Willow Wolverines

May 6, 2021

Principal Piece

Hello Wolverine Families,

As many of you know, this week is Staff Appreciation Week throughout the nation. Thank you to those families who have sent a well-deserved and encouraging note to members of our Willow Staff. A HUGE thank you also to our incredible PTA for taking care of our staff all week and ensuring they know how much they are appreciated. I am in awe of the way each and every single staff member has provided exceptional learning opportunities for students during this year. We have the absolute BEST staff at Willow Elementary, and we are so lucky to have them working with kids and families!

The end of the school year is coming, and we have a full calendar, so here is a reminder of our upcoming events:

Tomorrow, May 7th – No School! Professional Development Day for Teachers

Tuesday, May 11th – Science Fair in the Gym! If your child is a remote learner, they are invited to come tour projects from 11:40 – 12:40. Masks are required inside the building at all times.

Wednesday, May 13th – Willow Wolverine Talent Show! 12:45 p.m. via Zoom - Your child’s current teacher will be sharing the Zoom information with you next week. Please let us know if you have any questions.


Thursday, May 20th from 4:00 - 5:00 p.m. is our special celebration at Willow Elementary to say goodbye to our wonderful Wolverine Retirees! This will be an outdoor event on the rink side of the building, where social distancing is encouraged and mask-wearing is optional. It will be wonderful to see our Wolverine Families in person as we wish our retirees well in their next chapters.

Have a wonderful long weekend,

Jennifer Rinaldi

Nurse News

Good afternoon, Willow Families!

I’m skipping all talk of Covid this week! While trying to find some relevant information to share with you all, I happily discovered that today (May 6) is National School Nurse Day as well as International No Diet Day ( a day celebrating acceptance of all body types)—which both seem like good reasons to eat some cake! I then realized that National School Nurse Day is actually May 12, but I think I may still eat some cake!

In addition to these days, I discovered that it is Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day on Friday. In all seriousness, this last year has taken a toll on many of us mentally; and children’s mental health is too often overlooked. It can be hard starting discussions about feelings, or finding the time to do so; and it can be hard for kids to put their feelings into words. There are several sites that have excellent advice, activities, and information for children and their families in this regard; and I’d like to share them with you. Please always preview anything you’d like to share with your child to make sure it is the right fit for your family.

The National Federation for Families offers this site: https://www.ffcmh.org/cmha-activites-for-youth that has activities, worksheets, coloring pages, videos and other mental health resources for all ages of children—from discussing feelings with your preschooler or elementary child to mindful eating for middle/high schoolers. On this page is a link to another neat activity called the Mood Crew (or you can find it here:

https://www.dbsalliance.org/mood-crew/ ). This is meant for those ages 4-10, and has many activities to help children put a name to their feelings other than “good” or “bad”. I hope you get the chance to look at a few of these!

On another note, in the upcoming weeks I will be sending out letters with each student discussing miscellaneous health details that will help you prepare for next year. I am hoping that by sending them out prior to the last day of school, I can be available to answer any questions these might raise for you. Please feel free to call if you do have questions. For those students that I see will need vaccinations, I will be enclosing a letter stating what I show they need. Your child’s physician may have additional recommendations, but I will let you know if I see they need anything that is required by the state for school attendance. If you do not get a letter from me attached to the general health information letter, your child should be current on needed vaccinations.

As always, please feel free to call or email me with any questions, suggestions, feedback, etc.

Holly Rauchenstein, RN, BSN

Willow Elementary School Nurse

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Community Safety

We are aware of the information that has been circulating through the Mat-Su community regarding a suspicious vehicle seen near schools within the "core" area. All Willow Elementary Staff have been informed and continue to monitor safety conditions in and around the school at all times. Families, this is a reminder to review safety tips with your children including:

*Not talking to or taking anything from strangers

*Never go anywhere with a stranger

*Always ask permission from a trusted adult to leave the house, yard, play area, or go to someone else's home

*Reminders to always tell you or another trusted adult if someone makes them feel uncomfortable

For more information go to www.kidshealth.org

Yearbooks 2020-2021

The yearbooks are here! They are $15 each and can be purchased on-line or you can send cash/check with your student. Remember, we also have a few leftover from last year, and those are being sold for $10. Here is the on-line link:


If you use the on-line method (School Cash), please also email or call Mrs. Todd at stephanie.todd@matsuk12.us or 495-9300 and she will send a book home with your student.

Talent Show - May 13th at 12:45p Zoom

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Look for those Skates

There are still a lot of skates that need to be returned, please call the office at 495-9300 to arrange for a drop off. We would like to be able to continue this great program next year and will need the skates for future use. Thank you!

