The Pony Express

The Year of the Champion

November 9 - November 13, 2020

School hours for 2020-2021 are 8:35 - 3:40. Ponderosa opens the doors for students at 8:10. Everyone, including children, entering the building will have their temperature taken.


Please do not drop children off prior to 8:10. Car riders may not exit the vehicle until their temperature is taken and they pass their screening.

Register for a Free Flu Shot

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National STEM Day

National STEM/STEAM day is held every year on November 8. This day is dedicated to all things science, technology, engineering, and math. It is undebatable that these subjects push society forward. Here are a fun few STEM activities that students can do to celebrate STEM day.


https://www.playdoughtoplato.com/kids-science-experiment-hot-ice/

  • NASA App - allows you to view pictures from space, watch real-time events on NASA TV, and find information about current NASA missions.

  • Building STEM skills with LEGO - Become engineers and build logic and reasoning skills while working on fine motor skills.

  • Work on Math skills

  • Perform an Easy Science Experiment

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Veterans Day

Let’s not forget Veterans Day on Nov. 11. It is a time for us to pay our respects and remember those who have served. Here are a few ways you can celebrate Veterans Day.


  • Write and send a thank you letter to veterans

  • Teach the history of Veterans Day to students

  • Have students write about what Veterans Day means to them

  • Invite a veteran to speak to the class virtually

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Children’s Book Week Nov. 9-15, 2020

Children’s Book Week has been an annual tradition dedicated to spreading the joy of reading. It is meant to instill the value and benefits of reading good books and develop students’ essential reading and literacy skills. It also helps promote libraries.


Here are a few creative ways to celebrate:

  • Have a guest reader (virtually)

  • Visit your school library or public library

  • Start reading a new book

  • Create a bookmark

  • Start a book club

  • Host a book trade

  • Put on a play based off of your favorite book

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World Kindness Day 2020

World Kindness Day is a global day that promotes the importance of being kind to each other, to yourself, and to the world. We celebrate this day on Nov. 13 with the purpose to help everyone understand that compassion for others is what binds us all together.


Ways you can celebrate World Kindness Day

  • Spread compliments

  • Write a list of things you love about a family member or friend and give it to them

  • Tell someone thank you

  • Make a new friend

  • Help someone in need

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Reminder: New Pickup Times for Free Curbside Meal Distribution

Spring ISD parents and guardians: A friendly reminder that Spring ISD Child Nutrition has changed its Free Curbside Meal Pickup distribution times to Monday through Friday, 4-5:30 p.m.


In addition, beginning Friday, Nov. 6, weekend meals (including breakfast and lunch for both Saturday and Sunday) will be offered on Fridays at all pickup locations. Breakfast and lunch are free for all children 18 years and younger.


Curbside pickup locations:


  • Anderson Elementary

  • Booker Elementary

  • Burchett Elementary

  • Clark Primary

  • Cooper Elementary

  • Hirsch Elementary

  • Jenkins Elementary

  • Marshall Elementary

  • McNabb Elementary

  • Ponderosa Elementary

  • Reynolds Elementary

  • Smith Elementary

  • Thompson Elementary


For more information on curbside locations and meal times, visit www.springisd.org/nutrition

or follow them on social media at @SpringISD_Meals.


This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

School of Choice Applications Now through December 18

Is your fifth grader interested in attending one of Spring ISD’s schools of choice for middle school? If so, the online application opens on Monday, Nov. 2.


In addition to the specialty programs and exciting learning pathways available to Spring ISD students at their neighborhood campus, the district also offers two middle schools of choice, helping ensure that every family can find the best fit for their student.


Both Roberson Middle School, with its STEM and fine arts programs, and Spring Leadership Academy, where a small-campus setting is paired with a range of leadership and personal growth opportunities, offer several exciting options for students to consider.


You can learn more about all of the district’s schools of choice, and view frequently asked questions about the application process, at springisd.org/choice. Families can easily apply to multiple schools using a single online application. The deadline for applying is Dec. 18, 2020 at midnight.

Ways to Celebrate Family Literacy Month

November 1st is Family Literacy Day which kicks off National Family Literacy Month. The love for books is timeless, especially when it is shared with all generations in our families and community. For many children, the love of books begins at an early age. As author Emilie Buchwald has said, “Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.” When they are read to frequently, children are more likely to take the initiative and read more on their own. In celebrating Family Literacy Month, Kumon has given us some tips to improve literacy at home.


  • Designate some time each day for reading in a comfy corner.

  • Keep books visible around the house.

  • Read the book version of favorite children's movies.

  • Have a virtual book club with family and friends.

