The East Dover Elementary School spring carnival has fostered good behavior amongst students seeking to earn Bee notes — a free ticket for the event on Saturday.


The East Dover Elementary School spring carnival has fostered good behavior amongst students seeking to earn Bee notes — a free ticket for the event on Saturday.

School officials also believe the carnival will also build upon the Capital school  spirit and sense of community that is so hard to obtain in schools these days.

“School used to be community-based,” said East Dover Elementary behavioral interventionist Darrell Jones. “We’re trying to get back to that.”

The carnival provides a relaxed setting in which teachers can interact with parents and students, particularly since teachers don’t always live in the communities they work in nowadays, Jones said.

Principal Colleen Rinker said the carnival scheduled for 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday (today) is all about making a connection with families.

“Many times parents may be reluctant to come to the school, but if we invite them to an affordable event where they can bring the whole family it just helps to bring that sense of community together,” Rinker said. “Parents then feel more of a buy-in to work together with the school.”

In addition, the second goal of the carnival was tied to the positive behavior support program, she said. Children received free tickets for every “bee note” they earned for following school rules.

As Jones sees it, it is a little preventative maintenance as opposed to just dealing with the students sent to his office. (A behavioral interventionist functions in the same manner as a dean of students overseeing discipline).

“We try to find incentives to motivate kids,” Jones said. “The thing with this carnival is we wanted to make it nice enough so that the kids are actually excited about doing well.”

The school also tied earning bee notes to state test scores so that students who moved up a level in scoring also earned free tickets to the carnival, he said.

To make the carnival totally inclusive, students could still purchase a ticket for just a quarter if they were not able to earn a bee note, Rinker said. That was important to her since 89 percent of the students at East Dover Elementary are in the federally subsidized free and reduced price lunch program.

The school has offset costs through fundraisers, such as the spirit night East Dover Elementary had Wednesday night at Chick-fl-A, Jones said.

East Dover Elementary also received help from such sponsors as Dover Family Physicians, AmeriCorps, Sam’s Club, the Boys & Girls Club, Diamond Motor Sports and L&D Suzuki. They have donated prizes or have agreed to help coordinate some of the carnival games, he said.

The spring carnival will feature some of the things students loved about the fall carnival, including face and finger painting, games and the Moon Bounce, Jones and Rinker said. But it will be even bigger with the addition of pony rides, a kickball tournament and a flag football tournament.

First graders David Lewis and Mekhi Tilghman and kindergartner Noah Allen were among the students who earned bee notes. So did second-graders Baily Mann, Ava Mendez, Rasiah Batson, Savaha Batson and Andrea Espinal. Most of the students plan on attending the carnival, provided baseball games and family schedules allow them to.

“I love everything at every carnival,” Allen said.

“I’m looking forward to face painting,” Mann said. “And cotton candy.”