Words from Walsh September, 2021

Staying connected with Walsh School

Hello Walsh Families!

I am excited to welcome everyone to Walsh School and anticipate a successful and fun-filled year for all our students. Our first days went well, and I can only assume that it was because of our energetic, supportive parents who worked with our staff to make each and every child feels safe and welcome.

We will again be using First Student bus service and their experienced leaders, dispatchers and drivers. Should you have any bus concerns, please contact Jen, the dispatcher, at 815-726-0033 or the office. For our early childhood students, transportation will be provided by Grand Prairie. The dispatcher, Courtney, can be reached at 815-838-1012, or Elaine with Special Services at 815-836-7719, should you have concerns.

I cannot express enough gratitude for everyone’s patience and understanding during our first couple of weeks, both with transportation and in our parking lots. Hopefully by now, all of the necessary bussing adjustments have been made, and we have settled into a regular routine. Most of our bussing calls are about busses running a little late - which we anticipate - but now you will begin to see a more regular drop off time. Make sure you adhere to your list when asking people to pick up your child on the corner, or call the office to add new names to your pick up list.

For our car riders, I remind you to be alert when using our parking lot. Always use the circle drop off in the morning, and when picking up, remember that no child should cross the parking lot without an adult. There is, of course, absolutely no parking for pick-up or drop off in the front parking lot. Remember to only use the North Street parking lot. I thank you for your effort in helping to keep our children safe.

All physicals, dental and eye exams are now due for our kindergarten students. Please turn them in as soon as possible, if you haven’t done so already. Please contact our school nurse with any medical needs or concerns for your child.

This week and next, our students will be taking the FastBridge benchmark assessment in reading and math. The results will be used to help identify our instructional needs for individuals and classrooms in general. It also helps us it to determine the need for extra supports or challenges for students.

Finally, an ENORMOUS THANK YOU for your patience and grace as we get the year started. Although our theme last year was We Are All in This Together, it is still valid today. We count YOU as part of the WE. Thank you for being part of the Walsh Family!

As always, if you have any concerns, please feel free to contact me.

Until I see you again...

Stay well and be safe,

Teresa Martin


Important Dates in September

Mark Your Calendars

1 - Shield Testing Begins

6 - NO SCHOOL - Labor Day

10 - Spirit Day - Patriot Day (Wear red, white & blue)

16 - Fall Picture Day

21 - Board of Education Meeting @ 7 p.m.

24 - Spirit Day - Crazy Sock Day ~ We are wild & crazy about school!!

School begins at 8:50 a.m.

*Please note, every Wednesday is an early dismissal at 2:50 p.m.*

Remember to call the office by 9:00 a.m. if your child will be

absent or tardy.

Office hours are 8:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m. ~ 815-838-7858 ~ www.d92.org

AM Early Childhood Hours are 9:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m

*Wednesday early dismissal at 11:00 a.m.

PM Early Childhood Hours are 12:45 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.

*Wednesday early dismissal at 2:45 p.m.

All important fliers are posted online for your viewing.. don't miss a thing!

Big picture

Kindergarten News

Welcome to our students and families! We are so glad that you are here! Kindergarten is off and running, and we are getting to know our teacher, our classroom, our school, our staff, and friends! Our focus has been to build a friendly classroom environment! The kindergarteners are very busy learning the routines that will be in place all year long. The students are adapting to the longer school day, and building stamina to work independently.

We are excited to begin our Launch Unit of Reader's Workshop. We will work on developing good reading habits. Students will explore a variety of different books and texts. They will learn how to talk about books and share with their peers while exploring the different genres.

We are also very excited to begin our math series Bridges. We have started with learning about numbers one through five.

You can continue to support this smooth transition by providing a healthy snack, checking your child's folder nightly, and making sure he/she gets enough sleep at night. These three tips will help us sustain a successful year!

Big picture

B.E.E. Awards

Being Excellent Everywhere in our work, behavior, and manners does not go unnoticed at Walsh School. Each week the teachers put a spotlight on two of their students and recognize their excellent efforts. This positive reinforcement program will start in the classroom, or the remote classroom, by receiving a certificate from the teacher (or sent to the student virtually), and a prize from the principal's office. This is a school-wide initiative and our congratulations go out to our honored students!
Big picture

First Grade News

As we begin the new school year, there is a lot of excitement down the first-grade hallway! Students have had a chance to see old friends and make new friends, too. Students have also been busy learning important new routines, rules, and procedures.

We have started our phonics program called "Fundations." This program is a highly structured and intensive approach to decoding, reading, and spelling. We are reviewing some of our Kindergarten skills and beginning some new first grade skills.

We have also started our reading curriculum, Schoolwide. During the Schoolwide launching unit, students will be learning about text and genre features, choosing a "just right" book, making connections, discovering new vocabulary and writing an opinion piece.

Our math series is called Bridges, In this program, students focus intensively on four critical areas specified by the common core state standards for mathematics in grade one:

*Addition and subtraction within 20; *Whole number relationships and place value; *Linear measurement in non-standard units; and *Reasoning with shapes and attributes.

