East Brainerd Intermediate School opens doors at former David Brainerd Christian School site

East Brainerd Intermediate School opens doors at former David Brainerd Christian School site

September 13th, 2011 in Local Regional News

The former David Brainerd Christian School is now home to East Brainerd Intermediate School's 250 fourth- and fifth-graders.

Inside teacher Erin Grant's fourth-grade classroom at East Brainerd Intermediate School, students celebrate Bonza Day, which started in New England as a holiday just for fun. The idea is to let students dress up for the day to make learning in the class fun. Front row from left are Donal Smith, Addarius Lloyd, Sara Roach, Grace Lee and Breanna Schiavo. Middle row from left are Lexi Varnell, Colby Davis, Monteo McConnell, Madison Wiley, William Reed, Knox Johnson, Micah King and Logan Grant. Back from left are Tony Ruiz, Nathaniel Pearson, Treasure Hunt, Mckennae Allen, Zoe Evans, Keanu Johnson and Seth Tinsley.

Photo by Katie Ward

East Brainerd Elementary School was overcrowded, prompting the school to be split up by grade levels. The resultant East Brainerd Primary School remains in the former school building with 500 students in kindergarten through third grade.

"We outgrew the space and had to get portables at the original building," said family partnership specialist Christy Howard, who works at both the intermediate and primary school. "We are still busting at the seams, but you find ways to make it work."

Many of the students have diverse backgrounds, she said, naming Hawaii, Russia, China, Japan, Greece, Australia, Scotland, Indonesia, Brazil, South Africa, the Philippines, Korea, Mexico, Iran, Vietnam, Italy, Tanzania, Thailand, Israel, Ethiopia, India, the Netherlands, Germany, France and Egypt as some of the places from which students hail.

"East Brainerd is known as Little United Nations," said Howard. "We have 21 different countries represented within the families of our students. We have a huge English as a Second Language program."

She said the school focuses a lot on multi-cultural awareness events. She facilitates an after-school enrichment program at East Brainerd Intermediate School which rewards students for working hard in class with team-building exercises and games.

The holistic, team-focused mentality doesn't stop there.

"We always look to bring parents into the school," Howard said. "Students do better when they know it's a priority in their family."

The baseball, softball and football fields which sit on the school's 16 acres aren't just for team sports and physical education exercises, they're also for staff team-building exercises.

"We try to meet once per week and do things as a team outside of school," Howard said of the school faculty. "We try to keep everyone on the same page."

She said students at East Brainerd Intermediate School learn social studies, English, math and science. But students also have the opportunity to take related classes in music, art, computers, library and physical education. She said something new in computer class this year is an introductory lesson to using an iPad. She said technology is prevalent in the school, where students and teachers interact in classrooms with Promethean board pens and clickers.