Monroe Newsletter

The Latest from Monroe Elementary

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October 2016

PLC- 2 Hour Late Start-October 11, 2016

On the second Tuesday of every month the teachers meet for a Professional Learning Community Meeting. Buses will run 2 hours late on late start days. Monroe School will begin at 10:00 AM, rather than 8:00 AM on these days. To accommodate parents that need childcare on late start days, we will provide supervision beginning at 7:40 AM for students needing this service. However, parents MUST complete the online form to sign your child up. There will be no charge but it is very important that we have an accurate count of students arriving early to plan for adequate adult supervision. You will be asked to complete a registration form for each month. This is the link for the October 11th PLC Sign up- Activities for students during this time may include such things as homework help, quiet reading time, and story time. Breakfast will be available serving from 7:40-7:50 AM.

**If you sign your child up and they DO NOT come, we ask that you CALL THE SCHOOL by 8:00 AM that morning as we WILL be taking attendance.

Children not needing childcare on the late start days should arrive at school between 9:40 and 9:50, with the tardy bell going at 10:00 AM.

Late Start Dates: The second Tuesday of Every Month

  • October 11
  • November 8
  • December 13
  • January 10
  • February 14
  • March 14
  • April 11
  • May 9
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Vision & Hearing Screening

Vision & Hearing Screening

Vision and hearing screening will be done on Tuesday, October 18. Grades to be screened for vision are 1st, 3rd, 4th, and 5th. Hearing screening is done on Grades 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 5th. If your child has a shunt or implant device please contact the health assistant at 207-5657.

Minnesota Educator Academy (MEA)

There will be NO School on Thursday and Friday, October 20 & 21. Teachers can participate in a state level professional meeting on these days.

Calling in an Absence: 207-5657

If your child is going to be absent please call the Health Assistant at 207-5657.

Student Drop Off

Please, DO NOT drop off or pickup your students in the Monroe staff parking lot. This is a very busy lot and cars and delivery trucks need the space to arrive and leave in a timely manner. Children should NOT be in the parking lot at any time.

Fall Conferences

Grades K-5 Conferences have been scheduled for:

  • Tuesday, November 15 - 3:30-8:00
  • Thursday, November 17 - 3:30-8:00
  • Monday, November 21 - 3:30-8:00

You will be able to sign up on line for conference times as we get closer to the dates. Be watching for the shout out with the attached link.

Students in grades K-5 WILL have school on Monday, November 21. They will NOT have school from Tuesday, November 22-November 25. School will resume on Monday, November 28.

~Coming Soon~

10/7 History Fest

10/11 PLC 2-Hour Late Start

10/13 Fire Prevention Safety

10/17 Picture Re-Takes

10/17 PTO Meeting 6:30

10/18 Vision & Hearing Screening

10/21 No School

10/22 No School

10/24 McEducator Night- 4th Grade

~From the Principal~

Hello from the Monroe Office!

I hope that this newsletter finds you and your family doing well. We are off to a great start this year as we establish routines, procedures, and talk about how we show our Monroe PRIDE. As the air turns cooler and the days shorten, we know you will have more time inside with your family. We ask you to support your student a few minutes everyday by reading together, asking them to read aloud to you, and/or asking them questions about the book they are reading.

Last year, through the Thoughtexchange process, we asked parents, staff, and community members about how things were going at Monroe and throughout our district. The full results came out in the Spring and we held a meeting at the school to discuss the outcomes from that survey. (You can see Monroe’s full results at

and then scrolling to the bottom)

A few items received more attention than others.

First, combined with concerns for lack of active time during the day, the length of recess and lunch was brought up. We value the seat time students have in school, engaged in their education. We also believe that students need to get up and move. We feel that we do this well. Many of our teachers take active breaks throughout the day. From singing/dancing to moving around the room to extra recess time, all of our students have time apart from their lunchtime recess to be active. If you would like to know the specifics of your child’s class, speak with their teacher. Last year, with the increase of feedback that students were not taking their time to eat and wasting food, we began keeping students seated in the cafeteria until dismissed. We immediately saw less food waste, increased social conversations (yes, increased volume too) and plenty of time to eat and play. On average, students are dismissed after about 10 minutes of eating and then have 20 minutes left to be outside. If students need more time to eat, they are provided that time and then head outside when they are finished. We thought this worked well and have begun this year with the same procedures.

