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SCHOOL'S POSTAL PROGRAM DELIVERS A FEW LESSONS

Kids and teachers at Whitesides Elementary say a new post office program at the school really delivers.

The program, sponsored by the U.S. Postal Service, includes a functioning school post office that handled about 400 letters its first day of operation.Students, using a stamp designed by a sixth-grader, can send letters to each other, teachers and their principal. Each letter runs through the school post office, where clerks stamp the mail and check for correct addresses.

Teachers say the program is helping kids learn to write.

"I had students who didn't like writing their names on their papers who wrote three letters in one day," fifth-grade teacher Johanna Hadden said. "They're motivated to write because they know they'll get something back."

The school is divided into street addresses and zip codes. Students in Mr. Etcheverry's second-grade class, for example, live at 7 Super Snakes St., Whitesides, UT 84123.

"I think it's also teaching our students some life skills . . . how to address a letter correctly and gives them some understanding about how our postal system works," Principal Kathie Bone said.

In fact, if students don't stamp and address their letters correctly, the mail will be "returned to sender." If there is no return address, the mail goes in File 13.

Layton City Postmaster Newell Wilson swore in Whitesides' first postmaster Monday. A new postmaster and clerks will be named each month.

Student postmaster Shanna Taggart, 11, picks up the mail from 32 post boxes throughout the school every day. Clerks sort and carriers deliver.

"I knew a lot of people would get involved, especially since everybody likes to get letters back," Taggart said.

Nancy Dollmeyer, a Layton Post Office employee, helped organize Whitesides' post office and says the program "has endless possibilities."

"The letter system should be able to fit right into teacher's current lesson plans. Some teachers can concentrate on penmanship, others on creative writing or spelling," she said.