Last week the cheerleaders had an invitation to attend Williams Preparatory in Dallas to help put the finishing touches on their brand new playground. United Healthcare teamed up with several sponsors, including Kaboom!, to provide not only the school, but also the immediate neighborhood with a safe place to play.
The cheerleaders split up and one group went outside to the playground while the other received a tour of the elementary school. Mr. Dominguez is the director of the school, and he clearly conveyed the purpose of Williams Preparatory. Being an ESL teacher last year in Grapevine, I connected with many of his experiences with students.
He showed us how teachers teach the kids to really learn, not just memorize facts to fill their heads. Students are also taught social skills such as making eye contact, giving firm handshakes, and asking questions. We toured three classroom and the students were all, without exception, the most well behaved children I have ever seen in school. They raised hands, did not interrupt each other, and even told us what they were learning that day. The teachers were amazing and obviously communicated objectives with their students. Being in this type of learning environment really made me miss teaching!
Williams Preparatory is a K-12 charter school that was founded in 2007 and has already achieved many accolades for what it is doing with the students. One huge bragging point is that out of last year’s first graduating senior class, 100% are now in college. That is definitely not the norm these days and it’s great to see a school redefine the statistics.
In addition to the cheerleaders who were outside planting flowers and painting with students, some very familiar faces from the Cowboys were there too. Jason Witten, John Phillips, and Martellus Bennett came out to see the kids and were put to work. Before they left, they stamped their handprints on a piece of the playground equipment and signed their names. Seeing the younger students comparing their hands to the players’ prints was priceless.
Kudos to Williams Preparatory for a job well done in creating a safe learning environment that without a doubt, fosters success. They deserved this playground, and I really enjoyed them sharing their celebration with us cheerleaders. Some neat photos of the event are on the Cowboys’ facebook page. Check them out!