Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Fairview Elementary News November 20, 2009

Fairview Elementary News

Nancy Beck, Principal

November 20, 2009

 Thanks to all who attended Parent-Teacher conferences.  We enjoyed seeing so many parents and families during conferences.  If you missed your conferences you can still call your child’s teacher and set up a conference.  Conferences are valuable times to share information about your child and learn about your child’s academic and social growth.  We had at least 98% participation in Parent-Teacher conferences.  Way to go, parents and staff! 


As many of you know we have various assessments that we use through the school year to assess the students’ achievement and growth.  In kindergarten and first grade we use Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) assessments in the fall, in January, and again in May, to assess students’ phonemic awareness and reading skills.  We also use the Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA) in the fall and spring for first grade students and in the spring for kindergarten students.  The DRA helps us know the reading levels of the students and provide appropriate programming.  At the second grade level we use the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) assessment to help us determine student skills and what the students are ready to learn.  These assessments help the teachers as they plan their instruction throughout the year.  We have just completed the MAP assessments for this fall and we’ll assess again in the spring.  MAP assessments were delayed this year because we waited for the new computers to be available in the computer lab.  We also give the Cognitive Abilities Test (CoGat) to second graders and we’ve just received those results.  The CAT test measures both general and specific reasoning abilities.  Second grade students will be taking home the results this week.   Classroom assessments are also ongoing to teachers know the students’ achievement and growth throughout the school year.

        Grinnell-Newburg Preschool

Jan Phifer and Andrea Zhorne, Grinnell-Newburg preschool teachers, facilitate the Grinnell-Newburg preschool program, a center-based early childhood program that serves 3-5 year old children who have some identified area of developmental delay.  In addition to providing an appropriate education for students with identified special education needs, regulations also mandate that these students will be provided with opportunities for integration with non-disabled peers.  Two mornings per week non-disabled peers are in attendance, along with the students receiving special education services.  During afternoon sessions, the Grinnell-Newburg preschool program provides an opportunity for integration of students through an integrated preschool model.  During the sessions in which special education students and typically developing students are in attendance, the class size resembles a community based preschool setting.  The students participating in the integrated program provide age-appropriate models in the areas of behavior, socialization, language, and readiness skills.  All students also receive a typical early childhood curriculum that prepares them for entering a kindergarten program.

The philosophy and goals of our preschool program are based upon the framework of The Creative Curriculum  (The Creative Curriculum for Preschool, Fourth Edition, by Diane Trister Dodge, Laura J. Colker, and Cate Heroman).  Our program uses a variety of activities to achieve several broad goals, including getting along well with others, becoming enthusiastic learners, and getting prepared for the expectations of the Grinnell-Newburg kindergarten setting.  We do this by creating purposeful and productive play experiences.

Children ages 3-5 are learning all the time and they learn best by being active.  The more active children are in their work, the more they learn and remember.  In the Grinnell-Newburg preschool students learn through a variety of both student-selected and teacher-directed learning opportunities.

The preschool learning activities are focused on development across four broad areas of development.  Areas of development include: the social/emotional domain, focusing on children developing independence, self-confidence, and self-control;  following rules and routines; making friends; being a part of a group; physical, focusing on developing large muscle skills (balancing, running, jumping, throwing, catching) and small muscle skills (using their hands to cut, draw, write, and complete self-help skills); cognitive, focusing on acquiring thinking skills, problem-solving skills, using their imagination, and school readiness skills; and language, focusing on talking, listening, “pre-reading” and “pre-writing” skills.

Children learn through the way the preschool classroom is organized and the toys and materials that are selected.  The daily routine and schedule help provide a structure that supports their learning in this environment. 

                                                        Weather Announcements

Please continue to watch/listen for weather announcements when bad winter weather hits. Check the TV stations and/or radio station (KGRN, 1410, is the local station) for weather-related school closings.  If you question the weather or if you think we might have a late start or early dismissal, watch or listen for the announcements.  If you cannot listen to the radio or watch the TV, perhaps you have a friend or relative that can call you once they hear the news.  You can also get automatic alerts to your email.  Check the Grinnell-Newburg website for more information.  We want everyone to know of the late starts, early dismissals, or school closings.  Also, remind your students to come dressed for the weather – warm coats, boots, gloves.

 Teacher’s Wish Tree

Look for the Teacher’s Wish Tree on the front bulletin board, take a leaf, purchase the item, and return the item and the leaf to the office. We will see that the teacher receives the wished for item. Thank you for the donations!  I have also included many of the wished for items in the Love Your School ads in the Grinnell-Herald Register.

Upcoming Events:

November 23                2nd grade field trip to science center

November 25 - 27        NO SCHOOL, Thanksgiving break

December 2                  Noon dismissal for students, professional development for teachers

December 9                  School Board, 5:30 pm


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Fairview Elementary News, Nov. 2, 2009

Fairview News
November 2, 2009
Nancy Beck, Principal

The school year continues to go well. You are encouraged to contact your child’s teacher or the principal if you have questions or concerns about your child’s education or things happening here at school. Write down your questions or concerns so you can discuss those at Parent Teacher Conferences.

