Elementary Newsletter

From the Desk of Mrs. Buchanan-Rivera

Dear Families,

I hope you enjoyed your Spring Break! It is hard to believe that we have only another month of school left! It has been amazing to witness the spiritual and academic growth of students throughout the year. God is certainly guiding our children to do amazing work! For those who have students in standardized testing grade levels (3-4), thank you for your collaboration and flexibility last month. The next round of ISTEP+ will begin at the end of April. Teachers of applicable grade levels will send a testing schedule to families as we approach the assessment window.

IREAD-3 results for third grade students should also arrive before the end of this month. Families will be notified if a student needs to have a retake in the summer. The retake is required for students who did not pass the examination during the initial round. Remember, IREAD-3 is a state requirement and a determining factor of promotion based on Public Law 109. Nevertheless, I can assure families that our students felt more than confident while taking IREAD-3 due to all of the challenging and engaging literacy experiences throughout the year!

In relation to literacy, I am also excited to announce that we have four winners from the I LOVE TO READ CHALLENGE sponsored by WISH-TV. We congratulate the following students who selected from the elementary drawings due to meeting their reading goals:

Caroline Kirby, Kindergarten

Cate Shaver, 1st Grade

Ashlyn Van Hart , 3rd Grade

Vicki Lehr ‘s kindergarten classroom also won an award this year! There will be an Awards Ceremony for the winners on April 20, 2016 at the Children’s Museum. Congrats to all of our winners. Literacy opens the door to many opportunities. Continue to encourage your reader. There are many genres and stories that expand our minds as well as our hearts!

Grandparent's Day

This serves as a reminder for Grandparent’s Day on Monday, April 11, 2016. We invite all grandparents of students from TPCA to join us on this occasion. Students may also bring a special guest or an admired person if a grandparent is not available. Mr. Evans will present a variation of the Future of the School address for grandparents only at 12:20pm at TPCC. Students will arrive following the presentation.

Teachers will have sign out sheets for those families who intend to take their child out of the classroom for either tours or to leave early. Please connect with a teacher before leaving with your student. Children may only leave with a designated family member and teachers will reiterate that protocol for safety measures due to the large amount of participants. We look forward to fellowship with families.

2016-2017 Multiage Classrooms

The inception of the multiage classroom initiated in the late summer months due to enrollment. However, it has evolved into a beautiful best practice for participants. Research demonstrates positive correlations between individualized learning and performance. Due to the nature of the multiage model, students are continuously immersed in curricular instruction that aligns with his or her individualized goals.

Next school year, it is our intent to expand the multiage program and add a 3/4 classroom. Therefore, an application process will be in place for the consideration of new participants. The process will consist of a parent and teacher recommendation form. Educators who are designated to fill out the recommendation will also submit appropriate student data that demonstrates the need for a multiage setting.

If you are unsure if multiage is appropriate for your student, please see the following questions and facts about the multiage experience:

What is a multi-age classroom?

Multiage classrooms are composed of students who are up to two years apart. Multiage classrooms are made up of mixed abilities and ages. In a multiage classroom, the teacher uses an individualized approach, based on the students’ developmental stages, rather than an age or grade designation.

Will the oldest age group in the multiage class keep pace with their peers in the traditional classes?

Multiage teachers focus instruction on students’ learning needs rather than grade-level curriculum. Therefore, students have the advantage of continuous learning which can allow students to move at their own pace and to continuously grow as learners.

Will the youngest age group in the multiage class be overwhelmed with more difficult material?

The youngest age group in a multiage class will be closely monitored and assessed to determine their readiness to participate with their older peers in a variety of different learning experiences.

Will multiage students end up with gaps in the curriculum?

When student learning is monitored closely by a classroom teacher, students will not end up with gaps in their conceptual and skill development. Over the span of the school year, students in a multiage class will cover the same topics as their peers in a traditional classroom setting.

Will a multiage classroom be managed differently than a traditional classroom?

A multiage classroom will have many differences than a traditional classroom. With the benefit of an individualized framework, students will meet frequently in small groups and through one-on-one conferencing with the teacher. This is to ensure that the teacher is able to meet the needs of each and every student on a consistent basis.

The application will be distributed this month, so please look out for the information. Remember, this would apply to grades 1-4 and limited spaces are available. Therefore, applications and data will be thoroughly examined. Please reach out to me or Katherine Vail at KVail@tpcs.org if you have any questions pertaining to the multiage experience. Katherine has a great wealth of knowledge as the current multiage teacher.

Principal for a Day

Emma Pratt, fifth grade student, won the Principal for a Day auction bid. Prior to the break, she had the opportunity to walk in my shoes for a day. We spent time in classrooms conducting teacher observations. Additionally, Principal Pratt interviewed prospective TPCA families and advised students throughout the day. Although it was an exhausting experience, the learning curve from the role was rewarding! The following reflection captures her day as Principal Pratt. It was a job well done from an excellent young leader!

What did you learn from the Principal experience?

I learned that principals do not sit around and just type emails. They also do not just walk around in the hallways. They interview parents, observe what teachers are doing… They see if teachers are teaching the right way. When you’re in a classroom, you have to see how teachers are helping students. For example, they should work with a student rather than sit at their desk.

What is difficult about the Principal role?

I think it is hard to stay on schedule. There were times when I wanted to do other things, but I had to stick to my schedule or else things would go wrong. Also, being in the classrooms and documenting what teachers are doing is EXHAUSTING!! Then, you have to tell kids to stop running in the hallways. It’s just a busy job and you feel overwhelmed.

What is rewarding about the Principal role?

The principal can interact with kids. It’s nice to give kids and hug or say “hi.” It’s also good to check in on the teachers and see how they’re doing as long as I don’t have to watch them teach for 30 minutes!

If you were officially the principal, what rules would you change?

I would change the homework policy. Students would have a lighter load at home or no homework at all. We would have more time to read books that we enjoy if we didn’t have all the worksheets. I would also end classes at 3pm.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

I want to be either a hairdresser or a teacher in a Christian School.

What did you learn about Mrs. Buchanan-Rivera?

She works very hard. She is very nice and inviting. Sometimes she doesn’t get to do what she wants (in terms busy schedules), but she doesn’t complain and she’s usually just happy. She also takes the time to pray for people which is cool.

Thank you for your continued support and prayers. Please let me know if you have any questions. Also, look for upcoming information regarding our awards evenings. Additionally, our co-curricular instructors are in the process of devising an event that will showcase the learning that has occurred throughout the year! We look forward to another night of fellowship in which we showcase our best to glorify our Lord!


Erica Buchanan-Rivera