School Captivates Students with Transformed Classrooms Blog Feature

By: Heidi Glasow on February 24th, 2016

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School Captivates Students with Transformed Classrooms

VariQuest Super Schools | Student Engagement | Parental Involvement | VariQuest Tools: Cutout Maker 1800 | student achievement


As students enter the corridors of Dolgeville Elementary School (and their classrooms) it's easy for them to become enthralled with the colorful displays that adorn nearly every wall of their building thanks to their creative staff and the VariQuest Cutout Maker.

When Dreams Come True

In spring of 2014, Susan Butler's (Principal at Dolgeville) dream came true when their Parent Teacher Organization purchased the Cutout Maker for their teachers during Teacher Appreciation Week. This gesture of gratitude is typical of their PTO, but usually the gift is around $500-$600. In 2014 however, after Susan saw the Cutout Maker at a trade show, she was able to talk them into a larger purchase turning her dream into a reality.


And how has the Cutout Maker been received since? Here's what Susan has to say:
"At first, the teachers didn’t know why we needed the machine since we already had a (manual die-cutting system). However, once they discovered all it could do and how easy and fast it was to produce what they wanted, they fell in love. The machine is used every day. Before school starts in August, and before any holiday, there is a line to use it. There is evidence of the Cutout Maker in every room in my school. The high school coaches and teachers have now begun to come to the elementary to use the machine as well. We love it." 
-Susan Butler, Principal

Dolgeville's Deep Sense of Community

Not only is there a real sense of community amongst the staff at Dolgeville Elementary, but with their parents as well. Parents are actively involved in a program called PARP (Parents as Reading Partners), which is a reading initiative at their school. This year's theme is Enchanted Reading...check out some of the creative ways they're using the Cutout Maker to make reading magical!

4,000 ovals were cut from the Cutout Maker to make the dragon scales. Every time a student reads a book they write their name on a scale. Teachers used the 'as many possible on page' feature in the VariQuest Software to complete this project easily and efficiently.
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Mirrors cut from the Cutout Maker with pictures of students allow them to reflect on the importance of reading.
School Custodian Gary Kirchofer embraces the importance of community by making everyone who enters their building feel welcomed with the help of the Cutout Maker. Last year in preparation for their PreK graduation ceremony, he cut a graduation cap for every student with their name on it and used them to decorate the main entrance of their school, making a proud moment for the little graduates and their parents even more special.
"Our school’s purchase of the VariQuest machine has most certainly proven to be an asset for me. The machine allows me to create interesting displays for our students in a very short time. What took our staff a long time of tracing and cutting can now be produced in a matter of minutes. The diversity of designs available with the VariQuest Cutout Maker makes for very creative displays. I like to use the machine to decorate the lobby of the school to make it inviting for parents and students." -Gary Kirchofer, Custodian

Staffs Lives Made Easier

Teachers, teaching assistants, and volunteers have all gotten into the Cutout Maker action! They use it daily to create a variety of bulletin boards, cutout letters, calendars, word walls and other engaging displays, while saving valuable time. They love the ability to scale over 4000 shapes, letters and manipulatives, as well as the many unique font styles. But hey, don't let us tell what some of their teachers have to say!
"I feel the VariQuest Cutout Maker has been such an amazing and wonderful addition to our school. It has helped ease the preparation for projects and bulletin boards immensely by taking the time out of tracing and cutting. The wide variety of letters and objects available has helped broaden what I add to my projects and bulletin boards. It also has allowed for a more individual approach to creating things." -Kimberlee Maxwell, Kindergarten Teacher

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"I am an elementary teaching assistant for over 10 years. During my tenure, on many occasions, I have had to trace and cut out projects as prep for our primary teachers. The task was very time consuming. Now that DCS has the VariQuest [Cutout Maker] machine these tasks are much easier. The machine is used daily by myself and many staff members. It allows you to create and design projects in less time and the results are extraordinary. The VariQuest machine has made our school a very imaginative environment." -Ellen Lewandowski, Teaching Assistant                                  
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"There are an abundance of sports themed pictures to choose from. I use it to decorate the gym bulletin boards, for pep rallies and for my basketball and baseball teams." -Sarah Flint, Physical Education Teacher


Thanks Dolgeville Elementary for inviting us to stroll through the corridors of your school to see all the amazing things you're doing everyday to promote student engagement and foster the needs of every learner.

Want to learn more about the VariQuest Visual & Kinesthetic Learning Tools?

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