The Shark News

December Updates for Downes Elementary Community

Principal's Corner


As we move from marking period 1 into marking period 2, it is a great time to do some goal setting with your child. Goal setting is actually part of our WAVES expectations this year. WAVES stands for:

o Working Hard

o Achieving Goals

o Valuing Others

o Exhibiting Responsibility

o Showing Respect

Below you will find some valuable resources to beginning the goal setting process with your child:

· 7 Tips for Teaching Kids How to Set Goals (And Reach Them!)

· 7 Fun Goal-Setting Activities for Children

· How to Help Your Child Set and Reach Goals

Anne Park


Don’t Miss Out! Sign Up for the Mitten Tree

Please consider helping a Downes family by participating in our annual Mitten Tree. The Mitten Tree helps support families in our school who are in need of clothing and essentials. A great way to share within our community and teach our children about the joy of giving.

For 2021, we will be bringing back the full program, offering all types of clothing, coats, etc. We will also be bringing back the wrapping party held at Downes to get the items packaged up for the children (Date TBD).

There are two ways to participate:

1. Use the Sign Up Genius List ( to sign up to purchase a new item. Either have the item shipped directly to Downes at Attn: Mitten Tree, John R. Downes Elementary School, 220 Casho Mill Rd, Newark, DE 19711 OR drop your item at the school office during regular school hours, any school day except Wednesdays. All items must be received at the school by Thursday, December 9.

2. Want the PTA Elves to shop for you? Donate by visiting Please note in the memo section “Mitten Tree.” Deadline to donate is Thursday, December 9.

Note: if you prefer to donate, please do NOT sign up for a specific item.

Mitten Tree Wrapping will take place at Downes on December 15 at 6 pm. Adults only due to the confidentiality of recipients. Please join us!

Contact Lynda Fisher at with questions about the Mitten Tree.

Holiday Season Opens With Pajama Day!

Downes students and staff kicked off the holiday season in comfort on December 1st with a building-wide pajama day. Even though many were dressed for snoozing, all were active and alert through lessons and full of energy at sun-filled recess time. Keep your eyes open for possible upcoming classroom and grade-level celebrations, and remember the building-wide Holiday Sweater day on December 22nd.
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P. E. Court

In PE, We Move to Improve!

It is important to create healthy habits early on. These tips will help you make smart choices for your family. Children imitate their parents, so it is important to set a good example. The tips below can help your family be healthy and happy. Here are some tips that will help your kids stay active!

· Move more. Try to get between 30 and 60 minutes of physical activity each day. Short sessions of movement throughout the day add up.

· Include physical activity in your daily routine. Walk as a family before or after meals.

· Make playtime with your family fun. Be active by shooting hoops or playing tag.

· Be active in the home. For example, you can dust, vacuum, garden, or walk the dog. These activities are good ways to burn calories.

· Include activities, such as hiking or biking, when you go on vacation.

· Know your daily calorie needs. Balance calories you consume with calories you burn.

· Limit TV, computer, and video game time to less than 2 hours per day. Encourage physical activity instead.

Ms. Spedden

NOTES From Mrs. Ford:

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From Mrs. Coutts' Book Nook

Please help your student remember to return their Library book on their Library day.

A good idea is for them to keep their book in their backpack or another safe space until their Library day.

Any questions, please reach out:

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From the office of Nurse Trudy...


COVID-19 vaccines are widely accessible in the United States. Everyone ages 5 years and older should get a COVID-19 vaccination as soon as possible. COVID-19 vaccines are available to everyone at no cost.

Check with your healthcare provider or local pharmacies for an appointment.

Once your student is fully vaccinated, please email a copy of the front and back of the vaccination card to your school nurse, so the information can be documented in your student's school medical record.

Let's keep our students happy, safe, and healthy!