Comet Chronicle, Jr.

December 11, 2020

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

The staff of Coloma Elementary wishes you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Be safe and be well over the holiday break.

Kindness and Compassion Drive

Thank you ALL for your support to make our 7th annual Kindness and Compassion Drive a tremendous success! Thanks to the outpouring of family, community, and staff support Coloma Elementary collected:

  • More than $150 in cash donations and gift cards for the Wonderland Toy Store.
  • 28 boxes of non perishable food items, paper products, and personal care items for Hope Resources including more than 560 lbs. of food!
  • More than 25 new or gently used winter wear items.

Thank you for encouraging our ongoing efforts to teach and model empathy by consciously focusing on the message of kindness and compassion through giving!

Literacy News

Our focus at Coloma Elementary is to BUILD A COMMUNITY OF READERS. In order to accomplish this goal we have been, and continue to be, engaged in some very intentional work in regards to how we teach reading:

  1. The district invested in purchasing curriculum resources that provide all students access to quality reading material and instruction that is aligned with state standards.

  2. We continue to develop and refine our assessment and intervention procedures to ensure that all students are receiving additional support exactly where they need it.

  3. We have used data to identify areas where all students would benefit from additional opportunities for practice and have added resources and whole class instruction to provide these opportunities.

  4. Teaching and support staff have been engaged in professional development to stay current on the most effective practices for teaching reading.

  5. We are in the process of aligning our phonics instructional routines and procedures across K-3 to ensure explicit and consistent instruction.

  6. In November we were able to use grant money along with a generous donation from the PTO to purchase classroom sets of decodable readers for K-2. Decodable readers allow students to apply the phonics skills that we have been explicitly teaching.

The most rewarding part of this work is seeing our students growing and developing as readers at rates faster than ever before. We truly have come so far in this journey but there is always going to be room to continue to learn and grow on our end.

A new initiative that is currently in the planning process for us is how to engage parents and families in this work. We would like to provide those interested with training, tips, and tools to empower you to help your child continue to grow at home. If this is something that you or your family would be interested in planning or participating in some time in the future, please click on the link provided and take the short survey. As always, we can do so much more together!

We will randomly select three survey responses to receive gift cards. Here is the survey link:

Short Survey Link

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School Social Work Scene

The Play It Safe!™ child sexual abuse prevention program was presented to our Coloma Elementary students last week in every classroom Y5s through 3rd Grade.

The Play it Safe! Program is a research based curriculum that meets the requirements outlined in Erin's Law (signed into law January 2013; for Michigan students. You can find more information and previews of the lessons at These age-appropriate lessons are facilitated in your child’s classroom with their regular teaching staff present. While the topics vary with age, each elementary level lesson teaches children general concepts like:

  • Identifying the safe adults in a child’s life they can go to if they need help.

  • Recognizing 3 different kinds of touches: Safe, Unsafe, and Confusing.

  • Using the 3 part safety rule: Say no; Get away; Tell a trusted adult.

  • It’s never too late to tell, and child abuse is never the child’s fault.

These lessons are designed to build off each other year after year and reinforce these messages over time. We encourage you to talk openly with your children and if you would like additional resources please visit the Children’s Advocacy Center of Southwest Michigan’s website or call their office at (269) 556-9640.

Our hope is that by providing our children with information of how to avoid sexual and physical abuse, report it if it has occurred, or help a friend in need, we can proactively reduce child abuse in our community.

❤ ~Mrs. DeMercado, School Social Worker

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PE News

We had fun this past month as we completed November with Thanksgiving games. The Mayflower game, Turkey Tag, and Gobble Gobble Turkey were some favorites. We have implemented our 2nd destress card. We use a spot in the gym called, “The Chill Out Zone” to drain stress, frustration, disappointment, or sadness. These cards (STAR & DRAIN) focus students to work on breathing and stretching to bring back a calm state.

In December kindergarten and first grade will wrap up our unit using scooters. We use the scooters to promote fun, strength, agility, teamwork, and communication.

Second and third grade will continue playing a variety of scooter hockey games. This will lead us into our final week of Christmas games.

As the weather gets colder, please remember to have your child pack shoes for Physical Education class. If you have any questions, please email me at

Thank you,

Mr. Veine

Music Notes

December is the time for exploring Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker! All grade levels have done movement activities with some of the most famous pieces, “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy,” “Trepak,” and “March.”

