Ocean Avenue School News

January 2019 ~ Volume 32, Issue 32


Winter Assessment Update

As we plunge into the long, cold days of winter, students at Ocean Avenue Elementary School are deeply immersed in their learning. This is the time of year our students make great gains in their progress, and mid-year assessments will help to determine new areas for teachers to work on between now and spring.

In January and February our third, fourth and fifth graders will be taking the winter NWEA assessment, and our kindergarten, first and second graders will be taking the CPAA assessment. These computerized tests in reading and math are generally not anxiety producing for students. There is one math and one reading test, which take between 30-60 minutes each, depending upon the student. The NWEAs and CPAA have three very important features:

1. The tests are computerized and adjust to each child’s performance. When a student answers a question correctly, the computer chooses a slightly harder question; when the student answers incorrectly, the computer selects an easier question. Each child should have just a bit of challenge, but nothing way too difficult or way too easy.

2. The information from the test is very detailed and identifies student’s strengths and weaknesses in both reading and math.

3. The results of the test are immediate. Teachers receive a class report the next day and use the results to guide planning for the next several months. Also, all ELL students will be taking the ACCESS test starting January 28-February 8. This test measures the domains of speaking, listening, reading, writing and comprehension in English.

Principal's Message

ACCESS Testing at Ocean Avenue

Each year our English Language Learners (ELL) take a test to assess their English language proficiency. This US DOE requires us to measure language proficiency for ELs, and the test that Maine chooses to use is named ACCESS (Assessing Comprehension and Communication in English State-to-State). ACCESS tests the four language domains of: reading, listening, writing, and speaking. Scores range from 1.0 to 6.0. Maine has a high standard for our students; they must reach a 4.5 to be considered proficient in English. Each year we have between 5 and 15 students reach this score. ELL students at Ocean Ave will take the assessment between January 28 and February 8. The window officially closes March 4, so any new students coming in after February 8 will be ACCESS tested through March 4.

This year, we have 91 students who speak or hear a language other than English at home and will take the test. When each family registers for school, we ask parents which languages are spoken at home. Students are screened to determine their eligibility for English language development supports.This information allows us to have appropriate support for these students. When ELL students first arrive at school from another country, they typically receive 90 minutes of direct instruction from one of our talented ELL teachers. Some of our students have had a great school experience in their home country and some none at all. The amount of ELL services is directly related to what they need to succeed in school. Although most ELL students come to Ocean Ave School reading and writing in English below grade level, they quickly make gains. One of the ways we know this is from the yearly ACCESS test.

At OAES, we specifically teach empathy, imagining yourself “in other people’s shoes” in order to understand their thinking and emotions. All of our students are able to think about the path our ELL classmates walk. We know that being able to speak more than one language is a valuable skill. Some of our ELL students already speak three or more languages when they arrive here. We also know that when students are learning a new language their brain is working harder every day to master the language as well as the academic content. Over the last couple of years all the students cheer-on their fellow classmates as they take this additional test. This support makes a tremendous difference to the ELL students. One fifth grade student said “I was able to try harder because I had the confidence of my whole class.” A fourth grader said, “When it got hard, I thought of all of my friends, and it felt good.”

Students taking the ACCESS test have the following additional languages spoken in their homes (please note that not all students that have another language spoken at home take the ACCESS Test): Somali, Portuguese, Kinyarwanda, Amharic, Lingala, Arabic, Spanish, Khmer, Chinese, French, Kirundi/Rundi, Vietnamese, Russian and Dari.

Perfect and Excellent Attendance Awards

At the end of the first trimester, many of our students were given Excellent Attendance and Perfect Attendance Awards. Perfect attendance is given to students that have not missed a day of school since the first day they started. These students were fortunate enough to not catch many of the colds/illnesses that go around this time of year. For the first trimester, 100 Ocean Avenue students were given Perfect Attendance Awards. Our Excellent Attendance Awards are given to students that have missed 1-2 days of school during the first trimester. For this trimester, 144 Ocean Avenue students were given Excellent Attendance Awards. This means over 68% of OAES students received an attendance award for first trimester. Congratulations Ocean Avenue Students!


The 8th Annual CLYNK Challenge Launches January 14th!

The eighth annual CLYNK for Schools Recycling Challenge is taking place January 14-March 22, 2019. For every dollar raised in the Challenge period, OAES will receive a bonus 50 cent match from Hannaford Supermarkets, plus the opportunity to compete for other cash prizes provided by CLYNK. Please start collecting your returnables now and putting them aside for the challenge. CLYNK bags are available in the Main Office at Ocean Avenue.

Last year, Ocean Avenue won the CLYNK Challenge, winning an additional $1,500 for our school, in addition to the funds raised from your redeemable container returns! In total, Ocean Avenue raised $2,577.08! Let's work together again this year to bring home the prize!

