Falcon Ridge Elementary Newsletter

February 2021

Important Information:

Office/Main Line: 952-758-1600

24/7 Attendance Line: 952-758-1605

FR Nurse: 952-758-1606

Fax: 952-758-1699

Attendance/Absences, Vacations and Pickup Messages

Just a reminder about messages regarding your child(ren):


  • The office needs to be notified about attendance (illness, running late, appointments, etc.), and calls need to be in before 9:10 am on the day that your child(ren) will be absent to be considered excused. The 24-hour attendance line is 952-758-1605.
  • If your child(ren) will be going on vacation (or not at school for any reason), please call (952-758-1605) or send a note prior to them being absent.
  • Pickup (during or at end of day) emails should be sent to the three office assistants: lbisek@isd721.org, nschmitz@isd721.org, and amusil@isd721.org. This way, if any of them have substitutes, at least one person will see it. Sending a note to school or calling the main line (952-758-1600) also works.


If you email the teacher about any of the above, you will also need to notify the office (952-758-1600) or attendance line (952-758-1605). Thank you!

Principal's Perspective - David Giesen

Falcon Ridge Families,


These last three weeks have truly felt like the start of a brand new school year, and we are very excited to be able to welcome all of our kids back into the building. We know that families are getting used to the adjustment of having kids back into school, and our staff is adjusting to having a full building, as well. Our teachers have been busy with re-teaching and re-modeling the expectations for all students, now that our hybrid groups have been combined. We're hoping that we'll be able to get back into our new "normal" routine as soon as possible!


Snow Days

Our first inclement weather day of the year snuck up on all of us a few weeks back, and as communicated, students will have at-home learning expectations as we move forward. Depending on the grade level, you can expect for your child to have a balance of both offline and online activities, along with scheduled lunch/recess times, and times built in for specialist activities for days like these in the future. Like everything else this year, inclement weather days will continue to be a work in progress, and we will do our best to communicate the expectations we have for students when these situations arise.


Valentine's Day

A handful of parents have already reached out to some of our staff wondering about whether we will be able to have parties or not. At this time, kids are welcome to bring valentines in, but we are still awaiting guidance on the extent to which we can hold "parties", similar to what has been done in the past. Any activities that take place for Valentine's Day will be held on February 12. Stay tuned - any additional information specific to your child's classroom will come from their classroom teacher.


Parent-Teacher Conferences

We are planning for conferences to once again take place virtually on March 15 (8-4, no school for K-5 students), March 18 (5-8 pm), and March 25 (5-8 pm). Look for information to be shared soon, to sign up for a time with your child(ren)'s teacher(s). Similar to the fall, conferences will be held virtually, or through a phone call.


Arrival/Dismissal

Never did I imagine the number of times that our arrival and dismissal process would change over the course of one school year! I apologize for the continued Infinite Campus messages. However, these ultimately are the best way to communicate with each of you on the best way to get your child to and from school on a regular basis. With the flips in learning models since the beginning of the year, we have attempted to adjust to what will work best for our families. Please remember, your child's safety is our number one priority!


I Love To Read Month

The Falcon Ridge Staff is excited to once again celebrate "I Love to Read Month" with our students during the month of February. Students can plan for the following:


  • A reading bingo board will be sent home with each student. For every bingo, students will be entered into a prize drawing for a $7 book certificate for upcoming virtual Scholastic Book Fair in March. We will be giving two of these away at each grade level every Friday throughout the month of February.
  • We will be having school-wide dress-up days, along with scheduled all-school read times every Friday in February.
  • Parents: please continue to support your children and their positive reading habits by checking in with them regularly on what they are reading and what their reading interests are. This will make a positive impact!


Thank you, once again, for partnering with us in your child's education and for your patience and understanding during these challenging times.


Sincerely,


David Giesen

Falcon Ridge Elementary Principal

(952) 758-1601 and dgiesen@isd721.org

Staff Perspective - Kathy Pierce, Kindergarten Teacher

Here’s to a new start of the 2020-2021 school year. At this point, all grades Kindergarten through Grade 5 are back full-time. We are excited to see their smiling faces and hear the giggles throughout the day. I would be lying if I said the year has been easy. There have been many bumps in the road, but that hasn’t deterred your child(ren)’s teacher(s) from our end goal. We want our kids to be happy, safe and learn to their full potential here at school. In order to reach this goal, we have needed to get creative and think outside the box for new teaching strategies.