Cold weather has arrived and appropriate clothing is now a must. Please send your child to school with appropriate clothing --- boots, hats, mittens, a warm coat, and snow pants if needed. Please label your children's clothing. Also, remember shoes to put on once the student gets to school! It also helps if you have your child practice putting on and taking off their outdoor clothing independently -- remember the children must do that for three recesses each day. We will go outside unless the temperature is below 15 degrees.

Remember to check the TV stations and/or radio station (KGRN, 1410, is the local station) for weather-related school closings. If you question the weather or if you think we might have a late start or early dismissal, please watch or listen for the announcements. If you cannot listen to the radio or watch the TV, perhaps you have a friend or relative that can call you once they hear the news. You can also get automatic alerts to your email. Check the Grinnell-Newburg website for more information. We want everyone to know of the late starts, early dismissals, or school closings.

Thanks to everyone for observing the buses only rule for the front drive right before and after school. By keeping the front drive clear of other vehicle traffic we keep our bus students and walkers safer. We will continue to have this rule even as the weather gets colder or snowy. Please do not drive in the front drive from 7:30 - 8:15 a.m. or 2:45 - 3:15 pm. I know it’ s an inconvenience, but it is safer for all.

Grinnell College Students Alternative Break

Seven Grinnell College students spent the day at Fairview Elementary on October 21, 2009, as an alternative college break. Grinnell College students take many different trips during the fall college break and these students chose to stay in Grinnell and volunteer at the school. The college students assisted classroom teachers with paper work, prepared materials and activities, listened to students read, and read to students. The elementary students enjoyed having the college students in their classrooms and the teachers appreciated the extra hands in the classrooms.

Counselor’s Corner

Did you know that every Fairview child will be in a small group with Mrs. Magurshak sometime this school year? These groups give children time to practice skills taught in large group Guidance lessons taught by Mrs. Phillips in the classroom.
What are the skills that children learn in Guidance lessons and practice in the small groups? Kindergarten children are learning how to be Star Students. The skills Mrs. Magurshak works on with them are “Listening to the Teacher” and “Knowing the Difference between Tattling and Telling”.
In First grade the children are working on Friendship. The skills practiced with Mrs. Magurshak are “How to Introduce yourself with a Handshake” and “How to Make up with a Friend when you are Angry”. Second grade students are working on Respect. The skills practiced with Mrs. Magurshak are “Asking to use something that belongs to someone else” and “Stating two rules which help students learn and two rules which help students be safe”.
Your child’s small group will meet for five sessions, and then other children will have their turn in the small groups. One other good thing about the small groups is that they give the counselors a chance to get to know your child better and to assess how each child is doing on learning these skills. The small groups are an important component of a comprehensive counseling program that we have been able to add because of having the C.A.R.E.S. Counseling grant in this district. For more information about small groups, you may contact Mrs. Magurshak or Mrs. Phillips @ 236-2760.

Scrubby Bear

Molly Corrow from the American Red Cross, Iowa Rivers Chapter, and Scrubby Bear (Annie Jensen), visited each classroom at Fairview and talked with students about the importance of hand washing to decrease the spread of disease. Scrubby Bear taught students about germs that carry disease, helped each student learn the “Scrubby Bear way” to wash their hands, and taught students a song to help them remember how to wash the “Scrubby Bear way”. This is the second year Scrubby Bear has come to Fairview to help students learn ways to stay healthy. Ask your child to tell you about Scrubby and how to wash hands to stay healthy.

Iowa Core Curriculum

Several groups of teachers are attending training this year on the Iowa Core Curriculum. Teachers are going to Marshalltown for six days throughout the school year to learn about the Iowa Core Curriculum and effective teaching strategies. When the teachers on the committee return they share information with the other teachers in the district. You will be hearing more about the Iowa Core Curriculum this year and in future years. The elementary teachers are just getting started working on the Iowa Core since it does not have to be implemented in the elementary schools for several more years. Watch for more information as work on the Iowa Core continues.

HyVee Shop and Share

We are again participating in the HyVee Shop and Share from the first through the tenth of November. Take your coupon to HyVee when you shop and the school will receive 3 % of your purchases. You can pick up coupons at the school or email nbeck@grinnell.k12.ia.us and I will send you a coupon.

Teacher’s Wish Tree

Look for the Teacher’s Wish Tree on the front bulletin board, take a leaf, purchase the item, and return the item and the leaf to the office. We will see that the teacher receives the wished for item. Thank you for the donations!

Upcoming Events:

November 4, 5, 6 Parent Teacher Conferences

Week of November 9 2nd grade MAP testing

November 10 PTO, 7 pm, Fairview planning center

November 11 School Board, 5:30 pm, City Council Chambers