Cottonwood Elementary

December 2022-2023

Dear Families,

Wow! I can't believe it's already December. It amazes me how fast the year goes and how quickly the month of December flies by. December is filled with lots of fun activities including jingle jams, holiday parties, theme days, and grandparents day. assemblies, and our 2nd-grade music program. The month of December, it's a good time for us to review our expectations at home and at school of what we expect of our students as we participate in these great activities! Our core foundations include being responsible, respectful, safe, and ready. We review these foundations with our students frequently so they know our expectations for these special events. It is also the time of the year when we complete mid-year testing. As your child completes these assessments, please reinforce at home that they need to give their best effort every single time. We use this data to drive our instruction starting in January. As always, if you have any questions please feel free to email me at


Mr. Troast

Reading Corner with Mr. Troast - What’s all the Nonsense about Nonsense Words?

You may have heard your child's teacher mention nonsense words to you at some point this year. You may also have found yourself thinking, what in the world are nonsense words? Nonsense words are a great way to practice early phonics skills and apply what they are learning in the classroom to words. Nonsense word fluency measures a student’s ability to decode individual phonemes (individual letter sounds) and then blend the sounds together to read words. We teach and use nonsense words to see if students can blend sounds to make words.

As a child's vocabulary starts to grow they automatically start to memorize and identify words in the text. As a young reader that's great, but what happens when your child comes across a word they haven't learned or memorized? We want them to have the skills to determine the sounds of each letter and blend them together to form words. This will make them better readers as they encounter longer words with more syllables.

To practice these skills we use nonsense words. These are made-up words. At the primary level, a typical pattern referred to as CVC (Consonant, Vowel, Consonant) can be used to make up nonsense words. An example of a nonsense word is "sup". Getting the practice of identifying each individual sound and blending will help them later on when they get to larger more difficult words. Knowing “sup” will help students decode words like: supper, supportive, and supplemental.

The next time you hear your child or teacher mention nonsense words you'll know what they are talking about. Feel free to use the link below for a fun nonsense word game that you can play at home as a family.

December Holiday Parties

We will be having classroom parties on December 20th from 1:00-1:30 pm. We are happy to invite parents into the building this year for these parties. Please arrive by 1:00 pm, but understand our doors will not open until 12:55. Parties will be over at 1:30. If you arrive at 1:30, you will be asked to check your student out at the front office. You will be able to sign your student out directly with the classroom teacher at 1:30 if you wish to start your break early.

Holiday Parties Expectations- Each classroom teacher will send out information with their classroom specifics. All parties must have the following guidelines in place:

  • It's preferred that all food items must be individually wrapped.
  • All items should be sent to school with the student in the morning.
  • Please refer to your child's classroom teacher for any questions regarding what is and what isn't allowed.
  • Classroom teachers will send out additional information.

*Please note- We will not be allowing families in for Valentine's Day parties in February. Classroom party times will be at the discretion of the teacher instead of one set time during the school day. Thank you for your understanding.

12 Days of Holiday Celebrations

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Middle School Parking Lot Pickup

Dear Parents,

Is your child an after-school walker? Please take a moment to sit down with your child and discuss safety when it comes to walking home. I've received reports of students not staying on the sidewalk and coming very close to the road on 303rd. Make sure they look both ways when they are crossing the road and always make sure they are paying attention to what is happening around them.

Our staff walks with students all the way to the Sunflower/Paola High School entrance off of 303rd. Staff will ensure safe crossing at the intersection of 303rd and Hedge Lane and the crosswalks in front of Sunflower Elementary. At that time, students are released to walk on the sidewalk to meet siblings at the Paola Middle School parking lot. I encourage parents picking up in the middle school parking lot to utilize the drive-thru line at Cottonwood. If you come around 3:25, the line is very short.

iDismiss Reminder


As the weather is getting colder we are seeing more parents utilize our car rider line at the end of the day. Just a reminder that our line moves the fastest if everyone knows their iDismiss number. Every student in the building was assigned a number at the start of the year and given a card to display on their window visor. Feel free to make your own signs for additional vehicles in your family. If you memorize your number you can always tell our Cottonwood staff when your roll down the window. When our staff has to look up numbers it slows the entire line down. Please remember that our office staff will only share numbers with family members who are listed as primary contacts in the infinite campus. In the future, you may be asked to park if you do not know your number and a staff member will assist you when available.

December Book of the Month: The Gingerbread Man: Loose at Christmas

Get into the holiday spirit with this fun take on the gingerbread man! It's available in the Cottonwood Library now. Ask Mrs. Johnston or Mr. Troast if you are interested.
The Gingerbread Man Loose at Christmas

November PAW Award

The following students were recognized during the month of November for doing something positive for the staff or other students. Each student who is nominated receives a certificate of recognition and each month we randomly select students to receive a fun prize from Mr. Troast. November PAW Award Winners are:

Kindergarten: Gracie Kessler and Jackson Cordle

1st Grade: Zaydin Reynolds and Roman Dinkle

2nd Grade: Allison Schrotberger and Brielle Baldridge

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Use the information below to order your yearbook. We do not order extra and we do not receive any extra copies. So get your order in today to make sure you have one for the end of the year.

Yearbook Orders are due Wednesday, February 15. Visit to order online and enter code 72745W

December Calendar

  • Dec 5th-Dec 16th- iReady and Fastbridge Testing
  • December 2nd- Grandparents Day @ PHS- Doors open at 3:45
  • December- 5th- 2nd Grade Music Program
  • December 12th- Board of Education Meeting at 6 pm
  • December 13th- Jingle Jam
  • December 20st- Last Day End of 1st Semester
  • December 20st- Holiday Parties @ 1:00
  • December 22nd- January 5th- Winter Break
  • January 5th-School Resumes

Cold Weather Reminder

Just a reminder we do go outside for recess as long as the real feel is above 20 degrees. Please ensure your child has a coat/jacket or hat and gloves.

Cottonwood Elementary

If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to email me: or call the school at 913-294-8050.