First ($1,500) and second ($1,000) prize will be awarded per state for schools who collect the highest number of redeemable containers. Third place ($500) will be awarded per state for schools that put forth an extraordinary effort, as identified by CLYNK. Cash prizes are awarded.

Janice Caminiti, Ocean Avenue’s amazing lead secretary and current CLYNK ambassador, has a strategy for all of us ~ start saving your bottles and cans now but wait to CLYNK them on or after January 14, 2019.

Thank you for your support! Happy CLYNKing!

Classroom News and Happenings

Kindergarten News

Students returned from December vacation full of energy and enthusiasm, delighted to be back with their classmates.

As we continue with our Expressing Stories IB unit of inquiry, students are reading stories, talking about elements of stories (such as plot, character, and setting), and choosing different ways to re-tell or express stories.

Parents are reminded to please send students to school with appropriate clothing to play outdoors in the winter: snow boots, snow pants, warm coats, hats, and mittens. These are needed EVERY DAY in order to play on the snowy field and playground.

PICTURE BELOW: Students in Mrs. De Witt’s class read many variations of “The Gingerbread Man” and other related stories such as “Gingerbread Baby,” “Gingerbread Friends,” and “The Gingerbread Girl.” Then they created their very own, beautifully decorated gingerbread houses.

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Second Grade News

What’s the Matter? This is the question second graders have been inquiring about in December and throughout the month of January. We will learn what matter is, the properties of different states of matter and how matter can change states.

In both reading and writing, students have started units on nonfiction. In reading, we will be learning strategies readers use to read, understand and learn from nonfiction. In writing, we will be learning how to write so we are teaching others about a topic on which we are experts.

Fourth Grade News

Social Emotional Learning is Helping Fourth Grade Students with Academics!

Fourth graders are reflecting on their perspectives and used what they learned in their academics.

As a result of this social development program, our students were able to develop better arguments in their opinion writing. Kiddos were also able to use their work in the Second Step program to reflect on their work in our International Baccalaureate units from earlier in the year.

EL TEAM NEWS and Information ~ WIDA ACCESS for ELLs 2.0

What is ACCESS for ELLs 2.0?

  • ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 is an English language proficiency assessment for Grades K–12. The test is administered every year to help school districts monitor the English language development of students identified as English language learners.

What is the purpose of the test?

  • ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 measures students’ abilities to understand and produce English used within school settings. The four sections of the test are Listening, Reading, Speaking, and Writing.

Why does my child have to take the test?

  • Your child is identified as an English language learner. Your child will take the test every year until his/her scores meet the criteria to exit the language support program. Contact your child’s school for more information on how your child was identified as an English language learner.

When will my child take the test?

  • Every state sets a time frame for schools to administer ACCESS for ELLs 2.0. Schools schedule when students will take the four sections of the test during the testing time frame. Contact your child’s school for more specific information on when your child is scheduled to take ACCESS for ELLs 2.0.

How are the test scores used?

  • Scores from ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 can be used in many ways. Parents can use the scores to advocate for their child. Teachers use the scores to plan instruction and assessments. Districts use the scores to evaluate their language support programs, to monitor student progress in acquiring English, and to determine if a student is eligible to exit an English language support program. Scores are also used to meet federal and state accountability requirements.

Questions to Ask

Parents can use the following questions to obtain more information about their child’s testing experience:

  • How will my child take the test?
  • Who will give my child ACCESS for ELLs 2.0?
  • Where will my child take the test?
  • Did someone from the school explain the test to my son/daughter?
  • Are all of my child’s teachers aware that he/she is taking the test?
  • If my child has an Individualized Education Program (IEP), what accommodations will be provided to him/her during the test?
  • When and how will the scores be shared with me?

Contact your child’s school if you have questions about ACCESS for ELLs 2.0.

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Physical Education News

Happy New Year from the Gym! All grade levels finished up 2018 discovering how physical activity and fitness are related in our “Who We Are” unit. It was exciting to see students participating in cooperative activities that highlighted the health-related and the skill-related fitness components. Students in grades 2-5 used fitness stations and skills centers to practice skills and understand fitness concepts. Students in grades K-1 continued working on foundational skill building and they completed a unit focused on nutrition and the 5210 message.

As we begin 2019 we will be talking about sports science and “How the World Works” as we begin a basketball unit in the intermediate grades. The students are filled with energy and enthusiasm as they start the New Year!

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Library News


Did you know that before Melvil Dewey created the Dewey Decimal System in 1876, libraries all had different ways of organizing books? Some by color, by size or sometimes by topic!

This month, the 2nd grade discovered more about how libraries are organized by playing DEWEY DECIMAL BINGO! We learned how pets were considered "technology" and we discovered how many types of football are played around the world in 796.33. Now second graders can find their way around the library and discover more books on topics they love to read about.

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Multilingual Library Collection is Growing!

