FROM THE PRINCIPAL
To say I am surprised that it’s already February is an understatement – I find myself wondering where the school year is going and wishing for it to slow down. Students are excelling in so many areas – from becoming readers to mathematicians to solidifying friendships with peers – the growth is exponential. It’s also important to recognize the social-emotional growth that your child has made since the beginning of the year. At school, we embrace the Social-Emotional Learning Competencies to ensure we are teaching the whole child.
The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) describes “social and emotional learning (SEL) as an integral part of education and human development. SEL is the process through which all young people and adults acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions and achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions.” These competencies are organized through the following five principles:
- Responsible decision-making
- Relationship skills
- Social awareness
These competencies are integrated through many aspects of your child’s school day, including our morning community meetings. At home, and as outlined below, there are many ways to build these competencies into your daily interactions to further support your child’s social-emotional health.
Self-awareness - Ask the following questions:
- How did you feel today?
- Were there times in your day when you felt happy or excited?
- Were there times in your day when you felt nervous or afraid?
- If you feel afraid or nervous, what do you do?
Self-management - Consider working with your child to set goals for activities:
- Let’s try to go to the playground at least three times each week!
- When we read tonight, let’s read for at least 20 minutes.
Responsible Decision-Making - Model these for your child and include them in the process:
- I am feeling tired. I am going to relax and recharge so I feel rested in the morning. What will you do tonight so you feel rested tomorrow?
Relationship Skills - Consider the following ideas:
- I noticed we had a hard time at the dinner table tonight because everyone was talking over each other. What do you think we could do differently so we all get a chance to talk and ask questions?
Social Awareness - Ask the following questions:
- I can see you are feeling nervous. When I feel nervous, I take a couple of deep breaths.
- I can see that girl is sad that the other kids aren’t including her. When we play together, let’s make sure we ask those around us to join.
This past week, K-3 students celebrated Kindness Week connected to the national program, The Great Kindness Challenge. Students had an opportunity to practice some of these CASEL competencies. As we move through the remainder of the year, classroom teachers, in tandem with our school counselor, will continue to focus on these skills.
Families make a difference, and your support in promoting our whole child approach is most appreciated! Thank you for your continued support in making our school year a success. Every day, I reflect on how fortunate I truly am to be part of such a loving, committed and thoughtful community. Please don’t hesitate to reach out should you have any questions.
Stay safe and healthy,
Principal: Brenna Farrell | email@example.com
Secretary: Amber Kash | Amber_Kash@westiron.monroe.edu
Main office: 585-336-1610
Health Office: 585-336-1618
· Nurse: Lisa Marrapese
District Office: 585-342-5500 | District website: westirondequoit.org
- 2/2: Instrumental Music meeting (3rd game families only)
- 2/3: Report Cards available in IC for grades K-3 (Click here to go to the portal)
- 2/5: Polar Plunge (details on district participation or SIGN UP!)
- 2/16: PTSA Ice Cream Social: 6:00 pm
- 2/16: Parent Principal Coffee: 9:30 am
- 2/20-2/24: NO SCHOOL- Winter Recess
- 3/9: Kindergarten Orientation for 2023-24: 7:00 pm
- 3/22-24 PTSA Book Fair
- 3/23: Open House & PTSA Book Fair: 6:30 pm
- 3/31: NO SCHOOL- K-12 Conference Day
FULL CALENDAR: westirondequoit.org/briarwood_school
LIBRARIAN HEADED TO THE IDITAROD
West Irondequoit K-3 librarian, Mrs. Julianna Westrich, is headed to the Iditarod sled dog race next month and she has become a Rochester media darling the past two weeks! Mrs. Westrich has appeared on multiple TV stations promoting her trip to Alaska as the nation’s only “Teacher On The Trail.” There are links below to watch. She went for nine days last year to “try out” with two other educators and earned the spot for this year. Mrs. Westrich incorporates the Iditarod into lessons for our students in many ways. To learn more, watch a news story below or read Mrs. Westrich’s Iditarod Journal, which she has been doing for months, and will have updates during the race, click here. It starts March 3 and lasts a couple weeks.
