The Pine Bough

Pine River School Newsletter, March 2023

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March is a busy month!

  • One School, One Book and related activities
  • Popcorn Day - March 1
  • PTO Winter Basket Raffle - March 3
  • Third Grade Field Trip to Port Huron Museum - March 7
  • Kindergarten & Young Fives Roundup - March 8, 4:00-6:00 p.m.
  • Farm versus Formal Spirit Day - March 10
  • PTO Read-a-Thon for Third and Fourth Graders - March 10, 3:45-7:00 p.m.
  • Spring Concert at the East China Performing Arts Center - March 21
  • Kids Heart Challenge
  • Final Days of Winter After-School Enrichment Program classes

After-School Enrichment Program Class Dates ~ revised to reflect changes due to snow days

Class Dates

Monday Classes - Jan. 30, Feb. 6, Feb. 13, Mar. 6, Mar. 13

Tuesday Classes - Jan. 31, Feb. 7, Feb. 14, Feb. 21, Feb. 28

Wednesday Classes - Feb. 8, Feb. 15, Mar. 1, Mar. 15, Mar. 22

Thursday Classes - Feb. 2, Feb. 9, Mar. 2, Mar. 9, Mar. 16

What are your children reading?

One of the simplest, yet most powerful, questions you can ask your child is “What are you reading?” Reading is one of the most important lifelong learning skills that we need to cultivate in our children.

Although our new reading program requires a lot of time participating in whole group reading lessons, our students are given time to read books they love. They are reading at desks, on the floor, at tables, next to partners, with cross-grade buddies, in groups, to teachers, and sometimes walking out to their buses after dismissal. These sights make my heart swell because our students savor the gift of time to get lost in books to help them learn, make sense of the world, become better people, get answers to their questions, and connect to the perspectives that are different than their own. Sadly, most teenagers and adults have lost that passion for reading books.

People need to read and be readers now more than ever. Days are overscheduled. People are constantly connected to the world and interrupted from their own thoughts by technology. They spend hours watching the news and TV shows, scrolling through social media, watching viral videos on TikTok, and responding to text messages. People often feel the need to check their cell phones when forced to wait for even the smallest moment. Through this constant connectivity, they often lose a sense of themselves.

Books help us to not only learn about the world, but to examine our own lives. By comparing our experiences and thoughts with those of others, we make sense of our world and ourselves. Despite being a solitary activity, reading is actually a wonderful way to connect ourselves with other people. Books help increase our empathy by activating our imaginations to grapple with new perspectives.

I think of books that have changed me. Being a farmer’s daughter, I loved reading about the happenings on the farm in Charlotte’s Web when I was in elementary school. While reading this charming story, I learned about the value of friendship through the unwavering loyalty of Charlotte that was reciprocated by Wilbur when he cared for Charlotte’s children after her death. As a young reader, Roald Dahl’s twisted worlds and plots always piqued my interest. Each of his stories showcase physically small characters with superhuman strength and determination. I learned how diminutive, yet strong-willed, characters like Charlie, Matilda, and James overcame traumatic obstacles to discover true happiness. Fast forward to now, and books are still a big part of my growth as a human. Most recently, I read a book called Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid. It is a story about a tennis player who comes out of retirement to defend her record. It was inspiring to me because it reminded me that hard work matters and age is only a number when it comes to striving to be the best we can be. Every book I read shapes me and helps me better understand people in our world.

Like me, our Pioneers have been changed by the books they read. Many of our students have read or have been read The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo. They learn about a china rabbit, who endures great love and great tragedy while passing from owner to owner. Through Edward's journey, they learn that no matter what happens in life it is most important to love and be loved. In Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell, our students learn how wise words from her grandmother encourage Molly to stand up for herself, be true to herself, smile and be happy, and never give up. For our advanced readers, diving into the richly layered, wildly imaginative world of Harry Potter through cracking the first book in the series is a reading experience that they will remember forever. There are a limitless number of books available for kids to find new knowledge, enjoyment, and personal growth through reading.

Reading books is more than just a break from technology, an escape, or a way to relax and rejuvenate. Rather, reading is a way to connect to the world, a way to expand one’s mind and perspective, and a way to find great joy. As we celebrate the joys of reading this month, I challenge you to join your child in reading a book to escape and engage in the world.

Happy March is Reading Month!

Rachel Card

One School, One Book

Dear Pine River Families,

This month our school will be embarking on a special project, an all-school book club called One School, One Book. Every family received a copy of the same book – Betty G. Birney’s Mysteries According to Humphrey - and will be asked to read it together at home over the next few weeks. I am personally asking you to make some time each night so your family can participate in this special activity.

Reading aloud at home is valuable because it better prepares your child to be an effective reader. But it is also a fun, worthwhile family activity. Through reading Mysteries According to Humphrey together, we aim to build a community of readers in our school community. Everyone - students, parents, teachers, support staff, and the principal - will be participating, and we can all reap the many benefits while we share reactions to this interesting story with one another.

