ASHAWAY — Students arriving at Ashaway Elementary School had a surprise Wednesday morning when they were greeted by teachers and Principal Jeffrey Scanapieco dressed up as rock stars. The event was dubbed “Rock Your School.”

“We were all dressed up in rock band attire and the students walked through the foyer through the main entrance,” Scanapieco said. “It was set up with a red carpet and they had a photo staging area. It was all decorated with some flashing lights and all the students got a little backstage pass they wore around their necks.”

At the regular 8:30 morning meeting, which which is attended by all 210 students and their teachers, Scanapieco and music teacher Michael Zielski grabbed electric guitars and played a short concert, which was followed by a “cardio drumming” performance by teachers pounding on exercise balls.

The fun continued when the children returned to class and teachers gave rock 'n' roll-themed lessons for the rest of the day.

First grade teacher Kelly DiCocco planned the surprise, with the goal of increasing student engagement.

“The teachers were really into it,” Scanapieco said. “They did most of the planning.”

Devoting a couple of hours to rock 'n' roll may seem like a departure from serious teaching and learning, but Scanapieco said it was a positive way to shake things up at the school, which, for a second year, received the highest possible five-star ranking in the state's rating system.

“The children are having fun learning in an out-of-the ordinary way, by participating in rock-themed activities, aligned to the curriculum, throughout the day.” he said. “We wanted to remind the students that learning can be fun and exciting. As elementary school teachers, it’s important to remember that our students are only little once. We want to carve out time for them to play, dance, sing, and be silly. We want to create memories that they’ll always remember.”

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