The Bulldog Bulletin

Issue 3 - January 2016

From the Desk of Mrs. Rangel

Dear Parents,

Each month during the school year, our Campus Leadership Team (CLT) meets to discuss various issues impacting the Stephens campus. Issues discussed include, but are not limited to - technology, budgeting, educational updates from the state, campus improvement planning, and community involvement. During our last session in early December, our conversation revolved around parent volunteers.

As many campuses do, we fundamentally believe that parental involvement is critical. Many teachers expressed overwhelming amounts of praise for the parents and grandparents who assist them during the school year. As we moved around the table, we began to discuss how volunteering looks different from grade to grade and/or subject to subject. We then started to discuss how the word “volunteer” might even be defined differently depending on who you speak to.

As we began to delve deeper into the conversation, it surfaced that many parents may want to volunteer but might have a traditional understanding that volunteering equivocates to always being present in a classroom setting. Those who do not have the availability to do this might not know other ways in which to volunteer their time. We began brainstorming ways that we are currently seeing parents/grandparents volunteer their time for Stephens, and the following list was drafted:

  • Helping with Tuesday folders
  • Helping in the classroom setting
  • Making copies
  • Cutting out lamination at home
  • Assisting with guided reading materials in the literacy library
  • Assisting in the school library
  • Assisting with costumes, props and sets for grade level music performances
  • Assisting the art teacher with cutting out items at home
  • Mentoring students
  • Tutoring students
  • Dads Who Care (assisting in various ways throughout the day)
  • Assisting with the grade level garden beds
  • Purchasing and sending in needed materials for the classroom
  • Organizing and/or assisting with grade level parties and events
  • Cutting out items at home for class projects
  • Joining the PTA/Becoming a PTA Board Member
  • Chaperoning grade level field trips/5th grade camp

We know that we have seen other examples of volunteering time to help make a better Stephens, but what was clear was that there are more ways to volunteer than most know. Being involved holds multiple meanings in the school setting. Stephens Elementary has always been a campus where our community branches across multiple miles. We understand that not every parent can volunteer in the same way for the same amount of time. We also understand, however, that each of our parents is equally valuable and parental involvement makes a huge impact on a campus and in a child’s education! We hope that we continue to see our parental involvement increase and that you know just how appreciative we are of you and the time you devote to helping us be better for your children.

Counselor's Corner

Dear Stephens Students and Parents,

It’s with mixed emotions that I announce I will not be returning to Olive Stephens Elementary after the winter break. I have accepted a secondary level school counseling position at a different campus within Denton ISD. While I am going to miss my Stephens family (as I have been here since this campus opened in 2008), I am looking forward to the new adventures in store for me.

I want to say thank you for sharing your children with me. The students have had just a great of impact on me as I have had on them. Stephens has been the best place I have ever worked. I am amazed by the professionalism and genuine care and support that my colleagues provide the students every day. I will truly miss you and your children as well.

Thank you and I will miss you all!

Stephani Short

Campus Leadership - News You Can Use

Throughout the month of November, the Campus Leadership Team (CLT) held a book study. Each week, a moderated conversation was held discussing Engaging Students with Poverty in Mind: Practical Strategies for Raising Achievement. Throughout the month of study, many new ideas circulated along with tried-and-true ways of engaging students in the classroom. As I joined in, I was reminded of how vital community is to a thriving education system. Educators gathered together to support one another, just as classroom students gather together to support each other in the learning experience. As parents, the time we dedicate to our children's learning experience is a lively part of this community as well.

Stephanie Zajchowski

Upcoming Stephens Events - January 2016

5th - School Resumes for Students

6th - Report Cards Go Home

18th - Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday (No School)

21st - Open House from 6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.

29th - Color Me Healthy (Grade levels will advertise their specific colors for this day)