From the Principal's Pen

November 4, 2018

Big picture



School will be closed on Tuesday, November 6th.

All staff will be participating in professional learning.

Reminder about Forgotten Items

The office is an active place and we are here to serve our community, however, the number of interruptions because of dismissal changes, forgotten items, and messages to the teachers is an obstacle to important work that needs to be done to serve our students well. These interruptions impact the teaching and learning in each classroom as we have to call the teacher in the middle of lessons to have the student come down and pick up the dropped off items. The office staff has received their instructions to politely tell parents that they may not accept these items. Please note that the office staff is not responsible for this rule, administration is. I believe the saying is, “Do not shoot the messenger.”

Forgotten homework, iPads, and instruments are not accepted for drop off at the office. You are probably asking why we enforce this practice. It is not an occasional drop off of a forgotten item, but when we have accepted these items, we received multiple items a day. Having parents drop off items enables students to forget the next time. Please help us teach our students responsibility.

Being prepared for school is about good organization. Since school is a place children spend a large part of their week, it makes sense to put a routine into place to make it a smoother experience. Being prepared for work and school helps us all feel ready to meet the challenges of the day. Setting up a routine to get ready the night before helps everyone feel ready to go in the morning without adding extra stress. These practices teach our children skills they need later in life.

By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. - Benjamin Franklin

The Power of Evening Routines

In our busy lives, sometimes routines take a back seat to just getting things done. Below is a great article from the Harvard Graduate School of Education on evening routines and how predictable structure can help you to actually get time back in your busy day!

The Power of Evening Routines:

How a predictable structure can help families gain quality time and reduce end-of-day frenzy

By: Heather Miller

The word “structure” can evoke less than positive associations. It suggests constraints, which are never a good thing, right?

Wrong. It turns out that everyone benefits from a certain amount of daily structure, so long as that structure is pleasant, productive, and meaningful. Whether it’s the most inventive minds in history, or those people who live in good health past 100, a daily routine or set of micro-routines is correlated with productivity, health, and longevity.

As beneficial as routines are for artists and cententarians, they are even more essential for children. “One thing we know is that children do best when they know what is coming next, “ says Brenda Carrasquillo, principal of Icahn Charter School 2 in the Bronx, New York, a National Blue Ribbon School. A positive, predictable home routine helps children feel safe and secure. And doing the same things the same way at pretty much the same time each day facilitates the acquisition of skills and knowledge bit by bit, day after day. This is as relevant for learning one’s ABCs as it is for learning how to tie shoe laces or learning how to participate in mealtime conversation.

Not surprisingly, children from unstructured homes often struggle in school. After all, schools are worlds of routine. If you follow a routine at home, your executive function is better developed than it might be if your home life is unpredictable. Having learned one set of routines at home, it’s much easier to learn another set of routines at school. And as all routines require impulse control and focus, the very practice of executing routines strengthens our capacity for learning.

In order to support families of school-aged children, I surveyed best practices in child development and operationalized them in a two-hour school night routine, which I call “prime-time parenting” (which is also the title of my recent book). It starts at 6 or 6:30 p.m. and ends about two hours later, with a goal of ensuring that children ages 5 to 13 get to bed no later than 9 p.m. Here are the broad strokes:

6 p.m. – The Huddle: Check in with your children; spend five to 10 minutes discussing their day and yours, have them take out their homework, guide them in making a list of assignments, and ensure they have the supplies necessary to complete them. As they start on or review their homework, you start on dinner.

6:30 p.m. – The Dinner Half-Hour: Enjoy a nutritious dinner as a family. Use conversation starters, such as “Would you rather live in the future or the past?” to encourage dinner table talk. Give thanks, as a family, for the good things in your lives, since this daily practice makes people and families happier, more resilient, and psychologically stronger. Encourage good table manners, because these impulse-control behaviors are what makes dinner table banter possible.

