The PRES Press

Principal's Monthly Newsletter, October 2020

Parent-Principal Coffees

Throughout the year, I will be hosting informal parent-principal coffees. This is an opportunity to meet with me in an informal “virtual” setting, to hear more about school initiatives, and ask general questions about our school programs. Our first parent-principal coffee will take place on Friday, October 9th at 9:30-10:30 AM. Please grab yourself a cup of coffee and join me for a Google Meet:

October 9th Parent-Principal Coffee Google Meet Link:

Join by phone

‪(US) +1 240-816-0027‬ PIN: ‪485 757 663‬#

All-Remote Half Days

As you may be aware, there are a few half-days in our October calendar for parent-teacher conferences and for planning and professional development for our staff. These days will be fully remote days for our students in grades K-12. The first full remote half day is next Wednesday, October 7, 2020.

On these half days, all students will participate in learning from home between 9:00-11:30 AM. Students in grades 2-5 should bring home their Chromebooks to access Google Meets and assignments from their teacher. Students in grades K-1 are still awaiting Chromebooks, so the K-1 teachers will send home independent assignments and activities to complete during the remote half days. No Google Meets will take place for K-1 until all of our students have Chromebooks.

Schedule for Half-Day Remote Days:

9:00-11:30: STUDENT HALF REMOTE DAY (Follow A, B, C, D Cycle)

9:00-9:15 = Morning Meeting/Attendance/SEL

9:15-10:00 = Literacy Lesson & independent practice

10:00-10:45 = Math Lesson & independent practice

10:45-11:00 = Wrap-Up

11:00-11:30 = Special Area Activity (Art, Music, or PE posted in Google Classroom)


*Since Chromebooks have not arrived yet, K-1 students will not have specials on these half days until Chromebooks are available.

Please refer to the District website for the October Calendar Changes & Updates in English and in Spanish.

Picture Day - October 8th & October 13th

Picture Days are Thursday, October 8th (In person K-2, grades 3-5 M-Z) & Tuesday, October 13th (grades 3-5 A-L). Here is information from our PTA regarding Picture Day:

Due to safety issues related to Covid-19 some things have changed this year.

  1. All photos will be taken outside. If we need to reschedule picture day due to rain, all families will be notified.
  2. Photographers will be a minimum of 12' from students so masks can be removed for pics.
  3. There will be no full class photo taken.
  4. We are going paperless. We will not be accepting payment beforehand this year. There will be 2 photos of your child posted on a secure Cassiday website after picture day. You will be able to view, order photos and make a yearbook selection. There is nothing to send into school before picture day.
  5. If for some reason you cannot get online to view & order the photos, there will be a limited number of paper forms available at PRES. You will not be able to view and choose your photo with this option and one of the photos will be selected for you.


Photographers will be staying after school on Thursday, October 8th for sessions with remote only students. Further details to come. This after-school option is only available for remote-only students.

Please email Christine Labov if you must use a paper form or have any further questions.

Emergency 15-Minute Early Dismissal - October 9th

On Friday, October 9, 2020, we will test our emergency management plans. We will be dismissing students 15 minutes earlier than their normal dismissal times. Therefore, we will begin pick-ups at 2:25 PM. Buses will depart the school at approximately 3:00 PM. Please expect your child home approximately 15 minutes earlier than their normal drop-off time. We have already completed 5 fire drills this year and the students and staff have done a wonderful job following protocols and expectations.

Please see BCSD letter regarding our Emergency Management Early Dismissal.

Students Enjoy Outdoor Spaces and Nature Hikes

Mrs. Starace, our ESOL teacher, has been enjoying taking K-2 students on nature walks, scavenger hunts, and hikes through our nature trails on school property and through Carolin's Grove. The kids are having a blast exploring the outdoors! Please see our letter from Nurse Jill and Principal Fishkin regarding outdoor spaces, nature hikes, and tick checks: Outdoor Hikes Reminder about Ticks

First Graders Escape into Books in their Outdoor Spaces

Fifth graders take on STEM Building Challenges

Despite the challenges and adapting to new routines, students are thriving and making their mark on the new school year! We are so proud of them!

Fall 2020 Parent-Teacher Conferences

Parent Teacher Conferences will take place on:

October 16 = 9:00-11:30 AM Remote Half Day

October 22 = 9:00-11:30 AM Remote Half Day

October 23 = No School (for Students) for P/T Conferences

The purpose of this first fall conference is to discuss, collaboratively, goals that you have for your child. Teachers will have developed initial impressions of your child from these first few weeks of school, but are also looking forward to learning more about your child from you. This is an opportunity to begin a home-school partnership and to set goals for the school year.

Dr. Scott Mandel, author of The Parent-Teacher Partnership: How to Work Together for Student Achievement, explains that this initial conference is an opportunity to meet the teacher, form a trusting relationship, and hear what he or she has seen your child experience, socially and academically. It's incredibly important for parents and teachers to form a true alliance from the get-go.

There are several ways parents can contribute to making the conference a productive and informative meeting. Mandel shared a number of helpful strategies for you to keep in mind at your upcoming parent-teacher conference, and throughout the school year.

1. Plan ahead.

Mark your calendar. For families where the parents are separated or divorced, and if there are step-parents, try to ensure that everyone is included whenever possible. The goal is for all parties involved to be aware of what's happening in the classroom, even if they're participating via Skype or speaker phone.

2. Come prepared.

It's likely that the conference will flow smoothly and the teacher will jump right in and kick off a constructive discussion. Still, it can't hurt to have a few questions in your back pocket. Here are a few examples.
* What do you see as my child's strengths and weaknesses?
* What can we do at home to help maintain progress and success?
* At what point will we hear from you if you sense a problem?

3. Start with a team-player approach.

Approach challenges or issues the teacher raises with the attitude of "We have to address this problem as partners." This makes coming up with solutions considerably easier for everyone involved -- objectivity will be crucial for a successful school year.

4. Keep the teacher informed.

Teachers love, and appreciate, knowing what's going on with your child, both at the time of the conference and beyond. It's important to keep him or her up on any changes in your child's life, such as medications, family problems, if it's a dual-home family, or if a family member went into the hospital.

5. Express interest in being an involved parent.

Whether you work full-time or part-time, involvement is about making decisions and staying aware of what's happening within your child's education, not just about who's able to chaperone every field trip. Discuss with your child's teacher the best way to stay involved and informed.

6. Don't get hung up on academics.

According to Mandel, the most important lessons children learn in kindergarten and first grade are with regard to socialization, not academics. He points to Robert Fulghum's All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten to emphasize this point and says, "Every parent should get a copy of that when their children enter kindergarten -- because it's true."

7. Respect the teacher's time.

Don't plan on taking up too much time during the conference. You might have questions after the meeting ends, and even in the days that follow. Before you leave, ask the teacher, "How do you prefer that we contact you-after school, via email, with a phone call?" Keeping a list of your questions and concerns can help you organize your thoughts so you can approach the teacher effectively whenever necessary.

8. Maintain perspective.

Teachers really do understand how you feel about your child. Megan Unger, a kindergarten teacher in Minneapolis, MN, says, "For seven hours a day, I am responsible for the most precious thing in these two people's life. I try to remember that, during conferences and always!"

Success comes out of recognition that the teacher is an educational professional, and that your child is a complex entity who is different in different locations, from home to school. Your goal is to leave the conference feeling confident in your child's teacher and in the team effort that has just commenced in the interest of your child.