The PRES Press

Principal Monthly Newsletter, January 2021

Thank You, PRES!

Dear PRES Families,

I want you to know that these past four years have truly been the jewel of my career as an educator and leader. I feel so fortunate to have been your child's principal during this time. I bring with me new insights, perspectives, and knowledge that I have learned from all of you. I treasure the relationships I have built with our students, staff, and parents. I feel so honored and privileged to work collaboratively with your child's teachers, service providers, and support staff, to help each child become his or her best self. Over these last few years, I have marveled at your children's enthusiasm and curiosity, celebrated their achievements, and witnessed their resilience and grace as we faced unprecedented challenging times. We have been through losses and victories. We have celebrated birthdays, School Spirit Days, Lucas Fests and Cabarets. We built playgrounds and staircases, improved routines and safety protocols, and continued to refine teaching and learning to meet the diverse needs of our students. We have a strong school community that will continue to thrive under the care of the amazing faculty and staff who inspire me and challenge me everyday. Their unwavering commitment to PRES, their passion for teaching and learning, and their compassion for their students are truly extraordinary. I will continue to work closely with the leadership and teachers of PRES, in my new role, and look forward to continuing to provide vision and direction for teaching and learning. I look forward to seeing you in and around Pound Ridge, as our children continue to grow up together in this quaint little town we call home.

With Gratitude,

Amy Fishkin

Welcome, Mrs. Teresa Letizia!

Please join me in welcoming Mrs. Teresa Letizia, who will be serving as our interim principal at PRES starting on Monday, February 8, 2021. Throughout the interview process, I was incredibly impressed by Teresa's positive spirit, collaborative style, and strong knowledge of elementary education. Erika Volpe and I are already working closely with Teresa to ensure a seamless transition in the coming weeks. We invite you to join me, Teresa, and Erika for an informal Parent-Principal Coffee, on Friday, February 5, 2021 at 9:30 AM, to meet Teresa in an informal setting. I am confident that Teresa will bring warmth, compassion, and an enthusiasm for teaching and learning that you have come to appreciate at PRES. I will continue to provide ongoing support and guidance during the coming weeks and months.

Parent-Principal Coffee - Friday, February 5th at 9:30 AM

Google Meet Link:

World Read Aloud Day

On Wednesday, February 3, 2021, Pound Ridge Elementary School will join thousands of schools and communities around the world for World Read Aloud Day. Developed by the organization, LitWorld, World Read Aloud Day is a day when people all over the world read aloud together and share stories to advocate for literacy as a human right for all people.

From their website,

"LitWorld was founded in 2007 after Pam Allyn, literacy educator and author, visited Kibera, an area of extreme poverty in Nairobi, Kenya. There, she experienced the urgent desire children had to read, write and share their stories, and the barriers that stood in their way. Literacy is not a gift given just to some lucky ones, it is a foundational human right that brings joy, economic independence, gender equity and a pathway out of poverty."

On February 3rd, we will celebrate World Read Aloud Day in these ways:

  • All students and staff are invited to wear a readable shirt! Please make sure the text is school appropriate.
  • Community readers, including District administrators and community members, will visit PRES "virtually" to read aloud a book to each class.
  • Students will participate in other reading and writing activities during the school day.

RULER - An Approach to Social-Emotional Learning

As part of BCSD’s Success Plan and ongoing efforts to develop and implement programs and practices to support Social and Emotional Learning (SEL), we have committed to implementing RULER, an evidence based approach to social and emotional learning developed at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. RULER is also an acronym for the skills of emotional intelligence: Recognizing emotions, Understanding emotions, Labeling emotions, Expressing emotions and Regulating emotions. Research from the field of emotion science claims that emotions drive learning, decision-making, creativity, relationships, and health. Children, and adults, who understand and manage their feelings make more responsible decisions, have stronger relationships, and perform better in school and at work.

Beginning this month, and through the remainder of the school year, faculty, staff, and leaders at PRES will start learning how we use the skills of emotional intelligence to reach our goals and support our students in doing the same. Through the RULER approach, we will develop an understanding of why emotions matter and how emotions impact our daily lives. RULER is unique because it is designed to improve the SEL competencies of the adults in schools before developing them with students. RULER teaches us to become "emotional scientists," recognizing the emotions in ourselves and others, without judgement. We are starting with ourselves, practicing and developing our abilities to become emotionally intelligent educators and leaders before we roll out the elementary curriculum in the fall of 2021 with our students. As we learn more about the RULER approach, we will partner with you and extend opportunities for all parents and caregivers to learn with us.

As teachers continue checking in with students, in an effort to build safe learning spaces, we will continually watch for signs and behaviors that help us understand the range of emotions students may be feeling. Even with the unprecedented challenges this school year presents, the routines we have embedded into our daily practices will make the integration of RULER seamless. We are excited to learn and share how we will bring RULER into our everyday practices at PRES!

