From the Principal's Pen

February 3, 2019


Thankfully we haven't needed many delays, early releases or closings this winter - however, there were two unexpected delays this past week. The district notifies families of these events via email and telephone call with the primary contact information that is in Aspen. If you did not receive either of these notifications, please contact the Julian Curtiss main office staff to ensure that your information is correct.

There are several other alternate notification methods just in case. Here are a few options:

Connecticut Weather Center E-Notifications (email only)

NBC Connecticut First Alert Closing Central (email and/or text)

Information regarding delays and closings is also always available via the Greenwich Public Schools website at


5th Grade NGSS Interim Assessment

During February, our 5th graders will be taking an interim assessment based on the NGSS (Next Generation Science Standards). These standards are the basis of our revised science curriculum being implemented this year. The students will be taking two assessments. One was taken this past Friday, February 1st. The second is scheduled for Wednesday, February 27th.

4th Grade NAEP Assessment

This coming Thursday, our 4th graders will be participating in NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress). Initial information about this assessment was sent home back in January. If you are the parent of a 4th grader, you will be receiving more detailed information from the 4th grade team on Monday.

No special preparation is necessary for either of these assessments other than a good night's sleep and a healthy breakfast! If you have any questions regarding these assessments, please contact our assistant principal, Mrs. Brush.


When to keep your child home following illness:

There have been several cases of flu and strep in the school and although not considered rampant, it is important to follow appropriate guidelines before returning to school.

Your child may return to school when:

  • Temperature is normal for 24 hours after stopping Tylenol or Ibuprofen
  • Diarrhea and/or vomiting has stopped for 24 hours
  • Children diagnosed with strep may return 24 hours after antibiotics have started
  • PLEASE NOTE: Children diagnosed with flu must stay home 5 days. This is a district-wide policy.

As always, please contact me with any questions or concerns,

Helen Brooks, RN


We have two important announcements about our beloved Nurse Helen! The first is that she will be out on medical leave starting with the February recess and she will be returning right around the spring recess. Nurse Helen will be undergoing knee replacement surgery. Please join us in wishing Nurse Helen a smooth surgery and a speedy recovery. We are working with the nursing supervisor Mary Keller to identify a substitute, although we know there is no substitute for Nurse Helen! It is more than likely that we will have 2 nurses alternating during Nurse Helen’s seven weeks of leave.

After her surgery, Nurse Helen will return in April and remain with us until the end of the year, but she will not return to Julian Curtiss for the 2019-2020 school year. Nurse Helen is RETIRING! She is ready for the next stage in her life and with that new knee she will be doing a lot of dancing! Congratulations! We will miss you more than you know, Nurse Helen!


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Executive functioning has been a hot topic of discussion lately. In short, executive functioning is responsible for these five skills:

  • Paying attention
  • Organizing and planning
  • Initiating tasks and staying focused on them
  • Regulating emotions
  • Self-monitoring

Obviously these skills are necessary for us to get along in every day life, but they are also things that are not always strengths. There are things we can do to help our children - and ourselves - to strengthen these skills.

Each month, our district's PPS staff puts together a resource of suggested activities that can be used at school and/or at home to help improve executive functioning skills. Below are some of suggested activities from this month.

K-2nd Grade:

  • Card games (Crazy Eights, Uno, Blink, Set) and board games (Battleship, Checkers, Sorry!) can help practice cognitive flexibility.
  • Musical chairs, four square, dodgeball, and tetherball require paying attention and inhibition.
  • Simon Says improves attention, inhibition, and cognitive flexibility.
  • Solving puzzles and brain teaser books improve problem-solving abilities as well as cognitive flexibility.

2nd - 6th Grade:

  • Card games and board games (Hearts, Bridge, Rummy, Chess) exercise working memory, quick decision making, and practice with building strategies.
  • Physical activities that require constant monitoring of your environment like soccer, baseball, and flashlight tag improve executive functioning skills.
  • Playing a musical instrument, singing, and dancing all improve attention, cognitive flexibility, and inhibition.
  • Brain teasers, crossword puzzles, math and number puzzles, and visual/spatial puzzles like Rubik's Cubes improve working memory and mental and cognitive flexibility.

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Due to the unexpected delays this week, there is no JC Weekly Show this week. Stay tuned for a new episode next week!


As some of you know, Mrs. Brenda Brush, our assistant principal, has been working with underprivileged children in Bogotá, Colombia for the past 10 years. She is on the Board of Directors of a local non-profit called Love of Orphans Foundation, which helps to support Hogares Luz y Vida, an association that provides care for orphaned, disadvantaged, and disabled children. There are nearly 800 children who are cared for through an orphanage, two schools, several day care facilities, and a working, self-sustainable farm. One of our fifth grade teachers, Ms. Heather Stewart, has also visited Luz y Vida as a volunteer.

The JC Service Club is asking for your help in collecting donations for Mrs. Brush's upcoming trip to Bogotá over the February break. They have set a goal to raise $500. Service Club members will be collecting change at morning drop-off, and in the cafeteria from Tuesday, January 22nd until Thursday, February 7th. A donation jar will also be available in the front hallway. The funds will help purchase things that the children need such as clothing, diapers, toothbrushes, and medical supplies.

For more information, email Mrs. Brush at

Thank you in advance for your generosity!

Mrs. Brush, Ms. Stewart, Mr. O'Brien and the JC Service Club

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