Grace Abbott Elementary

February 21, 2020

Principal: Dr. Erik Chaussee,

Secretary: Cindy Wrenn,


Last year at this time we faced a serious dilemma with our PTO-we had virtually no one interested in the leadership board of our PTO. Currently we do not have a president elect for next year and other committee chairs. Our current board has been recruiting to find replacements. Unfortunately, we were not able to fill all board positions. Hopefully, I won’t have to spend a lot of news article time recruiting and soon we will find someone to fill these roles for next year.


Alan Lightman is an MIT physicist and author who advocates for wasting more time. He is the author of several books including In Praise of Wasting Time. As an educator it’s hard to take the stance of wasting time. He’s not advocating becoming a couch potato, nor am I. All my life I was driven to get good grades and use my time wisely. I was not very good with idle time and still feel guilty at times when I watch TV or read for pleasure. When I read for pleasure I feel that I should be reading about the latest trends in education or parenting.

I found out about Dr. Lightman from a recent article in The Omaha World-Herald. The reporter states, “We’re too busy. We’re too stressed. Our kids are anxious and depressed. Everyone’s too lonely and overwhelmed.” One habit I have to exercise at a gym. I usually try to find some time to sit in the sauna once a week to relax. I’ve noticed over the years that now everyone is on their phones. In the “old days” I usually struck up a conversation and found something in common with someone. Now, no one talks unless I find someone my age. Socializing, even with strangers, is healthy. So, is doing nothing occasionally.

Lightman quotes Henry David Thoreau in his 1854 reflection on living in the woods from his book Walden. Even then, Thoreau warned against the technology changes that were hurrying life’s pace. Lightman goes on to say that “what’s being eroded is something we can’t always see. That’s our inner self. Keeping our minds occupied 24/7 with work or life or screens means we’re losing imagination, dreams, and ultimately our freedom.”

I write all this not to necessarily change adult behavior as I’m not the leader of the parents. I hope our kids can learn to be bored and creative by doing nothing at times. On a somewhat unrelated note, I’ve been surprised that many of our students at Abbott don’t know Mother Goose stories and characters that have been around for centuries (with some good morals) yet can sing all the words from Frozen.

Millard Bond Issue

Please come to hear a presentation on the proposed Millard Bond Issue. The table of dates, times and locations are below.
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Don't miss out on Abbott day at Scooter's. We receive 25% from each order! Print the flyer above and bring it to Scooter's to be entered in the drawing to win a $25 gift card to Scooter's.
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The last day to order your Abbott yearbook is February 28th. Reserve your child’s copy by returning the order form and $15 to the Abbott office. Click on the link below for the order form!
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President - Linda Poole

Vice President - Dave Anderson

Secretary - Stacy Jolley

Treasurer - Amanda McGill Johnson

Board Member - Mike Kennedy

Board Member - Mike Pate