Located on the very corner of what was once the dividing line between New Spain and the Louisiana Purchase, Sunnyside has a long history in southwest Kansas. Sunnyside Avenue was once an agricultural road from the late 19th century that provided farmers who lived southwest of Dodge City access to the bridge over the Arkansas River, currently located on Second Avenue. The school that sprang up on the street that bears its name is a vibrant and welcoming institution that is prepared to meet the challenge of this still young century.
Currently at Sunnyside we have a strong basis in reading instruction. Our students have two ninety minutes reading blocks every day. One of the reading blocks is designed so that the students receive direct and specific instruction on reading strategies that will increase reading levels and comprehension. The other block of reading class is time that that the students receive reading instruction in the content areas of science and social studies. In the 2011-2012 school year Sunnyside was provided with a room full of new reading books that are the main resource used in Guided Reading, a strategy in which every student is led through ability level, high interest books by their homeroom teacher.
In addition to the instruction that the students receive in their regular classes they also participate in daily intervention sessions that are 20-30 minute classes that have a very focused emphasis on the individual needs of each student. Advanced students receive enrichment while students who have not yet grasped the concepts are given the time that they need to become proficient in grade level curriculum.
Other activities that we have in place at Sunnyside include an honor choir in the upper grades as an extension to the regular music classes. There is group of local community members who work with the Sunnyside staff to sponsor our students in area events such as dance, the arts, sports, concerts, and civic activities to enrich the experiences of our students and their families. Sunnyside is one of only four elementary schools in Dodge City that offers an after school program that supervises students until 5:30 PM through the cooperation of the YMCA. There is also a separate after school program exclusively for migrant students.
In the 2012-2013 school year Sunnyside will be a receiving school for students that are known as newcomers, or student who are new to the United States. These students will receive most of their instruction in a regular education setting with the support of ESOL endorsed teachers and paraprofessionals. Students who receive special education services will also be in inclusive settings with support so that they have equal access to content with strategies suited to their needs.
Even though we have a long history at Sunnyside we believe that our greatest days are still ahead of us.