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Pen Pal Program Builds Communication Skills, Connections

Pen Pal Program Builds Communication Skills, Connections
Highlands Middle School leadership students hold up some of their pen pal letters

They're in different buildings and in different grades, but two classes at Highlands Middle School and Sage Crest Elementary are learning that they have a lot in common.

They're also deepening their writing and communication skills – and having a lot of fun while they're at it!

The two classes are in the midst of a pen pal project, exchanging handwritten letters back and forth.

The idea came from Tracy Stewart, who teaches leadership at Highlands. She thought writing letters would be a good academic exercise for her students and something they'd find enjoyable and meaningful. So, she reached out to Kristie Cramer, who teaches fourth grade at Sage Crest.

Soon, letters started flying between the two classes.

"The first time the letters showed up, (my students) were all sharing them with each other in class, asking if they can keep the letter," Stewart said. "They would draw pictures, create fun envelopes, etc. Several kids have shared personal struggles with each other, successes and stories about their families, and found commonalities with their pen pal. It has been very powerful for our students and their social-emotional learning. They have shown compassion and have been heartful through this whole process."

She added that her students "have really taken pride in this assignment and have done it with a smile on their faces."

It's the same story at Sage Crest, where the younger students are loving getting to know their older peers at Highlands.

"This has been a wonderful experience. I am so thankful Tracy asked me to be a part of her idea," Cramer said, noting that her students "always ask me if we have heard back from their pen pals."

Read on for a look at a couple of the letters.

Sage Crest students holding their pen pal letters


Pen pal letter 1


Pen pal letter 2


Pen pal letter 3