Prairie Rose students put the 'pal' in principal

Prairie Rose Elementary School's principal, Nicole Weiler, posted this photo a student sent her with the caption: "#FlatPrincipal I love eating Apple Jacks and doing Distance Learning. Thanks Caleb!!" (Submitted photo)

Have you heard of an elf on a shelf? What about a principal on a pinnacle? Weiler on a rottweiler? No? Well, that's not exactly the name of this game; although, if your children attend Prairie Rose Elementary School, it is something you might see.

Nicole Weiler, principal of Prairie Rose, can be found in each of the homes of her students, but she isn't there to report to Santa. She's there to be their pal in an activity called flat principal that goes with the book Flat Stanley that the kids are reading.

"Flat Stanley is about a little boy named Stanley. During the night, he has this big bulletin board that's above his bed on the wall and it ends up falling on him and flattens him ... Throughout the book once he is flat, he gets mailed and his family folds him to go in an envelope to California to meet up with his friend that lives there. His friend takes him on all these adventures in California, and then his friend folds him back up and sends him back home," Weiler said.

After seeing the idea on another school district's Facebook page, Weiler decided to try the flat principal activity.

"It's all about them taking me on some adventures with them and doing fun things with me since we can't be in person, continuing to keep that relationship with our kiddos since we're not back in the building," she said. "They can take me with them to different places; for example, have me with them while they're eating breakfast ... They then take a picture with me and send it to my school email. Once I receive that, I post it on our Prairie Rose Facebook page with the #flatprincipal ... and try to write a specific thing of how I had fun doing whatever they set me with or whatever the photo is so I can make it personable, specific to that student who took me on that adventure."


At the end of last week, the school mailed every Prairie Rose family a letter about the activity, along with a cutout of Weiler.

"We have three different versions of me," Weiler said. "One, I am with my arms out like a virtual hug since I can't hug them and you know elementary school kids love to give hugs. Another one is because I'm a principal and working, I have myself carrying books, like schoolwork. In the third version, I'm just standing there with my arms behind my back. They got one of those three versions of me."

Most of the school's students are familiar with the book Flat Stanley, which Weiler has been reading virtually to them.

"We're now seeing kind of a loll; the distance learning has gone on for quite awhile ... We thought this would be a fun way to get our families engaged and doing some fun stuff with social distancing," Weiler said.

Prairie Rose Elementary School's principal, Nicole Weiler, posted this photo a student sent her with the caption: "#FlatPrincipal I had so much fun going on a bike ride with Aliyah and Treyton." (Submitted photo)

Kayla Henson is a former Dickinson Press reporter.
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