Lighthouse to the World

Block Number: 111

“Lighthouse To The World”

By Ginger Todd

Eastfield Elementary School, grades kindergarten through eighth (pre-k is available), operates on a year-round schedule and enrolls approximately 480 students. School bus transportation is available to the surrounding area, however if private transportation is available, any student residing in the McDowell County School District may attend.

In the early 1970’s Eastfield Elementary School’s motto was “Lighthouse for Learning”, however two years ago the learning institution became a Global Magnet School and the mission statement was changed to “Lighthouse to the World”. The goal is to develop a broader understanding, appreciation, and respect as to the diversity of other cultures. Students are encouraged to become thoughtful, inquiring learners and ultimately a broader understanding of the many various ethnic differences will help create a more peaceful world. The global education begins with each specific grade studying two different countries during the school year, such as Australia, Japan, China, France, etc.

Eastfield was one of the first schools this side of Charlotte to incorporate an optional Spanish immersion program. The program begins in kindergarten and presently runs through third grade, with only Spanish spoken in the classroom. Another class will be added to the program with each subsequent year through eighth grade. Taught by South American native Spanish-speaking instructors, the primary education in reading, writing and arithmetic skills are taught, while an early mastery of a second language is provided.

Another interesting highlight of Eastfield Elementary School is its participation in the Singapore Math Pilot Program. Eastfield was one of only six North Carolina schools to be chosen to participate in the program and the only one in the western part of the state. The Burroughs Welcome Grant, an independent private foundation, in partnership with the Department of Public Instruction and State Board of Education, provides funds for teacher training and the purchase of the Singapore Math workbooks and manuals.

The Singapore Math concept uses concrete examples to explain processes such as addition and subtraction and is also easier for parents to follow along and help their children. Pictures are a special use in describing and explaining mathematical problems as the younger ages can understand and visualize the problem quicker than a word problem. First developed in the early 1980’s, Singapore Math has been shown to offer elementary students a better understanding of numbers and form a solid education of mathematics. This form of learning has been proved to produce higher math scores.

All of the above programs describe “Lighthouse to the World” Quilt Block located at 170 Eastfield School Road. Volunteers Mike Lucas and Jack Raker put the 6’ x 6’ block, #111 on the McDowell Quilt Trail, in place the afternoon of February 21st 2012. It brightens up the front office entrance of the school, facing the southeast parking area. Each of the four corners of the block have a yellow and gold structure representing a lighthouse with white rays of light radiating from the center on each side. Boys and girls of all cultures and skin pigments are united hand to hand dressed in bright clothing on a background of black. Their feet are all based around the world in the center of the block, the globe representing land, sea and white clouds in a blue sky.

Principal Susan Pool is proud of the expectations the block name suggests and credits the Parent Teacher Organization for funding the project. The teachers, PTO and School Improvement Team all took part in discussing colors and design of the block and were eager to be a part of the Quilt Trail recording McDowell County’s history by incorporating their school motto within it. Quilt Trail volunteer Jill Lucas presented the school with a Certificate of Authenticity featuring their block pattern along with others throughout the county.

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