Liberty Elementary School in Chesterton has been recognized by the Indiana Department of Education as a school of Promising Practice in the area of School Closet. Liberty Elementary’s Promising Practice is one of 200 education or wrap-around service programs to be recognized by the Department in honor of Indiana’s bicentennial celebration.
Liberty Elementary advocates for each student and has partnered with a non-for-profit organization called Lotus Reach. This partnership allows Liberty to provide a ‘school closet’ that is available to all of its students.
“The school’s goal is to help children not only feel good in their clothes, but more importantly in their own skin,” said Kristin Bonez, school counselor. “Having the proper clothing for school has improved our students’ self-esteem and confidence while allowing them to feel like they fit in. In turn, having the students’ feel good about themselves makes them eager to come to school to learn.”
A letter is sent home to each child in the building asking them to fill out the need, if any, sizes and hobbies of the student. The form is returned to the school counselor in an envelope. The Lotus Reach team sorts the clothing by gender and works together to get bags of clothing to the student’s home. The school also accepts donations of new and gently used clothing from families and staff in the school to keep the closet stocked.
"Our teachers and staff go above and beyond expectations," added Bonez. "We work as a team to teach leadership in all."
Identified programs, like Liberty Elementary’s are student-centered and focus on positively impacting students through innovative programming and activities that provide a high-quality learning environment and experience. Liberty Elementary’s School Closet Promising Practice will be shared with educators across the state of Indiana as an example of best practices that are having a positive impact on Hoosier students.