Cottonwood Elementary

January 2022-23 Newsletter

Dear Families,

Welcome back! I hope everyone had a nice relaxing Winter Break. We are excited to start the 2nd semester and before you know it, it will be the end of the year. I'm sure many students may want a few extra days of break, but I can assure you that I'm excited to see the kids again and so are their teachers. Please make sure you take the time to read the newsletter for important information coming up! Grade cards will be sent home this week. If you have any questions or concerns reach out to your child's classroom teacher. Please reference the letter included from me to understand the new components of our report card including Family Reports for iReady and Fastbridge.


Mr. Troast

Reading Corner with Mr. Troast- What is Explict Reading Instruction?


Over the last year, I've tried to share as much as I can about our new reading philosophy and the new reading curriculum that we are using in K-2nd grade. We are only in year 1 and I am starting to see the many benefits of this new approach to teaching reading. One of the terms I often use when I speak with parents 1 on 1 is explicit instruction. This is a key element to how we teach reading and the science of how our brain learns to read. So what is explicit instruction?

Explicit instruction is a way to teach in a direct, structured way. When teachers use explicit instruction, they make lessons crystal clear. They show kids how to start and succeed on a task. They also give kids plenty of feedback and chances to practice. We often describe this as "I do", "We do" and "You do".

This teaching approach can be compared to using a recipe to make a cake. You use the recipe's step-by-step instructions to get your final product. If you skip a step or just guess what step comes next the final product will not be the same. Years of research tell us that when we are learning to read, it needs to follow a similar philosophy.

So what does that look like in the classroom? Please check out the video below from Mrs. Muckelbauer's class during our 95% group reading time. Notice the hand gestures and the number of practice opportunities students get within a skill.

Cottonwood- Science of Reading

iDismiss Reminder- Cold Weather pickup


Just a friendly reminder to please have your iDismiss number on display somewhere in your vehicle. This will help out Mrs. Huber and Mrs. Heger as we approach the cold weather season. If you have lost your car rider sign from the beginning of the year, please feel free to make your own sign to be used for display purposes. It does not need to be the one you were given at the start of the school year. Having your sign on display keeps the line moving and helps keep our students out of the cold longer.

Please also note the cars that are in front of you when our staff records your number. Our double line evens out right when we merge to one lane. It's important to stay in order, if you cut or get in front of someone it messes up our student order.

Thank you again for your help and assistance in this manner.

Cold Weather Reminder and Snow Day Alerts

It's that time of the year! It's going to get colder and colder! It is cold! Please make sure your child brings the appropriate outdoor gear. This includes a coat that can zip, button, or snap, gloves/mittens, and something for their ears (hat or earmuffs, etc.).We will continue to go outside as long as it is 20 degrees or above (this does include wind chill).

If you are in need of winter coats or hats please reach out to Amber Seck at

Inclement Weather

As we approach winter, the district will utilize the following to notify parents and the community should the need arise to cancel school.

  • PantherAlerts - this text and email feature are available to any parent or community member who wants to sign up. A link to sign up is available on our district webpage under the Parents & Students tab.
  • Infinite Campus Messaging system. Emails and phone calls will be sent from Infinite Campus.
  • TV (channels 4, 5, 9, 41)
  • USD 368 webpage

When possible, a decision will be made the night before, however, when this is not possible a decision will be made by 6:00 am

December PAW Award

The following students were recognized during the month of December for doing something positive for the staff or other students. Each student who is nominated receives a certificate of recognition and each month we randomly select students to receive a fun prize from Mr. Troast. December PAW Award Winners are:

Kindergarten: Tatum McNutt and Cale Plummer

1st Grade: Vivan Brown and Regan Naugle

2nd Grade: Kendee Carter and Skylar Benedict

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January Calendar

January 5th- School Resumes

January 9th- Board Meeting 6 pm at Central Office

January 16th- Martin Luther King Day- No School

February 1st- Start of Black History Month

February 28th- 1st Grade Music Program @ 6:30 pm

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Use the information below to order your yearbook. We do not order extra and we do not receive any extra copies. So get your order in today to make sure you have one for the end of the year.

Yearbook Orders are due Wednesday, February 15. Visit to order online and enter code 72745W

Reminder: Valentine's Day Parties

Please remember this year Valentine's Day Parties will be scheduled at the teacher's discretion. This means we will not be allowing parents to come in for parties as party times will be throughout the day. We encourage families to make sure any treats are brought to the office first thing in the morning. We also encourage families to have flowers delivered to their houses instead of Cottonwood. Per policy, glass vases and ballons cannot be transported on the bus. Any student receiving a delivery would have to be a car rider.

Cottonwood Elementary

If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to email me: or call the school at 913-294-8050.