Lunch Menu

05/10 - Pork Egg Roll w/Peas & Carrots, Dried Fruit

05/11 - Cheeseburger & Tater Tots, Applesauce & Celery Sticks

05/12 - Mozzarella Pinwheel, Peaches & Broccoli

05/13 - BBQ Chicken Sandwich, Pineapple & Snap Peas

05/14 - Cook's Choice


LIBRARY BOOKS ARE DUE! Please help your student to return their library book if they have not already. As always, feel free to reach out to me with any questions or concerns. My email address is jessica.hale@matsuk12.us.

Happy Reading!

Mrs. Hale

Lost & Found

If any of these items look familiar, please have your student pick it up from lost and found, or contact the school and we will ensure it gets to your student to bring home.
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4th Quarter Title I Family Event

Families - Check your child's backpack for the Title I Family Engagement Bingo Board that was sent home today! All families are encouraged to participate in the activities on the board. Those that complete a BINGO (or even cover the whole board!) can then return their board to school for a prize! All boards must be in by Monday, May 17th. Have fun!

Pre-School 2021-2022

Please share this information with anyone you know that has a 4 year old.

The Pre-School selection notification has begun. Pre-School will begin August 25th. The link below is called the "Parent Request Form" it is the only pathway to Pre-School enrollment. Please do not enroll Pre-School children through ParentVUE. If your child is selected, a Federal Programs teacher will contact parents directly to initiate the enrollment process. The age requirement for the Pre-School program is "child must be 4 by September 1st". Click on the link below for more information and request form.


Preschool - Ms. Franny

Happy May, Families! And Happy Mothers’ Day weekend to all the moms out there! I know moms come in many versions and each have their own superpowers, for which we are grateful.

Can you believe it? Time keeps flying! We continue to work hard in our classroom to be prepared for Kindergarten and the world beyond! We have been putting extra emphasis on working together as a class to solve problems and help everyone feel safe, happy, and ready to learn. And we got to watch some trees get cut down right outside our classroom window, which was quite an exciting show! There is certainly excitement and energy in the air in PreK!

All members of our PreK class are now 5 years old, which means we have officially been cleared to play on the newest structure on the playground, which is rated for children 5-12 years old. In the final weeks of school, we will aim to get outside as much as possible to exercise our bodies and brains and enjoy the spring weather!

I have heard back from several PreK families regarding our End of Year Celebration. Please see your student's Friday Folder for more information.

The last day of school, Friday May 21, will be a school wide Field Day. PreK has been invited to join for the morning half, so please be sure your student comes to school dressed and ready to be outside! Unfortunately, we will not be able to include parent volunteers this year, but I am confident your students will fill you in on all the fun we have.

As always, thank you for partnering with me in your student’s education. If you have questions, concerns, or just want to share a story, please reach out!


Ms. Franny

Kindergarten - Ms. Heppner

Oh, to be out in the sun! We have enjoyed the warmer weather and have been getting outside most afternoons. We have also been working on some May flowers (after the April showers!) to feed the bees we painted last week. We continue to work on reading sight words and simple stories as well as preparing our math brains for next year. Yesterday we enjoyed a presentation by the Alaska Zoo and got to see Mrs. Smoldon's baby chicks! We are still watching our plants carefully to see if they have sprouted. Ask your child how many have sprouted so far!

Here are a few reminders:

  • Library books are DUE! Check your child's folder for any notices of overdue books.
  • Scholastic book orders are DUE! Any last orders need to be in today, as I will finalize our order tomorrow.
  • The snow is pretty much gone, so snow gear can stay at home. I will start sending home student gear and materials. If it comes home, please keep it there. Jackets and outdoor shoes/boots should still come every day in preparation for the changing weather.

Have a truly beautiful weekend!


Ms. Heppner

1st Grade - Mrs. Lycan

We have had a super busy week with all the activities going on. Our whole school enjoyed a zoom presentation from the Alaska Zoo on wolverines. We have been busy doing some last-minute crafts and science experiments as well.

Students have started working on i-ready math and so far, seem to really like the program. We have a few assignments to complete in Buzz Literacy, Handwriting Without Tears, and several Scholastic News lessons to finish up.

Students will be bringing home all art and science projects over the next two weeks. They can still use their totes to keep a jacket or sweater or even hats and mittens for those unpredictable weather days. However, everything must go home on the last day of school or you will have to make arrangements to pick it up.

Enjoy this beautiful weather we've been having.


