The Major News

January 2020- Issue #5

Dates to Remember

January 20th

No School- Martin Luther King Holiday

February 12th & 13th

1/2 day of school- AM only

Parent Teacher Conferences

February 14th

No School- In Service Day

February 17th

No School- Presidents Day

Principal's Corner

Dear Parents, Guardians & Caring Adults,

This winter has been unpredictable to say the least. Swinging from very warm to very cold weather our coldest weather recorded at Ursa Major in more than 5 years and the longest below zero weather in almost 10 years. It is very important for students to wear all their cold weather gear to and from school. The required winter gear can be found in the newsletter. Please know that it is the policy of the Anchorage School District that all children will go out to recess if it is above -10 degrees F. The only way a student can stay in is with a written doctors excuse. If you have questions please contact our Nurse Ms. Rust or the office at 907 742-1600.

I know our parents work closely with their child and his or her teacher to ensure they are making adequate academic growth. It is important to check your child’s report card on line that was posted, Thursday, January 9, 2020. After reviewing your child’s report card make sure to contact your child’s teacher if you have any questions or concerns. We are very interested in working closely with parents to ensure all students make at least 9 months growth during the school year. Student growth is very important to all our teachers.

Several exciting opportunities for students are coming up in January. After School Math Tutoring for those students in 1st – 6th grade who are performing below or far below on standardized tests will start on Tuesday, January 20, 2020 after we return from a 3 day weekend. We will soon begin ice skating during lunch recess for 3rd – 6th grade. Please talk to your child to see if they have passed their skating test for safety yet. Students will first have skating instruction then we will open skating up for recess. Also, after school skiing will be starting this month which is also a well attended activity. And lastly robotics will start up again in a few weeks. If your child was on a waiting list they will have the first opportunity to sign up for the next robotic Bricks for Kids class.

February is Visit Our School’s Month. Each Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. during February, the prinicipal will meet with parents and community members who would like to know more about Ursa Major Elementary School. After giving a tour of the school and sharing what makes Ursa Major unique, parents and community members will have time for questions. We hope you can invite a neighbor or friend to attend one of these meetings.

Thank you for your continued support of your child’s education. We look forward to doing everything within our power to make your stay at our school an extraordinarily exciting and meaningful experience.


Benjamin Hardwick
Ursa Major Elementary


Ursa Major Cell Phone Policy:

It is the policy of our school that all cell phones, I-watches and other 2-way devices are turned off and kept out of sight during the school day, 8:50 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. The devices may be used before and after school. This policy was put in place to protect student and staff privacy and to ensure that instruction and the learning environment is not disrupted.

We appreciate your support and would like you to work with your students who bring their cell phone, I-watches or other 2-way devises to school to remember to turn them off and put them out of sight before entering the building in the morning.

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Music Notes

Greetings from the music room!

What a great start to the New Year with many wonderful sounds coming out of the music room. Just before break we had a school wide assembly where the Choir performed for the student body. We also had a wonderful concert from our Band/Orchestra and Marimba Band. All the student performers sounded wonderful and are making great improvements. Grades 4 and 5 are starting their recorder units working towards their Recorder Karate Belts. We do have recorders for all students, however if your student wants their own recorder so they can practice at home please let me know; I will be making an order for recorders soon. These are great instruments to help prepare students for band and orchestra and can be passed down through the family, I still have my recorder from elementary school.

The students have been composing music by integrating our language arts skills of vocabulary, comprehension, and fluency within our musical concepts creating rhythm, beat, and form. Music is and can be such a powerful tool to help our students with their reading and fluency skills. Kinder and 1st grades are diving into exploration of melody with hi and low sounds, how we can manipulate and create melodies using a variety of mediums. We have been discussing form and patterns in music as well. We are starting to work on songs for our upcoming variety show.

The Ursa Major Choir had its community tour before winter break, which was a great success. We performed at the Anchorage School District Ed Center, for the lunch crowd at the food court, and ended our day singing for the 17th CSSB. We have started back up in full force with many new additions to the group; we now have 70 singers and are a large group. Please discuss with your singer that choir is a place to come sing and be part of a group not a social gathering

Just a reminder that choir starts at 8:00 am on Wednesdays. Many students walk, buddy groups are always a good idea and encouraged, reflective clothing and good winter gear is important as well.

Thank you for all your support for the music program here at Ursa Major and in your child’s education. As always feel free to contact me here at school or send me an email with any musical questions!

Mr. Drake

Greetings from P.E.


We will be skating, playing broom ball, snowshoeing and skiing for PE on our 60 minute PE sessions for grades 3rd through 6th over the next six weeks as part of the winter sports curriculum that ASD offers.