The oldest child in each family received a copy of Mysteries According to Humphrey today after we had a school-wide assembly introducing the book. Posted on the back is a schedule to keep track of reading assignments for each day. Please spend about 15-20 minutes per night reading the assigned pages. One member of the family can read the book to the rest. Take time to discuss the characters and events, make connections to the story, and predict what will happen next.

Each day at school, your child will be invited to answer daily trivia questions to encourage and reward attentive listening. You will soon find that your child will take pride in knowing and anticipating the details of the story. In class and at school, there may be various activities which discuss or explore the book. You will want to make sure your family keeps up so your child can join in discussions and answer the questions. Throughout March, everyone at Pine River will be talking about Mysteries According to Humphrey and participating in activities connected to the theme.

Students at all grade levels will read or listen to the same book. Strange as that may seem, it actually makes sound educational sense. Reading professionals recommend reading material out loud that is beyond a child’s own reading level. We also believe that you can and should continue reading chapter books with your older children, even when they are able to read by themselves. We carefully selected a title that can be followed and understood and enjoyed by younger students, but that will still captivate and stimulate older children.

Enjoy this special reading time with your children. When a whole school reads a book, there’s a lot to talk about. With your help, we can build a community of readers at Pine River Elementary School!

Looking forward to reading with you!

Rachel Card, Principal

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Hello Pine River Families,

We are getting ready to take a road trip with the Kids Heart Challenge Heart Heroes and welcome you to jump on board for our partnership with the American Heart Association!

As a Kids Heart Challenge Heart Hero, your student will meet kids with special hearts and raise funds for the health of all hearts. They’ll also get moving with fun activities, learn about keeping their hearts and brains healthy and feel great for helping others.

Not only will you be helping fight heart disease and stroke, but participants can earn fun thank-you gifts AND earn PE and recess equipment for our school!

Please help your child take the challenge to either Move More or Be Kind. Log into: PINE RIVER ELEMENTARY or to help them set up their page and send emails to family and friends! The fun starts March 1st, and runs through March 23rd!

Frankie will lead you through:

Finn’s Mission to learn Hands-Only CPR and Signs of a Stroke

Family “Move More” challenges

Virtual reality field trips

If you receive any checks, be sure to use the Kids Heart Challenge App to scan them. This way donations will show up right away on your student’s page. Checks do not need to be turned in if they have been scanned.

Donations are Due:

March 23rd.

Thank you for your support of this important program!

Jessica Jones, P.E. Teacher

AHA 2023 KHC Short SE
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Child Safety Matters

This year, we are bring the Monique Burr Foundation for Children's Child Safety Matters program to Pine River. Our students in grades K-4 will be receiving instruction that will empower them with information and strategies to prevent, recognize, and respond appropriately to bullying, cyberbullying, all types of abuse, and digital abuse dangers.The program will be instructed by Lindsay Chopp of the St. Clair County Child Abuse & Neglect Council and will cover the following topics:
  • Safety awareness
  • Shared responsibility for safety
  • Safe Adults
  • Types of abuse
  • Red Flags
  • Safety Rules
  • Bullying
  • Cyberbullying
  • Digital abuse
  • Digital safety tips
  • Digital citizenship.

Each grade level will gather together to receive an hour of instruction on two different days in March. The lessons are tailored to the age and developmental levels of the students in each particular grade.

If you would like to opt your student out of this program, please fill out the form linked below and return it to school by Friday, March 3, 2023.

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The Benefits of Reading

Reading exercises the brain. During reading, cognitive processing and critical thinking related to comprehending and understanding vocabulary build connections in the mind. These neural pathways are essential for logical thinking, problem solving, and subsequent learning.

Reading enhances imagination. Readers are required to develop visual images in their minds as they imagine how characters look and what is happening during each event.

Reading boosts memory. To understand a book, the reader must remember details in the story or recall information that is presented. All of this information is woven together to construct deeper meaning.

Reading reduces stress and supports mental and physical health. When children read, they relax. Their brains and bodies slow down, and they become calm. This comfortable state is similar to meditating. Through regular reading, children benefit from the habit of relaxation.

Reading fosters discipline and increased concentration. Reading helps children to learn to focus on the task of decoding and comprehending language, which helps them develop longer attention spans. These traits also serve them well while learning at school.

Reading develops empathy. Readers connect with characters and people with different beliefs and ideas. Children develop feelings and emotions through reading about others, and this helps them relate to other people around them.

Reading enhances learning. Through reading, one learns about the people, places, and events that make up the world beyond one’s own experiences. The more children read, the more they learn. The more they learn, the more they understand. The more they understand, the more successful they are in school and in life.

