Autumn Creek Elementary Newsletter

August 31, 2021

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Principal's Message

Our students and teachers are really settling in now, and kids are getting down to learning! As I walked the building and went to classrooms this week, I saw classrooms more regularly using our amazing learning pod areas for part of regular instruction, and witnessed a lot of kids working in what we call "balanced math." As you can see by the pictures, student tables are actually markerboards, so kids can write directly on them and are encouraged to do so. Remember the days when you got in trouble at school for doing that? Those days are over.


Our focus for the next few weeks will be to further establish the learning culture at ACE. Our teachers are already working with kids in groups to address learning gaps, and are pushing student learning and problem solving to new heights. You can see our Twitter page for recent examples of that. For the long-term, the ACE Way of teaching and learning will be all about students doing the work, problem solving, and collaborating. This will prepare them well for future years of school and for life in the 21st century!


Thank you for entrusting your kids to us!

Club Information Update

Autumn Creek is preparing to launch its clubs for students! Please check out our club information page and the club application, which will be coming home this week and will be due on Tuesday 9/14. If you have questions about a club, please email the club sponsor directly for more information. For your convenience, we have linked their email to the club information page.

Construction Update

The big news in the construction world at ACE is that we anticipate one of our playgrounds opening this Friday!! I know our students will be very excited about that. Our second and third playground should open within days of the first one.


Work has been ongoing at the exterior of the building as our playgrounds have been constructed, front entry columns have been wrapped, and roofing of the entry way has been secured. We are still waiting on more signage for our parking lot and driveway, and a number of furniture pieces that are on long backorders. A lot of site prep work has been done behind our building to prepare for the install of a fire lane and the grassy areas in back that kids will be able to play on.


In the world of technology we continue to experience significant delays, not caused by us. The worldwide computer chip shortage has slowed delivery of literally everything that contains a chip! However, teacher laptops were delivered this week, and every classroom now has one along with a document camera and a working Front Row speaker system. We are waiting on building automation systems which will automatically operate our exterior lighting and HVAC systems, but the important thing is that we have air conditioning!

New Faces at ACE

Ashley Vandergraaf


Ashley is our new 3rd grade Science and Social Studies teacher and is coming to Autumn Creek Elementary from Elm Grove Elementary where she worked as a STEPS+ Para. Education is her passion and there is no greater feeling than watching a student's face light up when they learn something new! She is the oldest of five siblings, a wife, and proud mother of two beautiful daughters. She feels so blessed to have one of her daughters attending Kindergarten at ACE this year and her other daughter will be joining ACE next year in Pre-K. She is very excited, humbled, and blessed to be part of the ACE team and cannot wait to share this wonderful adventure of learning and fun with our students and the wonderful community supporting them!


Important upcoming dates!

  • September 1 - Watch D.O.G.S. Launch Event @ 7am in Cafeteria
  • September 6 - Labor Day holiday - Staff/Student Holiday
  • September 15 - Dot Day Celebration
  • September 20 - Elementary Student Holiday/Staff Workday

Staff Favorite Book

The Staff Favorite Book this week is from Mrs. Boston and is "Front Desk" by Kelly Yang.


This book is great for upper grade levels(3-5). It opens the door for conversation about social injustice and immigration through the eyes a young girl whose family has relocated to the United States from China. It’s a captivating and true underdog story about the ability to achieve the American Dream despite all circumstances. This book is a read aloud I incorporated just last year and it was a page turner for all of my kids to get excited over. The author uses her personal life experiences through a 3 book series, with Front Desk being the first novel. I look forward to the publishing of the next two books to follow Mia Tang’s story of immigrating to America.

