By Scott Bernarde

Pre-K, kindergarten and first-grade students at Woodland Elementary Charter School waited long enough for the yellow ribbon to come down, opening their new playground behind the school.

So, almost before the ribbon hit the ground after principal Dr. Ruth Baskerville and Sandy Springs Dist. 4 Councilmember Ashley Jenkins cut it as part of a grand-opening celebration on Sept. 24, dozens of kids streamed to and filled the equipment.

It was only the beginning, said Dr. Baskerville, of a community effort to improve and enhance facilities at the school located at 1130 Spalding Drive. Kick-started by Jenkins, who has two children attending the school, the Friends of Woodland has already raised over $32,000 to fund various projects.

By the fund-raising deadline of Oct. 9, the group hopes to reach their goal of $42,000. The projects are extensive:

-The playground for the younger students will also have a tricycle-loop pathway, lawn and gardening areas, shaded seating, four-square courts and other improvements.

-Second-grade through fifth-grade playground area upgrade.

-New tables for the cafeteria.

-Updated educational equipment, like electronic whiteboards.

Jenkins spearheaded the effort by identifying the needs and rallying the community to help. “We had a lot of families donate $500, a thousand dollars. It was truly community coming together,” she said.

After playtime, Dr. Baskerville gave a “state of the school” address to parents, outlining the accomplishments and goals of the school. Across the board, Woodland has high marks on meeting/exceeding standards in every subject.

She said most of that begins with parents. “This is the greatest assignment of my life,” she said of serving as principal.