  • Visit your local library, practicing social distancing and safety protocols.


Grab your children and curl up with a good book to unlock the many possibilities of worlds both real and imaginary.


Tips for a Safe Thanksgiving Break

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and will be different from the way many of us have celebrated in past years. As we prepare for family gatherings, the CDC offers the following considerations to help protect individuals and their families from COVID-19.


If you are hosting or attending a gathering:

  • Remind guests to stay home if they are sick

  • Consider keeping a list of guests who attended

  • Encourage social distancing (stay at least 6 feet away from others)

  • Have guests wear a mask

  • Clean hands often

  • Limit the number of people handling or serving food


Here are some low-risk activities to consider:

  • Having a small dinner with only people who live in your household

  • Having a virtual dinner and sharing recipes with friends and family

  • Shopping online rather than in person on the day after Thanksgiving or the following Monday

  • Watching sports events, parades, and movies from home




Source: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays.html


Attendance Matters So Make Sure Your Student is Marked Present

With online learning, we know there are some questions on attendance and how to ensure students are marked present for the day. Here’s what families need to know:


  • Log in and attend class in real-time with your teacher during the morning and the afternoon.

  • If you were unable to attend a session because of a technology issue, don’t panic. Students attending either the morning or afternoon session will be counted present for the day.


We know some families may have trouble sticking to the daily schedule because of a variety of issues, including parents’ work schedules, power outages, technology problems or distractions at home.


If your student for some reason misses both the morning and afternoon live instruction with their teachers, they can still make up the work by logging into Schoology and completing the day’s assignments. For that effort to count, however, students must do this before 11:59 p.m. each day to be counted present.


Even with all the challenges of online learning, attendance is still being tracked and still counts. Attendance matters, and we want our students in class and learning every day, 100 percent of the time. At a minimum, state standards require students to attend school at least 90 percent of the time the class is in session to receive credit.


If your family is struggling with attendance, let us know now so we can help!

Check out ‘Community Happenings’ to Be in the Know

The district is launching a new webpage at www.springisd.org/happenings to serve as a one-stop shop for flyers that come in from community organizations and businesses.


Check out this page where you can view flyers from community agencies across our area and learn about events, programs and opportunities. Spring ISD is not endorsing any organization or service; the district is simply creating this platform to share helpful information with our families and community


check out the district tracker for the latest data on covid-19

Spring ISD is committed to providing parents accurate and timely information about COVID-19 in our schools and facilities.


Since the beginning of online classes on Aug. 17, the district has been tracking COVID-19 cases and is featuring that data on a special dashboard, located at www.springisd.org/covidtracker. The goal is to provide real-time information to our school community so that families and staff can have the latest data available.


Our tracker is updated whenever there is a confirmed positive case of COVID-19 in our district, with total cases within the past week and cumulative cases since Aug. 17, 2020 featured. Users can filter and hover to learn specific locations.


As part of our communications protocols, we’re notifying families whenever there is a positive case that involves students on a campus. The district is also reporting all of the data to the Texas Education Agency each week as required. The state is updating its website weekly.


In the coming weeks, the district is planning more improvements to the tracker to continue to refine and improve how it presents COVID-19 data so everyone can stay informed.

Join Spring ISD, Houston Dynamo and Dash for ‘Soccer Starts At Home’ virtual classes

Join Spring ISD’s Physical Education department as they team up with Houston Dynamo and Houston Dash for the ‘Soccer Starts at Home’ virtual courses, kicking off on Oct. 13 and running every Tuesday through Dec. 8 at 6 p.m via Zoom. Physical education teachers throughout the district will utilize instructional resources in their courses and provide students increased opportunities to develop fundamental ‘ball mastery’ skills that help develop balance, coordination, agility, and a sense of achievement through fun and motivating activities.


The district’s involvement in the Dynamo's ‘Soccer Starts at Home’ program will foster a family bond, with parents serving as instructors and motivators as their child begins to master a variety of exciting new skills. Parents who are interested in learning more about the program are encouraged to join the virtual meeting.


Soccer Starts At Home virtual classes

Every Tuesday beginning Oct. 13-Dec. 8

6 p.m.

Zoom Link: https://zoom.us/j/98898555219

dismissal

Dismissal begins at 3:30.


We will not accept transportation changes after 3 p.m.


When picking up a child from Ponderosa, you will need a valid driver's license or picture ID. Students will not be released to anyone with out an ID nor will they be released to anyone not on their transportation release form.