Mrs. Lycan

2nd Grade - Mrs. MacDonald

This is my favorite time of year. Daylight and more daylight, students graduating onto their next grade and summer is just around the corner. I hope that each of you find time to celebrate the little things and appreciate the wonderful moments shared with friends and family.

Next week I am planning a picnic day on Friday, May 14th. If your child orders hot lunch that day they will receive a snack/lunch packet. If you want to pack a lunch please make sure it is easy to eat outside while sitting on a blanket. We will then clean up and play some games together during recess. Remember the temperatures are still cool so please send your child with a light jacket. Outdoor shoes are big help as well to help keep the classroom and school clean.

We had a practice run through of our Elocution Poems today and I am so impressed with the students and how well they are doing with memorizing their poems!

Our science fair projects are due on Thursday, May 6th. All second grade students are required to complete a project this year. Students are able to have their presentations typed and either share photos or drawings for their project. If you have any questions please feel free to email me. If you child is struggling to complete their project they can have some more time over the weekend. Please turn in by the latest... Monday, May 10th.

Upcoming events:

Friday, May 7th - Teacher Work Day - No School!

Sunday, May 8th - Mother’s Day!

Thursday, May 13th - Talent Show via Zoom @12:45 p.m.

Friday, May 14th - Picnic outside with 2nd grade classmates

Friday, May 21st - Field Day! Last day of school!

Mrs. MacDonald

2nd grade Teacher

Willow Elementary


3rd Grade - Ms. Schoppmeyer

Grade 3 keeps rolling along! Students have been busy with Science Projects, Social Studies activities, Reading and Math activities galore! In Language Arts/Reading we completed reading The Wild Robot by Peter Brown and jumped right into the second book in the series - The Wild Robot Escapes. We have been working on parts of speech, vocabulary development, story plot, and answering central questions with complete and thoughtful answers. Today we are making our own little Bristlebot Robots in honor of Rozzum from The Wild Robot. In Math we have done some additional reviewing/previewing and are now hopping in to some fun math activities with an artistic connection. This week we worked on the Fibonacci Sequence and visual representations of this sequence. Please remember to continue to dress for the weather! And, as always, thank you for your continued support!

Marianne Schoppmeyer

Willow Grade 3

4th Grade - Mr. Sanford

Hello 4th Grade Parents/Guardians,

Language Arts

Next week students will start writing their letters to next year’s 3rd graders, giving them advice about life in 4th grade. Students will also be writing a letter to Mrs. Smoldon introducing themselves.

We are currently finishing up reading the book Shiloh and will be watching the movie next week.


Students will be working on math curriculum to prepare them for 5th grade as well as continue working on iReady math individualized instruction.

Social Studies

Students are starting their Alaska State History Internet search, finding information and pictures about specific Alaska questions.


Science fair project was due at school today.

***Field trip to Newman’s park on Wednesday May 12th. Students will need to bring a sack lunch and drink if possible. If students are unable to bring a sack lunch, please have them tell Mr. Sanford so we can provide one for them.

*Please, continue to sign and read student’s Homework Sheets. Each signature is worth Five-hundred Yoda Bucks this quarter. That is an easy $5000 Yoda Bucks a week!

***Breaking News…..Our end of the year silent auction will take place either Monday, May 17th, or Tuesday May 18th. If you are interested in donating any prizes for students to bid on it would be greatly appreciated. Anything helps. Please contact me through Class Dojo, e-mail, or phone if you are interested in donating.

Also, a big THANK YOU to all the parents that have donated so far.

Weekly Homework

This was the last week of homework, so there will not be any coming home the next two weeks. However, students will still need to have their homework sheet signed each day due to the fact there will be many things popping up each day.

If you have any other questions, comments, or concerns, please let me know.


Mr. Sanford

5th Grade - Mrs. Smoldon

We have chicks! Of the 21 eggs we incubated, two were not fertilized, two didn't make it past day 1 or 2, and one died about day 6. The remaining 16 eggs all hatched, although we had one chick that didn't survive. Students have been doing a fabulous job of staying on task with our noisy additions. 🙂

Reading/LA: We are continuing to read Michael Vey by Richard Paul Evans. We are working on vocabulary, figurative language, setting and theme. Students are continuing to work on Lexia and individual book reports. This week was our last week of spelling words, but students still have nightly fluency homework and should be reading at home and recording their minutes.

Students' musical instrument essay and power points were due today. For the last two weeks of school we will be working on writing letters to next year's 5th grade class and going through a few more Buzz LA lessons.

