The Jefferson Buzz

Jefferson School Quarterly Newsletter - Quarter 1

Message from the Principal's Office

Dear Jefferson Families,

Greetings from Jefferson School! The weather is changing rapidly signaling a new season and more excitement here at Jefferson School. We’ve had a terrific 1st quarter with lots of learning going on. In addition to all that happens in our classrooms, we’ve extended our learning environment to many other locations. We’ve had field trips to the Milwaukee Zoo, the Milwaukee Symphony, and the Woodstock Opera House. We held a yoga assembly, a Jefferson pep rally led by our high school band and cheerleaders, and a homecoming week of fun. Many of our classrooms go to the Diggins Library on a regular schedule. We celebrate our achievements with a weekly 5-minute assembly on most Fridays. I am so proud of our students. They are making great strides in their academic and behavior goals. They are respectful, responsible and safe everywhere. They are curious, attentive, kind, helpful and grateful participants during all learning activities. I know this because we receive numerous compliments from the district and event staff at field trip locations. What fine praise this is for you, our supportive families, and to the staff at Jefferson. We are having a great year.

Jefferson had very successful Fall student led conferences with nearly 100% participation. The student-led conference is a hugely important step for students to take. Budding scholars need to acquire the skills through practice in order to take responsibility for their own learning. By setting specific learning goals and reporting progress towards achieving these goals, students take steps to own their learning and develop a growth mindset. This is difficult, and we appreciate that teachers and families take the time to help students practice. Please note, if you ever have any concerns about how well your student is doing at school, do not hesitate to call the homeroom teacher. We are always happy to communicate with parents or guardians.

It is an honor to serve this community and a joy to work with your children. I look forward to a productive and learning filled 2nd quarter. If there is anything that we can do to help your child to achieve his or her best in school, please do not hesitate to call us or to stop in to see us.

Happy Fall,

Dr. Judy Floeter

(815) 943-6464

Message from the Student Support Facilitator

Welcome Jefferson Students and Families,

My name is Tasha Rayas and I am the new Student Support Facilitator. I have worked in the district for 5 years and I am a former Harvard graduate myself. I received a Bachelor's Degree in Early Childhood Education through National Louis University and I am just a few classes shy of a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership through Aurora University. I am a firm believer that learning is a never-ending process. Over the past couple of months, I have had the opportunity to learn about many of our young scholars and I am simply amazed. I am overjoyed to be a part of Jefferson Elementary and I look forward to getting to know all of you! Please feel free to reach out to me at anytime.

Mrs. Tasha Rayas

Getting to Know Jefferson Staff

New staff members for the 2019-2020 School Year

  • Teresa Diaz - Educational Support
  • Barb Gyondla - Lunch/Recess Supervisor
  • Jason Henning - Social Worker
  • Marta Manero - 4th Grade Dual Language Spanish
  • Bertoldo Navarro - Custodian
  • Tania Popoca - Social Work Intern
  • Tasha Rayas - Student Support Facilitator
  • Sheyanne Ryan - Art
  • Laura Salinas - Special Education
  • Kameron Schneider - 5th Grade Dual Language English
  • Jillian Van Der Heyden - 4th Grade
  • Sharon Velazquez - 4th Grade Dual Language Spanish
  • Lorena Villagomez - Social Work Intern
  • Kathy Walsh - Part Time Gifted Resource

News From Our Special's Teachers

Did you know that we have a new art teacher? Ms. Sheyanne Ryan joined us this school year. She is a recent graduate of Northern Illinois University. Students are really enjoying Art class and they are producing some really cool pieces. Next time you visit the school, please take a look at what our budding artists are producing.

This Month's Feature: Music

During the month of October, 4th grade music classes have been singing and playing percussion instruments. We are learning to identify major and minor tonality of the songs we are singing. They learned proper technique to play a variety of un-pitched percussion instruments and perform different rhythms on each. They learned the correct technique for using mallets on pitched percussion instruments. They also learned how to play the C Major octave scale and ostinato patterns to accompany songs they are singing. In November students will sing in canon, learn traditional american songs and traditional american dances to enjoy an old fashioned Harvest Hoedown They will also explore the science of sound through string vibration and learn about the string family of orchestral instruments. Ask your child which instrument has strings but is not a member of the string family.

