Messages from Memorial

Memorial Elementary School Newsletter - February 2020

Happy Valentine's Day!

"Synergy is better than my way or your way. It's our way." - Stephen Covey

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Save the Date (s):


5 Global School Play Day

12 PTO Meeting at 3:30

13 Valentine's Day Parties at School

14 & 17 No School for Winter Break

20 Noodles and Company Family Night

21 Yearbook Orders Due

26 Shoes PIzza Night


7 Parents Night Out at Old Town Banquet

12 Spring Picture Day

12 End of Third Grading Period

17 Grade 2 and 3 Spring Music Program at Memorial

16 - April 3 IREAD3

13 PTO Meeting at 3:30

25 - 29 Spring Break

Why is PLAY important?

The decline of play | Peter Gray | TEDxNavesink

February's Habit - Habit #6 - To Synergize

This month Memorial will focus on Stephen Covey's Habit #6 which is "To Synergize." Stephen Covey states, "To put it simply, synergy means "two heads are better than one." Synergize is the habit of creative cooperation. It is teamwork, open-mindedness, and the adventure of finding new solutions to old problems." This infomation and more is from
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Are You Looking for a Part-time Job?

If you work well on your own and are seeking part-time employment, a job as a custodial substitute might be a good fit for your lifestyle needs. Custodial substitutes frequently work on an as needed basis.

Substitute custodians take on janitorial responsibilities when full-time custodians aren't on duty. These are generally part-time positions. The job objective is to ensure that the facility is tidy, sanitary, presentable and secure for all of the people who frequent the schools. If interested, please apply on Valparaiso Community Schools website.

Memorial's Science Bowl Team Learning about DNA

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Please Plan Ahead for ILEARN - Coming Soon!

The Indiana Department of Education has changed the state assessment for students in Grades 3 -5 from ISTEP+ to the new ILEARN assessment. This assessment will be given during just one test window, April 22 - May 17. Students will test on multiple days during this window. As you are scheduling spring appointments, it will benefit your child if the appointments are outside of school hours on these dates. Students do better on assessments when they test with their class. Click below for parent guidance for ILEARN.

What’s the 20-20-20 rule?

Idea to bring into your classroom or at home from the American Academy of Opthalmology and the American Optometric Associaion websites:

Screen time is a big issue these days. You probably spend a good number of hours looking at screens, like your computer at work and at home, your smartphone, television, or other digital devices. Looking at screens too much can lead to eye strain. But the 20-20-20 rule may help.

Basically, every 20 minutes spent using a screen, you should try to look away at something that is 20 feet away from you for a total of 20 seconds.

Unless you have a tape measure you probably won’t be able to accurately measure 20 feet. Being exact isn’t the key. You should just try to focus on something far away from you. Consider looking out a window at an object that seems far away, like a tree or a building across the street. In a classroom, place a circle or object on a wall across the room to focus on.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology explains that looking at digital devices won’t necessarily damage your eyesight. But it can cause strain and unpleasant symptoms. Humans normally blink around 15 times each minute. When staring at screens, this number decreases to a half or third that often. That can lead to dry, irritated, and tired eyes.

It takes about 20 seconds for your eyes to completely relax. While you’re resting your eyes, it’s also a good idea to get up and grab a drink of water to keep yourself hydrated. If your body is hydrated, your eyes will be as well.

You probably get absorbed in reading or work when you’re looking at screens. Setting a timed reminder to pop up can help you take a break every 20 minutes. There are also free apps that can help. Just click start when you begin your screen time, and the app will remind you to take a break.

While many doctors suggest the 20-20-20 rule is a best line of defense, researchers explain that any break from repetitive computer work or screens is beneficial. They also explain that children don’t typically notice eye strain as much as adults. As a result, children’s screen time should be monitored closely by caregivers

What are other ways to prevent eye strain?

Want to avoid eye strain? Whenever you sit down to look at a screen, remember to follow these ergonomic eye tips.

  • Sit farther away from your computer screen. A good rule is to be at least 25 inches, or roughly an arm’s length, away. While you’re at it, move the screen so you have to look slightly downward at the screen.

  • Consider using a matte screen filter to reduce your screen’s glare.

  • Try your best to remember to follow the 20-20-20 rule. Set a timer to remind you to look away every 20 minutes at an object that is about 20 feet away for a full 20 seconds.

  • Buy some artificial tears at your local drugstore to use when your eyes feel dry. A humidifier can also help.

  • Blink often to help replenish your eye’s own tears.

  • Dim your screen if it’s much brighter than the rest of the light in the area. You could also adjust the room lighting so the contrast is lessened.

  • Keep your screens clean. Dirty screens with fingerprints and other debris can strain your eyes even more.

If you wear contact lenses, you may experience worsened symptoms of dryness and irritation. Try giving your eyes a break from time to time by wearing glasses. Avoid sleeping in contact lenses, even those that are marketed as “extended wear.” Also always wash your hands and follow other good hygiene when putting in or taking out your lenses.

Keep your Eyes healthy – You only have one pair!


