The Belle Ringer

Belle River Elementary School Newsletter, April 2017

Important Dates

Monday - Friday, April 3-7

  • Spring Break!

Monday, April 10

  • School Resumes

Tuesday, April 11

  • STEAM Museum

Wednesday, April 12

  • Popcorn Day
  • End of Third Marking Period
  • 5th Grade M-STEP: ELA

Thursday, April 13

  • 5th Grade M-STEP: ELA
  • PTO Meeting, 4:00 p.m.

Friday, April 14th

  • Good Friday, No School

Sunday, April 16th

  • Happy Easter!

Tuesday, April 18

  • 5th Grade M-STEP: Math

Wednesday, April 19

  • Popcorn Day
  • 5th Grade M-STEP: Math

Thursday, April 20

  • 5th Grade M-STEP: Social Studies

Sunday, April 23

  • Family Bowling Night, Premier Lanes, 1:00-5:00

Wednesday, April 26

  • Popcorn Day

Thursday, April 27

  • Take Your Child to Work Day

Friday, April 28

  • MCMS Band Concert, Grades 4 & 5, 1:30 p.m.

Belle River Elementary Curriculum Spotlight

During the Curriculum Spotlight portion of the March 27th Board of Education meeting, Belle River's use of Chromebooks and Google Classroom in grades 3-5 classrooms was showcased in a video created by one of our Belle River parents, Mr. Ryan Lehr. Peyton Fessenden, Landen Frank, and Nicholas May, three students featured in the video, participated in the presentation and answered questions asked by Board members. Check out the video to learn about how Chromebooks are improving and enhancing teaching and learning.
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M-STEP Testing

All students in grades 3-5 will take the M-STEP this spring. The results from the M-STEP help us measure how well our students are acquiring the knowledge and skills necessary to meet future workplace demands. At Belle River, we use this information, along with classroom data, to improve instruction. The M-STEP results also provide valuable information to parents on their child’s academic achievement.

We want all of our students to perform at their best on the M-STEP. Teachers have been working hard to help students become familiar with the online format of the test, and our upper elementary students have become very proficient in using computers, in general, to learn and demonstrate knowledge. On your student’s testing days, please make sure that s/he is present and well-rested. Providing a healthy breakfast and encouragement will help your child be physically and mentally prepared for the testing, as well.

Following is our M-STEP schedule:

Fifth Grade

Wednesday, April 12 - ELA

Thursday, April 13 - ELA

Tuesday, April 18 - Math

Wednesday, April 19 - Math

Thursday, April 20 - Social Studies

Fourth Grade

Tuesday, May 2 - ELA

Wednesday, May 3 - Math

Tuesday, May 4 - Science

Tuesday, May 9 - Math

Third Grade

Wednesday, May 10 - ELA

Wednesday, May 11- Math

Tuesday, May 16 - Math

Together, we will make the M-STEP testing experience smooth and successful for our students!

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~Artwork by Heather Hatcher

Lessons from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

It was so much fun sharing Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, one of my all-time favorite children’s books, with our students, staff, and families in March. As with all great literature, the story is more than a poor boy finding a Golden Ticket in a Wonka chocolate bar that earns him a tour of Mr Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory and ultimately the role of Mr. Wonka’s successor. Embedded in this fantastic tale are life lessons that apply today just as much as they did in 1964 when the book was first published.

Here are some things we can learn from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory:

  1. Learn to follow directions. Augustus Gloop, Violet Beauregarde, Veruca Salt, and Mike Teavee all disregard instructions to satisfy their own wants and suffer horrible consequences. Even Charlie and Grandpa Joe do not listen to Mr. Wonka’s directions about not drinking the Fizzy Lifting Drinks and almost end up cut to shreds by the fan spinning in the ceiling.
  2. If you dream it, you can make it happen. Nothing is impossible! All of the creative confections in the factory are the result of dreaming big and thinking outside of the box. As Willy Wonka says, ““I am the maker of music, the dreamer of dreams!”
  3. The world doesn’t revolve around you. Greed is unattractive and often gets you in trouble. Greedy Augustus Gloop, like the other spoiled children, teaches us that drinking from the chocolate river just because you want to and cannot control yourself only means you have contaminated the chocolate for everyone else and you are going to end up in the toffee room being pulled and stretched. Think about how your actions affect others.
  4. Be grateful for the important and simple things in life. Although Charlie could be jealous of the spoiled children who also found Golden Tickets, we don’t see him comparing himself to those more fortunate. Charlie is a kind and loving boy. Instead of yearning for materialistic things, Charlie focuses on his loving family and the simple joy of enjoying the sights, sounds, and smells of the factory with Grandpa Joe.
  5. The best things in life are worth waiting for. Trust the process. Unlike the other children touring the factory, Charlie shows patience and takes time to marvel at and enjoy every invention and room in Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. He does not just focus on his own wants and whims. The expression “good things come to those who wait” certainly applies in this story.

