The Friday Flyer
From Boone Meadow Elementary School
A Few Thoughts About ISTEP+
Dear Parents of 3rd and 4th grade students,
Each year as testing season looms, I struggle to find words that adequately convey my feelings about statewide standardized testing. On the one hand, I believe in measures of accountability in that it ensures a baseline expectation for schools across our state, and provides an additional way to monitor school-wide progress at the 10,000 foot view.
On the other hand, however, we know a test like this does not and cannot measure a child’s ability to draw or paint or design a structure. It does not measure humor or kindness or musical ability. It does not measure a child’s ability to empathize and show compassion or help others or lead a team. Those skills simply will not be reflected in a test like this. And that is unfortunate because we have kids in these hallways every day exhibiting talents and gifts that are not celebrated in a test like this.
Do I think this test is important? Yes, I do. It has implications regarding compliance with state-level expectations, and it impacts our overall school rating and long-term success. It gives us, as school leaders and teachers, an additional snapshot of progress with information that guides next steps for continual improvement. It also presents an opportunity for students to learn how to navigate the genre of “testing” which will be a part of their lives going forward (think SAT, ACT, GRE, MCAT, MBE, etc.). So, yes, it is an important part of the much bigger work we do.
Do I think this test is worthy of stress and anxiety? Absolutely not. I want kids to do well and expect that they will – our students have come to us highly prepared, and have worked very diligently over the years to learn what it is they need to know by this point in school, so we want them to show what they know (and they have SO much to show!). But it is just a tiny piece of the greater picture of their learning, development, and growth as young people. This test does NOT determine lifelong success. It does NOT determine which college they get into. It certainly does NOT determine their value and worth as human beings. They are so much more than their score on this one test.
This weekend, take time to hug your children. Tell them you’re proud of them. Remind them of their specific strengths and talents. Show them how they positively impact their world. Make certain they recognize their value and worth, and help them understand that this test is not a reflection of who they are.
If your child is worried, stressed, or anxious – help them rename their feelings. Encourage your child to view these feelings as excitement to show what they know in reading, writing, and math. Challenge them to consider that they are looking forward to doing something new and different from the normal routine of school. Remind them that feeling nervous is normal when we want to do well, but it’s because we are proud of ourselves and our work and it’s important to us – we are happy to have the chance to do so. This practice is called anxiety reappraisal, and it’s a research-based neuroscientific practice that helps kids turn their feelings into a positive perspective and source of energy. It helps kids reframe their perspectives and see how many things can go right and well (instead of wrong and terrible). In addition, make sure your child gets adequate sleep over the weekend and eats healthy foods so their brains are ready for optimal thinking. Tell them they have been well prepared by their teachers and they have everything they need to do well.
In the end, know this. Our belief about kids won’t change because of results of this test – we continue to love them and believe in them and challenge them to pursue their passions because we know they are capable of great and wonderful things. ISTEP+ is a piece of what we do, but it will never be the focal point or emphasis of our purpose and mission day in, day out. It does not drive what we do or why we do it. We continue to focus on the development of the whole child, and appreciate your support and partnership of that pursuit. Thank you for all you do.
Kindergarten Registration will go live next Tuesday, February 27, 2018
2018-19 Kindergarten Round Up Dates:
Boone Meadow Elementary - Wednesday, March 28
Stonegate Elementary - Tuesday, April 10
Eagle Elementary - Wednesday, April 11
Union Elementary - Thursday, April 12
Pleasant View Elementary - Monday, April 16
If your child is enrolled in ZCS Universal Preschool at the school they will attend Kindergarten, you can expect Round-Up information from your Preschool lead. You do NOT need to sign up for one of the above dates. If your child attends Preschool at Zionsville West Middle School, or a Preschool at a different Zionsville school than their boundary school, you will need to register and sign up for a Round-Up time.
Teachers work with Carl Anderson, writing consultant and author from NYC, conducts a training session with K-2 teachers on Tuesday.
Carl will be returning to ZCS next week to work with staff at BME and other ZCS schools.
3rd and 4th teachers focus on inquiry techniques and approaches in the classroom.
Welcome February with a focus on our lifelines: Kindness and Patience
The equality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.
The ability to remain calm when dealing with a difficult or challenging situation, task, or person.
Upcoming Events & Important Info
February 26th - March 3rd - ISTEP+ Testing window (Part 1) - 3rd/4th grades
March 8th - PTO Meeting 6:00pm
March 12th - IREAD Begins (through March 16th)
March 14th - Quarter 3 Ends
March 15th - 4th/5th Transition Day to ZWEST
March 16th - Spirit Day: Wear your Pajama's
March 22nd - Wellness Night 6:00-7:30pm
March 28th - Kindergarten Round-Up @ BME (More information will be shared in coming weeks)
March 30th - April 6th - Spring Break (No school)
April 16th - May 4th - ISTEP+ Testing window (Part 2) - 3rd/4th grades
PLEASE mark your calendars for May 25th as our make-up day due to the 1/12/18 inclement weather cancellation.
