New Haven Tidbits

Posts from the Principal

Our kids

I've been reflecting on many things lately, and have to say that our kids are unbelievably amazing. I had a "moment" when I realized IT'S DECEMBER!-, and started thinking about all of the things that we've accomplished already as a school in 4 months. Our students from kindergarten through 5th grade have really been busy. They have done a fantastic job jumping right into school, and are making amazing progress. In addition to academic gains, they have taken part in some pretty awesome partnerships and initiatives. They have aided in building a playground that happened in a blink of an eye, helped supply holiday food for 40+ families at New Haven, helped additional families within our community with GO PANTRY, provided Christmas gifts for 185 children through our "Operation Christmas Child", they have given to "Heavenly Hats" that support cancer patients, not to mention classroom initiatives.

Last year we talked as a school about how 1 kind act creates a ripple effect for others. I'd say we're well on our way to Tidal Waves. I'm so proud of our kids, and love that they aren't afraid to think outside the box, and work to make things happen. Their ideas are limitless, and their drive is endless. Thank you for sharing your best gifts with us.

Gratitude

I wanted to thank everyone in our community for the support that is given for all of the initiatives that we do. One of the first things that I had to quickly become accustomed to when becoming principal at New Haven was the "Go Big or Go Home" thinking. We tend to do things "BIG" for sure, but it really is one of the things that brings our community together. Whether we are gathering canned goods for families, writing letters and performing for veterans, or fundraising for playground equipment we go all out. It's was amazing to see all the people that came out to physically build our playground, and I am very thankful for that. I wish that I could have captured the faces (and even tears) of the kids that saw the playground on that first Monday. The first grade hallway facing the playground was a mass of little people "oohing- and ahhing" - It was awesome. Thank you for making this happen.
I am very blessed to be apart of a community that cares deeply about others, and is willing to give of their time and talents. Thank you.

Sharing Parent Survey Results

Parent Survey Feedback Results
A parent survey was sent out in October, via our Infinite Campus portal, as well as through the district website that asked a variety of questions regarding our district and school. Often when we take these surveys as parents, we don't always receive feedback on the outcomes. Although the survey was anonymous, it did provide good perspective that we need. I wanted to highlight a couple of areas that received much attention, and provide information regarding how things are being addressed.

Faculty: There was a lot of wonderful comments about our faculty and staff, and about the family feel. We pride ourselves on that, and care deeply about our students and our profession. The educational field is a passion, and we are very fortunate to have people who love what they do. It does make a huge difference as well, when you love the place that you work.

Community: Many positive comments about how close the community is, and their willingness to support initiatives.

Quality of learning: Thank you for the wonderful comments about quality of learning, and the events and clubs that are offered. I do realize that there is not as many activities for younger students, and this is something that we are discussing. However, if you have any suggestions of activities and a willingness to help organize activities we welcome your help.

Space: There were many comments regarding space and the use of the "Castle", which varied from both positive and negative. We are in an area in which growth is happening quickly. Prior to using this portion of our building we had it inspected, air quality check, etc. and everything was great. We needed to use the classrooms in the original building this year, and made upgrades to provide equal accessibility for learning. As of right now, we have been approved by the board for a renovation beginning this May. All of the classrooms and bathroom in the Castle will be renovated, and this will provide additional rooms that we will need for next year. We can only work with the space that we have, and I can assure you that we are using what we have in the most effective manner for our school. There were several comments about the building being old and unable to keep up with our growth, however, I can tell you that the district is aware and is making plans. Let me reassure you that the age of the building does not affect the quality of education that our students are receiving.

Technology: Surprisingly, there were many comments about technology, but they truly were split. The responses varied from we focus too much on technology; to that we don't have enough technology tools and access. Technology is here to stay, and it is constantly changing, which poses additional obstacles for our school. I am taking away from these comments that we need to find a happy medium. Our students and teachers need to be equipped with the "how to" knowledge and experience of various technology tools to allow them to be knowledgeable and competitive, but at the same time not lose the art of face to face collaboration and ability to figure things out.

Parent Pickup: This has been a conversation I've had with many even before I was officially the principal. It is a problem that we continue to address. I have brainstormed with many people about how to make parent pick-up safe and efficient. Space is definitely an issue that I have little control over. We have increased our parent pick-up numbers significantly this year, which also causes additional obstacles. Safety is my number one concern, and I've heard from both perspectives on this as well. In this survey, it is evident that the majority of parents WANT to be asked for identification, and to know that their children aren't being released to individuals not identified. Our team has taken in all of the feedback, talked with other schools, and will be implementing some new procedures based on parent feedback. Please be prepared for some delays initially while everyone gets used to the new procedures, as well as, being asked for identification regardless of your relationships with our staff. Yes, I realize, that our staff personally knows many of you, but we can't pick and choose who to ask and who not to. It will be a general procedure that we are asking everyone to follow. (see attached letter)
New Haven Parent Resources

Parking: All I can say is... I know. We have made accommodations (splitting open house nights, etc.) for this, but at this point we are working with what we have.

Class sizes and creating classes: This is something that is monitored and discussed regularly. We are allocated teachers by state cap, which is based on the following- kindergarten through 3rd grade is 24 students to 1 teacher (kindergarten is allocated 1 para/classroom), 4th grade is 28 to 1, and 5th grade is 29 to 1. Ideally we want these numbers to be much lower, but this is what our allocations are based on. In this years case, because we continue to enroll, our numbers continued to climb after school started. We were given additional allocations from the board after school had started, and then moved students to reduce class sizes. This is not ideal for anyone, and we don't chose to put ourselves in this position. It truly is a rock and hard place- our allocations are given to us at the end of the school year based on our enrollment at that time, we create the classes based on the cap sizes, and then if we are allocated after that have to adjust. In a growing area such as ours, we are adjusting to this new learning curve.

I do want to thank those that took the time to provide feedback. We did analyze our scores, in addition to reading the comments. I wanted to share the areas that received the most comment, and provide an explanation for how some of these are handled. We don't have control of every area mentioned, but your feedback is essential to shaping our school, not to mention, it's important for you to also know what areas other stakeholders deem important. I do personally appreciate your perspectives and suggestions that add to the efficiency of our school.

In the spot light....

STEM CLASSES

We will be offering another round of STEM classes after winter break for ALL students.
We have received some great feed back about the classes offered this FALL and have agreed to offer them again this Spring.

Session 1: "GEAR IT UP" offered on Tuesdays (Feb. 2 - Mar 1)
Session 2: "OUTBACK EXPEDITION" offered on Tuesdays (April 5 - May 10)
More information will be provided after winter break.
However, you can check the community ed page for updated registration information.

December Dates to Remember

SBDM meeting

Friday, Dec. 4th, 4pm

10854 U.S. 42

Union, KY

NHES Christmas Choir

Thursday, Dec. 10th, 7pm

10854 U.S. 42

Union, KY

SBDM Meeting

Tuesday, Dec. 15th, 4:30pm

10854 U.S. 42

Union, KY

Library

Holiday Play

Thursday, Dec. 17th, 7pm

10854 U.S. 42

Union, KY

Winter Break

Monday, Dec. 21st, 8am to Friday, Jan. 1st 2016 at 4pm

10854 U.S. 42

Union, KY

The school staff will be on break as well.

New Haven Elementary

This post is intended to share on-going events and information about New Haven Elementary to it's community members.