Math: We are finishing up our module on converting measurements. We will be moving on to line plots next week. Students should have mastered about 95% of the topics in ALEKS. As students finish ALEKS, they are using iReady to master areas in which they are struggling or have knowledge gaps.

Science: Science fair projects were due today. Students will be sharing their projects with their classmates next week. We are finishing up our module on force and students will be picking and choosing from our remaining Buzz science topics for the last two weeks of school.

Health: Our current unit is "Danger Ahead: The Truth About Drugs." Students will be bringing home several handouts. Please talk with your child about peer pressure and the importance of making good life choices about drugs and alcohol.

Social Studies: We are moving west and working on the westward expansion for the remaining weeks of school.

Field Trip: Wednesday, May 12 to Newman's Park. Students will be picking up trash and then completing a scavenger hunt on the trail. We will be eating lunch at the pavilion. Students should bring a sack lunch. If you are unable to provide a sack lunch for your child, please let me know by Monday so that I can let our cafeteria manager know.

There are still two weeks left of school, and we will continue our learning until the very end. Students are ready for summer vacation, and many have missing work. The last day to submit work to be graded is next Friday, May 14. You can check Parent Vue to see if your student has any missing work that needs to be made up.

As always, please don't hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns via Class DoJo, email, or by calling the school.

Sincerely, Mrs. Smoldon

Remote Learning - Ms. Schoppmeyer

We are closing in on the finish line with our Remote Learning. Students that came in for MAP testing did an outstanding job! Congratulations to all of them for working so hard. It was wonderful to see them in person!

Next week will be a short week with ZOOMS on Monday and Tuesday. We will be working on a Math and Art Connection activity on Monday - so check your email for adjusted ZOOM times and connection numbers. Tuesday we will be working on a wrap up activity - so again check those emails! Please have some white paper and scissors, maybe some colored pencils or crayons available to follow along for Monday!

Next Thursday - May 13th I will be available to drop computers off to in the afternoon in place of our ZOOM. If you can't make it Thursday afternoon, we will try to accommodate you at an alternate time. Any paperwork can also be dropped off at that time as well unless we have made alternate arrangements.

Thank you for all you continue to do to support learning in your homes!

Marianne Schoppmeyer

Willow Elementary

P.E. - Mrs. Wakefield

This week’s Positive action word is celebration! I can certainly tell that our Willow Wolverines are ready to celebrate a successful school year and the beginning of summer. We have so much to celebrate this year, despite all the difficulties we encountered. Let this be a reminder to all of us as we move forward to next year. In P.E. I always remind my students that we can overcome more than we think. Learning a new skill in P.E. might be difficult at first but if you continue to work hard and tell yourself you can do it, you will. Keep up the positive self-talk and never give up, together we will always succeed.

Stay Active, Stay Healthy, Stay Positive

Mrs. Wakefield

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Music - Mrs. Hale


If your child chose a “creation” talent (one that can be photographed instead of needing a video), please send that photo to me at jessica.hale@matsuk12.us by Friday, May 7, so I can include it in the talent show. I will be putting the videos and photos together this weekend. The performance will take place during the school day on Thursday, May 13 at 12:45 pm. Be looking for an email to come with a zoom link as we get closer.

“When you play, never mind who listens to you.” ― Robert Schumann

Have a great week!

Mrs. Hale

Late Arrivals

If you happen to be running a little late and do not make it to school on time, please drive around to the front of the school and drop your student off at main door. After 8:35a there is no one to supervise entry to the building from that side door. The main front door is for all late drop-offs after 8:35a.

Nutrition Services

Willow Elementary is a designated CEP school this year, which means breakfast and lunch is FREE for all students! No paperwork is required to qualify.

Willow At-Home Learning Students can also receive breakfast and lunch for free. Meals can be picked up curbside (between hockey rink and school) from Nutrition Services between 11a - 11:30a. Please contact Michelle in Nutrition Services at 495-9306 to confirm if you would like to pick up meals.

Supper Program - We are offering the opportunity for your students to take home on a daily basis a free hot pack, cold pack and milk. These meals do require adult assistance for heating (heating instructions included with pack). Meals are sent home Monday thru Friday. *If your child is already receiving a Friday food pack from the Willow Food Bank, this is in addition to that. If you are interested, contact us and we will be sure to send an application home again with your child(ren).

Get your Spirit Wear!

Spirit Wear! You have the option of going online to purchase Spirit Wear and Yearbooks by going to the parents tab on the district website www.matsuk12.us and clicking on the "School Cash Online" icon in the column on right side. If you do not already have an account you will need to create/register first.

Once you order online, please contact the front office to arrange pick-up. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to call the school at 495-9300.