Tiger Tales

Taft Elementary Newsletter - February

A Note from the Principal

We are already racing into the second month of the new year! Our students and staff returned from the winter break with a renewed sense of energy and purpose. Last week, we finished the second week of mid-year testing. We started in January with checking students' math skills on the iReady Diagnostic Test and then we checked reading fluency with the Idaho Reading Indicator (IRI) and Curriculum Based Measurement (CBM). (The great news is that nearly all of our students have shown significant progress since they first took the tests in September.) Last week, all of our English Language Learners were tested on the ACCESS test. It measures their progress in reading, writing, listening, and speaking in English. We won't have results on those tests until May, but we are confident that they made progress, as well.

On January 26th, we had our first PBIS Assembly to review and refresh school wide expectations for behavior. PBIS (Positive Behavior Intervention & Supports) is now in its second year at Taft, and it has been very successful. Since it was introduced last October, behavior referrals have decreased by nearly one third! That's a remarkable change in just a little over a year. Our goal is to promote a safe and positive environment for all students by explicitly teaching expected behaviors and practicing them regularly. During the assembly, students demonstrated why Taft is such an amazing place to learn and work. The assembly even featured a flash mob dance with staff, but names shall be withheld to protect the innocent. ;o)

5th Graders Had a Blast at Bogus Basin Snow School

Kindergarten Registration is Just Around the Corner!

Do you have a child that will be 5 years old on or before August 31, 2018? If so, please plan to join us for kindergarten registration on Thursday, March 8 from 3:30-5:30 PM in the Taft gym/cafeteria. Students will be assessed on their readiness for kindergarten. (Assessments will include their ability to count, recognize letters of the alphabet, and name basic colors and shapes.) You can start playing with those at home now! All students will receive free kindergarten readiness activities to begin using immediately.

In order to register a child, you must bring a certified birth certificate, a copy of their immunization record, and a proof of residency (power or utility bill, lease agreement, or mortgage bill) so we can determine your attendance area. Please see the Boise School District's web site for more information: 2018 Kindergarten Registration & Open House


This Winter 2018, the Boise School District has had several confirmed cases of influenza. Influenza (also known as flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. Flu is different from a cold, and usually comes on suddenly. While flu illness can vary from mild to severe, individuals may need medical care because of the flu. The following information from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is provided as a public service to assist Boise District parents, students and staff members during this flu season.

How does flu spread?

Flu viruses are thought to spread mainly by droplets made when someone with flu coughs, sneezes or talks. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby. A person also can get the flu by touching something that has flu virus on it and then touching their mouth, eyes, or nose.

What are flu symptoms?

Flu symptoms can include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, feeling tired and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea (more common in children than adults). Some people with the flu will not have a fever.

What to do if you get the flu?

  • Make sure to get plenty of rest and drink enough fluids.

  • Stay home for at least 24 hours after the fever is gone (this applies to students, parents and District staff members).

  • The fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine. A fever is defined as 100°F (37.8°C) or higher.

  • Talk to your doctor early if you are worried about you or your child’s illness.

How long can flu be spread to others?

People with flu may be able to infect others from 1 day before getting sick to up to 5 to 7 days after. Severely ill people or young children may be able to spread the flu longer, especially if they still have symptoms.

How to protect against the flu:

  • Get a flu vaccine* (vaccination is recommended for everyone 6 months and older). According to regional and national medical professionals, it’s currently not too late to get a flu shot.

  • It’s especially important that young children and children with long-term health conditions get vaccinated.

  • Caregivers of children with health conditions or of children younger than 6 months old should get vaccinated. (Babies younger than 6 months are too young to be vaccinated themselves.)

  • Another way to protect babies is to vaccinate pregnant women. Research shows that flu vaccination gives some protection to the baby both while the woman is pregnant and for up to 6 months after the baby is born.

*Flu vaccine is updated annually to protect against the flu viruses that research indicates are most likely to cause illness during the upcoming flu season. Flu vaccines are made using strict safety and production measures. Over the years, millions of flu vaccines have been given in the United States with a very good safety record.

Other ways to protect you and your child against the flu?

  • Stay away from people who are sick.

  • If you or a family member is sick with flu-like illness, try to keep him or her in a separate room from others in the household, if possible.

  • The CDC recommends that individuals stay home for at least 24 hours after his or her fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. The fever should be gone without the use of a fever reducing medicine.

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after it has been used.

  • Wash hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.

  • Clean and disinfect hard surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs, including bathroom surfaces, kitchen counters and toys for children. Clean by wiping them down with a household disinfectant according to directions on the product label.

For more information, visit www.cdc.gov/flu or call 800-CDC-INFO

Sixth Graders Visited the Dennis Technical Education Center

67 Steps to Making a Better Reader

Last August, many principals in Idaho were introduced to Dr. Danny Brassel, former teacher and motivational speaker. He has developed a FREE program to help parents support their children in reading at home. We're excited to share a new resource with you! The program consists of 67 consecutive short videos that provide practical tips for parents.

Please consider going to the web site 67 Steps and signing up for the daily videos. As parents, you play a critical role in helping your children learn to read, and this series may prove to be very useful.

Construction Project at Veterans Memorial/36th and State Street Intersection

We are just days away from the official start of the intersection project beginning on February 5th. This project is expected to run from February through October. If we're lucky, we'll have a new and highly efficient intersection in time for Halloween. We will post regular updates to the project, because it affects your access to Taft Elementary and we want to ensure that your children are safe as they come and go from our property.

Please remember that whenever there are major road projects of this nature, that drivers need to exercise extra caution. It will require greater patience on everyone's part, as wait times will probably increase. We encourage everyone to use this as an opportunity to demonstrate patience and good will for our students.

In the meantime, I encourage you to check in on the project's progress. You can use this page to get regular updates. State Street/Veterans Memorial Parkway/36th Street Intersection

Toolbox Strategies

Have you heard your child talking about using their "Toolbox" and wondered what they were talking about? If so, here's the scoop. This year, our counselor (Mrs. Drews) has been teaching every classroom twelve different self-regulation strategies that students can use to help them manage their emotions and communicate more effectively. This has now become a school wide initiative and all adults in our building have been trained to remind students to use their "tools" when they need a coping strategy.

These strategies could help children at home, too. Please see the following document to see a list of the tools, and ask your child how they use them.

Boise Public Library Foundation

Just before winter break, we were contacted by the Boise Public Library and invited to participate in creating a video that would be used to promote their social media fundraising efforts for the public libraries in Boise. They were looking for a school with a diverse student population that frequented one of the libraries. We have dozens of students that spend hours each week at the Collister library, so Taft was a great fit. The following video was a terrific production developed by Christian Lybrook and his videographer. Check it out! Library!

Important Dates

Feb 12-14 - Boys' Basketball Tournament

Feb 15 - Muffins and Math - Please join us from 8:00-8:40 AM!

Feb 19 - President's Day, NO SCHOOL

Mar 2 - Guest Author, Beth Vrabel, presents to 4th-6th grade

Mar 8 - Kindergarten Registration (3:30-5:00 PM)

Mar 9 - Spring Dress Up Luncheon - Please help your child dress their best

Mar 14 - Idaho Theater for Youth Assemblies

Mar 21 - 3rd/4th Music Programs (9:30 AM for students and 2:00 PM for parents)

Mar 23 - End of 3rd Quarter - Early Release (10:30 for KG, 1:15 for all others)

Mar 26-30 - Spring Break, NO SCHOOL