The PRES Press

Principal Monthly Newsletter, November 2018

A Message from Principal Amy Fishkin

CARE Assembly & School Spirit Day

During the month of November, we will be focusing on the concept of GRATITUDE. We will hold our monthly CARE assembly next Thursday, November 15th. Students and staff are invited to wear PRES clothes or the school color, green, for our school-wide assembly.

On Friday, November 16th, we will celebrate our school spirit with Crazy Hat or Hair Day! For our community service, we will be writing "Thank you notes" throughout the month of November to recognize those people in our school community for whom we are thankful.

Enjoy this article with simple ways to focus on gratitude with your children at home this month:

How to Teach Children to Be Grateful

Halloween Parade - A PRES Tradition

An interview with Ms. Jean Mazilli by Mrs. Erika Volpe

The Halloween Parade has been a tradition at PRES for many, many years. It began with a retired teacher who envisioned the idea of the parade. At that time, the students and staff would parade outside the school and the students would be invited to the middle of the circle to dance if they had a certain type of costume. For example, the students would be called, "All the witches in the middle! All the ghosts in the middle!" However, not all of the children had a chance to participate in the dance if their type of costume wasn’t called.

When the teacher retired, Ms. Mazzilli spoke to the principal (Mr. Pete Politi), and offered to take the lead on the Halloween Parade. Ms. Mazzilli wanted all of the students to be able to take their spot “in the middle of the dance,” so she began teaching the children age-appropriate dances for all grades in their PE classes. For the month of October, the dance would serve as the class’ warm-up activity. The children learn the dance and learn special cues from Ms. Mazzilli for performance day. The dances were never meant to be perfected, but more meant to be a fun time to highlight ALL of the children in our school.

Ms. Mazzilli enjoys seeing the excitement of the children leading up to their performance, and she loves seeing both the students and their parents having a good time for that special half hour on Halloween. "It has always been an outdoor parade, and we have always been lucky with the weather," said Ms. Mazzilli. She loves seeing so many parents come out to see their children in the parade and she enjoys watching the children from the neighboring preschool, Play School, who come out each year to watch and wave to students as they parade along the driveway.

During the week of Halloween, Ms. Mazzilli transforms the gym into spooky and engaging Halloween stations for the children to enjoy and practice their gross motor skills. As years went on, she has added to the stations, enhancing them each year, making it a unique experience for the students at PRES.

PRES Halloween Photos

Developing Strong Reading Habits with Reading Partners

In reading workshop, students are learning to be reading partners. Reading partners hold each other accountable for the reading work students are doing. Students encourage their partners to "keep going" when they are reading accurately, fluently, and with expression. If a partner gets stuck on a tricky word, partners are encouraged to give each other feedback and reminders about the strategies they've learned! Partnerships and book clubs in the upper grades are learning to discuss their books with one another by sharing insights into character, setting, plot and theme.

In these first reading units, students are learning "fix up" strategies for when they get stuck on tricky words. In the upper grades, students are learning to think deeply about characters, plot, and setting. They are also developing ideas about theme in their stories, as well as learning to pay attention to how characters change from beginning to end. Enjoy a few great pictures of our first grade students learning to be word detectives during our first reading unit!

Research suggests that reading improves when students have access to high interest books, long stretches of uninterrupted time to read, and choice when selecting books on their independent reading level. When students have opportunities to practice their reading skills in books with high interest and choice, they begin to generalize the skills and strategies learned. Teachers spend a great deal of time providing students with explicit instruction in reading skills and strategies, while making sure that students are matched to "just right" books for independent practice. These are books that students can read with 95% accuracy and with strong comprehension.

5th Grade Pancake Breakfast

Thank you to all the fifth grade parent volunteers and student servers who made the fifth grade pancake breakfast on Saturday, November 3rd such a success. The food was delicious and the activities were wonderful! A special thank you to Toni Dooley, Dawn Dellorusso, Karen Kunz, and Rebekah New for all their hard work coordinating this special event. Your hard work and endless hours of planning and preparation are greatly appreciated!

Honoring Billy Fortin

In collaboration with the fifth grade parents, we were excited to kick off our second annual "Hero Day" as part of our pancake breakfast, a fundraiser for our fifth grade class and a wonderful event for the entire Pound Ridge community. At “Hero Day,” we honor a local hero who has made a significant contribution to the PRES community.

This year, we honored Billy Fortin, owner of The Market at Pound Ridge Square. Billy is someone who will do anything, for anyone, whenever asked. He has spent countless hours volunteering his time in the community and at PRES. He is the person we go to for any school or PTA event. Whether it’s grilling for the Field Day BBQ, donating pancake mix for the pancake breakfast, preparing food for a staff event, or reading in kindergarten classrooms on Community Day, this hero has been incredibly generous of his time and his resources. He is an integral part of not only the PRES school community, but also the greater Pound Ridge community.

Pancake Breakfast Photos

Report Cards Go Live November 30

How and when can I view my child’s report card?

Your child’s first semester report card will become available online via the eSchool Data Parent Portal on Friday, November 30, 2018. To access the Portal, click on the following link: or go to the District homepage and click on the “Parent Portal” link in the lower right-hand corner. Click below for directions on accessing your child’s report card via the Portal (these directions are also available on our District website):

Understanding the Writing Indicators on the Report Card:

Throughout the year, your child will be exposed to three types of writing genres: narrative, informational, and opinion writing. After each writing unit, students will be assessed on their writing craft, conventions, and understanding of writing concepts taught. These writing indicators are based on end-of-year grade level expectations. It is not uncommon for students to receive a level 2 for a writing indicator in the first semester. A level 2 represents that a student is developing a skill being taught but is not expected to master that skill until the end of the school year. You should expect to see these grades change as the year progresses.

Should I review the report card with my child?

This is child-specific. Parents should highlight the strengths of the child(ren). Parents may want to identify one or two areas that can be worked on together at home, such as reading. All children have strengths and areas for growth. Report cards are written with a parent audience in mind. Consider what information you feel would best help your child to feel proud of him/herself and provide small child-specific feedback for reaching the next steps in his/her learning.

PRES Senior Luncheon

Each year, our PRES school community hosts an annual luncheon for local senior citizens in the town of Pound Ridge. It is truly a collaborative, community effort. This year, our senior luncheon took place on Thursday, November 8, 2018. Our kindergartners made placemats, the first graders made paper flower gifts, and our second graders made CARE-ing rocks for our seniors to take home. Our third graders, as well as our 4th-5th grade chorus sang songs for the seniors to enjoy. Many PRES parents cooked and prepared a delicious spread of salads, sandwiches, side dishes, and desserts for the seniors. Thank you to Mrs. Marisa Manos and all the parent volunteers who helped with this beautiful community event! Thank you to Mrs. Lynn Donnavan, vocal music teacher, for leading the students in the songs. Thank you to Mrs. Erika Volpe, ECT, for coordinating the schedule and all the behind-the-scene details that made this event so successful! Thank you to Pound Ridge Neighbor to Neighbor Liaison and Senior Programs Coordinator, Louise Paolicelli, for all your efforts coordinating this event with us!

Enjoy pictures from the 2018 PRES Senior Luncheon:

PRES Senior Luncheon Photos

Happy Thanksgiving!

Just a reminder...

Wednesday, November 21 = 11:30 AM Early Dismissal

*Please enter dismissal changes in SDM by 10:30 AM.

(Lunch will NOT be served)

Thursday, November 22 = No School

Friday, November 23 = No School

Wishing you and your family a happy and healthy Thanksgiving holiday!