Steere Farm Elementary Update

March 2023 Edition

From the Desk of Mrs. Francis

I hope everyone had a nice February break! Spring is almost upon us despite the recent snow day!

Our state testing window for RICAS (RI Comprehensive Assessment System) and NGSA (RI Next Generation Science Assessment) begins in April. Students in grades 3-5 will take an ELA and math assessment and students in grade 5 will take the NGSA. More information will be sent home to families prior to testing. Please note the following testing dates have been scheduled:

  • ELA: April 20-21

  • Math: May 11-12

  • NGSA (Gr. 5 only): May 22-23

Lastly, our staff would like to take the opportunity to stress the importance of reading at home. The reasoning is simple; the more students read, the more they achieve. In “one of the most extensive studies of independent reading yet conducted,” Anderson, Wilson, and Fielding (1988) traced reading growth to independent reading and reading volume. They found that the amount of time students spent in independent reading outside of school was the best predictor of reading achievement. I hope the article below is helpful to support at home reading!

Thank you for your ongoing support.

Warm regards,

Courtney Francis

Read Across America Day!


The National Education Association annually sponsors Read Across America. The focus is on how important it is to motivate children to read, in addition to helping them master basic skills. The nationwide reading celebration takes place each year on or near March 2, the birthday of children's author Dr. Seuss. Thousands of schools, libraries and community centers participate by bringing together kids and books. You can too!

Your reading event can be as simple or elaborate as time and inclination allow. Whether you choose to scale up or down, keep in mind the basic premise and it's almost sure to be a success: On March 2, the National Education Association is calling for every child to be reading in the company of a caring adult.


Your child has started school, but he still needs you to read to him at home. Your child will do better in school, and you'll enjoy the time spent together. Here are helpful tips for reading to and with young children in school, kindergarten through third grade:

• Keep reading to your child even when he can read. Read books that are too difficult or long for him to read alone.

• Try reading books with chapters and talk about what is happening in the story. Encourage your child to make predictions about what will happen next, and connect characters or events to those in other books and stories.

• Talk with your child about reading preferences that are beginning to develop. Ask whether she likes adventure stories, mysteries, science fiction, animal stories, or stories about other children. Encourage her to explain the reasons for preferences.

• Talk with your child about favorite authors and help him find additional books by those authors.

• Take turns reading a story with your child. Don't interrupt to correct mistakes that do not change the meaning.

• Talk about the meaning of new words and ideas introduced in books. Help your child think of examples of new concepts.

• Talk with your child about stories using the notions of the beginning, middle, and end of the story to organize thinking and discussion.

• Ask your child to tell why a character might have taken a specific action. Ask for information from the story to support her answer.

• Enjoy yourself and have fun. The most important thing you can do to help your child become a successful reader is communicate that reading is valuable and enjoyable.


It is critical that your child keeps reading and being read to at this age. Young readers need to become practiced at reading, and the only way to get good at it -- is to practice!

Helpful tips for reading to and with children in grades four through six:

• Take turns reading a book with your child.

• Ask your child to compare a book to another familiar book. How are the characters alike or different? Do the stories take place in similar settings? How are the illustrations the same or different?


Ask what part of the story or book your child liked best and why.

Ask if your child liked the ending of the story. Why or why not?

Ask your child what type of mood the story or chapter in a book creates.

Ask how the author creates the mood. For example, does she use certain words, events, or settings that create a particular feeling? If your child has read more than one book by the same author, ask how the books are similar or different.


March Menus


  • SurveyWorks is a statewide survey sent out annually to students, families, and teachers to hear from Rhode Islanders directly about their experiences in our state's public schools.
  • SurveyWorks will be given to all students in grades 3-12, parents, teachers, support professionals and building administrators.
  • The Rhode Island Family Survey is for all parents to complete. Parents of students receiving special education services will receive a single survey that combines the Rhode Island Family Survey and the Special Education Survey.
  • Our chosen window is February 27th-March 10th.
  • The Rhode Island Family Survey is for all parents to complete. To take the survey, visit: Your feedback is so important to us!
Click here to take the Survey!

