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Parkview Heights Elementary students take on volunteer jobs to learn responsibility

students stuff the recycling bins

Students in Pete Langenhan's 5th grade classroom are learning independence and responsibility through assigned tasks that help the school.

The idea for the jobs program started when Langenhan discovered the school did not have a recycling program. For several years now, his classroom gathers up the recycling bins throughout the school and empties them every Wednesday. The students also help break down boxes and make sure the recycling bins are on the curb every Thursday.

The students are referred to as the "recycling ninjas" because they work quickly and efficiently. 

Through the years, Langenhan has also added other jobs like helping out in younger classrooms and shredding paper in the office.

The recycling job is a weekly job that all students get to participate in, however, additional jobs are given to students who demonstrate they can handle responsibility.

"I like to use it as a way to reward them for their hardwork in the classroom," Langenhan explained.

"They like getting out of the room and into the school and get to be seen as leaders."

Students know when their job is and when they need to go to their jobs, so they learn independence by knowing when to leave to perform their jobs.

"We talk a lot about kindness and helping other people," Langenhan said.

Younger students look up to the 5th graders in Langenhan's classroom and Langenhan uses that as a lesson for his students to be the leaders and show kindness and respect. 

students help younger students

5th grader Riley Casey has been assigned a job to help younger students with reading or anything else a teacher needs help with.

Casey describes the work as fun.

"It's important to help other students so they can continue to learn and grow at a good level," he said.

Synaia Williams is grateful she has been assigned an extra job in the office. She spends her time at her job shredding paper and she explains the task has a "calming effect" for her when she feels antsy in class. 

"It's fun coming down here because I really like helping," she said.

Langenhan feels proud of his students everyday. 

"We talk a lot about the importance of these behaviors and so far they have shown me some great things," he said.

"I think a lot of them have gone above and beyond of what I've expected."

He said the students make a big difference in the classroom and around the school as well.