Transitioning to Middle School
4th Grade Families:
Please mark your calendars with the upcoming information.
Thursday, March 15th - 4th to 5th Transition Day. Students will visit ZWEST and tour the school. That evening, ZWEST opens the doors to welcome future students and families. More information to come.
- 9:30a-11:00a: Tour/Music Performance @ ZWMS
- 6:00p-6:50p: Parent Meeting for select families with Special Education staff
- 6:30p-8:00p: 4th/5th Grade Social
- 7:00p-8:00p: 4th Grade Parent Meeting
Thursday, April 12th -
ZWEST music teachers (choir, band, and orchestra) visit Boone Meadow to engage with students. More information to come.
Zionsville Coder DOJO
After a very successful first term that saw more than 100 students participate across 4 programming courses, the Zionsville CoderDojo would like to continue that momentum on 2/25 at Zionsville High School at 2 pm with a recap of the first term and a kickoff of the second term. We will recognize graduates from the first term, provide some snacks, and outline the next set of courses that will be offered in the second term. Parents and students will have an opportunity to register for these courses that will begin in March 2018.
As a refresher, CoderDojo is a global organization devoted to preparing children aged 7 to 17 for all concepts in technology by putting them through FREE coding courses. These courses are taught by volunteers who are technology industry veterans. Though the program is targeted towards ages 7-17, all are welcome. For more information see the main homepage at coderdojo.com.
Questions? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Winter Weather Reminders:
Hopefully Old Man Winter is preparing to roll out, but meanwhile, please be sure to send your student to school appropriately dressed for the weather. As stated in the handbook:
As the weather turns colder, each child needs a winter coat, hat, and gloves. Snow pants and boots are required when there is snow on the ground.
Students without snow pants and boots (when there is snow on the ground) will only be permitted to play on the cleared blacktop.
All children play outside except on rainy, icy, or very cold days (wind chill below the 10-20 degree range). Inside recess will be held on those exceptional days.
For more information regarding our procedures for school delays and closings please visit our website.
Texts from SchoolMessenger
Parenting in the Digital Age
Parenting is never easy. But today's parents have to grapple with a wired world in a way that no other generation has ever had to before. This ever-evolving digital landscape can be daunting to navigate.
Join ZCS in a 5-part series on Parenting in the Digital Age. This series will take place over the winter months and focus on keeping our students safe and healthy in the digital world while weighing the potential benefits and possible negative effects of social media. All presentations will be from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Board Room at the Educational Service Center.
For dates and information on the sessions, click here!
Looking for a part time job?
ZCS is in need of expanding the substitue teacher pool. In addition, ZCS Food Service positions are now available at several of the ZCS cafeterias. Click here to apply directly and call 317-733-4804 with any questions!
Check here to see what else is going on in our community.
Strong in Every Way
Click here to learn more about ZCS's human capital campaign!
Volunteers and Visitor Background Checks
CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECKS FOR VOLUNTEERS
We value partnerships with our families and welcome parents and guardians to serve as volunteers in our schools. Each ZCS building offers a wide variety of volunteer opportunities.
- Field Trip Chaperones
- Out of Town/Overnight Chaperones
- Volunteer Coaches
- Classroom Helpers (PTO parties/room parents)
- Library Helpers
- After Prom Workers
- Field Day/Jog-A-Thon Volunteers
- Book Fair Sales/Athletic Ticket Sales
During the school day, all volunteers are expected to sign in at the front office. Prior to the volunteer opportunity, all volunteers must sign a Non-disclosure Acknowledgement Form and have successfully completed a Full Criminal History Background Check. Necessary background check paperwork is available on the ZCS website at the Volunteers/BRAVO link and should be submitted at least 10 days prior to the intended volunteer date. Volunteers must also view the state mandated confidentiality/bullying video, provided on the Volunteer/BRAVO website. The volunteer will pay the fee* for the full background check which will expire after 5 years. The link to apply for the full background check can be accessed on the Volunteers/BRAVO link on the ZCS main webpage. For more information, contact the Volunteer/BRAVO Coordinator.
CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECKS FOR VISITORS
During the school day, all visitors must enter via the front door and sign-in at the front office. Visitors need to be prepared to present a government issued photo ID which will be scanned against the National Sex Offender Registry. All visitors will be issued a visitor badge/tag to be worn inside the building at all times.
- Lunch Guests
- Classroom Guest Speakers
- Classroom Special Events (Grandparent Day/Famous Hoosiers/etc.)
- Parent/Teacher Conferences
We ask that all visitors schedule an appointment to meet with teachers, counselors, administrators and all other staff members so that we may best serve everyone. Visitors other than parents/guardians must be prearranged and organized through the main office.
*ZCS thanks all volunteers for generous support of our youth and schools. Thank you, too, for supporting assurance of student and staff safety by completing and paying for a volunteer background check.