PSE Weekly Howl

Week of September 27th!

Book Fair - Thank YOU!

Thank YOU to Chelsea Anderson and Lindsay Osterhaus for setting up and tearing down the Book Fari.

Another huge THANK YOU to JILL Hammes for running the book fair solo this year.


No School this Thursday or Friday due to Parent-Teacher Conferences

Greetings from Stacey

I am excited to say we have lots of events coming up.

  • Parent-Teacher Conferences are next week via Zoom. You will get a reminder email from PTC fast with your time and the Zoom link. If you haven't signed up for a conference and still want to, please contact your classroom teacher.

  • We will celebrate Peace Week (Anti-Bullying Week) October 4-8th. We will have information for students on the daily announcements, and lessons to highlight kindness!

  • We are so excited to announce we will be bringing back our Halloween Parade during the school day on Friday, October 29th. Details coming soon!!!!!

Fall Party

We are excited to celebrate our Fall Party this year on Friday, October 29th.

  • Costumes: Students are invited to wear basic costumes to school on Friday, October 29th. Families should work with their students to select costumes that are comfortable for the entire school day as we will NOT be changing into different clothing/costume attire. Students need to be able to use the restroom in their costumes without assistance. Please be advised that students may not wear costumes that contain any type of weapon (real or play) or costumes that are not elementary school appropriate. In addition, we ask that students do not wear face make-up or face disguises as it will interfere with face masks and safety practices. Students will need to wear acceptable masks and face coverings for COVID, just as any other school day.

  • Parade: We look forward to hosting an outdoor costume parade on Friday, October 29th. Information coming soon!

  • Classroom Parties: All students will participate in fall parties with their classroom teacher on Friday, October 29th. Parent volunteers will not be allowed in the building for fall parties as we continue to minimize visitors during the school day and reduce the number of individuals in the building.

Dismissal will occur at the normal time. Please note: If inclement weather occurs, the parade will not be rescheduled.

High School Activities and Athletics

We are excited to have your families come to support our high school activities and athletics. It is great to see the entire community once again at these events. Today, I am reaching out to our parent community to partner with us as we work to encourage positive elementary and middle school behavior at varsity football games.

At this time, we are asking that all elementary and middle school students enter the game with an adult and sit with that adult throughout the game. Please do not drop your child off at a district event without supervision as they will not be allowed to enter. During the first few weeks of the season, we have experienced items being thrown, injuries to students, and bathroom vandalism. With a shorthanded security team, it has been a challenge to monitor. Thanks for your help with these new protocols to make the football games a great experience for all who attend. Hope to see your family taking part in Friday Night Lights.

Matt Ortman

Director of School Administration, Athletics and Activities

Blue Valley School District

Fall Conferences

Conference time is right around the corner!

If you would like to schedule a conference with our Specialists, please email them directly to schedule a conference.

You might notice Mrs. Kavanagh is not listed, she is on maternity leave. We will see her back in January. Congrats, Mrs. Kavanagh.

Zoom Tricks/Tips

  • Locate the Zoom link provided by the teacher.

  • Check your settings, ensure that your video camera is on and you are not muted. You can do an audio and microphone check in advance; this is recommended. Most students are very familiar with the Zoom platform and may be able to offer assistance.

  • If you are having issues connecting, try restarting your device to refresh the settings.

  • Most teachers will utilize the “waiting room” feature. When you join the Zoom meeting and the Waiting Room is being used, you will see a message stating that you are in the waiting room. When the conference before you is finished, the teacher will connect to you. You do not need to do anything; just relax until it’s your turn.

  • Check out these two videos that help you navigate the Zoom platform!

  • Check out this video for helpful information and troubleshooting tips.

Please call the school office if you have any questions. Thank YOU!

PSE Yearbook

Order your 2021-2022 YEARBOOK! It’s an 80-page, hardcover book that makes a fantastic keepsake for your child to remember their time at Prairie Star! Ordering is easy and all online this year from the PTO Website!

