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Longfellow: National Model PLC School image

Longfellow: National Model PLC School

ELEMENTARY SCHOOL EARNS ‘BIG TITLE’ Longfellow PLC Tribune Image

SHAY BURK
sburk@hastingstribune.com

“Everything is awesome, everything is cool when you’re part of
a team.
“Everything is awesome, when you’re living out a dream.” 

The lyrics from the first two lines of the song “Everything is Awesome” from “The Lego Movie,” which were played at the end of an assembly Monday for Longfellow Elementary, say it all.
A total of 409 students plus the teachers and staff at Longfellow were transported to French Memorial Chapel at Hastings College for a special assembly.
“Today is a special day for a very special building with special students and extraordinary faculty,” Craig Kautz said to the full room. “As superintendent of the Hastings Public Schools, I am very proud of the students and staff of Longfellow Elementary.
“We are here to celebrate your success. We are celebrating Longfellow because it was recently named a National Model PLC School at Work. What a big title.” Kautz said while no school is perfect, Longfellow puts a clear focus on student learning. Teachers work together for the benefit of all students and use test results to help those students succeed.
“(Those test results) are used to help students learn and help teachers adjust their practices,” he said.
Longfellow Elementary joins Alcott, Hawthorne, Lincoln and Morton elementary schools and Hastings Middle School as nationally recognized schools for their Professional Learning Community work.
In all, only seven schools in Nebraska have received the designation, with the only one outside of Hastings being in the Omaha metro area.
School board president Jim Boeve, who has talked at each of the PLC award ceremonies, shares a special connection with Longfellow that he shared during Monday’s presentation.
“When I’ve given this speech at other schools, it’s taken me a while to figure some things out,” Boeve said. “It didn’t take me long to figure it out at Longfellow. My name is on that Wednesday folder. Both of my kids went to Longfellow.”
The Wednesday folder sent home each week with students at Longfellow was one of several props Boeve used while speaking about the school’s success. “Because Longfellow owes it to their students and families to be involved, Longfellow has the Watchdog Program,” he said. “Because Longfellow owes it to their families to know what is going on, they provide Wednesday folders.
“Because Longfellow feels and owes it to their students to all feel valued and all feel important Longfellow has things like Thanksgiving dinner. How many of you noticed my shoes?” he said, pointing to the gold buckles.
Boeve also shared the story of two older gentlemen who approached him one day at Eileen’s Cookies not long after he was first elected to the board eight-and-a-half years ago, saying he better not mess with Longfellow Elementary.
“It’s not going to be long before I’m that old guy sitting in the cookie shop and just like those two gentlemen, I figured something out and if you haven’t figured it out yet, it’s not going to be long before you do,” Boeve said. “And that’s this. Someday you’re going to realize you owe Longfellow a lot more than Longfellow has ever owed you.”