Another concern that came up was class sizes. We currently have 4 sections in Kindergarten-3rd Grade and 3 sections in 4th and 5th Grades. Our upper grade class sizes have been around 30 per class the last few years. There are a number of ways that we create smaller learning groups. Through WIN (What I Need) time, small group reading, small group math, and other interventions all our students have times throughout their day that they are learning directly (with an excellent educator) in smaller sizes. Research done on the biggest impacts on student learning ranks class size way down the list (over 100 other factors rank above it). At the top of the list (and what we do well) includes teachers’ understanding of individual student achievement, teachers’ confidence in their ability to promote students’ learning, and Response to Intervention (our WIN time). Read more at

Finally, we heard concerns about an overload of Tuesday folder and other information coming home. We are trying to streamline information that comes home from Monroe this year. The main way we will do that is to send home information electronically. This monthly newsletter, our weekly Tuesday Folder information, and other announcements and reminders from the office will all go home in electronic formats. To make sure you receive information in a timely manner, please make sure to keep your contact information up to date through the Parent Portal. If you have not yet signed up to get onto the Parent Portal, see Mara or Mary in the office.

Do not hesitate to reach out to teachers or myself if you would want to talk about these items or anything else to do with your student(s) at Monroe. Have a great October!

Steve Johanson

~Special's Corner~

From the Media Room

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From the Music Room

Hello from the Music classroom! My name is Kathy Hopf and I am looking forward to working with Monroe students during the 2016/17 school year. I see all students at Monroe K-5, and it is very exciting to see their progress from year to year!

Here is a quick comment about each classes activities in the month of September:

Kindergarten - Students are exploring their speaking/whisper/shouting/singing voices and working hard to move and play to the “steady” beat!

First Grade - Students are just beginning to work with solfege (SM) in their singing to recognize the different pitches in their songs. In rhythm activities, we are preparing to read the “quarter” note and rest.

Second Grade - Students have reviewed the quarter note/rest and paired eighth notes and are preparing the “half” note and rest. They have sung several songs using SML patterns and are beginning to study how they are written on the “music staff”.

Third Grade - Third Grades have reviewed the pentatonic scale (LSMRD) and have begun to work with harmony in rounds and vocal/instrumental ostinatos.

Fourth Grade - Students just received their recorders this week and are so excited to play! Get ready for that sound at home! They have reviewed their note/rest values and treble clef note reading in preparation for our recorder unit. We have also been discussing syncopation in our 4th Grade songs and touched on World Drumming.

Fifth Grade - Students have reviewed the solfege pitches of the major scale, Orff instrumentation, and harmony in our singing activities. They have reviewed whole, half, quarter, eighth, sixteenth notes and rests along with dotted notation in preparation for their recorder unit.

We are looking forward to sharing our expanded range on the recorder during the holiday concert in December.

From the Art Room

S-more Art corner!

Welcome back to school all you creative friends! Art class has been busy cleaning house and enjoying the new art floor. Students have been busy making there art folders and reviewing art concepts this last month. Art is an extension of ourselves, so lets share what we know and create how we feel.

From the Gym.

~News From the PTO~

PTO Minutes

Monroe Elementary PTO

Meeting Minutes

September 19, 2016

Meeting was called to order at approximately 6 p.m. by Jackie Murray, PTO co-chair.

Welcome and introductions were done by all present.

Secretary’s Report – Wendy Keenan, as acting secretary, presented the minutes from the summer officer’s meeting held on August 9, 2016. Jillian Smith made a motion to approve the secretary’s report. The motion was seconded by Jackie Murray.

Treasurer’s Report – Jillian Smith, treasurer, presented the treasurer’s report from the time of our last meeting in May 2016 to present. Discussion was had regarding the trees on the playground. Two very large trees had to be removed due to safety concerns. This was the last year the trees were in the PTO budget. Wendy Keenan made a motion to add trees back into the budget for the next three years. The motion was seconded by Jackie Murray. Darcy Roll made a motion to accept the treasurer’s report. The motion was seconded by CariLandwer.

Principal’s Report – Steve Johanson, Monroe Principal, provided the following:

· We are off to a great start at Monroe!

· Late starts on the magnet calendar are wrong. Mara is working on getting everything updated so parents will know the correct dates.

· Rose Vos has agreed to continue as box tops chair and do kindergarten round up.

· School clothing order will go out tomorrow and sizes will be available to see/try on at open house

· We need a Monroe representative for the World’s Best Workforce. It is an advisory team that meets 1-2 times a year. If you are interested or have questions, contact Mr. Johanson.

· Of our 530 students, 477 of them are signed up for the snack cart. There is full access for all who want it.

