January 6, 2023
Happy New Year! It’s so great to have everyone back in school and working hard – lots of smiles all around. Since we were off from school on the 2nd, this coming Monday is going to be our January POCO BLUE SPIRIT DAY.
NEW OFFERINGS COMING TO THE CAFETERIA MENU – HALAL MEALS
In future monthly menu calendars, you’ll see certain menu items designated as halal. We always want to create meals that are as sensitive to as many people as possible and hope this will be helpful for our Muslim families who’d love to have their children enjoy more meals from our cafeteria.
CHESS RETURNING FOR GRADES 2-6
Our partnership continues with Think-Ahead Chess, who will provide each of our 2nd through 6th grade classes with ten 40-minute chess lessons between now and June, beginning next Friday. This is always a huge hit!
6th – 8th GRADE WINTER “GLOW IN THE SNOW” DANCE – JANUARY 20
We are bringing back our Middle School Dance for 6th - 8th graders this year, hosted by the Student Government! Our winter dance "Glow in the Snow" will be on Friday, January 20, from 6 - 8pm. There will be music, fun and light refreshments, but we recommend your child eats dinner prior to drop-off. The dance ends PROMPTLY at 8pm, please be in the bus circle by 7:50pm to expedite the pick-up.
ONE POCO NIGHT – JANUARY 26
You should have received a special email about our upcoming ONE POCO NIGHT – we are very excited! I hope you sign up to share food, or a craft, or a performance (or a combination of them), but most importantly that you come celebrate together! Here is the sign-up link again:
QUICK FAMILY CULTURE SURVEY – PLEASE COMPLETE FOR US!!
As we begin planning for this community event, please fill out THIS SURVEY on family cultures. This information will help us understand the cultural roots that make up our community and better inform our teaching. Thank you for your participation!
UPCOMING PTA MEETING – JANUARY 18
We hope you’ll attend the next PTA meeting on Wednesday, January 18, from 6:00-7:00 in the Library. All are welcome and your participation is truly appreciated, especially with a school as small as Pocantico – every person really matters!
BOARD OF EDUCATION MEETING CHANGE – JANUARY 25
Please note that the next BOE meeting has been changed to WEDNESDAY, January 25. The agenda will be posted on the district website at the appropriate time, but we wanted to make sure you were aware of the change from the calendar.
COMPUTER-BASED STATE ASSESSMENTS GRADES 3-8
Even though the state ELA and Math Assessments aren’t until April and May, we are beginning some early preparation now, including the use of laptops. Yes, Pocantico Hills is moving to Computer-Based Testing (CBT) for ALL ELA tests as well as Math tests for grades 3 and 4 (grades 5-8 Math will move to CBT next year). Moving away from paper tests was our choice as a school, though it will be required of all schools in New York in the coming years. We feel that our infrastructure and tech access is exceptional, and our students are more than ready and will excel in that environment (remember, tests are untimed). The platform NYSED uses for the tests is very kid-friendly and easy to use with lots of great features.
What we do have to complete by the end of January is a 40-MINUTE TEST SIMULATION, where kids and adults alike practice using the system. Kids practice logging on, using the testing features, and answering practice questions for about thirty minutes (answers are not stored or graded) while teachers practice proctoring the test, providing testing modifications, using the administrative module, preventing/troubleshooting any technology issues, and generally getting a sense of what we need to tweak if anything in the Spring so it’s a smooth experience for everyone.
I just wanted to put this on everyone’s radar since there will come a time when your kids in those grades will have to leave their laptop in school overnight to ensure we have everything here and charged for the next day.
7th & 8th GRADE MIDTERMS AND FINALS
Speaking of assessments, our 7th and 8th graders will be taking midterms and finals in ELA, math, social studies, and science for the first time in many years. Our teachers are sensitive to the fact that this is new for them, but we feel it’s important to teach students how to organize and prepare for such tests. The midterms will happen the week of January 23rd, and will be during the first two periods of each day, Monday-Thursday. At the end of the year, the midterm and final for each course will be averaged to create a “5th quarter” grade as part of a child’s final average for the class. More details to follow in grade-level-specific emails.
2ND QUARTER ENDS JANUARY 27
Just a reminder that the 2nd quarter ends on Friday, January 27th, so please reach out to your child’s teachers if you have any questions or concerns, and teachers will be doing the same. We still have three solid weeks to go. If your child is in the middle school, please log into the parent portal, review your child’s gradebook, and start a conversation if appropriate.
COVID HOME TEST KITS STILL AVAILABLE
There is still plenty of general winter sickness around us, especially coming off of the holiday break. Please pay extra close attention to symptoms of flu or COVID, and If you’re in need of COVID home test kits, even if just to have in your closet, please reach out to Nurse Juliet and we can send home some boxes in your child’s backpack. We have plenty to share with you.
Have a super weekend!
LOOKING AHEAD . . .
- District Closed - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
- PTA Meeting / 6 - 7:00pm / Library
1/20/23 - **NEW DATE**
- 6th - 8th Grade Winter "Glow in the Snow" Dance / 6 - 8pm
- Lunar New Year
1/25/23 - **NEW DATE**
- Board of Education Meeting - 7:30 pm (NO Meeting 1/19/23)
- ONE POCO NIGHT / 6 - 8:00PM / Auditorium and Gymnasium
- End of 2nd Marking Period
- International Holocaust Remembrance Day
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