playing video games and as a result, mixfiction with reality,” student Mia Barragon said, citing an
article about the correlation of video game playing and bullying.
“If there were more physical activities to do in the town, they
wouldn’t be spending so much time playing video games.”

The panel resulted in very tangible results: a pledge to move
forward by considering student suggestions and conduct a
student-wide survey to see what other types of town-hosted events
or activities students would be interested in attending.

“I feel like I was able to make a difference in my community
today,” student Stephanie Sandoval said.

For photos and video,“like” the district on Facebook.

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