In addition, students participate in math practice with different activities.

September is also a very important time at home. It is a time to establish homework routines, which will carry throughout the school year. Parents should allow time for reading and practicing math facts each night.

We are off to a great start and we look forward to a successful school year!

Big picture

Notes From The Nurse

Parents: Physicals and eye exams must be turned in by October 15th per state law and regulations, or children will be excluded from school. Please get those forms in as soon as possible. We understand the difficulties with being able to get appointments and/or safety concerns. Our nurses are willing to work with you in order to meet our legal responsibility while ensuring the safety and well-being of our students. Please call the nurse with any questions or concerns.
Big picture

Art News with Mrs. Deckinga

Welcome back! I'm so happy to see my 1st grade students again and to get to know my new kindergarten friends! We'll be starting the year with a few seasonal projects. The kindergarten students will begin with a simple leaf rubbing project using crayons and watercolors. The 1st grade students will also be using leaves, a glue technique, and chalk pastels to create beautiful fall art.
Big picture

PICTURE DAY - September 16th

Lifetouch Photographers will be at Walsh on September 16th. All students will be photographed (except those who declined the photo agreement during the online registration process). These pictures will be added to our yearbook, which will become available later in the year. Just in case your child is absent, or your picture isn't to your liking, there will be a retake day scheduled later in the school year. Everyone will have a picture taken, but only those who prepay for photos will get a package.
Big picture

Music Notes with Mrs. Moan

Welcome to the Walsh Music Room!

What a wonderful start to the new school year.

Music takes us to new places! Let’s go!

Early Childhood: The preschool students will be practicing steady beats using classroom instruments like rhythm sticks, eggs and drums. We are moving our feet to different styles and speeds of music, with some dancing too! We have been practicing our Hello Song and singing with puppets. We love songs about animals.

Kindergarten: The Kindergarten students are reviewing music skills like steady beat, pitch matching and high/low. We will be “Goin’ to the Farm”, and meeting all kinds of farm animals. We will meet ducks, chickens and cows this month. The students will also be dancing and playing instruments and games.

1st Grade: The first graders are excited about singing! The students will start with some musical opposites review, like high/low, fast/slow and quiet/loud. Throughout the month, the students will be learning about mallet technique and playing our barred instruments. We are also learning some simple folk dances and sign language.

Big picture

Spirit Sticks are Back!

You have probably heard about one of our motivational programs at Walsh, called SPIRIT STICKS. This program involves rewarding and motivating students in various areas involving academics and social development. Your child should have received their spirit stick ring with their first two sticks attached (Walsh Wildcats and a grade level stick) this week. If they did not, please contact your teacher. Be very careful with these sticks, as you'll want to keep your collection growing for the next few years and we cannot replace lost spirit sticks.
Big picture

Any Dismissal Changes Should be Made by 2:30

We have been taking a lot of late afternoon calls in the office, requesting to change the way a student is going to go home for that day. If you must make a change, please call the office BEFORE 2:30, to give us time to properly notify everyone. Please do not count on your teacher seeing it in her email after lunch. Thanks so much for your understanding and cooperation.

Social-Emotional Learning (SEL)

As we begin our school year, I want to share some of the things our staff has been focusing on as part of our school improvement efforts this past year. Our main focus was the Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) of our students and staff. Last year we provided staff members with a foundational understanding of the 5 SEL Competencies (CASEL 5). We will continue our work with the SEL Competencies this year.

What are the CASEL Competencies, you ask, and how do they help our school improve? Let me explain a little bit about CASEL and about the competencies. CASEL stands for The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning, and this organization seeks to provide schools with resources and guidance in supporting social-emotional learning for our students and staff. CASEL also provides resources for parents, as we know that social and emotional learning starts at home. Parents and families are critical partners in helping their children develop social and emotional know-how. They can model the kinds of skills, attitudes and behaviors we want students to master.

The 5 Competencies and a few examples of skills in each are:

  • Self-awareness: label and recognize own and other's emotions and how they affect others, recognize own strengths and limitations, and identify own needs and values
  • Self-management: set plans and work toward goals, manage personal and interpersonal stress, use feedback constructively, seek help when needed, and advocate for oneself
  • Social Awareness: identify social cues to determine how others feel, respect others, understand other points of view and perspectives, and appreciate diversity
  • Relationship Skills: demonstrate capacity to make friends, exhibit cooperative learning and working toward group goals, communicate effectively, and provide help to those in need
  • Responsible Decision-making: negotiate fairly, become self-reflective and self-evaluative, identify problems and generate alternatives, and implement problem-solving skills

Why is it that we are making Social-Emotional Learning a priority? Because research confirms that social and emotional competencies can be taught, modeled, and practiced, and lead to positive student outcomes that are important for success in school and life. So not only do social-emotional competencies prepare students to participate in learning activities, they also increase a student's capacity to learn.

I will continue to share SEL activities, goals, and information with you in our newsletters this year. Please feel free to reach out with feedback.

Big picture