All transportation changes must be in writing and can be sent to:

sreyna@springisd.org

yherna2@springisd.org

smoody@springisd.org

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car riders

Car riders are to stay in the car until a Ponderosa staff member checks the student's temperature through an open window using a touch free thermometer. Once the student has passed the temperature check he or she will be given a sticker or hand stamp and may exit the car.


Students are NOT to be dropped off in the street or along the side of the car rider drop off. Please help us adhere to strict safety guidelines so that all of our children and staff are safe.


Car rider pick up is typically slow at the beginning of the year as the little ones learn their car rider number and the systems. Please help your child practice remembering their car rider number. In the afternoons students will wait in holding areas where social distancing can be maintained. Staff will be walking along the car rider line texting numbers to the staff in the front and inside the building. As numbers are text, the student who matches the number will be assigned a cone where you will pick them up.


Students will not be permitted to go to other cones unless directed by Ponderosa staff.


We know the line is long and the process will take some time. Please be patient with us. Parents/ guardians will not be permitted to walk up and retrieve your child from the car rider line during dismissal. If your child is marked a car rider, they must be picked up in a car.

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Bus Riders

Riding the bus? Find Your Stop and Learn About Key Safety Information

As we prepare to bring back our Safety-First In-Person students in phases, we've updated our bus routes so parents can figure out their child's stop.


Just visit our website and type your address, school and/or grade to get the details. Spring ISD Transportation recommends all students arrive at their designated stop at least 10 minutes prior to the scheduled arrival time of the bus. It's important that students maintain social distancing as they wait for their bus and then follow all driver directions once they board.


Students will be asked to wear their masks while riding the bus and to use hand sanitizer upon entering the vehicle. To maintain physical distancing, we will transport only one student per seat while we are operating in condition "Orange".


Please check out our videos on all of our health and safety protocols here: https://www.springisd.org/reopen

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walkers

Walkers are the last to be dismissed in order to protect their safety from excess cars, buses and vehicles.


South walkers are dismissed at the corner of Ash Meadow and Butte Creek.


North walkers are dismissed by the gazebo in the park.


PreK and KG students must be released to an adult. All other students will be released on their own.


Parents and guardians are not permitted to walk up to campus and retrieve their walkers during dismissal. If you child is identified as a walker, he or she will be brought to the designated walker area and release.

BRING YOUR CHROMEBOOK, LAPTOP OR DEVICE TO SCHOOL DAILY

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How to Access Schoology

The only way for students and parents to access Schoology is to log into the mySringISD portal from the district’s website using their district-issued username and password and then clicking on the Schoology icon.


Families who have been trying to log in through the Schoology mobile app or through the Schoology website will be unable to do so because the district is using single sign on, which makes it easier to access all instructional resources.


We know some parents and students downloaded the Schoology mobile app in the spring but we would urge everyone to delete that from your phone and log into the portal directly from the district website.

Prioritizing Your Own Well-Being Benefits Your Family

Self-care often is the last item on your list as a parent. But taking time for yourself is essential, especially during times of stress and uncertainty. By allowing yourself intentional time to recharge and decompress, you are building your own capacity to be a better parent.


Here are some tips, courtesy of childmind.org, to help us stay calm during challenging times:


  • Designate time for yourself. Some examples include a long shower or bath, walking around the block or even reading once everyone is tucked away in bed.

  • Be realistic both at work and as a parent. You are doing your best during a very hard time. Give yourself grace if you can’t meet all expectations.

  • Reconnect with things that you enjoy or choose to learn a new skill, such as trying a new recipe, completing a jigsaw puzzle, or creating some artwork.

  • Be kind to yourself. This will help you stay calm and assure you have the ability to take good care of your family.


The stress and lack of structure everyone is experiencing can make it easy to fall into habits that feel good in the moment but can be harmful long term. Make sure to eat properly, get enough sleep and get moving. It is important we try to stay healthy so that we can be the best version of ourselves for our children during these unprecedented times.

Use the Election to Encourage Reading

As Election Day has passed and we all await the official results of this historical event, our kids may ask us what the red and blue colors mean on the evening news. The election offers parents the opportunity to discuss the U.S. democratic process. In honor of National Family Literacy Month, what better way to continue the celebration than using books.


We have selected a list of books from Huffpost, that can guide your conversation in talking about elections and voting.


  • “One Vote, Two Votes, I Vote, You Vote” - Bonnie Worth

  • “V is for Voting” - Kate Farrell

  • “If I Ran for President” - Catherine Stier

  • “If You Go With Your Goat to Vote” - Jan Zauzmer

  • “Vote!” - Eileen Christelow


These titles are just several of the many options offered to educate children on the process of elections and voting. Visit your public library to search these titles and more resources to build up your future voters!