7 p.m. – The Homework Hustle: Sit with your children as they complete their remaining assignments. Monitor, motivate, organize, and praise them as they finish their work. Your job is not to do your children’s homework — or even to correct it — but to ensure that it gets done thoroughly and reflects a serious effort. This part of the routine may stretch to a full hour for children who have a lot of homework.

7:30 p.m. or 8 p.m. – Bath, Book, and Bed: Most children require a 30-minute bedtime routine in order for them to fall asleep with ease. A bath or shower has soporific effects; changing our body temperature and encouraging sleepiness. Reading with our children — even when they’re in middle school — lets us share cherished books and enjoy a special bonding ritual each evening. A final tucking in can help a child to feel safe, secure, loved, and ready for rest.

Beyond Bedtime: Getting the kids to bed by 8:30 or 9 has two benefits: It enables children to get the recommended 9 to 11 hours of sleep they need, and it enables parents to get a couple of hours for themselves each evening. Granted, part of that time will be washing up and preparing for the next day, but these tasks can feel somewhat meditative when done in a house where children are sleeping. When parents have time for themselves each evening, both for organization and for rest and relaxation, they are better able to cope with the demands of work and parenthood.

In the digital age, when the constant stream of devices so frequently interrupts the flow of home life and face-to-face interaction, routines at home are more important than ever — especially ones that involve turning off those devices entirely for limited amounts of time. A nightly two-hour, screen-free routine can help us actively parent and provide a meaningful, positive home structure that not only benefits a child’s development but enhances the well-being of the entire family.

UN Day Parade of Nations

Please click below to view the beautiful video montage of our UN Day Parade of Nations. Many thanks to Alexandre Coric, former JC parent, for both taking such beautiful photos and for putting together such a moving tribute to our signature school event!

Veterans Day Assembly

On Monday, November 12th, JC students and staff will be honoring veterans with a special recognition ceremony and reception starting at 9:00. Please consider whether you know any veterans who might like to attend. If so, would you please contact them and, if they'd like to participate, ask them for the following information so that we can personalize the experience for all participants:

1) Name

2) Which branch of service

3) Number of years served

4) Primary responsibilities

5) Something you're most proud of related to your military experience

6) A contact email

Please email this information to our Library Media Specialist, Heather McGuinness, no later than Monday, November 5th. Her email address is:

Thank you!

Musical Updates

Fifth graders will ALL be part of the 5th Grade Chorus and will perform in the Winter Concert (along with Band and Orchestra) on Monday, December 10th, at 9:15 am for the school and 7:00 pm for the parents. Fourth grade chorus will perform in the Spring Concert on Monday, June 3rd at 9:15 am and 7:00 pm.

Concert Attire: Students should dress up in white and black concert dress, which includes white shirts and black pants/skirts.

Thank you and we look forward to seeing you at the Winter Concert at 7:00 pm.

Greenwich Public Schools Kindergarten Spotlight

If you or someone you know has a child that will be of age in the fall, the GPS Kindergarten Spotlight is an opportunity to learn more about the Greenwich Public Schools Kindergarten program for families considering their education options for the next school year.

November 13, 2018

6:00 p.m.

Town Hall Meeting Room

101 Field Point Road, Greenwich

Please click the links below for more information:

Parent Flyer (English)

Parent Flyer (Español)

Big picture

Come Run Off That Turkey!

Please consider registering your family for the Greenwich Alliance Turkey Trot!

The Greenwich Alliance for Education supports a number of programs that benefit our students including the revamping of our Innovation Space, Odyssey of the Mind, and many others.

Run For Your School Competition - The Greenwich school with the greatest participation wins a $500 gift card for PE equipment. Get involved and be sure to indicate your school when you register.

Big picture

Thank You from the JC Service Club!

Thanks to the generosity of the Julian Curtiss School community, the JC Service Club collected 353 pairs of new socks during "Socktober" that will be distributed to local homeless shelters. Thank you for demonstrating our norm of "Care for Self and Others!"

Big picture

Para traducir este mensaje, haga clic en este mensaje para abrir en su navegador, luego haga clic en el botón de abajo que dice "Translate".