The Major News

September 2019 - Issue #7

Dates to Remember

October 18th

In Service Day- No school

October 23rd & 24th

Parent/Teacher Conference Days- Half Days, school ends at 12 PM

October 25th

In Service day- No school

November 11th

In Service- No school

November 28th & 29th

Thanksgiving Holiday-No school

Principal's Corner

Dear Parents, Guardians and Caring Adults,+

Now that we have several weeks of school completed it is time to share our excitement about the school year with our wonderful families. Our Open House is this Friday, September 13, 2019, from 6-7:30 p.m. The Ursa Major staff is committed to working closely with parents to ensure all students grow each school year by at least 9 months or more in all subjects, as well as mature in Social Emotional Learning, SEL, to be better friends, students and leaders at school and beyond.

Because of our increased student population, we will not be able to meet in the MPR/Cafeteria because it is too small for our students and families. We will again have passports for our families to carry with them as they visit all of the teachers during the Open House. Only 1 passport per family is required, so please visit all your children’s classroom teachers first then visit our wonderful specialists, special education teachers, and other Ursa Major Employees that make our school so successful. Families can stop by the office to drop off their completed Passport for a school-wide drawing for prizes on Monday and Tuesday next week.

Several changes parents might have noticed have made a big difference this year;

1.) We received feedback from families and students about the noise in the lunchroom and this year we only have one grade level in the lunchroom at a time. This has reduced the noise substantially. Thank you for the suggestions.

2.) We also only have 1 grade level at recess at a time which has reduced overcrowding and reduced conflict on the playground.

3.) We have given K, 1st & 2nd Grades Second Recesses. We believe this will also reduce behaviors and support student learning. Please keep your suggestions coming, they are making a difference!

As many parents know we have our Monthly Assembly on the 1st Monday of each Month. We invite all parents to attend this exciting event that recognizes student accomplishments with awards, and teaches us all how to be better friends and students through grade level performances. We hope every parent can attend our SEL Assemblies this year.

Thank you for your support, and we look forward to you and your whole family participating in one or more of our school activities very soon.


Benjamin Hardwick
Ursa Major Elementary


Music Notes

Greetings from the music room!

What a great start to the 2019-2020 school year, many wonderful sounds are already coming out of the music room. Grades 2-5 come to music once a week for an hour, kindergarten, first grade come to music twice a week for thirty-minute sessions. We have been revisiting past concepts from last year as well as getting that steady beat back into our bodies. All grade levels will be exploring several key building blocks of music this year such as rhythm, form, melody and harmony to name a few. We will be exploring these activities through several mediums including dance, singing, playing instruments and movement.

The Ursa Major Choir began September 4 and meets on Wednesday mornings at 8:00am; we have over 70 members signed up at the moment. Choir is open to grades 3-6. We have many things planned and are hoping to share some great music with you. We may have a Bear Cub Choir for grades K-2 at a later point in the year, I will let you as the year develops.

Just a reminder that choir starts this year at 8:00 am please have your singer arrive on time but not before 7:55am. Many students walk and with the cold dark months approaching buddy groups are always a good idea. Reflective clothing and good winter gear is important as well we move towards fall and winter.

Thank you for all you do to support music 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

News from P.E.

Welcome back to school! We are spending the 1st few weeks going over routines and going over playground games.

Games we are covering are Jackpot, Touch Football, Tag, Four Square, back yard Whiffleball, and 3 on 3 yard soccer.

Coach Marine moved on to coach at a local Middle School. We are excited for her and her new responsibilities as a head PE coach!

Mr. Fullmer our former Ursa Major 2nd grade teacher finished his PE training last spring and has moved into the PE Department at Ursa Major! He will also serve as a PE teacher and coach at two other local schools.

We are so excited to have Mr. Fullmer join our staff here at Ursa Major. He will be teaching PE here on Thursdays only and also be the basketball club coach as well as help with running club, and ski club this winter.

Running Club will start on Thursday August 29th and will end with the JBER and Eagle River Area Cross Country Jamboree on Thursday Sept 26th at Chugiak High School.

Speaking of Ursa Major PE related clubs, here is the fall schedule:

Roller Ski Club begins on Wednesday September 4th, ending on Wednesday September 25th.

Fall Ropes Club begins on Wednesday October 9th, ending on Wednesday November 21st

Volleyball Club begins Monday October 7th, ending December 9th

5th and 6th grade Basketball Club begins on Thursday October 3rd, ending November 21st.

3rd and 4th grade basketball will be held in spring 2020.

Coach Bydlon and Coach Fullmer

Nurse Notes

Schools, families, and communities are key sources of support in helping youth establish healthy behaviors now and as they transition into adulthood.

As students head back to school, families, schools, and communities all have a role to play in helping children establish healthy behaviors now and as they transition into adulthood.

Youth Connectedness is an Important Protective Factor. Healthy and Well-being

Youth who feel engaged and supported at school and at home are less likely to experience negative health outcomes later in life related to mental health, violence and other risks.

