The Morris Minute

January 2020

Welcome to The Morris Minute!

This is the place to find updates for staff, parents, and families of Morris Elementary. Thank you for checking it out!

A Note from Mr. Anderson

Hello Morris Families!

2020 has arrived! It is incredible to think that out loud for me. That means I will be completing my 19th year in education, which is something I never thought would happen when I set off for college. I am pretty sure I chose wisely as I would make a terrible accountant, not to mention, what five year old needs one of those anyway? It is incredibly easy for me to say that I would miss the opportunities I get on a daily basis to work with kids. (And our kids are pretty darn awesome!)

Mrs. Sanger, our Dean of Students, challenged me quite some time ago to find my word to focus on for the year. I chose trust. I will be very honest, it was hard to choose just one because I felt that there were so many that I could focus on for improvement. I focused on trust more for me, and my ways of doing things and how I work with people, not trusting others. Educators have to make hundreds of decisions on a daily basis and we often bog ourselves down with thoughts and "what-ifs" while we think through our decisions. I chose trust because I can overthink things with the best of them!

I would challenge all of you to find a word that you could focus on throughout 2020 that is personal to you. It can be something for work, outside of work, home, kids, friendship, etc. The premise of this is if you narrow your focus to one area, you'll improve it and make it a habit. It isn't easy! Like I referenced last year in this very newsletter, I am awesome at failing at New Year's Resolutions! Pick a word and run with it! Share your word! Tell me if you see me what your word is! I would love to hear it! (Disclaimer: I am not trying to make you do something you don't want to do. You may be thinking, "Why is Mr. Anderson rambling on about this stuff? Isn't a bit personal?" YES! I want to commit to my word and be better for all of our kids and stakeholders!)

Whew! I got that off my chest and now on to school matters. I am beyond proud of the work our staff does building relationships with students on a daily basis. It is the most important thing we do. With our youngest of learners it is imperative that they understand they are cared for and cared about before they do the bulk of the early learning. Do we still have to work hard at convincing some students? Yes we do. Please understand that we try very hard at this and it is a process, not an automatic thing.

Before we know it, Spring Conferences will be here and I will see most of you one of the two afternoons at the end of February. Here's to a great start to the new year and I look forward to seeing all those smiling Morris Jay faces on January 2nd!



Important Dates to Remember

December 23-January 1 - Winter Break

January 2 - Classes Resume

January 6 - 2pm Dismissal

January 9 - 6:30pm PTO Meeting - Morris Library

January 13 - 2pm Dismissal

January 13 - Preschool Lottery Registration opens

January 16 - K-2 Dance Clinic Registrations Due (please see community page for info)

January 17 - Progress Reports sent home

January 20 - 2pm Dismissal

January 25 - K-2 Dance Clinic

January 29 - Tentative 100th Day of School (pending any snow days)

January 30 - 5pm Preschool Family Fun Night

January 27 - 2pm Dismissal

February 3 - 2pm Dismissal

Want to see the entire year? Click HERE!

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Zones of Regulation

During the 2019-2020 school year at Morris Elementary, your child has continued to learn about the Zones of Regulation! This curriculum was introduced to Morris students last year through classroom guidance lessons, and this year instruction has continued during classroom morning meetings. If you hear your child talk about what zone they are in, or “being in the blue/green/yellow/red zone” they are talking about how they are learning to self-regulate. Below is a brief explanation of what the Zones of Regulation are all about.

Self-regulation is something everyone continually works on, whether we are cognizant of it or not. We all encounter trying circumstances that test our limits from time to time. If we are able to recognize when we are becoming less regulated, we are able to do something about it to feel better and get ourselves to a better place. This comes naturally for some, but for others it is a skill that needs to be taught and practiced. This is the goal of The Zones of Regulation (or Zones for short).

What are The Zones of Regulation?

The Zones is a systematic, cognitive behavior approach used to teach self-regulation by categorizing all the different ways we feel and states of alertness we experience into four concrete zones. The Zones curriculum provides strategies to teach students to become more aware of, and independent in controlling their emotions and impulses, managing their sensory needs, and improving their ability to problem solve conflicts.

The Red Zone is used to describe extremely heightened states of alertness and intense emotions. A person may be elated or experiencing anger, rage, explosive behavior, devastation, or terror when in the Red Zone.

The Yellow Zone is also used to describe a heightened state of alertness and elevated emotions; however, one has some control when they are in the Yellow Zone. A person may be experiencing stress, frustration, anxiety, excitement, silliness, the wiggles, or nervousness when in the Yellow Zone.

The Green Zone is used to describe a calm state of alertness. A person may be described as happy, focused, content, or ready to learn when in the Green Zone. This is the zone where optimal learning occurs.

The Blue Zone is used to describe low states of alertness and down feelings, such as when one feels sad, tired, sick, or bored.

The Zones can be compared to traffic signs. When given a green light or in the Green Zone, one is “good to go”. A yellow sign means be aware or take caution, which applies to the Yellow Zone. A red light or stop sign means stop, and when one is the Red Zone, this often is the case. The Blue Zone can be compared to the rest area signs where one goes to rest or re-energize. All of the zones are expected at one time or another, but the curriculum focuses on teaching students how to manage their Zone based on the environment and people around them.

