Tiger Tales

Taft Elementary Newsletter - March 2023

A Note from the Principal

Wow! Can you believe it's already March? We have a couple weeks left in the third quarter, and then we'll be racing into the final quarter. February was a great month in our classrooms. With most of the holiday buzz behind us, students settled in to a nice rhythm in their classrooms.

By now, most of our students have been introduced to the Continuum of Engagement. This is a tool used to varying degrees in all of our classrooms, and it's most present in our primary grades. Using the Continuum, students are able to assess their "readiness" to learn. There are 6 different stages: Disrupting, Avoiding, Withdrawing, Participating, Investing and Driving. Students know that they can only learn if they are in one of the last three stages, and we're discovering that most students can accurately identify where they are on the continuum. They can ALSO identify what they need to do to move further to the right. Try asking your child about the continuum and see what they can tell you.

Thursday, March 2nd is Kindergarten Registration. This is a hugely important day! If you or someone you know has a child that will be 5 years old by September 1st, please join us at Taft between 3:30 and 5:30 to register for kindergarten. This event helps us identify how many students will likely attend school in the fall and directly affects our staffing. We want to keep both of our amazing kindergarten teachers.

Speaking of enrollment...We are seeing a steady decline in enrollment at Taft (and across the Boise School District). We suspect that is partly because some families are leaving the Boise area for affordable housing, and some families are choosing other options like charters and private school. I hope that you will tell your neighbors that Taft IS a school of choice. We have incredible staff and amazing students. Let's not keep it a secret. Please encourage your new neighbors to check us out before they consider other options.

Finally, I'd like to remind everyone that we are working hard to improve attendance at Taft. Some students (and families) have responded well to our efforts. We are seeing several students with much more reliable attendance. I hope everyone will accept the challenge and get their child to school EVERY day!

Counselor's Corner

Heidi Gudmundsen, M.S., LPC




Hello Taft Families,

February was a great month for Counseling lessons. We did a school wide lesson with Mrs. Bailey. Students got to write down the things they love about Taft. It was heartwarming to see all the adults in our building that help students learn.

  • In Kinder we read “Ricky Sticky Fingers” and “Don’t Squeal Unless it is a Big Deal”. We talked about the importance of being honest. We also reviewed kid size problems versus adult sized problems.

  • In first grade we read “Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon” and Don’t Squeal Unless it is a Big Deal”. We discussed what tools we can use when students are being unkind. We also reviewed kid size problems versus adult sized problems.

  • In second grade we read “Chrysanthemum” where we discussed how every student is unique and amazing just the way they are. We also read "Don't Squeal Unless it is a Big Deal”. We also reviewed kid size problems versus adult sized problems.

  • In third and fourth grade we are continuing to learn about our Sources of Strength. We finished up the BrainTree discussion. Each student has a leaf on their classroom braintree with their strength. We also discussed how emotions show up in our bodies so that way we can take care of ourselves when we have big emotions.

  • In 5th grade we finished our Sources of Strength curriculum. We talked about what to do when you are feeling sad or what to do if you see a classmate that is feeling sad. We also discussed how different perspectives can cause conflict.

  • In 6th grade we finished our Sources of Strength curriculum. We talked about what to do when you are feeling sad or what to do if you see a classmate that is feeling sad. We also met with the Hillside counselors to prepare for Junior High. Students were able to ask questions about junior high classes, learned about their junior high class schedule and what to expect when they transition from elementary school to junior high. They also selected classes for their 7th grade year. If your student changes their mind, send me an email and we can discuss how we can make that happen.

If you have any questions about the counseling curriculum, please feel free to contact me.

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Reading Rocks

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Demi Miller

Reading and Math Title I Interventionist

Simple Yet Powerful Things to Do While Reading Aloud

To get the most out of a shared reading, encourage your child to appreciate the pictures, and also guide their attention to printed words. Doing so may help your child's reading, spelling, and comprehension skills down the road.

Most parents recognize the value of reading to a child. Books are a terrific way to share the joys of reading: interesting words, beautiful illustrations, and the keys to unlocking the mysteries of letters, sounds, and words. Recently, several researchers published work that helps us understand that very simple, small actions during reading can have a big impact on what a child takes away from sharing a book with an adult.

It turns out that young children being read to almost always focus on the illustrations. And when they're not enjoying the pictures, they are looking up at the adult reader. The child's eyes almost never look at the print on the page, yet that's where children can learn the most about letters, sounds, and words. To get the most out of a shared reading, encourage your child to appreciate the pictures, and also guide their attention to printed words. Doing so may help your child's reading, spelling, and comprehension skills down the road.

To help direct your child's attention to the print in a book, parents can focus on specific parts of it, including:

  • The meaning of the print. This includes pointing out specific words within a book and drawing the child's attention to the print. For example, "Here are the penguin's words. He says, thank you."
  • The organization of the book and print, which includes understanding the way pages are read, the role of the author, and print direction. For example, "I am going to read this page first and then this page over here next." Or "This is the top of the page. This is where I begin reading."
  • The letters, which includes helping your child know that letters come in uppercase and lowercase, and helping your child learn the names of each letter. For example, "This M in the red block is an uppercase letter. See how this uppercase letter is bigger than these lowercase letters?"
  • The words, which includes helping your child recognize some written words, and the match between spoken words and written words. For example, "Let's point to each word as I read it. Ready?"

Parents play such an important role in growing a reader. Keeping up with information like this is a great way to make sure you are doing as much as you can to nurture all the right skills in your child.

Source: Reading Rocket

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Teachers are Learners Too!

