Mayor Scott Decker visits Jefferson Elementary
Jefferson Elementary School's third-graders bounced on their heels, hands in the air in the hopes of addressing the city's highest-ranking official.
Dickinson Mayor Scott Decker had come to the school's library to talk to the students about local government and answer their questions.
"I think they could have continued asking questions all day," said Taralee Roller, third-grade teacher. "I was really proud of the questions that they were asking … I think they did a good job of asking relevant questions."
Dinah Eslinger, third-grade teacher, said her students loved it.
"They still had some questions, so I was able to sit down and have a conversation with them for about 10 more minutes about what they thought of the visit and what they learned and if they had any other questions. It was almost like they had met a celebrity," she said.
Decker's visit was part of the third-grade teachers' unit on government.
"(They) learned about the three branches of government, and then we kind of just narrowed in on how those three branches of government reflect down into the local government," said Dinah Eslinger, third-grade teacher. "First, we talked about the executive branch, ... the judicial branch and ... the legislative branch. Then we focused in on a city council and a mayor and what they do. It just seemed like it was a good fit to see if Mayor Scott Decker could come in and talk to the kids a little bit about what he does."
Eslinger has been working on including more experiences for kids as part of her government unit. This is her first year inviting the mayor.
"I feel like it helps put a face to the name. We talk about (him) during the unit, like our mayor is Mayor Scott Decker, but I don’t feel like it’s as beneficial for them when we just talk about it," she said.
Decker said he typically visits 2-3 schools a year. He said his favorite part is hearing the students' questions and seeing them smile.
"It’s very welcoming," Decker said. "I feel that by doing this, they see me out and about and they know that I’m approachable; I’m not somebody that they can’t come up to or say hi to. I enjoy that. I was at Walmart the other day, and this young man was walking with his mother and all of a sudden he goes, ‘Hey! It’s the mayor!’ I like to see them excited about local city government and being able to connect with their city representatives."