· Channel 8 story
· Channel 13 story
KIDS HEART CHALLENGE
Students in physical education classes will again in February do the Kids Heart Challenge, a national fundraiser by the American Heart Association (AHA). Teachers will explain how students can earn prizes such as wristbands, T-Shirts, jump ropes, playground balls and more. Students will be bringing home flyers about this. Participation in the fundraising aspect is optional, but most important: Students will learn facts how to keep your heart healthy. This will happen through class discussion and activities, such as jump rope and dance. To learn more about the Challenge or download the app, go to heart.org/khc and type in your elementary school name. Click on the PDF below to learn more about the program and prizes! In addition, the last two days before Winter Recess, there will be a culminating event in each class that promotes strengthening the heart.
GRADE 3 MUSIC INFO NIGHT IS FEB. 2ND
Third-grade families are invited to an important informational meeting about starting in our instrumental music program! It’s scheduled for 7 PM Thursday, Feb. 2 at IHS and is for students and parents/guardians of incoming 4th-graders in 2023-24. For more details, click the link: smore.com/5b1r0. You will hear special short performances on 2/2 by the IHS Wind Ensemble and Philharmonic Orchestra. This is the start of child’s musical journey in West Irondequoit, named one of the "Best Communities for Music Education in America for 15 straight years!
CELEBRATING BLACK HISTORY MONTH
In honor of Black History month, our school and district will be celebrating through a variety of activities and learning experiences. Our goal is to increase student awareness and appreciation for the many important contributions of Black and African-American communities to our rich history and modern culture. We hope many of our students will also find opportunities to celebrate their own connections and identities. Look for some great examples of these experiences and celebrations through our district's social media pages and website!
INTERVENTION AND FLUENCY
Math fact fluency is an important predictor of future success in mathematics across a students’ school and college career. As such it has been an important aspect of mathematics learning that we assess in K-6. But how do we define fluency and how can we measure it most effectively? This very question has been an important focus of the K-6 math intervention team.
The National Council for Teachers of Mathematics explains that students who are fluent can choose flexibility among methods and strategies to solve contextual and mathematical problems, they understand and are able to explain their approaches, and they are able to procure accurate answers efficiently NCTM (2014, p.42).
Based on this understanding, intervention teachers have been developing new tools that we can use to measure and monitor progress toward fluency goals, beyond the traditional timed tests. The thinking is that to better understand students’ levels of fluency we need to be able to make their thinking visible. To that end, teachers have collaborated to use strategies such as math interviews to get students to better articulate their thinking both verbally and in writing. As this work progresses, we hope to emerge with systemic and sustainable ways to teach and measure student progress toward fluency in the classroom.
As you may already know, our K-6 math resources are due for an update. At the start of the school year we assembled a committee of passionate K-6 math classroom teachers and interventionists. We are currently going through a rigorous process to explore and pilot a potential new resource that meets our needs. We are looking for a resource that:
- Is currently used/implemented successfully in comparable districts
- Has research support for instructional approach and proven results
- Addresses the NYS Math Learning Standards
- Sequentially builds learning over time and across years
- Aligns to West Irondequoit instruction and learning principles
- Is highly engaging
- Teaches thinking skills
- Provides options for student accessibility and intervention
- Is accessible to teachers
- Includes digital support or access to digital tools that can be used to for instruction and assessment
Our committee has already narrowed the search to two resources that meet our criteria and we are officially entering the pilot phase. Teachers will be implementing materials from both resources throughout the next few months and using what we learn to make a recommendation. We are truly excited for the possibilities and can’t wait to share the results, so stay tuned!
-- Dr. Orlando Marrero, K-12 Director of STEAM
LOOK WHAT'S HAPPENING AT BRIARWOOD
GREAT KINDNESS CHALLENGE
DRESS WARMLY FOR RECESS!
Parents/guardians: Please note that all students will go outdoors for recess as long as the temperature and wind-chill are 20 degrees or warmer. Students will need to wear hats, mittens or gloves, boots and snow pants to play in the snow. Students lacking proper clothing will still go outdoors but will remain on the sidewalk with limited play. Please remember to send appropriate outside play clothing in everyday.
Report cards for K–3rd Grade will be available on the Parent Portal this Friday, February 3rd.
Click here to go to the portal.
PLEASE UPDATE EMERGENCY CONTACT INFO
· Have a new cell phone number or email address?
· Have a new work phone number?
· Need to update your emergency contacts?
Be sure to keep your child's school informed of any changes to your phone numbers or emergency contact information. Update info directly on the Parent Portal, or send in a note with your child.