Our multilingual collection at the OAE library is growing still and is now one of the most popular sections in the library. Rosimi and Francisco were beyond thrilled to be reading these high interest titles in Portuguese, and it's fun to think about the global journey these books have been on to be housed at our library.
Reminders, Updates, Events and More...

View Ocean Avenue events, field trips, school conferences and much more!

Cold Weather Reminders

While we may be dreaming of warm summer days, these past couple of weeks have been a reminder to us that there are still many cold and snowy days ahead. We urge you to do your best to send your children appropriately dressed for school during the winter months. Students need jackets, boots, hats, and gloves/mittens in order to be safely protected from the cold when they are outside at recess. we have recess outside every day, unless the temperature or wind chill factor is below 13 degrees.

During snowy weather, children are expected to wear boots and snow pants, if they wish to be out in the field area to play in the snow. If you need help getting these items for your child(ren), please contact the office at 874-8180.

Change of Clothing

No matter the age, students are most comfortable in their own clothing. If you are able to do so, please send in a spare outfit for your child(ren) to keep in their lockers/cubbies if they need to change during the day.

From a muddy or wet situation on the playground, to a spilled milk in the cafeteria, there are times when a change of clothes may be needed. We do have spare clothing at school, but it is in limited quantity/sizes, so a spare outfit from home to have at school would be much appreciated. Thank you!

2nd Annual 5210 Math Night

Mark your calendars and Save the Date for our 2nd annual 5210 Math Night. It will be on Thursday, February 7, 2019 from 5-6 PM. A backpack notice and bus schedule will be sent home with more details to come!

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Box Tops for Education!

Don't forget to send in your Box Tops to school! Each Box Top is worth 10 cents for Ocean Avenue. Thank you for continuing to clip and send in!

For more information on Box Tops for Education, CLICK HERE.

Navigating Traffic and Parking

There is no way around it, OAES was not designed to have everyone park on the site. The thought behind the design was to have most come and go parking be on the site, just like schools on the peninsula.

Here are some tips some experienced parents have shared with us at school:

  • Be sure to obey all the speed limits on and surrounding the school grounds. This will help avoid a $300+ ticket.
  • During drop-off times, use the parent loop (off Ocean Avenue) in order to avoid being stuck by the buses.
  • Drop-off in the circle should be a kiss-and-go. If parents need to park, please pull into a parking space to allow for a smoother traffic pattern for others.
  • During pick-up time, park on the streets (Walton, Macworth and Austin) and walk up to the parent pick-up area. This avoids the jam, with a bonus of a little time to walk with your child while the day is still fresh in their mind. PLEASE NOTE: If parking on Walton, please do NOT park right near the school entrance, as this can make it difficult for our buses to turn into the school parking lot at dismissal time.

Rules your child’s teacher want you to follow:

  • Please meet your child at the designated parent pick-up areas.
  • Leaving early is lost learning time.

Meeting your child outside of the pick-up area leads to confusion, and your child’s teacher is managing 20+ students at dismissal time. If your dismissal plan changes, notify school as early as possible, but NO LATER THAN 2 PM. After this time, the message might not make it to the teacher and child. Managing many changes leads to confusion. Any changes require a parent/guardian to contact the school through note, email or phone call.

A couple of other thoughts:

  • Just a reminder – it is illegal to pass a bus with flashing red lights, whether on or off the school grounds.
  • If you need to enter the school for a meeting, search lost and found, etc., please enter the Walton Street side to park in our visitor parking area (by the front door).
  • When parking, please be mindful of the handicap parking spaces. We do have several parents requiring the use of these spaces. We also have vans picking up students with special needs using these spaces.

Thank you for helping us work this out.
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5210 In Action at OAES!

A big thank you to OAES parent Kate Harrod who recently joined our third graders for a volunteer project where she used her professional knowledge to work with small groups of students to create their own unique versions of the 5210 posters. The posters will be hung in the cafeteria as student intrepretations and reminders of making healthy choices.

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News from the PTO

We have an upcoming opportunity in the new year for you to eat out with your family AND help the Ocean Avenue PTO! Mark your calendars!

On Tuesday, January 15th, join us at Margarita's in Portland! Margarita's will donate 20% of sales between 3-10 pm from participating customers. Money raised will go to fund eyeglasses for students at OAES who need them but can't afford to buy them.

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The Ocean Avenue PTO Auction is on Saturday, February 2nd at 6 PM at Ocean Gateway!

Join parents, teachers, and community members for a really fun evening. Free admission, potluck dinner, donation bar, and a huge variety of items to bid on!

Be on the lookout for Auction Sneak-Preview emails in the coming weeks as well as a Potluck sign-up!

If you have items to donate or want to be an auction sponsor or volunteer,
please email Victoria at president@oapto.org.
Superintendent's Column

View the Superintendent's Monthly Column from December 2018.