Teacher’s Requests – Mr. Johanson spoke on behalf of a 5th grade teacher, a 4th grade teacher, and a 3rd grade teacher regarding Accelerated Reader (AR). AR is no longer considered a “best practice,” and the district is no longer paying for any schools in the district to use it. They are paying for MyON reader and there is a testing component to it. However, there are significantly fewer selections with this than there is with AR. There are 3 teachers at Monroe who want to continue to use it for this school year so they have time to update their curriculum next summer. This would impact approximately 160 students (the 5th grade teacher uses it for all of the 5th graders) and the cost would be $2,087. Mr. Johanson would agree to use his $500 of principal discretionary funds for this purchase, bringing the unbudgeted cost to $1,587. Jillian Smith made a motion to approve this unbudgeted expenditure for AR. The motion was seconded by Darcy Roll. Vote was all in favor with 1 parent abstaining. Motion passed.

Committee Reports

· Open house – Wendy Keenan said we are set. Juice is being donated by McDonalds as well as the cups and use of the coolers. Cookies request was made to just K and 1st grade families this year as we always seem to have a lot leftover. Culvers will be in the cafeteria selling sundaes for $2 each. They would like a volunteer to help. We are short some volunteers for the book fair, and Alysha Smook would like someone at the school clothing table. If Wendy has enough volunteers, she will send someone over to Culvers and/or school clothing.

· Fall fundraiser – Shannon Anderson gave a quick update on the fall fundraiser. Things seem to be going well. Too early to tell how it compares to prior years as nothing has been logged yet.

· Campus upgrades – Discussed how we are going to use our fundraiser money through campus upgrades. Some ideas that were thrown out included water bottle fillers on the drinking fountains, security cameras on the playground, and possibly something for the teacher’s lounge. Mr. Johanson said he has suggestions from teachers, but didn’t have the list with him. He will bring it to the October meeting and we will discuss further then. Parents and teachers should bring ideas to the next PTO meeting. If you can’t make the meeting and want to bring forward an idea, email it to the PTO officers at

· Open positions – We need a secretary. The primary responsibility would be to attend meetings and take the minutes. Estimated time commitment is 1-2 hours per month. There are several other options available for helping out. Please see attached listing.

· HyVee receipts – The marketing person at HyVee has provided us with a flyer to explain what receipts are eligible. Wendy Keenan will make sure to include that in a future Tuesday folder. A question was raised about electronic receipts. Wendy wasn’t sure, so she will follow up and report back.


· Box tops contest winner – you had to be present to win and no one who was present had put in a guess, so we will save the giftcard for something else.

· Level 3 Offender Report – Discussion was had regarding the offender who had briefly moved into the “Monroe area.” He has since moved to Mankato, but this has been a good reminder for all of us to raise awareness with our children about “stranger danger.” Jillian Smith mentioned that she went to the meeting and a police officer said one thing to tell kids is that adults never need help from children. Teachers, paras, playground help, etc. all watch for anything unusual that might be going on, especially when the kids are outside.

· New PTO email – All officers will have access to the emails sent to this address.

· 5th Grade Helpers – We will be sending a note home to 5th grade parents to see if there are any 5th graders who are interested in helping watch younger children during PTO meetings.

· Terracycle – Shannon Anderson presented this as a free way to make money off recycling and garbage. Shannon would be willing to chair this and will bring more information to the next meeting.

· Book Fair at the Children’s Museum – Another possibility to use our fundraising funds would be to “host” events for families. An idea was brought forth to do a Monroe family night at the Children’s Museum this winter and partner it with a book fair. If we do a 3rd book fair during the year, we get more “Scholastic” dollars for the teachers to use to purchase books for their classrooms and the library. Historically, a winter book fair has lower turnout than the others because it isn’t paired with an event. The cost to rent the museum for the evening is $500, which would include free admission to all Monroe students and their immediate families. Everyone seemed in favor of this.

· Treats for our Troops – Jackie Murray presented an idea to have kids bring in excess Halloween candy and send it to the troops serving overseas. Many of us were interested, but want more information on how it works. Jackie will bring more information to the next meeting.

· Ways to help the PTO (without spending more money):

o Box Tops for Education – each one is worth 10 cents

o HyVee receipts – watch for the flyer in an upcoming Tuesday folder

o Milk Moola from Kwik Trip – each milk cap or label is worth 5 cents

o Labels for Education – on a wide variety of products

o All of the collection bins for these items are located in the main entry to the building

· Next meeting is on Monday, October 17 at 6:30 p.m. in the Monroe library. Hope to see you there!

Shannon Anderson made a motion to adjourn. The motion was seconded by Trisha Anderson.

~Tuesday Folder~

~School Menus~

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