Loren Bailly

Learning Coach

This month teachers finished with their 3rd Collaborative Learning Cycles. Teachers worked in groups to see what areas have the greatest need in their classrooms. Many of our grade level classrooms focused on Reciprocal Teaching. This is a strategy to become stronger readers through increased comprehension, asking questions and clarifying what we are reading, and summarizing what we have read. Some of our classrooms have been focusing on becoming stronger in reading and writing. Students are taking their time to sound out words when reading and tap out the sounds when writing. Students and teachers continue to work hard at Taft to be the best we can be!

Spring is right around the corner! Here are some wonderful learning and fun opportunities for you and your family during the spring:

  • A great resource to learn new things is the Boise Community Education Center! There are classes for all ages and all different interests! Some of our Taft Teachers are enjoying these classes right now! Here is the link to see all that is available right now!
  • The Boise Public Library offers so many wonderful free activities! At the Collister Library there are great things happening every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Here is a link to check out their calendar!
  • Did you know there are over 100 parks in Boise?! There are so many incredible and fun parks to visit. Here is a link to check out all of the different parks!

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The Book Nook

March Favorites

Women's History Month

She Persisted by, Chelsea Clinton

Summary: She Persisted is for everyone who has ever wanted to speak up but has been told to quiet down, for everyone who has ever tried to reach for the stars but was told to sit down, and for everyone who has ever been made to feel unworthy or unimportant or small.

This book features: Harriet Tubman, Helen Keller, Clara Lemlich, Nellie Bly, Virginia Apgar, Maria Tallchief, Claudette Colvin, Ruby Bridges, Margaret Chase Smith, Sally Ride, Florence Griffith Joyner, Oprah Winfrey, Sonia Sotomayor—and one special cameo.

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls by, Elena Favili

Summary: The unique narrative style of Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls transforms each biography into a fairytale, filling readers with wonder and a burning curiosity to know more about heroes such as:

  • Ada Lovelace, Mathematician

  • Amelia Earhart, Aviator

  • Frida Kahlo, Painter

  • Malala Yousafzai, Activist

  • Jane Goodall, Primatologist

  • Julia Child, Chef

  • Marie Curie, Scientist

  • Maya Angelou, Writer

  • Michelle Obama, Lawyer and First Lady

  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court Justice

Women Who Dared: 52 Stories of Fearless Daredevils, Adventurers, and Rebels by, Linda Skeers and Livi Gosling

Summary: Women have been doing amazing, daring, and dangerous things for years, but they're rarely mentioned in our history books as adventurers, daredevils, or rebels. This new compilation of brief biographies features women throughout history who have risked their lives for adventure―many of whom you may not know, but all of whom you'll WANT to know, such as:

  • Annie Edson Taylor, the first person who dared to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel
  • Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman who dared to fly in space
  • Helen Gibson, the first woman who dared to be a professional stunt person

Community Schools Update

Jenny Hirst

Community Schools Coordinator

Updates from the Community Schools Coordinator

Taft Family Food Pantry Day!

On the 1st and 3rd Thursdays during the winter months, only students will be able to shop. It is indoors and the cafeteria space is limited. But please know, parents are always welcome to visit me in the Community Schools office Tuesdays and Wednesdays during school hours to select food items and other resources!

There are still volunteer shifts available and you are invited to help this Taft event run smoothly! Please follow this link to learn about ways to volunteer:https://www.signupgenius.com/go/9040B4FA9AB22AAF49-taft1

The next TFFPdays will be: March 9th and March 16th

** Drumming Club reboot: I'll be sending reminders to students who signed up in the fall and have been MIA. Drumming Club happens in the Music portable Wed mornings 8-8:40am and is open to 1st-6th grade

Winter Tiger Talks

Tiger Talks are for parents and guardians of Taft students. These hour-long groups help us get to know one another, meet Taft staff, learn about our school, ask questions, give ideas and learn from one another! Choose the time that works best for you, and join us in the Taft Clubhouse.

March 29

8:45-9:45 or


Students AND Staff Enjoyed 6th Grade Ski Lessons!

Grade Level Highlights

Mckenzie Johnson

3rd Grade

3rd Grade News!

We have been having so much fun in third grade lately! In math, we have been focusing on improving our multiplication and division strategies and then using those strategies to find the area and perimeter of shapes. We got to explore this concept by tiling shapes with Cheez-Its and counting how many crackers it took to fill up a shape. In Science, we have been learning about weather and climate. We started our unit by going outside and observing, drawing, and describing clouds. Students were then able to identify the type of cloud it was using their drawings and descriptions. February was full of celebration as it was 3 students birthdays, my birthday, and Valentine's Day! The students spoiled their classmates and me on those special days. We are so excited to see what Spring brings to our classroom!

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Health Notes

We are still seeing cases of Covid in our school. If your student is diagnosed or exposed to Covid please DO NOT send them to school before contacting the Health Office.

With ANY illness that presents with a temperature of 100.4 or higher please do not send them to school. If fever reducing medication is needed a student should stay home until they are fever free for a full 24 hours without using any medication.

Attached is the Boise School District Illness Procedure. If after reading the guidance you still have questions about whether or not to send your child please feel free to call the health office.

Thank you!!!!!

Read Across America "Get Wild About Reading" Crazy Hair and Sock Day!

Calendar of Events

  • March 2 Kindergarten Registration 3:30 - 5:30 p.m.
  • March 17 End of Third Quarter - Early Release K-6, No School Pre K
  • March 20-24 Spring Break - No School Pre K-12
  • April 21 No School Pre K-12
  • May 18 Last Day of School for Seniors, Early Childhood Special Education Programs and Pre K
  • May 19 Early Release K-6
  • May 23, 24, 25 Secondary End of Semester Testing - Early Release *7-12
  • May 25 Last Day of School - Early Release K-6