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Nancy Ryles Elementary School

It is 5:30 p.m. on a Wednesday night. Parents and students are streaming into the gym at Nancy Ryles Elementary School. Their tennis shoes are laced up and they're toting their water bottles. It is the 2nd Family Fitness Night at Nancy Ryles this school year. The event is designed so that the entire family can experience the activities students participate in during PE class. The event is very popular. "At our first Family Fitness Night, we had over 150 students and their families came for an evening of fun and fitness," says PE teacher Ty Fogarty.

Each station is set up in the gym, along with a sign outlining the National Standards in Physical Education for that particular station. Kids scurry up a rope hanging from the ceiling, many of them making it farther than mom or dad.

In the school's foyer, two students wearing purple jerseys greet visitors. They are members of the student leadership team called the "Croc Crew." The team is an opportunity for 5th grade students to develop leadership skills. They help greet students in the morning, and at afternoon dismissal.

Leadership, especially equality for women and minorities, was a cause important to the school's namesake. Nancy Ann Ryles was a member of the Beaverton School Board. She went on to serve in the Oregon House of Representatives and the Oregon Senate. She was an advocate for education and passed a bill mandating public kindergarten in Oregon.

With the exception of kindergarten, most of the classrooms at Nancy Ryles are set up in pods, each having a branch and sharing a common space in the center. Principal Kayla Bell says it builds community, "The kids are working together. The teachers are working together. It encourages collaboration." Collaboration is key at Nancy Ryles. "Together we look at kids and we look at their potential and we make plans to support them," says Bell.