*Use the dropdown menu to select Steere Farm!

School Improvement Team Update

Our School Improvement Team (SIT) meeting scheduled for February 28th was rescheduled to March 8th due to the snow day. Please see below for our meeting agenda and minutes.

Outdoor Recess

Students will continue to have outdoor recess, weather permitting. Please ensure your child is dressed for these conditions, and have a coat, hat and gloves in their backpack. When it snows, students who bring in proper gear (snow pants, boots, gloves, etc.) are permitted to play in the snow!

Students of the Month!

Each month SFE recognizes students who have gone above and beyond to show their 3Rs: Respectful, Responsible and Ready to Learn! Students are nominated by their classroom and/or special subject teachers. Take a peek at our February Students of the Month!
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Toodle Tickets continue to be a hit! Students are invited to fill out a Toodle Ticket to give a special shout out to another student who was kind or helpful! At the end of every month, Toodle Tickets are chosen from grades 2-5. These students are then invited to have a special popsicle with Mrs. Francis. Check out the pictures below from our recent Pops with the Principal!
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Teacher of the Month!

Teachers are nominated by students, who were extremely thoughtful about their nominations! Congratulations to Ms. LaFauci our February Teacher of the Month, Students love celebrating a teacher monthly!
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Grade Level Highlights!

Multi Age Classroom: Great Mail Race!

Room 252 has joined The Great Mail Race! We have filled out questionnaires about our classes favorites and things about our state. We sent them out to other special education classrooms in all 50 states! We have received replies so far from 7 states! Can’t wait to see if we can get replies!
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Grade 2: 100th Day & STEM Towers

Second graders celebrated the 100th day of school in style! Check out their creative t-shirt designs! Students have also been completing various STEM and science projects, which require problem solving skills, teamwork, and collaboration. Way to go second graders!
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Grade 3 Mathematicians

Grade 3 recently started our 5th module in math: fractions! Students have been busy with

manipulatives and creating fractions friends!

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Grade 4: Choose Love Movement

Fourth graders continue to benefit from their weekly Choose Love lessons around how to have courage, gratitude, forgiveness and compassion in action.

We also had 5 students who entered the art contest! The Love-in-Action Art Contest challenged students to create artwork that shows how you turn your negative feelings or experiences into positive action. Kudos!
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Grade 5: DJ SFE & Math!

Fifth graders are enjoying their last year with DJ SFE on Friday mornings! Ms. LaFauci class was our latest guests to join the office staff in picking a song and trivia question for the school!

Our students are also working hard on a difficult math concept: conversions! Take a look at those determined faces!

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Kids Heart Challenge

Dear Family,

It’s time for the Kids Heart Challenge! Steere Farm Elementary School is helping the American Heart Association build healthier lives free from cardiovascular diseases and stroke. The Kids Heart Challenge is a community service opportunity designed to help students learn about the importance of making healthy choices to take care of their hearts. Students will also help improve the health and hearts of others by collecting donations in support of the American Heart Association and its research, education and advocacy work right here in Rhode Island and across the country. Our efforts truly make a difference and help save lives.

The Kids Heart Challenge will take place during Physical Education classes February 27th through March 17th. All students in grades 2 through 5 will join in heart healthy activities during our program. We are thankful for your participation. Our school is proud to help the American Heart Association as they are supporting our community in many ways. We understand every family may not be able to donate, however, all students will enjoy and learn from the heart healthy educational experiences that will be shared during our program.

If your family would like to help with a donation, please consider using the American Heart Association’s online donation program. We encourage online fundraising, however, an envelope has been provided for your convenience. Follow these step-by-step directions. You will be able to reach out to friends and family via email or social media to support this cause.

