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