We Need Your Pictures! This year's book will include pictures submitted by both teachers and families because of our yearbook team's limited access to the building. We want to see your child and his/her friends so please continue to send us pictures! Currently, we are asking for pictures from Sneak-a-Peek, Back to School, Justice Grove Picnic, Wolf Walk as well as any team sports and extra curricular activities in which your kids participate. You can submit pictures using either of these two easy ways:

  1. Use the Balfour app called “Image Share” to download and upload pictures right from your phone. It’s called ImageShare Balfour, and our project this year is 227759. Problem solving tips: Please make sure your project number is correct (227759). If you have difficulty, uninstall and reinstall the ImageShare App.
  2. Email them to us at full size (you can do this right off your phone!) at

If you have any questions please send to Sally Groesbeck and Abbie Moles at!

Important Dates:


27th-30th-Parent-Teacher Conferences

30th- No School for students


1-No School

7-PTO Board Meeting- 8:30 am

15-Professional Learning Day/Grade Prep

29-Fall Harvest Parties

Literacy Update:

This year, 95% Phonics Core Program is being used to teach the foundational skills of reading in our Kindergarten through 3rd grade classrooms. The program is taught daily as a whole class lesson. During each lesson, your child will receive direct and explicit instruction in:

● Phonological Awareness – the ability to hear and manipulate the spoken parts of words.

Phonological awareness provides a critical foundation for the acquisition of phonics skills

which, in turn, will support accurate and fluent reading of text.

● Phonics – letter and sound connections

● Morphology – basic prefixes/suffixes as appropriate to the grade level

● High-frequency word practice

● Fluency practice and application of phonics skills in a connected text

The 95% spelling lists for 1st-3rd grade coincide with the phonics skills students are learning each week. Students are learning to attach the sounds to the symbols within the same unit of

instruction. This may be a new way of learning to read and spell for you and your child. Please be assured it is grounded in current research and best practice. Spelling will be taught explicitly each week with multiple opportunities for practice. An explanation of the week’s target phonics skill and/or a list of example words will be shared by your child’s teacher so you can support your student’s success with learning the skill.

The approach to teaching spelling through letter-sound relationships is embedded throughout the daily lessons in the classroom. This multisensory approach allows the students to build a variety of connections in the brain and allows for more opportunities to retrieve the knowledge when writing. Each week your child’s mastery will be assessed on the target phonics skill through a written test.

The test will include 7-8 words that follow the target skill (pattern) as

well as 2-3 high-frequency words. High-frequency words are words that your child sees

frequently in their reading and will need to know how to spell in their writing.

As a result of this explicit instruction at school, less time should be needed to practice words at home. The focus of your child’s at-home practice should be on building automaticity with the target skill through activities and questioning NOT memorization. Teachers will communicate if there is a need for further support from home. The following page contains some at-home activities and questions you can utilize to reinforce and extend the learning of the weekly phonics skill. We hope your student can share a few additional practices they are learning at school with you as well.

Read Aloud Time

● Look for the phonics skill in books as you read together.

● Ask your child to make a list of words they identify in the books they read and

then ask them to read the words to you.

Beat the Clock

1. Say 1 word that follows the skill for the week (i.e. bake)

2. Have your child sound out the word and write it

3. Set the timer for 2 minutes and see how many words your child can

write that follow the same skill. (e.g. phonics skill = long a silent-e; cake, lane,

came, grade, take, made, brake, plate…)

Penny Spelling

1. Grab a handful of pennies

2. Say a word with the targeted phonics skill

3. Have your child repeat the word.

4. Ask your child to pull down 1 penny for each sound in the word.

5. Have your child write the letters that spell each sound, writing the whole word.

6. Finally, have your child teach you the rule of the phonics pattern.


Say a word with the targeted phonics skill and ask your child to repeat it. Then, ask them a few of the following questions:

● How many sounds do you hear in the word?

● What is the beginning sound?

● What is the ending sound?

● What is the vowel sound?

● Does the word have our target skill for the week?

● What is the phonics skill we are working on?

● How would you spell the pattern in this word?

● How many syllables does the word have?

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