HUNTERSVILLE – First-year school Grand Oak Elementary is preparing for one more annual tradition – the last day of school. The 2013-14 school year ends June 10 for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.

“We had a fantastic first year,” Principal Raymond Giovanelli said. “We had a smooth opening and our teachers were very engaged in the process.”

Grand Oak teachers look beyond the traditional ways of educating their students. The school values the concepts of technology and interaction.

This year, the school included a literacy program to push the idea of reading. The focus for future years is to add technology to classrooms. 

“We plan to introduce new ways to engage students and teachers,” Giovanelli said. “We want to integrate technology that the students can use in different ways.”

Students use iPads for classroom activities. The principal wants to bring in Chromebooks and additional technology so students can have the opportunity to work in a tech-savvy environment. 

Giovanelli hosts coffee chats to help students be strong communicators with others in the community, allow parents to stay updated and present what students are learning.  The principal records and uploads the chats onto the school’s Facebook page to keep students and parents involved.  

Grand Oak students have accomplished a great deal in the first year. 

The Science Olympiad team recently competed May 17 at UNC Charlotte. Students also participated with Torrence Creek Elementary in the annual 5K Unity Run to raise money and awareness for special needs students at both schools.