One thing that has not changed is the need for movement within our classrooms. In kindergarten, movement may look very different from students in older grades; but either way, movement is essential to a child’s development and learning. All learning begins with the body and is the child’s first teacher. In kindergarten, we use many hands-on activities so a child can learn skills, such as control, commitment and dedication needed to complete tasks and problem-solving. This starts with the senses to help the child learn about how they feel about things and guides them to decide how to think and react in different situations.


Another way we incorporate movement is through a program called S.M.A.R.T., which stands for Stimulating Maturity through Accelerated Readiness Training. This program is a multi-sensory approach to learning that involves brain stimulation activities to help prepare your child(ren) to learn. This program develops visual, auditory, balance, fine and gross motor readiness, which are all required skills essential for classroom and academic success. The S.M.A.R.T. activities also improve your child’s physical fitness, strength, coordination and ability to pay attention. Once these readiness skills are in place, your child will have the foundation necessary to succeed in school.


Each day, our kindergarten classrooms practice S.M.A.R.T. activities for approximately 20 minutes. You will hear them talk about the helicopter spin, superman, rebounder (or trampoline), slap track, pencil roll, alligator crawl (or army crawl) and visual tracking. These activities are integrated into our daily schedule and are a fun and positive way to help your child reach his/her learning potential.


The kids seem to have taken a great liking to these activities. Here are a few students’ quotes on their feelings regarding S.M.A.R.T. activities:

“I like the army crawl because it’s hard and it helps me get more focused.”

“I like the superman because it makes me feel stronger.”

“I like the pencil roll because it keeps us focused, it’s hard and makes us focus even more.”


Adding movement in the classroom can be seen in various ways. If you hear your child talk about activities with movement, especially S.M.A.R.T, please don’t hesitate to have them show you the movements. It might even be fun to try it with your child(ren) to incorporate the program at home!

Fundraising Made Simple

In working with our Falcon Ridge PAC, I want to make all of our families aware of some easy ways to support our students at Falcon Ridge by using a few simple steps with businesses that you may already be spending money with:


  • NEW! Shutterfly - Simply click on this Shutterfly link and start shopping. A percentage will go directly to our Falcon Ridge PAC.
  • Amazon Smile - when you shop online at Amazon. This will help raise money for the Falcon Ridge PAC, which supports all students and all staff! Again, it's easy to do so: 1. Sign in to smile.amazon.com in your desktop or mobile phone browser, 2. from your desktop, go to "Your Account" from the navigation at the top of the page, 3. select the option to "Change your Charity" from the options at the bottom of the page, 4. choose Falcon Ridge Elementary PAC. For every eligible purchase you make on smile.amazon.com, Amazon will donate 0.5% directly to our Falcon Ridge PAC.
  • Coborns School Rewards - Coborn's, Inc. is committed to donating $150,000 to local entities during the 2019-2020 school year. The points your school earns will help grow their share of the $150,000 total. It's like a pie; the size of your school's slice will depend on how many points they have received. Schools should encourage their supporters to register for their location at moreRewards.com: 1. Go to moreRewards.com, 2. create a login, 3. proceed to login, 4. go to "manage my membership," 5. choose school rewards, 6. select Falcon Ridge, and you are done! It is just that easy! You can also easily add it through the More Rewards phone app: 1. go to rewards, 2. slide the school rewards button to green, 3. below the button there should be an option for you to change to your school, 4. search for Falcon Ridge, and 5. select Falcon Ridge.

2020-21 Falcon Ridge Monthly Character Traits

R-espect (September)

E-ffort (October)

A-ttitude (November)

P-ride (December)

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C-ooperation (January)

A-ssertion (February)

R-esponsibility (March)

E-mpathy (April)

S-elf Control (May)

Falcon Ridge Archived Newsletters