Connectedness refers to a sense of being cared for, supported, and belonging, and can be centered on feeling connected to school, family (i.e. parents and caregivers), or other important people and organizations. School and family connectedness are linked to reductions in multiple health risk behaviors during childhood and adolescence.

Autumn reminder: Test and replace batteries.

Check or replace carbon monoxide batteries twice a year when you change the time on your clocks each spring and fall. Replace smoke alarm alkaline batteries at least once a year. Test alarms every month to ensure they work properly.

You Can Prevent Carbon Monoxide Exposure:

  • Do have your heating system, water heater and any other gas, oil, or coal burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year.
  • Do install a battery-operated or battery back-up CO detector in your home. Check or replace the battery when you change the time on your clocks each spring and fall. If the detector sounds leave your home immediately and call 911.
  • Do seek prompt medical help if you suspect CO poisoning and are feeling dizzy, light-headed, or nauseated.
  • Don’t use a generator, charcoal grill, camp stove, or other gasoline or charcoal-burning device inside your home, basement, or garage or near a window.
  • Don’t run a car or truck inside a garage attached to your house, even if you leave the door open.
  • Don’t burn anything in a stove or fireplace that isn’t vented.
  • Don’t heat your house with a gas oven.
  • Don’t use a generator, pressure washer, or any gasoline-powered engine less than 20 feet from any window, door, or vent. Use an extension cord that is more than 20 feet long to keep the generator at a safe distance.

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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Health News

This month in Elementary Health, your child will study safety. Students are learning about a variety of general safety topics including Personal Safety as well as Internet Safety. Please visit the links below to view a Parent Bulletin detailing more about each grade-level-specific topic for this month.

Monthly Theme: Safety

Kindy- How to Stay Safe

First- Look Out!

Second- Let’s Stay Safe

Third- Safe At Home, Safe Away

Fourth- Community Safety

Fifth- First Aid Facts

Sixth- Keep This Body Safe

Richelle Lay

K-6 Health/SEL Teach

Update Contact Information

We are noticing many parents have no contact phone numbers, or the numbers are no longer valid.
Updated information will allow us to contact you in the event of process changes, news, and important information. Please confirm through ParentConnection that your phone and email are current. If you have a change of physical address, please update this with the front office.

Thank you!

News from the School Counselor

Hello from the School Counselor, Mrs. Butcher.

I look forward to getting to know each of you and your families this school year. Here is some information about me: I was an elementary school teacher, I am also a military spouse and a mother of three children. I love Christmas and reading. When I am not in your classroom leading guidance lessons you can find me working in small groups or individually with students in my office. I can’t wait to meet all of you!

Heather Butcher

School Counselor

Ursa Minor/ Ursa Major

Library News: Check it Out!

It has been a great month in the library! I am new to Ursa Major and have felt very welcomed by staff and students alike.

All grades started the year off by sharing what types of books that they like. I loved hearing about what they are interested in and was surprised at the variety of books that are popular. We then toured the library to learn about how it is organized. The fifth and sixth grade students went on a scavenger hunt to find specific books and helped me set up displays.

Last week all grades worked through a “book swap” exercise. Each table had a selection of books from varied genres at their table. We talked about how to look at a book and see if it is at your reading level. We then practiced for one minute by reading the first page. If they had trouble with 5 or more words, it would be too frustrating. We then chose another book and continued the process. The goal of this was to expose students to a variety of books that they may not typically seek out and to know how to find a just right book.

This week we looked at maps and discussed reading for information. Younger students focused on looking at the U.S and finding places they had lived. Upper grades looked at a map of the world and labeled the seven continents. Next week we will explore Google Earth.

Kindergarten has been a lot of fun. We started off last week by learning about book care by reading, “What Happened to Marion’s Book?” We also read “Curious George Goes to the Library.” I have been incorporating rhyming and singing with the kindergarten class and they are very enthusiastic. This week we read “Scaredy Squirrel” and talked about trying new things.

· Please remind your students to turn in their books and find a place to keep them so they do not get lost or damaged.

· Read with your kids every day. Your modeling will help them develop

curiosity, perseverance and language skills.

Mrs. Williams


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APD Information: Illegal Use of Handheld Devices in School Zones

As of June 20, 2019 handheld cell phone use is illegal in active school zones and/or upon school grounds. If caught violating this new ordinance, the fine is a big one: 6 points on driver’s license and a $500 fine. Here are the pertinent points to know regarding AMC 9.28.055(E)(1):

  • This law is in effect 6am – 9pm seven days a week, 365 days a year.
  • This law applies to all signed school zones where the speed limit is 25 mph.
  • This law applies to all school zones where there are temporary speed reductions to 20 mph or less (the school zones with the yellow flashing lights).
  • This law does NOT apply to vehicles that are stopped (ex: parked in a school parking lot) or if the mobile device is being used hands-free.
  • If a person in violation of this ordinance also causes a collision that results in injury or death, the penalty for this ordinance becomes a misdemeanor.

The District has also created an information page on the ASD Family Involvement webpage that provides more details.

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