The Morris Minute

December 2018

Welcome to The Morris Minute!

This is the place to find updates for staff, parents, and families of Morris Elementary. Thank you for checking it out!

From The Desk of Mr. Anderson...

Hello Morris Families!

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We have settled back in and are looking forward to working with students as we approach the next holiday. Students have been eager to play outside together, but unfortunately, Mother Nature didn't cooperate with us for a few days. It was downright cold! Please remember to keep checking to see if your child has a coat, hat, and gloves/mittens each day! (No worries, I forget too! Just ask my child!)

Construction has been going well and we are eagerly anticipating when we can get in there! Much like the Holiday anticipation, we have to be patient. I do appreciate your flexibility and understanding throughout this process, especially during pick up and drop off times. It is slightly more congested on the back end of it, but it has been better than I anticipated. The crew from Story Construction has done a wonderful job organizing things and getting people where they are supposed to be, while keeping all of us as safe as we need to be. A huge thank you to them!

As we close out the end of 2018, I want to emphasize a few things to all of you. We have amazing students and staff here at Morris! They work hard every day to assist our students and each other with their needs as far as skills, and even more importantly, citizenship. We emphasize those skills every day in some form. When I speak with students when things haven't gone as planned and have a negative outcome, we generally bring it right back to how we treat each other. Yes, we have great kids, and yes, they make mistakes. If you happen to speak with your child about things that are concerning, please do not hesitate to keep their teacher in the loop. I have had many conversation with students and when I ask them if they told a teacher what happened, too often the answer has been "no". Just like you, we want to get to the bottom of what happened so that we can assist students in making better choices in the future. We all make mistakes and we all can learn from them, especially when it comes to communication. I know I strive to be better at this each and every year, and that will not change as we enter 2019.

Our 2nd graders open up with their concerts in the new auditorium next Thursday, December 6. We will continue to split those shows with one starting at 6:00 pm, and another at 7:00 pm. Mrs. Anderson will push out some information to you all in the next few days regarding this. I also want you to be aware that there is also a home wrestling meet. There will be some congestion in the parking lot, but there always has been. I know we will make it work!

Have a great December! Have a wonderful Holiday season! I hope you all have the ending to 2018 that you desire!


Mr. Anderson

Important Dates to Remember

December 3 - 2pm Dismissal

December 6 - 2nd Grade Concerts at the High School Auditorium

6pm - Lusthoff, Kirkpatrick, Tisdale

7pm - Stewart, Rempe, Hansen, Christian

December 10 - 2pm Dismissal

December 13 - 6:30pm PTO Meeting - Morris Library

December 14 - School Wide Frosty the Snowman Day (Pajamas encouraged) :)

December 17 - 2pm Dismissal

December 21 - Winter Parties / Last Day of School before break

December 24 - January 2 - Winter Break - NO SCHOOL

January 3 - First Day back for students for 2019!

January 7 - 2pm Dismissal

January 14 - 2pm Dismissal

Big picture

TAG (Talented and Gifted) Services

The Bondurant-Farrar K-12 TAG Department is implementing changes to the process of identifying students to receive services through the gifted program. Our goal is to have a screening process that recognizes that students' needs change and that is inclusive of twice-exceptional students (those who may be gifted while also having other learning needs) and English language learners, as well as our general education population, in an effort to identify approximately 5% of our students who have needs that could be met through services through the talented and gifted program.

In order to qualify for TAG services at Bondurant-Farrar, a student needs to score at or above the 97th percentile on a majority of Iowa Assessments subtests or the new Iowa Statewide Assessment of Student Progress (ISASP) or on a-Reading/a-Math tests when compared to norms for students at their grade-level. A student also must score at or above the 96th percentile (9th stanine) on two of the three subtests of the Cognitive Abilities Tests (CogAT) or have a complete composite score at or above the 96th percentile when compared to norms for students their chronological age. The CogAT tests include verbal, quantitative and non-verbal subtests.

All second graders, fifth graders and eighth graders will be taking an abbreviated Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) screener the first week of April. Those who score in the desired range and have qualifying scores on a-Math, a-Reading and/or the Iowa State Assessment of Student Progress (ISASP) will be invited to take the full CogAT test to see if they are eligible to receive services through the Talented and Gifted (TAG) program. These grade-levels were selected because they are at points where building transitions occur. Students who are new to our district and students who are exhibiting possible need for services will be screened and tested on a case-by-case basis regardless of their current grade-level. All students (including those already identified and receiving TAG services) will need to qualify/requalify in order to receive TAG services when they transition to the next building.

Big picture
Please remember to save Box Tops for Morris Elementary! Our school puts all box top money towards new library books. Last year, we were able to get more than $500 worth of awesome new books for our students! Your students can turn box tops in at the office, or to their classroom teacher.
Big picture

Literacy Night with Julia Cook

Morris Elementary was honored to have the guest author, Julia Cook, on October 25th, 2018. Her books discuss several social topics that students face in their daily lives. They are good topics that are discussed during class meetings. These books can be found in our school library. To prepare for her visit, classrooms made posters to display about her books.

Big picture

Backpack Program

The Backpack Program is a partnership between The Food Bank of Iowa and Bondurant-Farrar Elementary Schools. The goal of this program is to help end childhood hunger in Iowa and assist preschool through fifth grade families that are experiencing financial hardship or food insecurity. On Fridays, a Backpack food bundle is put into the backpack of each participating student. The Backpack bundles are made up of packaged food items that can easily be opened or prepared by children for a two-day weekend. If you are a family who would like to participate in this program or have more questions, please contact Mrs. McConnell at

Drop Off / Pick Up Procedure

Continue to follow the drop off / pick up map and the directions of the adults in the crosswalk. Student safety is our number one priority.

Car pick up line students are dismissed at 1:50pm on Mondays and 3:20pm Tuesday through Friday. All students should be picked up by 2:15pm on Mondays and 3:40pm the rest of the week.

All vehicles should have a sign in the passenger window with the student's name and grade listed. We appreciate your help in following the drop off and pick up procedures to ensure a smooth and event free drop off and pick up each day!

Big picture

A few notes from Ms. Jen

One month left in 2018!

Thank you to all of the parents who have helped me keep my sanity and my sense of humor as the year moves forward. We knew this school year would be an interesting one with construction on two ends of the building and with our current rooms fully occupied with our awesome group of Morris Jays, and it is proving to be interesting indeed. :)

The three weeks of classes in December will go quickly - we are all looking forward to our Frosty the Snowman Day on December 14 - ask your kids if they got to turn any teachers or staff into snowmen for the hallway. :) There will be snowman themed activities throughout the day and lots of fun memories to be made while they are learning too.

Our last day of school for the year is Friday, December 21. We have a regular 3:25pm dismissal time and have scheduled our classroom winter parties that day, so if you are planning on taking your student out early, please do so before 2pm - having to ask a student to leave a party is worse than having them miss recess. :)

Please remind your kids to check the Lost and Found often - we are starting to accumulate more items already from our last clear out. I get the feeling some kids don't want to admit a lost item is theirs - as if they think they will be in trouble for losing it in the first place. Please do your best to assure them that it is much better to get the item back. I would LOVE to see the bins empty as we head into winter break.

Have a wonderful break - the teachers and staff will be back on the January 2, but students do not report until January 3. Have a safe and happy holiday season and enjoy your time with friends and family.


Big picture