We will be covering hockey skills for inside PE sessions when inside the gym and not out engaged in winter sports.

Grades K-2 will be playing outside field games on Thursday PE sessions this winter.

In both cases please make sure your children are prepared to be outside in temps of -10 for up to 45 minutes. We suggest heavy winter mittens in extreme cold temps over gloves if possible.

Please make sure that your child has submitted the off school grounds permission slip to his or her teacher. All skiing, sledding, and snowshoeing activities require this permission slip to be signed by parents and turned in to allow children on the nordic ski area, the woods behind the school for skiing, sledding and snow shoe activities.

Winter Ropes club begins 1/27/20

3rd to 6th grade Ski Club begins 1/16/20

Coach Bydlon and Coach Fullmer

Health Spot

This month in Elementary Health, your child will study healthy habits.

Richelle Lay

K-6 Health/Social Emotional Learning

Nurse Notes

FLU FACTS/INFORMATION: The flu is a highly contagious viral infection of the respiratory tract. Although the flu affects everyone, children tend to get it more often than adults. The season for the flu is usually from November to April with most cases occurring between late December and early March.

The flu is often confused with the common cold, but flu symptoms tend to develop quickly (usually 1 to 4 days after a person is exposed to the flu virus) and are usually more severe than the typical sneezing and stuffiness of a cold.

Symptoms of the Flu may include:

Fever Chills Headache

Muscle aches Dizziness Loss of appetite

Tiredness Cough Sore throat

Runny nose *Nausea or vomiting) Weakness

Ear infection *Diarrhea

Symptoms can last for a week or two. (* these are more common in children) The flu is very contagious. It is spread by coughing or sneezing into the air. People who are infected with the flu are contagious as long as they show symptoms (most of the time that means about a week for adults, but for children it can mean up to two weeks).

Ways to Prevent the Flu:

  • To have the flu shot if your pediatrician feels your child should have it.
  • Wash your Hands thorough and frequently.
  • Never pick up used tissues.
  • Never share cups and eating utensils.
  • Stay home from work or school when you’re sick with the flu.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow or a tissue when you cough or sneeze.

How Do You Treat The Flu?

  • Stay home from school.
  • Drink lots of fluids.
  • Get plenty of sleep and take it easy.
  • Call your doctor early on to be tested and possibly treated with a medication that can reduce the severity and length of the flu. Also call for a fever lasting more than 2 days so that he/she can let you know what to give to make your child feel better.
  • Return to school when your child is better.

Gail Rust LPN

Emelyn Hudson RN-School Nurse

Ursa Major Elementary School

Anchorage School District

office: (907)742-1601

fax: (907)742-1616

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The Counselors Corner

Welcome back and Happy New Year. Transitioning back to school and work routines can be stressful. Please let me know how I can support you and your child. This month the focus is on goal setting, self-regulation tools, and welcoming the students who have joined our school recently. I will be asking students to brainstorm and share academic, personal-social, and good citizen goals for this semester. "Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible" By Tony Robbins.

Heather Butcher

School Counselor

Ursa Minor/Ursa Major

#Helping the Whole Child be Successful

Library News: Check it Out!

Happy New Year from the Library!

It has been great seeing all the kids again this week and hearing about their wonderful adventures and family time during the break. I am very happy that my youngest daughter finally received orders to Fairbanks and will be close to us again after six years. She arrived on the 4th and was welcomed to -36 degree temperatures, YIKES!

This month in the library, we will be focusing on Alaska. This week we are reading stories from the Tlingit and Haida peoples of Southeast region of the state. I will try to cover different regions each week and will culminate with stories about dogsledding as we approach the Iditarod.

We have a new online E-book library service that is available to your students for free, it is called SORA. You can download the App for them on their device and they may check out e-books or audiobooks using their Anchorage School District credentials. Here are the steps:

● Step 1 ● Install the Sora app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store, or go to

● Step 2

● In Sora, find your school then sign in. with your ASD login credentials. ( Last. first )

● Step 3

● Browse the Explore tab and borrow a book. Your book will open so you can start reading right away.

● Step 4

● Close the book and go to your Shelf to see all your books (including assignments). From there, you can:

○ Click or tap Open Book or Open Audiobook to read or listen to the book.

○ Click or tap Options to renew or return the book, get to your notes and highlights, and more.

Happy Reading,

Michelle Williams, Librarian

Ursa Major Elementary

454 Dyea Ave,

Anchorage, Alaska 99505


STAR Student Awards

School Lunch Menus are now ONLINE!

Please click the link below to see your student's lunch menu.