The PRES Press

Principal's Monthly Newsletter, October 2018

CARE Assembly and School Spirit Days

On Thursday, October 11th all students and staff are invited to wear our PRES shirts or the color, GREEN, to celebrate our school spirit as we come together for our monthly CARES assembly.

On Friday, October 12th, students are invited to wear ORANGE for Unity Day to spread a positive message of unity, support, and hope. October is National Bullying Prevention Month. Unity Day is sponsored by PACER's National Bullying Prevention Center. When we unite as a community to celebrate kindness, acceptance and inclusion, we can make a difference in the lives of children, our community, and the greater world.

As part of our CARE character education program, we will focus on a different character education concept each month, such as community, gratitude, and perseverance. During the month of October, we will be focusing on GREETINGS. We will be teaching the students different ways to greet their peers and their teachers. Greeting someone when you see them is an easy way to show respect, spread kindness, and make each person feel like a valued member of their classroom and school community. In every culture, people have a way to acknowledge each other as they are coming and going. Here is an article that describes why building the habit of greetings can be so powerful to strengthen relationships: Happiness expert says an easy way to strengthen any relationship starts with adjusting the way you say hello and goodbye

Each month, we will also incorporate a community service opportunity for our students to help strengthen our sense of empathy and kindness towards others. For the month of October, we will be participating in the Treats for Troops program, donating our unopened, leftover Halloween candy. The Treats for Troops program will ship our donated candy to deployed service members around the world or distribute to veterans in VA Hospitals across the country. Please save your leftover Halloween candy and drop it off in the bin right inside the front entrance of the school on November 1-2, just after Halloween.

Visit our school website for a link to our PRES Assemblies & School Spirit Day Schedule

Congratulations to Mrs. Sally Conrad, on the birth of her first grandson, Linus Tyr Grafton Conrad, born on Friday, September 28, 2018!

Congratulations to Mr. Craig Henley, on the birth of his baby girl, Siena Rose, born on Saturday, October 6, 2018!

Leading a Readerly Life

The beginning of the school year marks a time to strengthen and rebuild good reading habits. In classrooms, teachers have launched the first reading unit focused on helping students develop good reading habits. Students are learning how to identify a "just right book," which is a book that a student can read with a high level of interest and with 95% accuracy. Students should see that stories are both a "window" and "mirror" into our lives. Books help us to understand our own lives better while also providing us with windows into the lives of others, other cultures and other worlds. Students are learning to apply strategies to solve tricky words, building their reading stamina, and developing their comprehension strategies.

To help your child choose a just right book:

  • Have your child choose a book on a topic of interest
  • Choose a book he/she can read with 95% accuracy. That means, your child should be able to read 95 out of every 100 words. If he is struggling on every other word, the book is too hard. Students need to balance the mental stamina required to decode the words along with making sense of the story.
  • Re-read your favorite, familiar books over and over again! This is very purposeful reading work for early readers. Students learn how stories go. They also build their sight vocabulary, their fluency, comprehension skills, and confidence as readers.
  • Early readers will do best in books with predictable patterns and picture support. Using the pictures, in addition to decoding the letters, will help students figure out unknown words.

Strategies if your child gets stuck on a word:

  • Give wait time. Allow your child to think and apply strategies learned before rescuing her with the tricky word. This will help build the student's independence.
  • Remind your child to look at the picture. "Is there something in the picture that can help you figure out that tricky word?"
  • Say, "Let's get your mouth ready for that first sound."
  • Look for smaller parts or chunks inside the word.
  • Look for smaller words inside a bigger word.
  • Skip the word, read on, then re-read and think, "What would make sense here?"

Reading at home should be an enjoyable experience. Families who read together, and make reading a pleasurable experience, build a love for reading and books. Reading to your children continues to be important, even as your children become independent readers. When we read aloud to our children, we expose them to more complex stories than ones they can decode on their own. We also model fluent reading and comprehension strategies for our students. Talking about characters, making predictions, laughing at the funny parts, and clenching our teeth at the suspenseful parts, show our children the power of story and the lessons we can learn from books.

