January Newsletter


January 7th, 2020

On behalf of the entire Mason staff, I wish you and your family a very happy New Year! Sometimes the very best gift of all is the gift of time together, and I sure felt fortunate over the holidays to have extended time with family and friends.

January is a time when many of us look ahead and set goals and resolutions. I want to take this opportunity to share one of our Mason focus areas with you: Writing. As a staff we are working on refining our writing instruction in order to ensure all Mason students make growth as writers.

Some of the actions we are taking to reach these goals are:

  • All teachers explicitly teach writing five days per week. Each classroom will have at least one unit on each of the main genre: Narrative, Opinion, and Informational.

  • Teachers give regular common assessments in writing and collaborate to analyze student performance and set goals for instruction.

  • Teachers regularly confer (meet one-on-one) with writers to give feedback and teach next steps.

  • Teachers frequently provide targeted small-group instruction for students not at standard in writing.

  • Teachers participate in professional development about working with writers one-on-one and in small groups to give them specific feedback and target their next steps for improvement.

  • Teachers use tools such as checklists, rubrics, and progressions to analyze student work, set goals for instruction, and teach students how to assess their own writing.

We are noticing not only growth in student writing itself, but increases in student motivation to write as well. Ask your child how he/she has grown as a writer this year, and what he/she is trying to work on as a writer this week. I hope you will be pleasantly surprised with the specificity with which your child can talk about his or her writing.

How can families help us with our goal? Here are some ways to help your child in writing:

  • Build a climate of words at home. When you go places, and see things with your child, talk about what has been seen, heard, smelled, tasted, touched. The basis of good writing is good talk, and younger children especially grow into stronger control of language when adults share experiences and talk about those experiences.

  • Let children see you write often. You can be both a model and a teacher. If children never see adults write, they gain the impression that writing occurs only at school. Have children see you writing notes to friends, letters to businesses, perhaps even stories! From time to time, read aloud what you have written and ask your children their opinion of what you’ve written. If it’s not perfect, so much the better! Making changes in what you write confirms for the child that revision is a natural part of writing.

  • Share letters and emails from friends and relatives. Treat such letters as special events. Ask relatives and friends to write notes and letters to the child, no matter how brief, and encourage your child to respond. Writing is especially rewarding when the child gets a response!

  • Stay in close contact with your child’s classroom teacher about how your child is doing in writing, especially if he or she is not yet on standard. Your child’s teacher probably shared some specific details about this at the parent/teacher conference in November, including how your child is doing compared to writing rubrics and/or checklists.

I have great confidence that our writers will continue to grow because of our committed staff, our dedicated parents, and motivated student learners. I look forward to celebrating many Mason successes with you in the coming year.


Jesse Harrison


Arrival and Dismissal Safety

At Mason, student safety is our utmost priority. Mason’s Safety Plan includes a policy to help ensure the safety of all students, families and visitors to the school as they enter or depart from the parking lot.

One of the busiest times of the day on our campus is the arrival and dismissal of almost 550 students and staff! The staff members at Mason constantly monitor student safety on campus and traffic flow during these times. We need YOU to help us keep the students safe and traffic flowing smoothly. We want to stress the need for everyone to pay attention to our student safety patrol and our crossing guards, as they will be directing student and vehicle traffic.

The Parking Lot is for Mason Staff Members. The Parking lot is closed 7:30-8:00 and 2:00-2:30.

Drop Off/Pick Up Zone

If you would like to drop-off/pick-up your student, we have designated a lane on Gold Coast Drive as an unloading/loading zone. This lane is intended to keep the traffic flow moving. This lane is for “unloading /loading only,” do not park and leave your vehicle.

Once you are in the unloading/loading lane:

  • Stop the vehicle for students to exit/enter safely.

  • Drop off time begins with the arrival of the supervision at 7:30AM

  • If you are picking up a student after school, remain in your car

  • Students are to wait for you in the load/unload area on Gold Coast

  • When waiting in the load/unload area pull forward to allow other cars to move forward. This allows waiting cars to pull it.

  • Do not leave your car unattended in the load/unload area!! You must remain in your car!


If you prefer to park your car, we ask that you use the crosswalks and follow the directions of our crossing guards, as it is their duty to help keep the crosswalks safe. Walking between cars creates a highly dangerous environment for small children!