Reading develops language skills. When children read, they better understanding how text is crafted to express ideas. Studying language helps them to be even better readers, writers, and speakers.

Reading is fun! There is nothing more to add here. :)

The Golden Dustpan Award

The Golden Dustpan Award was created to recognize the class that works the hardest over the course of a month to keep their classroom neat and clean. Each month, Ms. Carol and Ms. CeCe, our custodians, will choose a class and present the award. Students in the class will receive a class certificate, individual certificates, a class pizza party, and the honor of displaying the golden dustpan on their hallway cubbie.

For the month of February, Mrs. Schneider's class earned this prestigious honor! Keep up the great work keeping your classrooms clean, Pioneers!

February 2023 Golden Dustpan Award
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Positivity Project Resources for Families

The mission of The Positivity Project is to empower students to build positive relationships with others and be their best selves as individuals. Each week at Pine River, we focus on one of the 24 character strengths that everyone possesses. Through lessons presented daily by their teachers, our students learn to be more self aware and self confident in the content of their own character. In addition, they learn to understand and appreciate these character traits in others. Together, we are building meaningful relationships and connections with one another that are essential for learning and growing.

Below is a link to resources to help our families support The Positivity Project at home.

Positivity Project for Families

Skyward Family Access

If you are already signed up for your Family Access account, there is no need to sign up again. If you have forgotten your password, please go to our website;, and hover over ‘Parents’ then click on Family Access. This will take you to a screen where you can click on Forgot your Login/Password, and then you can follow the links. To cut down on expenses and time, the only report card to be mailed home will be the final one at the end of the year. There is also a Skyward App available in your app store you can download for your phone. Please use this useful tool to monitor your child’s progress throughout the year. You will need to access Skyward in order to review your child’s report card.
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Pioneers of the Month

All of our students strive to be motivated learners, as well as model citizens. Each month we will honor students from each class who exemplify the following qualities:


  • Student prepares for classroom activities.
  • Student approaches learning with enthusiasm.
  • Student has made steady progress in the classroom.
  • Student has been working to his/her potential.
  • Student completes all assignments and homework.
  • Student has a good work ethic and is diligent.

Leadership/ Citizenship/ Character

  • Student demonstrates respect of self and others.
  • Student assists others in need.
  • Student shows acts of kindness.
  • Student demonstrates a positive attitude.
  • Student displays good conduct.
  • Student is a positive role model by example.
  • Student participates and puts forth full effort in all areas.
  • Student follows school rules.

Young Fives/Kindergarten

Mrs. Guzowski's Class: Carson Schroeder

Ms. Brosky's Class: Julia Vernier and Kollin Highlund

Mrs. Malburg's Class: Rayven Chitwood and Elyse Heraty

Mrs. Schneider's Class: Eden Helmbrecht and Ethan Varndell

First Grade

Mrs. Bean's Class: Gabby Robinson and Jerron Mauer

Mrs. Jensen's Class: Christian Diem and Blair Richardson

Mrs. Trudeau's Class: Ethan Paynter and Evan Paynter

Second Grade

Mrs. Gorski's Class: Isaac Todaro and Luke Fraser

Mrs. Kenyon's Class: Casey Zoia and Riley Brozik

Mrs. McNeill's Class: Rose Flynn and Hayden McIntyre-Keller

Third Grade

Ms. Dewey's Class: Ashlee Worthen and Roland Potthoff

Mrs. Dodge's Class: Collin Taszreak and Ellie Daggett

Mrs. Wahl's Class: Claire Kelly and Gage Cunningham

Fourth Grade

Mrs. Huston's Class: Jack Noyes and Bailey Butler

Ms. Jakiel's Class: Evelyn Fraley and Keeton Jobe

Mrs. Ursitti's Class: Parker Freeland and Emma Shaughnessy

C.I. Class

Mrs. Kierszykowski's Class: Bane McCulloch, Landon Hall, and Maria Sofi Sanchez

Pioneers of the Month will be honored at our STARS assembly on Friday, March 3rd, at 2:15 p.m. in the gym. Parents of those students being recognized are welcome to attend. Please check in at the office first.

Yard Sign Pickup

Parents of our Pioneers of the Month may stop in and pick up a yard sign to display at home during the next month. Just buzz the office at the front doors when you arrive, and we will provide you with a sign.
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Good Behavior Tickets and Prizes

Students earn "good behavior tickets" when they demonstrate examples of positive behavior. Pioneers whose names are drawn on Friday morning are called to the office to choose prizes.

Mission: The mission of the Pine River school community is to work collaboratively, providing an enriched curriculum that allows for intellectual, social, emotional, physical, and creative growth in a positive and safe environment, empowering all children to become productive lifelong learners.

Vision: Pine River Elementary is dedicated to the belief that all students can learn and achieve through the combined efforts of the staff, parents, students, and community.