Big picture

Fall 2018 Parent-Teacher Conferences

Parent Teacher Conferences will take place on:

October 19 = 11:30 AM Early Dismissal

October 25 = 11:30 AM Early Dismissal

October 26 = No School (for Students) for P/T Conferences

The purpose of this first fall conference is to discuss, collaboratively, goals that you have for your child. Teachers will have developed initial impressions of your child from these first few weeks of school, but are also looking forward to learning more about your child from you. This is an opportunity to begin a home-school partnership and to set goals for the school year.

Dr. Scott Mandel, author of The Parent-Teacher Partnership: How to Work Together for Student Achievement, explains that this is a meeting in your child's classroom to meet the teacher, form a trusting relationship, and hear what he or she has seen your child experience, socially and academically. It's incredibly important for parents and teachers to form a true alliance from the get-go.

There are several ways parents can contribute to making the conference a productive and informative meeting. Mandel shared a number of helpful strategies for you to keep in mind at your upcoming parent-teacher conference, and throughout the school year.

1. Plan ahead.

Mark your calendar. For families where the parents are separated or divorced, and if there are step-parents, try to ensure that everyone is included whenever possible. The goal is for all parties involved to be aware of what's happening in the classroom, even if they're participating via Skype or speaker phone.

2. Come prepared.

It's likely that the conference will flow smoothly and the teacher will jump right in and kick off a constructive discussion. Still, it can't hurt to have a few questions in your back pocket. Here are a few examples.
* What do you see as my child's strengths and weaknesses?
* What can we do at home to help maintain progress and success?
* At what point will we hear from you if you sense a problem?

3. Start with a team-player approach.

Approach challenges or issues the teacher raises with the attitude of "We have to address this problem as partners." This makes coming up with solutions considerably easier for everyone involved -- objectivity will be crucial for a successful school year.

4. Keep the teacher informed.

Teachers love-and appreciate-knowing what's going on with your child, both at the time of the conference and beyond. It's important to keep him or her up on any changes in your child's life, such as medications, family problems, if it's a dual-home family, or if a family member went into the hospital.

5. Express interest in being an involved parent.

Whether you work full-time or part-time, involvement is about making decisions and staying aware of what's happening within your child's education, not just about who's able to chaperone every field trip. Discuss with your child's teacher the best way to stay involved and informed.

6. Don't get hung up on academics.

According to Mandel, the most important lessons children learn in kindergarten and first grade are with regard to socialization, not academics. He points to Robert Fulghum's All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten to emphasize this point and says, "Every parent should get a copy of that when their children enter kindergarten -- because it's true."

7. Respect the teacher's time.

Don't plan on taking up too much time during the conference. You might have questions after the meeting ends, and even in the days that follow. Before you leave, ask the teacher, "How do you prefer that we contact you-after school, via email, with a phone call?" Keeping a list of your questions and concerns can help you organize your thoughts so you can approach the teacher effectively whenever necessary.

8. Maintain perspective.

Teachers really do understand how you feel about your child. Megan Unger, a kindergarten teacher in Minneapolis, MN, says, "For seven hours a day, I am responsible for the most precious thing in these two people's life. I try to remember that, during conferences and always!"

Success comes out of recognition that the teacher is an educational professional, and that your child is a complex entity who is different in different locations, from home to school. Your goal is to leave the conference feeling confident in your child's teacher and in the team effort that has just commenced in the interest of your child.

October 2018 - What's coming up at PRES:

Oct. 9 = Grade 2 Trip to Hanover Hilltop Farm

Oct. 11 = CARE Assembly (wear green!)

Oct. 11 = PTA Welcome Back Meeting @ 7 pm (PRES Library)

Oct. 12 = School Spirit Day (wear orange!)

Oct. 12 = Fire Prevention Day

Oct. 16 = 3C Bus Tour of Pound Ridge

Oct. 17 = 3CD Bus Tour of Pound Ridge

Oct. 18-25 = Book Fair (Classes visit on Oct. 18-19)

Oct. 19 = Early Dismissal @ 11:30 (Parent-Teacher Conferences)

Oct. 22 = Book Fair K-2 Event @ 6:00-8:00 pm

Oct. 24 = Book Fair Gr. 3-5 Event @ 6:00-8:00 pm

Oct. 25 = Early Dismissal @ 11:30 (Parent-Teacher Conferences)

Oct. 26 = No School for Students (Parent-Teacher Conferences)

Oct. 31 = PRES Halloween Parade @ 9:30 am

Nov. 3 = Pancake Breakfast - Save the Date!