The Pine Bough

Pine River School Newsletter, January 2023

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Happy New Year!

Dear Pine River Families,

Happy New Year! It is exciting to welcome all of the students back to learning on January 5th!

As we begin 2023 and near the halfway point of the school year, I thought it might be helpful to share my thoughts on how we can continue to forge a positive relationship, focused on the success of your student. In that spirit, I offer the following statements:

Count on me...

  • To exhibit a caring attitude and positive regard for all of our students.
  • To visibly demonstrate my belief that every student can learn and grow.
  • To maintain high expectations for academics, behavior, and citizenship.
  • To listen carefully and investigate any concerns fully.
  • To ensure that discipline is a teaching and learning experience.
  • To return your phone call or email within 12 hours.
  • To be available for any appointment scheduled through Mrs. Williamson.
  • To constantly research and develop strategies to improve educational practices and remove barriers to opportunities for our students.

I'll Count on you...

  • To realize my focus as the building leader is to make decisions that are in the best interest of all my students.
  • To support my daily priority of observing and supporting teaching and learning in classrooms, understanding that means I may not be immediately available in the office when you stop in.
  • To be an integral member of our team in supporting our students and collaborating with our staff.
  • To understand I will be unable to disclose information about other students to you.
  • To contact the adult closest to your concern first--a teacher or bus driver before coming immediately to the administrator.
  • To continue to support and give our staff grace as they work tirelessly to develop, educate, and care for our Pioneers.

In highly effective teams, members have expectations and roles that are clear for them and readily understood. This helps the team function at the highest level. As you and I work as a team to support your student's experience for the rest of this school year, I invite your questions or comments about the above guiding principles.

I look forward to continuing a successful year together!

Your Principal,

Rachel Card

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Pine River Academic Spotlight at December ECSD Board of Education Meeting

Mrs. Malburg, Dr. Card, and sixteen Pioneers presented on a version of "Genius Hour" that occurred at Pine River last fall.

Genius Hour has been used at Pine River for about a decade in individual classrooms and with students of different ages partnering together near the end of the school year. The concept of Genius Hour originated from the 80/20 idea of many innovative companies, such as Google, where employees are provided 20% of their time at work to focus on their own passion projects. Gmail and Google News are two novel ideas that originated from this system. While some students receive interventions to fill gaps in learning, the teachers decided that these students would best be served with a half hour of “Genius Hour” time to explore their own interests by identifying a question and using the inquiry process to learn about something new.

This year, we decided to implement Genius Hour during WIN (What I Need) Time for students who entered school performing at high levels in ELA and in their ability to work independently with others. We had some Kindergarten and second grade students who were ready for a challenge, so we partnered them in teams of two second graders and one Kindergartener. They met in the Media Center for about 30 minutes about 4 times a week to explore an agreed upon topic and create a product to share with the world. The team approach provided support to the Kindergarten students in researching and reading more challenging text and learning how to use Chromebooks to organize information. Additionally, the second graders developed skills in coaching and mentoring younger students. Mrs. Tabatha McConnell, our Kindergarten paraprofessional, and Dr. Card were given the honor of instructing and supervising Genius Hour.

The six teams of students developed guiding questions that led to reading about a topic, organizing information in notes, transferring notes to Google Slides, and adding embellishments to their slides to create interesting and informative presentations. The students polished and practiced their presentations, and then they presented for their family members and the Kindergarten and second grade classes.

When discussing a special program to showcase at the December ECSD Board of Education meeting, the staff immediately thought of the impressive work of our students in their Genius Hour teams. Our Kindergarten and second grade students took their presentating skills to the next level by presenting in front of a room full of district administrators, board members, and East China parents and students.

Thank you to these enthusiastic (and brave) Pioneers for sharing their experience!

Josie Dennison, Rose Flynn, Joni Fryer, Kate Galliker, Lyla Karl, Magdelena Karl, Greyson Lafferty, Drew Langmesser, Vivienne Liniarski, Carina Malburg, Sonny Malburg, Madison Mitchell, Frank Romeo, Tommy Shubnell, Hazel Snell, and Sutton Thoel. (Elyse Heraty and Kora Robbins participated in Genius Hour, but were unable to attend the meeting.)

