The Belle Ringer

Belle River Elementary School - September 2015

What Is Kagan?

Belle River is Implementing Cooperative Learning!

We are excited to share with you a wonderful approach to teaching and learning that we will be using in our classrooms this year. The approach is called Kagan Structures. Kagan Structures are highly interactive learning strategies that involve students working cooperatively in pairs and in teams to master academic curriculum.

Kagan Structures are scientifically research based instructional strategies that produce a wide range of positive outcomes including:

  • Increased achievement for all groups of students
  • Improved social skills and student relations
  • Decreased discipline referrals
  • Higher self-esteem among students
  • Increased liking for school, class, teacher, and content.

Kagan Structures result in so many positive benefits because they create a greater degree of active engagement by all students than traditional teaching. For example, instead of calling on one student at a time to respond to classroom questions, teachers will have students respond in pairs, each taking a turn to share. This way everyone participates much more. Everyone is more engaged and everyone learns more.

Instead of practicing worksheet work alone, students work with a partner. Partners have roles so everyone participates, everyone has a supportive coach, and everyone gets immediate feedback. By talking aloud with a partner, students develop deeper thinking on the topic, it becomes more memorable, and they can hear how their classmates think. By structuring learning to be cooperative, students develop cooperation skills, communication skills, and teamwork skills. This results in a safer learning environment, kinder and caring students, and less time off task for me dealing with discipline issues.

For teamwork, teachers won’t just tell students to, “work in your teams.” Unstructured group work often results in some students doing most the work and some doing little to none. At Belle River, we want to every student actively engaged. Kagan’s highly structured strategies ensure every student is actively participating. Students love this approach because they are more active, get to move, talk, and work together. It’s just a more fun and more interactive way to learn. When polled, students prefer the Kagan methods to traditional methods 12 to 1!

We are enthusiastic to offer your students this wonderful opportunity to work together to improve learning and develop essential social skills.

Safety and Security

The Belle River staff is committed to providing for the safety of our students. The following information will help you help us with safety and security at school.

  • All building doors are locked with the exception of one of the front doors. Please enter the building through this door and register in the office.
  • Parents and visitors need to sign in at the office and pick up a visitor's pass to wear in the building. Please sign out when you leave.
  • Student may enter the building at 8:30 a.m. Because supervision is not available, please do not drop your child off early. Latchkey is available if your child needs to arrive earlier than 8:30 a.m.
  • If you pick up your child at the end of the day, please come into the office and sign your child out. We ask that you do this each time you pick your child up. For safety reasons, we need to know how our students are transported.
  • We ask our parents to wait in the lobby for the children to be dismissed at the end of the day.
  • Only people listed on your child's emergency card will be able to check your child from the building. If additional names need to be added, please come into the office and add them to the emergency card.
  • If your child is to be picked up by one of the people on the emergency card, please send a note to the teacher or office to indicate your plans.
  • If your child is going home with a friend on the bus or in a car, the school office must have notes from both the sending and receiving parents. Students may only ride home with a friend on a bus if it is their current assigned bus.

Use Skyward to Access Your Student's Information

Using a secure Login ID and password, you can login to Skyward Family Access and view your students’ data, such as progress reports, attendance records, report cards, transcripts, lunch information and more. Your one login to Family Access allows you to view data on all your enrolled students in the district, even if there are multiple school sites.
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Attendance Reminders

Your child's attendance and on-time arrival at school is important to us. Parents/guardians must report their child's absence on the school attendance line before 9:00 a.m. each day their child is absent from school. The attendance line is 810-676-1166. Records are kept of all absences and tardies. Parents will receive written notifications when their child is absent 5, 10, and 15 days or if the child has excessive tardies. The St. Clair County Truancy Officer may be contacted when a student has excessive absences or a pattern of poor attendance. Parents/guardians should save physician appointment receipts and other documentation should a student's attendance be questioned.
Elementary School Handbook

This is a link to the East China School District Elementary Handbook. The handbook is a reference to answer commonly asked questions that arise during the school year.

Birthday Recognitions

Students recognizing birthdays during the school year often wish to share a treat with classmates. Please check with your child's teacher prior to sending birthday or holiday treats to school and be aware of any allergies or dietary concerns. Treats should be kept simple and should be easily served by your child. Non-edible treats such as pencils, erasers, and stickers are also an excellent idea.
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Students Who Completed the "Chews to Read" Summer Challenge

Belle River is a Title I School

Belle River is a Title I School. Our Title I status allows us to provide interventions for students who are not performing at grade level. We continually search for ways to help students learn. Belle River receives funds from the United States government under Title I, Part A. If you have any questions regarding the Title I program, please contact us at 810.676.1150.

Backpack Food Program

The "Friday Food for Kids" program provides children in need with a backpack of nutritious food to eat over the weekend. They receive a food-filled backpack on Friday, return the backpack on Monday to be refilled, and the backpack is returned to them the following Friday. If your child qualifies for free and reduced lunches, they qualify for the Backpack Program. Please fill out the form that was included in your child's enrollment packet.

Free and Reduced Lunches

Your child may qualify for free meals or reduced price meals. Please complete the Free and Reduced Lunch application that was included in your child's enrollment packet or contact the office for a new application. The district web site also has a link to the application and detailed information about its completion.