The Knightly News

Newtown Elementary School PTO

Happy Holidays

Season's Greetings, everyone! In December's issue, Mr. King reports on the results of his Three Good Things survey, and school guidance counselor Mrs. Cook offers meaningful tips on fostering kindness and gratitude in children. Check out our PTO updates for news on upcoming events (think Superbowl pancakes and the Science Fair!). We also want to say a big thank you to the Homeroom Coordinators who will be organizing classroom winter parties on the 23rd. Finally, in the mood to celebrate, we asked NES teachers and staff to share "one good thing" about their students or school community, and their responses were truly heartwarming. It's a little something to smile about today! We wish all of our Newtown Elementary families, students, teachers and staff members a joyful holiday season and a very Happy New Year!

In this Issue

King of the Castle: Three Good Things Survey Results

All Good Things from NES teachers and Staff

PTO Updates

Mrs.Cook's Corner: Kindness Matters

Upcoming Events

DECEMBER

18: Pretzel Sale

23: Winter Class Parties, last day before break.


JANUARY

4: School resumes; Cookbook Recipes Due

13: Pretzel Sale

13: PTO Meeting (7PM, Library)

19-22: CR Education Week

28: NES Science Fair


FEBRUARY

7: Applebee's Flapjack Fundraiser

10: PTO Meeting (7PM, Library)

11: Pretzel Sale

26: Muffins with Mom

King of the Castle: Three Good Things Survey

I want to thank the many families that took time out during parent conferences to give us feedback through the Three Good Things survey. We compiled the results of one hundred surveys, which constitutes approximately 17% of our NES families. After reviewing all surveys, the feedback you provided fit naturally into one of three categories: Program, Community and Staff. Program focuses on the various curricular/extracurricular activities we have available including our general education, gifted education, math support, reading support, and after school programs. Community comments include any feedback you provided about our school climate, communication, character ed (resilience), and staff/student relationships. Any comments about the attitude, approach, or expertise of staff are put into the Staff

category.


Regarding programs, most comments focus on the rigor of our academic programs, differentiated instruction provided to meet the varied needs of students, and the various after school programs in which students can participate. You appreciate the support provided to students through enrichment in gifted or math, and the intensive instruction given in reading.


The number of families who recognized our attention to community building is outstanding. When I shared this with staff, I emphasized how important relationships are to teaching and learning. The safer and more connected the students feel, the more they learn. A number of comments expressed support for our focus on the “whole” child and the additional focus on character education. I hope you join our staff in recognizing that successful students can relate, problem solve, and navigate difficult situations with growing confidence and independence.


Finally, an overwhelming number of families recognize the difference a caring adult makes in the life of children. The survey results recognize many teachers and support staff members who have made a difference. You and your children notice adults’ positive attitudes, friendly smiles, and a willingness to go the extra mile. I can’t thank our staff enough for the positive influence they have on our students, families, and school. Many results also express gratitude for how hard teachers work to help students achieve success.


It is important that I acknowledge that some parents offered various suggestions, including changing to a full day kindergarten program, offering more after-school programs, and trying to shorten the lines in the café. Although there were no themes that came from the suggestions, it is important to know we are listening and will do our best to implement suggestions where possible. If you did offer a suggestion (all but a few were anonymous) and would like to follow up with me, please call. In addition, please consider using this LINK to access our survey and submit it to the office.


Thanks again for your help and support! It is awesome to know you think we are on the right track and doing all we can to impact your children in a positive manner.


Best wishes,
Mr. King

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PTO Updates

"On behalf of the PTO board we would like to extend our wishes to our NES families and friends. We wish you all a happy, healthy, joyous holiday season! Have a wonderful winter break. See you in 2016!" Amber Sciascia, co-President


Special thanks to all those who helped out at our annual Holiday Secret Shop on November 23 and 24, especially Jill Keiffer and Leyla Capitelli (with Viva Coffee). We also greatly appreciate all of the parents who worked the cash registers and who acted as personal shopping assistants, and we loved our adorable little shoppers most of all!


Save the Date! Kick off Super Bowl Sunday with the PTO at our first ever Flapjack Fundraiser! Join us for breakfast at Applebee's on Sunday, February 7th, 2016 from 8 AM - 10 AM for pancakes, sausage, juice and coffee. Ticket info coming soon. We hope you’ll join us!


The NES Science Fair is coming up on January 28. Click here for the 2016 Power Point, Parent Reference, Rules and Project Ideas.


PTO Donations: Does your company match your donations to charitable organizations or make awards to honor your hours of community service? Click HERE to learn how you can magnify the impact of your volunteer hours and tax-deductible contributions to the NES PTO!


Shop for Our School! Click HERE to learn how your holiday spending can benefit Newtown Elementary School. (Our Target income has already doubled last year's total--thanks to all those who have registered!)

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All Good Things

In celebration of the holiday season, and in the spirit of positivity, the Knightly News asked teachers and staff members to share "one good thing" about their classes, students or school community. Here's what they had to say! Happy Holidays!


Mrs. Bloom, Physical Education

I am so very proud of the staff, students and families of Newtown Elementary for their incredible generosity! Together we raised over $805.00 which we donated to the Needlework Guild of America. The NGA helps many familiets that are in need right in our area! Awesome job everyone!


Ms. Chiliberti, Literacy Specialist

My students always come to Reading Club with a smile and ready to learn, and they always say “thank you” as they leave.


Mrs. Weinstein and Ms. Antonelli are so impressed with the cast of Peter Pan, Jr. This year's show is going to be a spectacular production!