Instructional Strategy for Families

The beginning of a new school year is among us, and we know many of you are thinking of ways you can partner with the school to help your children grow as readers, but where to begin?? The most important thing we can do with our kids at home is READ! This can start off as a small amount of time and gradually increase as you see your child as ready. Think chunk and chew! Take a small chunk (10 minutes) and chew that before trying to take on the whole plate. One way to start reading at home is to share the responsibility. Help your child to finding something they are interested in reading. This can be a library book, comic book, magazine, or blog. Set aside a time that you will be available to participate in the reading. If your child is not yet able to read words, you can read aloud to them and discuss how the photos and illustrations support what the story is about. If your child is already able to read words, take turns reading aloud. As your child grows as a reader, you can encourage your child take take on more of the reading. Have multiple kids? Select a couple nights a week in which they can have a shared reading experience and read to each other. Take a look at this graphic that shows how impactful 20 minutes of our day could be!
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Allergy Notifications for ACE

The number of children with life threatening food allergies is increasing each year. Ingestion of proteins from the offending food can trigger a reaction and death. Peanuts and other nuts are the most common allergens. Non-nut foods that are prepared in the same area as nuts can have peanut residue and can also cause a reaction.


We have several students at ACE who have a serious (life threatening) food allergy. Each student’s food allergy is unique and requires cooperation between parents, students, staff and the community to ensure that a safe environment exist for these students. You can help us maintain a safe environment by encouraging your child to:


■ Understand this allergy and take it seriously. It is difficult to believe that foods enjoyed by most are so harmful to others. Food allergies can cause a medical emergency called anaphylactic shock and require emergency treatment. There can be no joking or teasing about it. Students with severe allergies need the help of their classmates to deal with the allergy.

■ Never share food with friends or classmates. It can be difficult to know exactly what ingredients are in foods.

■ Wash hands after eating. This is important, since a small amount of food on your hands can be spread to desk, books, playground equipment and other items.

■ Prepare/send lunches and snacks without peanut or nut products when possible.

■ Separate themselves from the child with food allergies when it is not possible to have non nut products.

■ Learn the signs and symptoms of allergic reactions – vomiting, swelling of the face and lips, difficulty breathing, coughing or sneezing, watery eyes or skin that is bumpy, red and itchy.

■ Report these symptoms and accidental contact to the adults in the area without delay.

Class Parties and How You Can Support Them

ATTENTION PARENTS! This year there will be two class parties, a Winter Party and a Friendship Party! But we need your help to plan fun parties for our little Blue Jays!


When you pay your celebration fees, 100% of the money is used for food and supplies for the party!


Please use this link to pay your celebration fees for each of your students as soon as possible, so we can budget and plan fun parties for every class!


https://www.autumncreekpto.org/celebration-fees

COVID Steps Taken

Since the reemergence of the 4th wave of COVID, we have had more questions from families about what steps we have taken to prevent its spread. Below is a list of items we have already addressed, along with some future actions we plan to take.


What we have done so far:

  1. HVAC- Our air conditioning system is the latest and greatest and features devices that are able to kill any airborne bacteria or virus particles. It also has been set to refresh our air with outside air more often than normal.

  2. Class sizes- We have reduced class sizes in kindergarten, 2nd grade, 3rd grade, and 4th grade, both due to growth and in an effort to reduce the number of people in one room together.

  3. Lunch schedule adjustments- We are targeting making our cafeteria about half full at any given time. We have already spread two lunch times out to alleviate overcrowding.

  4. Wipe down of surfaces- Desks and chairs are all wiped down with disinfectant each night when the staff is at home. We have provided all staff with wipes and gloves and have found that many of them wipe the surfaces themselves, in addition to what our custodians do.

  5. Gatherings- We have no all-school gatherings planned. We have hosted class meetings in learning pods, but it is only for individual grade levels. Kindergarten class meetings were done class by class.


Future steps:

  1. Recess- Once our playgrounds open, it will help a lot. We will likely implement recess zones so that we can manage the number of students outside in any given area.

  2. Lunch- We are considering further adjustments to our lunch schedule to further alleviate crowding in our cafeteria.