To get started: Go to - Register to participate! (*You may also use your mobile device. Visit your Mobile App store and search: Kids Heart Challenge to download the free app!)

1. Scroll down to “Find Your Student’s School. Select your State and type Steere Farm in the search box.

2. Click the “Search” button and see “Results Matching Your School’s Name.”

3. Click the “Sign Up” button located under your school’s name.

4. Log In – Did you have an account last year? Click “Yes – Log In” or “No – I’m New”

5. If you are “New” - Set your fundraising goal and donate if you wish. Click “Next” and follow the directions to Create a Profile. Click Next and you will be in your student’s webpage.

6. Start Finn’s Mission to begin fundraising and to participate in heart healthy experiences. Simply click the icons found on the treasure map to Heart Health OR scroll down to “Spread the Word” - you are now ready to email family and friends or send personalized e-cards. You may ask for help with donations and encourage others to join you in a Heart Healthy Challenge to Move More and Be Kind.

Please, complete your fundraising no later than March 27, 2023. Online donations through your child’s webpage are encouraged. Check donations made out to the AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION can be submitted using the check scanning option found in the Kids Heart Challenge App. Donation envelopes should be returned to your student’s PE Teacher. Thank you for your support of this fun and worthy event!


Mr. Ambrifi

Physical Education & Health

CitiBlocs STEM Activity with Pow Science

On March 2nd, a Pow!Science! Master Builder brought thousands of precision cut New Zealand Pine building blocks and guided students through a hands on engineering activity. Students worked individually, and in teams, using simple, but amazing versatile, Citiblocs Building Blocks to complete a series of engaging and fun problem-solving tasks. The students loved racing against the clock, and each other, to build the tallest tower in the room!

Special thanks to our PTA for sponsoring a special assembly for our students and to Mrs. Arpin for organizing the event!

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Talent Show!

Mr. Latendresse is getting ready for the Talent Show, which is scheduled for March 31st @ 6:00 p.m.! Auditions will be held on March 27th from 3:15-5:00!

PTA Updates!

PTA Meeting

The March PTA Meeting will be Wednesday, March 8th at 6:30 pm in the SFE library or via Zoom. Please join us, we have so much fun to plan for the second half of the school year!!

Join Zoom Meeting

Spring Paint Party!

SPRING PAINT PARTY at Steere Farm Elementary March 24th 6:00-8:00pm! The cost is $15 per sign and siblings are welcome to attend! Register at WWW.LISTENTOYOURART.NET by March 10th. See flyer for sign options
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Got Sneakers?

Are you or your kids sporting new sneakers? Instead of throwing away your old sneakers, consider donating them to the SFE PTA to be used for the nurse's closet or recycled (based on sizes and conditions). Adult and child sizes will both be accepted! If recycled, $ will be earned back to the PTA to use towards school activities!

Family Skate Night!

Family Skate Night Saturday, March 25th from 5 to 7pm at the Levy Rink. Admission is free with a donation to the backpack program!! Siblings are welcome.

Restaurant Fundraiser Night!

The next restaurant fundraiser will be Thursday, March 30th at Uno in Smithfield.

Someone Special Dance!

The Someone Special Dance will be Friday, May 5th at the Burrillville High School! Stay tuned for more information.

Dates to Remember

March 7th: Student of the Month Parent Ceremony @ 8:25 a.m.

March 8th: School Improvement Team Member @ 3:30 p.m.

March 8th: PTA Meeting @ 6:30 p.m. (SFE Library)

March 15th: End of Trimester

March 16th-17th: Pascoag Utility Presentations in Grade 4

March 20th: High 5 Monday!

March 21st: School Improvement Team @ 3:30 p.m.

March 22nd: Report Cards Available for Families

March 24th: Bwana Iguana Assembly

March 24th: PTA Family Paint Night 6:00-8:00 p.m.

March 27th: Talent Show Audition 3:15-5:00

March 31st: Talent Show @ 6:00 p.m.

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