Mrs. Adams, grade 1

I am so proud of the little ones in my first grade class! They are a friendly, caring, happy group of kids! They make our classroom a great place to learn and grow. If you want to smile and feel good, just stop down and spend some time in D-1! Happy New Year!


Mrs. Cannon, grade 2

One good thing about my class is they are always willing to help others. My class is quick to jump up and lend a hand, whenever they see someone who needs help. It’s great to see their kindness shining through!


Ms. Winn, grade 2

To the second graders in Ms. Winn's class who bring joy every day...joy is the feeling of grinning inside!


Mrs. Frawley, grade 3

Newtown Elementary has wonderful, supportive parents. We are fortunate to have an amazing PTO who work hard to provide our staff and students with many valuable resources. When parents and teachers support each other, we all win. I enjoy getting to meet new NES families every year!


Mrs. Popescu, grade 3

I am proud that I have a kind, caring, respectful third grade class. We laugh and have fun together every day.


Mrs. Gorbachinsky, grade 4

Ms. G's fourth grade class is learning about the states and regions of the USA. All students can name the thirteen original colonies (in addition to Maine and Vermont) in the order that they are positioned on a map, in under ten seconds! Four seconds and sixty-six milliseconds is the time to beat!


Mrs. Battipaglia, Mrs. Lingman, and Mrs. Bruschi, grade 4

One good thing about our class (among many good things) is that they love to write. They tell the best stories with great imagination and creativity. They especially like to “buddy write” with their friends.


Mrs. Peloso, grade 5

There are so many wonderful things that make me proud of my class! The thing I’m most proud of is them learning to work together and cooperate as team. They really look out for one another and treat each other with respect. We’ve had a great start to the year and I’m looking forward to so much more fun as we continue on in the school year!!


Mrs. Owings, grade 5

I have students who give up their recess time each week to volunteer in the MDS class. I am proud with how kind and giving my students are to our school community!


Miss Quinn, grade 5

I appreciate the compassion and kindness that my fabulous fifth graders show each day! They amaze me more and more as the year goes on. I am so grateful for every single one of them! J


Mr. Ecklemeyer and Mrs. Kaleck, grade 6

Our sixth grade class in rm. F-1 is so incredibly polite and appreciative…students are constantly offering to hold doors, ask if there is anything they can help out with and they always remember to say THANKS!


Ms. Grimes, grade 6

I'm happy for all of my new colleagues from Wrightstown. I have enjoyed the influx of new ideas and the chance to collaborate on different topics.


Mrs. Skitsko, grade 6

I am so impressed with my sixth graders when they are with their kindergarten buddies. They are great role models and are such a help to their buddies!


Mrs. Weinstein, Humanities

I am so proud of my sixth grade Humanities students for their unwavering effort, hard work, and collaboration skills. Every day is exciting and fun with such an enthusiastic group of creative young minds. I’m also so proud of all of my Humanities students who work so hard and make learning fun!

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Mrs. Cook's Corner: Kindness Matters

Despite parents saying that kindness is one of the most important qualities they want their children to have, Harvard psychologist Richard Weissbourd has found that kids tend to be more focused on how well they’re doing, rather than how they treat the people around them. Eighty percent of the kids surveyed reported that achievement or happiness was the most important thing to their parents and to them. Only twenty percent said that caring for others was their top priority. Below are ways to encourage kindness toward others.


  1. Make kindness a priority. Make sure that everyone in the family is held to high standards in relation to the way they treat each other. They can be angry, grumpy, stressed or tired, but speaking to anyone disrespectfully should not be allowed.

  2. Encourage them to think of what other people need. Knowing how to look after your own needs while respecting the needs of others is an important skill.

  3. Encourage gratitude. Ask your kids to name three things they’re grateful for. Share your gratitude too. The little things are just as important as the big things. Turn it into a bedtime or dinner time ritual.

  4. Provide opportunities to care about people (or pets!). Ask them to help out at home. Make sure they are also looked after and shown nurturing by others in the family. Encourage them to notice others in different cities, countries, cultures and communities. Model and encourage friendly and grateful behavior to everyone who helps them.

  5. Kindness is a muscle. Kindness is like a muscle and it needs to be exercised regularly. That means being kind to others, expecting kindness from others, and being kind to yourself.

  6. Conversation is key. Conversation changes people, lives, things and paths. It’s not all about the big conversations – the small ones you have along the way are just as important – in the car, cooking dinner, playing outside, at bedtime.

  7. Be open. Talk about you. Chat with them about, age appropriate, ethical dilemmas or experiences you might be having and how you’re dealing with them. Share your feelings about people who are being unkind. Invite them to think things through with you or ask what they would do.

  8. Be the person you want them to be. Role model kindness and empathy. Be careful with things you say about others, even the small things in passing. Kids pick up on everything! If you’re unkind or judgmental, it will give them permission to be the same.

  9. How would they feel? Model and practice empathy. Explore with your child what it would be like if someone was unkind to him or her. Empathy is an important social skill and is key in relationships.

  10. Don’t over-inflate them. As parents we need to build our kids up but this needs to be balanced with having compassion and kindness for others. Self-esteem focuses more on achievement and comparison with others. However, self-respect and self-compassion focuses more on behaving with grace, dignity and kindness toward themselves and others.


Overall, teach your child that they are a wonderful person but not superior to others. Everyone has unique strengths. Encourage them to share gratitude and show kindness on a regular basis. Teach them this and you’ll be guiding them toward happy, healthy relationships and a strong sense of self. Happy Holidays!


Adapted from Kind Kids are Cool Kids. Making sure your child isn’t the bully. Posted July 21, 2015 by Hey Sigmund.

Thanks for Reading!

The Knightly News is a publication of the NES PTO.

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