Please continue to read great books full of important lessons with your children at home. You might consider reading some of Roald Dahl's other books such as Matilda, James and the Giant Peach, The Witches, and The BFG to enjoy marvelous characters involved in imaginative tales that offer real-world lessons about life.

Rachel Card, Principal

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March Students of the Month

All of our students strive to be be motivated learners as well as model citizens, and each month we will honor two students from each class who exemplify the following qualities:


  • Student prepares for classroom activities.
  • Student goes above and beyond his/her role as a student.
  • Student has made significant progress in the classroom.
  • Student has been working to his/her potential.
  • Student completes all assignments and homework.
  • Student has a good work ethic and is diligent.

Leadership/ Citizenship/ Character

  • Student demonstrates respect of self and others.
  • Student assists others in need.
  • Student shows acts of kindness.
  • Student demonstrates a positive attitude.
  • Student displays good conduct.
  • Student is a positive role model by example.
  • Student participates and puts forth full effort in all areas.
  • Student follows school rules.


Mrs. Jones Class: Charissa Brown and Chloe Brown

Mrs. Rymar’s Class: Mya Sorrentini and Gabriel DeFer

Mrs. Trout’s Class: Ella Nicklow and Matthew Fregetto

First Grade

Mrs. Talaski’s Class: Alyssa Hamilton and Destiny Murphy

Mrs. White’s Class: Jimmy Galvin and Mylee Watson

First/Second Grade

Mrs. Gunderson’s/Cobean’s Class: Adam Sudau and Olivia Kmetz

Second Grade

Mrs. Greib’s Class: Camryn Fessenden and Carter Dietlin

Mrs. Moses’ Class: Jacob Armstead and Trystan Tocco

Third Grade

Mrs. Charron’s Class: Alayna Doxford and Haley Duchene

Mrs. Drumb’s Class: Lolah Woznak and Isaijah Thomason

Mrs. Weatherly’s Class: Joshua Ashman and Chloe LaFriniere

Fourth Grade

Mrs. Penzien’s Class: Brianne Lasker and Colton Miller

Mrs. Robbins’ Class: Christian Stone and Louis Wengler

Mrs. Westerhof’s Class: Jordan DeJohn and Breanna Tranchemontagne

Fifth Grade

Mrs. Dunn’s Class: Bailey Deitz and Makayla Woznak

Mrs. Carnahan’s Class: Alex Robertson and Jayden Robertson

Mrs. Tyler’s Class: Natalie Atwell and Blake LaBuhn

Mr. Westerhof’s P.E. Class: Makayla Guzowski and Gavin Engelhardt

Classroom Placement Consideration

In May, we will begin the process of assigning students to classrooms for the 2017-2018 school year. Parents who wish to provide insight about how best their child learns, to inform placement decisions, may do so by picking up a Placement Consideration Form available in the office. Placement forms are reviewed as one aspect of the overall student placement process. All information must be specific, completed in full, and received in the office no later than May 5, 2017. Incomplete forms, a request for a specific teacher, or forms returned after the due date will not be considered.
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St. Clair County Community Resource Fair

On May 10th 2017, the 10th annual St. Clair County Community Resource Fair will be held at St. Clair County Community College in Port Huron. Taking place from 10:00am – 3:00pm, this day-long event is designed to offer a wide variety of community supports, information, and resources to individuals and families who are struggling financially, homeless or at-risk of becoming homeless. This is not your average “fair” where participants are sent home with little more than pamphlets or business cards; our venders will be providing actual services on-site! We will have health screenings, food, clothing, and hygiene product give-a-ways. There will be agencies there to assist participants with housing, utilities, employment, education and so much more! The Community Resource Fair is open to everyone and is absolutely free, including lunch! For more information:

