As the first day of school began at Hilltop Elementary on Monday, a group of Argyle ISD fourth graders were there to help ease the flow of morning traffic.
Waiting along the school’s carport, the group known as the “Safety Patrol” assisted fellow classmates out of their parent’s cars.
Hilltop Elementary Counselor Michael Ball directs the program which has been in place since 1999.
“We reached a point in the school’s growth where there would be a steady line of cars in the morning,” Ball said. “The patrol really helps with that by opening doors and helping kids out of the cars. They especially help out our younger ones that are having a harder time getting out with their backpacks.”
Ball says the goal of the Safety Patrol program goes beyond lightening the load of traffic. It was designed to give students an opportunity to serve in a leadership position.
“It’s important that they (students) know what service is and that they can be service minded. Too many times people sell kids short of what they are capable of and they are capable of so much,” Ball said.
Forty-six students make up the 2014-2015 Safety Patrol program. At the end of their third-grade year, these students are required to submit applications to Ball and Hilltop Elementary Principal Mandi Pels.
Once accepted into the program, they attend a training session two weeks before the new school year starts and meet once a quarter to go over their duties as Safety Patrol members.
Ball says the students learn about how to make eye contact, greet the parents and be kind to their classmates.
“These students experience major growth throughout the year,” Ball said. “As they move forward in the school district throughout the years, there are going to be more opportunities to try out for things. I hope this program gives them that confidence and courage to take those next steps.”
Brianna Vela is a public relations intern with the Argyle Independent School District. To learn more about ArgyleISD, visit http://www.argyleisd.com