Please note that we value student recreation and play. We know that movement helps with focus and learning. Our goal is to have students go outside as much as possible. Indoor recess will be held if the temperature is under 0° (with the wind chill factor) or if it is too wet. Please send your child to school with snow boots and pants, hats and gloves. If you need help getting these items, please let the Memorial staff know. Additionally, we would gladly accept your school-age sized extra snow boots and pants to pass on to others.

Attendance Matters

A missed school day is a lost opportunity for students to learn. Teachers plan many lessons and activities that just can't be made up or recreated as make-up work. Additionally, classwork is progressive and each day of learning builds on the day before. Absences from school cause gaps in that progression. More effort is needed to catch up than to keep up. Research shows that students who chronically miss school fall behind academically.

We recognize there are times when missing school cannot be avoided, such as in cases of illness or for a funeral. When this is the case, please contact the school as soon as possible the morning of the absence. Teachers will prepare make-up work and you may pick it up and work on it at home when your child starts feeling better. If you cannot pick up the make-up work, another possibility would be for the school to send work home with a student who lives close to you. Your child will benefit by having as much of the make-up work done as possible when he/she returns to school.

Some things that can be done to increase student attendance and limit time out of class are scheduling doctor appointments during off school days/hours and scheduling family vacations around school holidays. Additionally some students miss school because they are having anxiety about something at school. We would like to help you with that. Please call us so we can work together to help make your child feel more comfortable about coming to school.

General Arrival Procedures

If you are driving your child to school, please follow the traffic moving south on Milton Street. The drop - off area is on the east side of the school on Milton along the curb. For the safety and convenience of all, we ask that you simply pull next to the curb and have your child get out of the car on the curb side. Please do not park and get out of your car. The students will walk down the sidewalk to the front of the building and line up until 8:30. When the 8:30 bell rings, they will come into the building. Please do not pull into the parking lots to let your child out. If you need to come into the school you are welcome to park in either parking lot.

If your child is a walker, they will cross the corners at Park and Milton with the assistance of the adult supervisor. Please remind them to wait for her to stop traffic.

If your child is a bus rider please note that all buses, except bus 46, unload in the front of the building. The bus drivers will let students out to eat breakfast as soon as they get to school. So if your child is in need of breakfast, please tell them they are allowed to get off the bus early. Students eating breakfast are allowed in the building at 8:20.

General Dismissal Procedures

For the safety of all students, please do not use either parking lot during dismissal time as a pick up spot for your child. If you need to get your child out quickly for an after school appointment, please arrive early and come into the school to sign them out. It is our goal to NOT have any moving cars in the lots during general student dismissal.

All students who are car riders should leave the building out the east door (Door C) and wait along the curb on Milton Street. The students should enter the car along the curb as directed by the staff.

Students who are walkers should proceed out the front door and follow the sidewalks along Park and Milton. If you are generally a walker, but plan to drive during the cold winter months, please send in a note and your child can become a car rider.

If you park on Park Avenue to pick up your child who is a walker, please be mindful of the cars that travel down Center Street and leave plenty of room for them to pass through.

Thank you for your assistance in keeping dismissal safe!

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PTO News

You can find the Memorial PTO News at:

This year's PTO officers:

President - Debra Krieg Lewis

Vice President - Rose Gutshall

Secretary - Rae Smedley

Treasurer - Trish VanTornhout

Don't Miss Parents Night Out with the PTO

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Reminders from Mrs. Keenan and Mrs. Scott

Dear Memorial Families,

With winter being in full swing, we are seeing many illnesses, including Influenza, Pink Eye, and Strep throat.

We want to be sure we keep Memorial healthy! Here are some helpful tips.

Please remember, in accordance with the VCS policy , children should be kept at home if they have the following:

  • Temperature of 100 degrees or over

  • Eye infections with discharge

  • Cough associated with fever or continuous unrelieved cough

  • Cold symptoms associated with other signs of illness

  • Communicable diseases (chicken pox, scabies, impetigo, ringworm, head lice - until treated appropriately)

  • Vomiting or diarrhea

  • Undiagnosed skin eruptions or rashes

*We ask students to be on antibiotic treatment for 24 hours or fever free 24 hours without an analgesic (Tylenol, Motrin) before returning to school.

For more information, please contact one of our School Nurses,

Marsha Scott or Michelle Keenan

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  • Because many of our buses are full, students will only be allowed to ride a bus that is not their own, in an emergency situation.
  • Please send a note, or email Mrs. Remijan, in the morning with all changes in transportation. When calls are made during the busy school day, there is a chance that the message may get delayed and/or not delivered. If you have an emergency during the day, which merits a change in transportation, the best way to send the message is to Mrs. Remijan's email:
  • If you are sending a note to the school about transportation, please include your child's last name.
  • Students may not carry medicine with them throughout the school day, this includes Inhalers. Please talk to on of the school nurses, Mrs. Keenan or Mrs. Scott, about your child's medical needs.
  • If your child is late to school (after the 8:45 bell) please walk them into the office and sign them in.
  • If you need a copy of the School Wellness Policy, please ask in the office. There is a list of acceptable birthday/classroom treats.
  • If you have not completed a Background Check this school year, please do so ASAP. This needs to be done for all visitors and volunteers that are coming to school during the school day.
  • If you need a sign for your car for the Pick-Up Line, please call the office.