The Golden Dustpan Award

The Golden Dustpan Award was created to recognize the class that works the hardest over the course of a month to keep their classroom neat and clean. Each month, Ms. Carol and Ms. CeCe, our custodians, will choose a class and present the award. Students in the class will receive a class certificate, individual certificates, a class pizza party, and the honor of displaying the golden dustpan on their hallway cubbie.

For the month of December (TBA)'s class earned this prestigious honor! Keep up the great work keeping your classrooms clean, Pioneers!

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Positivity Project Resources for Families

The mission of The Positivity Project is to empower students to build positive relationships with others and be their best selves as individuals. Each week at Pine River, we focus on one of the 24 character strengths that everyone possesses. Through lessons presented daily by their teachers, our students learn to be more self aware and self confident in the content of their own character. In addition, they learn to understand and appreciate these character traits in others. Together, we are building meaningful relationships and connections with one another that are essential for learning and growing.

Below is a link to resources to help our families support The Positivity Project at home.

Positivity Project for Families

Skyward Family Access

If you are already signed up for your Family Access account, there is no need to sign up again. If you have forgotten your password, please go to our website;, and hover over ‘Parents’ then click on Family Access. This will take you to a screen where you can click on Forgot your Login/Password, and then you can follow the links. To cut down on expenses and time, the only report card to be mailed home will be the final one at the end of the year. There is also a Skyward App available in your app store you can download for your phone. Please use this useful tool to monitor your child’s progress throughout the year. You will need to access Skyward in order to review your child’s report card.
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Pioneers of the Month

All of our students strive to be motivated learners, as well as model citizens. Each month we will honor students from each class who exemplify the following qualities:


  • Student prepares for classroom activities.
  • Student approaches learning with enthusiasm.
  • Student has made steady progress in the classroom.
  • Student has been working to his/her potential.
  • Student completes all assignments and homework.
  • Student has a good work ethic and is diligent.

Leadership/ Citizenship/ Character

  • Student demonstrates respect of self and others.
  • Student assists others in need.
  • Student shows acts of kindness.
  • Student demonstrates a positive attitude.
  • Student displays good conduct.
  • Student is a positive role model by example.
  • Student participates and puts forth full effort in all areas.
  • Student follows school rules.

Young Fives/Kindergarten

Mrs. Guzowski's Class: Georgia Kolis

Ms. Brosky's Class: Brooke Marsh and Cassidy Rusch

Mrs. Malburg's Class: Simon Jabe and Ava Bosanic

Mrs. Schneider's Class: Quinn Avila and Cameron Lessick

First Grade

Mrs. Bean's Class: Rebekah Luca and Callan Robbins

Mrs. Jensen's Class: Ruby Brenner and Korbin Eifert

Mrs. Trudeau's Class: Tatum Shaw and Easton Gauronskas

Second Grade

Mrs. Gorski's Class: Eliana Livingston and Kori Zegelien

Mrs. Kenyon's Class: Connor Kelly and Charlize LeBeau

Mrs. McNeill's Class: Harry Young and Emma Smith

Third Grade

Ms. Dewey's Class: Alexis Price and Christian Oliver

Mrs. Dodge's Class: Drew Langmesser and Zoey Kruczynski

Mrs. Wahl's Class: Andrew Abubakar and Frances Vaughan

Fourth Grade

Mrs. Huston's Class: Max Chamberlin and Rhiannon Salisbury

Ms. Jakiel's Class: Gracin Genaw and Grant Stockwell

Mrs. Ursitti's Class: Bradley Shaw and Gwen Franks

C.I. Class

Mrs. Kierszykowski's Class: Brooke Dwyer

Pioneers of the Month will be honored at our STARS assembly on Friday, January 6th, at 2:45 p.m. in the gym. Parents of those students being recognized are welcome to attend. Please check in at the office first.

Yard Sign Pickup

Parents of our Pioneers of the Month may stop in and pick up a yard sign to display at home during the next month. Just buzz the office at the front doors when you arrive, and we will provide you with a sign.
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Good Behavior Tickets and Prizes

Students earn "good behavior tickets" when they demonstrate examples of positive behavior. Pioneers whose names are drawn on Friday morning are called to the office to choose prizes.

Mission: The mission of the Pine River school community is to work collaboratively, providing an enriched curriculum that allows for intellectual, social, emotional, physical, and creative growth in a positive and safe environment, empowering all children to become productive lifelong learners.

Vision: Pine River Elementary is dedicated to the belief that all students can learn and achieve through the combined efforts of the staff, parents, students, and community.