Third graders are playing Boomwhackers, desk drums, and cups along with some of the music, as well, and they will soon start playing “Jingle Bells” together on resonator bells.

Second graders have played found sounds with “Trepak,” and this week, some classes played resonator bells with “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”

First graders are showing their rhythm-reading skills and got the opportunity to join a Music Google Classroom that links them to music-making activities online!

Kindergarten have continued working with steady beat and are doing Christmas, winter, and Hanukkah music.

Our Young Fives class is working on the skill of underhand throwing and has been doing Nutcracker, Christmas, and Hanukkah songs, movements, and art activities.

What a busy month! Happy Holidays!

-Mrs. Kirksey

Art Room Update

Hello Comets!

As we get closer to holiday break our students at Coloma Elementary are all learning about drawing houses of all shapes and sizes! Kindergarten is learning to make details and draw a simple house out of shapes. 1st grade is learning to draw houses that are three dimensional, that seem to stick out of the paper. 2nd and 3rd grade are using 2-D and 3-D houses to make a village with mixed media. Don’t forget that students can still access the Art Coloma website at home over break, and continue to play art games and create at home:

-Mr. Selvidge

Outdoor Recess

We will be outside for recess everyday as long as the temperature is above 10 degrees (including wind chill). Please be sure that your students is dressed for colder temperatures.

If there are snow gear that your student needs, please reach out to your child's teacher and we will do all that we can to support!

Dropping Off and Picking Up Reminder

When dropping off or picking up your student in the car rider lane, we ask that you:
  • Pull all the way forward so that we can unload/load as many students as possible. This will make the process more smooth and efficient.
  • Do not attempt to make a left turn into the car rider lane. Traffic is often backed up down S. West St. for drivers making a righthand turn into the lane. Instead, join the back of the line and make the righthand turn.

A safe and smooth process is our priority. Thank you for your support!

24 Hour Rule

When it comes to responding to calls, emails, or messages Coloma Elementary staff follows the "24 hour rule." In other words, we will make every effort to respond within 24 hours. We often do so before that, but sometimes our schedules can get busy. We appreciate your understanding.

Late Start Wednesday

Don't forget that we have a late start on Wednesday, December 16th!
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Box Tops

Check out how you can support our school through Box Tops for Education!

Mask Care

Students have been given two face masks from their teacher. Per our Safe Return to School Plan reusable face masks must be washed daily. Please help us in our efforts to keep our students and staff healthy and safe!

School Messenger

Communication is a priority for all Coloma staff. We use SchoolMessenger to share information electronically with our families. Over the last few months we have received feedback from parents that they are not receiving emails with important messages, reminders, and newsletters. If you find yourself in that group, please reach out to our office staff to make sure we have a current email address in PowerSchool. If we have the correct email address, then the situation is that the parent may have changed their settings to have our emails blocked. If you would like to fix that, our office staff can help you with that too.

CARE Expectations

Coloma Elementary's schoolwide expectations for student behavior follow the acronym CARE. It stands for:
  • Come ready to learn
  • Always respectful
  • Responsible
  • Exceptionally safe

Expectations for the hallway, bathrooms, cafeteria, playground, arrival, and dismissal are posted throughout the school. We teach the expectations and review them throughout the school year. Students also earn CARE tickets when they follow the expectations. The office does a ticket drawing where students pick a prize from the CARE Box.

Stay Connected!

How can you stay connected to what's happening at Coloma Elementary?
  • Follow us on Facebook.
  • Make sure the office has your email address on file so we can communicate via SchoolMessenger.
  • Read the Comet Chronicle, Jr. (twice a month).
  • Read your classroom newsletter.

A Common Question

One of the most commonly asked questions is: “How long will someone have to quarantine if there’s a case of COVID-19?" Our response is:

“The health and safety of our students, families, and staff is and will always be our primary concern. We have been working diligently over the past several months to prepare for the safe return to school for our students and staff—implementing sanitization and social distancing protocols across the district. In the event of a COVID-19 situation in one of our buildings or classrooms, we will work with the Berrien County Health Department to assist in contact tracing to determine who needs to quarantine and for how long as every COVID exposure is unique. Ultimately, the BCHD will provide specific guidance related to quarantining and isolation.”