Fifth Grade music classes reviewed un-pitched percussion technique and learned to improvise rhythms to a steady beat in a drum circle. We are singing songs in major and minor tonality and learning accompaniment ostinatos to these songs on mallet percussion instruments. We are working to improve our mallet technique focusing on alternating mallets and cross-over patterns.

In November, students will learn traditional american songs and a dance for an old fashioned Hoedown. They will also explore the science of sound through a string vibration and learn about the string family of instruments. They will get to pluck and bow a double bass instrument.

4th Grade News


The 4th grade students have accomplished many things throughout the first quarter of our school year! In mathematics, all students have learned place value, rounding, factors, and multiples. The next unit of study for math will be fractions. At home, it would be helpful to include your students in any baking and cooking activities as they can reinforce fraction skills.

In our study of English language arts, all 4th grade students have been working on finding the main idea and details as well as making inferences. Next, students are going to begin working on finding the theme of a story (the big idea). Please encourage your child to share with you what they are reading and to explain the text evidence that helps them determine the theme. All students have been practicing and improving their writing with ACES writing tools.

The 4th grade looks forward to Mr. Bug Man coming in early November! He brings in an extensive collection of insects and arachnids for the students to view. He also explains how he started in entomology.

Congratulations to the students who earned the first quarter multiplication pizza party! Students pass a 3 minute timed test in order to earn the party. Students should continue to practice the facts each night!

There is currently a reading incentive happening. Students have a chance to earn a ticket to a Chicago Wolves hockey game. This is a wonderful incentive rewarding students for their reading!

5th Grade News

Hello Families:

5th grade is off to a fantastic start. In math, we have been busy mastering multiplication by multi-digit numbers, dividing multi-digit numbers and have just started working on fractions. We will be mastering adding and subtracting fractions with like and unlike denominators. If possible, in your home conversations, please talk about ways to use fractions. Baking is a great conversation starter. Students can use fraction benchmarks to estimate how much of a container is empty or full. Fraction fun can go on and on!

Our study of English language arts (ELA) is filled with great novels and amazing writing. Has your student shown you what a great writer they are?! We are working on finding the theme, identifying different parts of a story and using the details of a character's actions to support answers to questions.

In social studies, we have been investigating different explorers and evaluating the impact of each explorer. In science we will be working on learning Earth's systems, starting with gravity. We are partnering up with Washington to continue our STEM Buddies program every month. Ask your student after Oct 29th about their first experience with their Washington buddy.

Thank you for all of your support at home by making sure students are reading and having their planner filled out and signed every night. We can't wait for and even more exciting quarter two!


Throughout the beginning of the school year, all students have been taught our building wide expectations of being Respectful, Responsible & Safe. They have been working extremely hard to demonstrate these expectations in all settings with all staff. Students are acknowledged for demonstrating the expectations by earning Bee Bucks. Bee Bucks can be used to purchase relational rewards of their choice, such as lunch with a staff member, game with a friend, or extra recess. Our 1st quarter school-wide celebration to acknowledge our academic and behavior successes was on October 10th. All students participated in a pep assembly with the high school band and cheerleading squad! Listed below are a few items we celebrated!

  • IAR Writing Scores from 2018-2019 School Year!

  • 101 (27%) students have perfect attendance!

  • 341 (92%) students have not earned a major ODR and have earned a $25 Mega Bee Buck!

  • 23 (88%) of students participating in Check-In/ Check-Out (CICO) met their daily goal and have earned a $10 Mega Bee Buck!

  • Bee Buck Raffle Winners

  • Student ShoutOuts of the Week


General Information and Important Reminders

  • Please check our the calendar for important events. ://
  • School starts at 7:55 am and ends at 2:55 pm
  • Please remember when dropping off your students in the morning or picking up in the afternoon, use the WEST entrance (Door #4 back of the school).
  • The weather is turning colder, please remind students to dress for the weather. Wearing layers is encouraged.

Jefferson Elementary School

Harvard School District 50

1200 N. Jefferson St.

Harvard, IL 60033