Call: (810) 966-7898


Find us on Facebook:

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Belle River Homework Guidelines

Through the years, I have heard a lot of debate about whether or not elementary students should have homework. It can be a real challenge to sit down every night after school and work with my own 6th grade daughter on her homework, especially when we have other activities going on, dinner to prepare, and that oh-so-worn-out feeling that comes at the end of a long day. However, after working in education for 23 years, reading countless research articles, and raising three daughters, I strongly believe that homework improves student achievement.

Homework is an integral part of your child's educational process. The assignment of homework serves two purposes. The first and obvious is practice and application of academic skills. Equally important and often overlooked is the fact that homework is an exercise in developing responsibility, work ethic, self-discipline, and good study habits that will prepare students for their futures in education, training, or employment. Our students deserve the benefits of homework.

Research has consistently shown that parental involvement in a child's learning is a key factor in that child's achievement in school, and facilitating homework is one of the most important ways that parents can be involved. Parent support and supervision of homework is an extremely important factor toward building good study habits, organization, and personal responsibility. Homework also helps strengthen the family-school connection and helps you know and understand your child's strengths and weaknesses better.

Research findings support the common “10-minute rule”, which states that all daily homework assignments combined should take about as long to complete as 10 minutes multiplied by the student's grade level. When required reading is included as a type of homework, the 10-minute rule might be increased to 15 minutes.

Approximate Time Allotments for the Average Student:

Kindergarten - about 5-10 minutes a day

First Grade - about 10-15 minutes a day

Second Grade - about 20 minutes a day

Third Grade - about 30 minutes a day

Fourth Grade - about 40 minutes a day

Fifth Grade - about 50 minutes a day

Our teachers at Belle River have important reasons for assigning homework including promoting practice of a skill or process that students can do independently but not fluently, elaborating on information that has been addressed in class to deepen students' knowledge, and providing opportunities for students to explore topics of their own interest. More often than not, homework is merely work that was not completed during class.

If your child is consistently bringing home work requiring more than than average recommended amount of time to complete, s/he might not be using class time effectively or is just a slow worker. Also, you may have days when there is not enough time to get all of the work finished. In both instances, contact your student's teacher to ask for insight and help.

On days when your student does not have assigned homework, he or she should be working on items such as those listed below.

Daily expectations include but are not limited to:

· Daily reading

· Math Facts (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division)

· Word Study Practice

· Studying for Test and Quizzes

· Working on Moby Max, RAZ-Kids, Spelling City, and other educational web sites

Thank you for supporting your student at home and supervising the completion of homework. The work you put in now will pay off when your child develops independence and advances to middle school and high school.

Together with you in the homework trenches,

Rachel Card, Principal

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Family STEAM Night Winners!

Family STEAM Night was a huge success. We had 316 people (94 families) in attendance. Thank you to all of our participants and volunteers!

The following students were our t-shirt challenge winners:

Hoop Glider: Keira Provost, Brandon Hutton

Lunar Landing: Grace and Abigail Grytzelius, Joe Becker, Gavin Engelhardt, Myles Wilcox

Spaghetti Tower: Emma Roberts, Nate and Molly Beaker, Blake and Easton LaBuhn

Bridge Building: Ben VanBuskirk, Alyssa Johnson, Keira Provost, Megan Lehr, Jayden, Alexander, and Kyla Robertson

Character Launch: Emma Arnold, Grant Westrick

Float a Boat: E.J. Fregetto, William Westrick, Keely Monroe, Joe Becker, Lucy Hendricks

East Egg Catapult: Lucy Hendricks, Kyra Hebel, Landen Frank, Emma Arnold, Calleigh Webster, Bryan Humbert

Family STEAM Night Bike Winners!

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Our Mission: Working Collaboratively to Ensure All Students Learn

Our Vision: Empower students to be productive citizens by fostering critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and creativity.

Student Code of Conduct

Be Responsible

Be Respectful

Be Safe &

Be a Friend