Kindergarteners Grow Super Powers

Kindergarten has been “super-filled”! The Super Readers have been practicing reading with their pointer power, picture power, sound power, reread power, snap word power, partner power, pattern power, book talk power and persistence power.

Each child also gets a day to be the superstar when he/she brings special items from home to share with the class. The students share posters and questionnaires about all the things that make them special. The classmates create a keepsake book for the superstar filled with writing about the star student.

First Grade Brings Enrichment Programs Virtually to PRES

First graders have been participating in enrichment workshops virtually. Through BOCES, the children learned about mapping. They learned what a map is, the important components of a map, why map skills are important today and in the past, and they even made their own maps! First graders have also been participating in a weekly math program each Friday. This is certainly one of the unique advantages of remote presentations- we can take advantage of amazing offerings around the world! Steve Sherman, a math specialist, “visits” all the way from South Africa! He uses engaging stories and humor to spread the joy of problem solving, critical thinking and a passion for STEAM subjects. (Thanks to our PTA for this incredibly fun opportunity!)

Second Graders Build Reading Muscles with Early Chapter Books

Second graders are busy devouring new series as they grow their reading muscles. They are learning to think about characters in new ways, as they try out series books. Students are learning to build ideas about characters across whole chapters and longer books. Some favorites are Mercy Watson and The Last Firehawk. In writing, students made New Year Resolutions and completed their personal narratives. They are even writing letters to their classmates in the other cohort. In these letters, students write about favorite books and characters. They even made file folder "mailboxes," which hang from their desks, where they receive their mail! Ask your child about his/her writing and mailbox! In math, students are working on addition and subtraction with regrouping. Students in second grade are working hard, thriving on routine, enjoying socializing with their peers, and deepening their reading, writing and math skills!

Grade 3

Third graders have done such a fabulous, impressive and truly incredible job since returning to school in the new year! They continue to love our Creativity Corner links, which we’ve created to provide new, updated, fun and timely ideas for them to try, be it with art, science or cool activities connected to national holidays or seasons.

Our reflection connections continue with our read-alouds, with the latest creative expressions surrounding James and the Giant Peach. We are enjoying displaying our students' amazing work in our classrooms for all to enjoy!

Further, in order to keep writing fresh, we created a mini-unit entitled “Reflecting on 2020 and Looking Ahead to 2021 - With a Special Emphasis on the Power of Yet & Someday Soon,” which is a multifaceted unit where students can apply their narrative non-fiction skills, including speaking and sharing their ideas in Flipgrids, while choosing how to express themselves through writing and artful connections. We are keepin’ it fresh, fun and fabulous in third grade!

Grade 4

In December, for our winter craft we built paper snowmen and we had a Mad Science program on Electricity. We also had a Food Web program through BOCES. The students learned about predator/prey relationships, the difference between producers and consumers and participated in a hands-on simulation. We are finishing up our persuasive essays in writing, and our non-fiction reading unit, All About Weather.

Grade 5

Right now, fifth graders are forming their first book clubs of the year. They are planning out their scheduled reading and their book discussions that take place in Google Meet breakout rooms! They are learning to read for big ideas. They are learning to be open to others’ perspective and ideas. They are learning to defend debatable issues with text support.

In writing, we just published information books. Students researched topics of interest and they put together books for their peers to learn about their topics. Topics ranged from animals of interest, space and planets, weather patterns, environmental issues, etc. We are now on our way to publishing our third piece of writing, a literary essay. Students are learning to analyze short stories and develop theses statements that they will then support using evidence from the story.

In math, students have built a strong foundation in fractions. Using both virtual and concrete manipulatives, students have been comparing and ordering fractions, converting fractions, finding equivalent fractions, adding and subtracting like and unlike fractions, and finally using “real” world problems with fractions to help build a conceptual understanding. Students are about to embark on a study of decimals. We will explore where decimals are found in the “real” world, learn how to convert fractions to decimals, learn how to read and write decimals, compare and order decimals, and add and subtract decimals using a fun interactive shopping project.

Requesting an Instructional Model Change

Parents continue to have the right to make a change to their child's instructional model during the school year. We ask that you give us as much advance notice as possible, and please follow the guidelines and timeline outlined in the links below:

Guidelines for Requesting an Instructional Model Change

Timeline for Instructional Model Change:

March 1 - April 9 (Deadline: February 5)

April 12 - May 14 (Deadline: March 19)

May 17 - June 25 (Deadline: May 7)

First-Ever PRES Read-a-Thon is Here!

Thank you to the PRES PTA for kicking off our first-ever Read-a-thon! The first day to record your child's reading is Monday, February 1st! Make sure to set up your child's personal reading page. Information can be found in the PTA's Read-a-Thon Welcome Letter.