(Information from:

If you have any questions about the Zones of Regulation, please contact Mrs. Barber at

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Morris Yearbooks

Please click the following link to place your yearbook order.


Food & Nutrition Facebook Page

The district has created a new Facebook page specific to our food and nutrition program. We encourage you to like the Bondurant- Farrar Food & Nutrition Facebook page to get updates on menu items, school nutrition requirements and photos of food and fun happening in our food service program!

Backpack Program

Once again, we are excited to partner with the Food Bank of Iowa to provide nutritious weekend snacks to low-income families with elementary-aged students. If you are in need or know of a family who may benefit from this program, please call Sam Kluesner at 515-967-7494 or email her at For more information regarding The BackPack Program, please click here.

Lunch Menus

Current lunch menus are always available on the website - if you hover over the little milk carton on the right side of the main page, you can find the breakfast and lunch menus for the month.

Reminder: You can apply for Free/Reduced Price Meals anytime during the school year, even if you have been turned down before & your circumstances have changed. You can find the 2018-2019 Iowa Application for Free & Reduced Price School Meals on the school website under Departments and Food Services. You can also pick up a hard copy in any building office or contact Karen Miller at and request to have one mailed to you.

Lunch Times

Be sure to check with your child's teacher for their exact lunch time. Each grade has two overlapping shifts. While the rest of the schedule adjusts slightly on our Monday early out schedule, the lunch schedule remains the same.

2nd: 10:55-11:20 & 11:10-11:35

1st: 11:30-12 & 11:45-12:15

Kindergarten: 12:10-12:35 & 12:25-12:50

Community Link

Be sure to check the Community Page on the District home page often for new and exciting things happening around town. It is updated almost daily. (Please note the Bondurant Children's Chorus has an error on the page - it will be $40 a month to participate, and is open for children in grades 2-8.)

Please click HERE to go to the page.

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Box Tops For Education

Box Tops made the switch to the app over the summer! A few products still have the actual Box Top on them, and if you have some of those, they are still accepting them until their expiration date, so keep clipping and sending them in! However, most new products now will just have the Box Tops logo and you'll need to have the Box Tops for Education app to give our library credit. It's a quick, simple process--I just did it myself to see! When you download the app, it'll ask what school you're collecting for. You'll need to type Anderson Elementary, whether your child attends Morris or Anderson, because our school account was set up before Morris existed. Anderson and Morris libraries split the proceeds equally each year. There are LOTS of Anderson Elementary Schools around the country, so be sure to find ours. When you've downloaded the app, you'll just need to scan your receipts each time you shop. It keeps a running tally of the money we've collected so far. Box Tops have made a huge impact on the number of books we get for our libraries each year, so your time and effort in getting the app and scanning receipts does make a difference. Thanks so much!

Mrs. Barnett, Elementary Librarian

Wish List

We have had several requests for a list of what teachers and staff might like. Click HERE to see a compiled list.
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Traffic Patterns

Please be sure to familiarize yourself with the drop off and pick up map so you are aware which lot you will need to use. If you need a Color coded sign, please let Jen or your teacher know and we can send a sign home for you with your student.

A few notes from Ms. Jen

We've wrapped up another calendar year, and just as we wrap up all of those holiday presents to make them look pretty, our year has been pretty amazing if we sit back and take a look at it. We added almost 200 students and 22 more staff since last year. Our new wing and new gym opened (not without their little issues, but hey, we can always make it work.) :) Our staff continue to do incredible things everyday with our students - and we all celebrate the small victories we see as they happen.

Personally, this has been a year of change as well - I decided to take some time for myself and step down from a few of the volunteer activities that occupied so much of my time, and starting January 1, those commitments will be fewer and farther between, which should help my sanity and my blood pressure - both of which needed a little help this year. :) My daughter continues to amaze me with her vocal talents, her bravery in stepping outside her comfort zone, and the pure joy I see in her face when she is on stage. So I plan to enjoy being her number fan for as long as I can do so, and hope you are all enjoying watching your children do whatever it is that brings them joy as well.

We also added a puppy into our household at the beginning of December, so our house is a bit of an adventure at the moment. I would prefer the adventure not happen at 4:15 every morning, but we are getting there. :) I have really enjoyed our warm temps over break - I LOVE not having to bundle up to take her out 18 times a day, but know the cold will return and I will be back to layering up to head outside. I hope you all found some time to enjoy the outdoors this past week too.

I am looking forward to getting back into the routine of the school day when school starts back up on January 2 - I know our kids really need that set schedule and routine to feel less anxious and more confidant in their abilities too. Hope you all have found some peace and quiet in the craziness that happens during winter break. We'll see you back here soon! Remember that you can always find our academic year calendars on the District website so you know what days we have early outs, conferences, etc. Be sure to read those emails and updates sent out by me, Mrs. Barber, Mrs. Barnett, and your child's teacher - there are always so many things going on, it's a great way to stay informed!

2019 was a great year for Morris Elementary - let's make sure 2020 will be even better! See you soon!


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