South Elementary Family Newsletter

Volume #2 October, 2023

Message from the Principals

Dear South Families,

There are lots of fun community and school events during October! Please consider participating in our Trunk or Treat or attending the SBEF Fun Run/Walk, just to name a few. These are good opportunities to get to know each other better outside of school.

During this second month of the school year, we are on our way to nurturing the growth and development of all of our students using specific data points. We have just completed beginning of the year assessments to get detailed information about each child's academic performance and we start our differentiated instruction and supports given that information. A daily block of time is set aside just for the purpose of "WIN or RTI Time"=What I Need/Response to Intervention, where each student is working on something different and what they need.

For our PRIDE traits (Perseverance; Respect; Independence; Diversity/Equity/Inclusion; and Empathy) in October, the character traits we will be working on are: Appropriately gaining teacher's attention; disagreeing appropriately; being kind to others; appropriately managing feelings; and resisting negative peer pressure.

Please do not hesitate to reach out should you have questions, concerns, specific needs, etc. We believe that the collaboration between educators and parents is at the heart of creating a positive and supportive learning environment for students. We look forward to building those relationships, and/or making them stronger, this year. Together, we can create an environment where children feel safe, motivated, and inspired to learn.

With Aloha,

Steph Brown & Rebecca Hurley


Specific Information:

Do you love books and kids? We would love to have an interested parent, relative, or community member help our students to check out books and read them stories on Monday mornings from 9-12. (ideally each week, but it could be 2x per month-we are flexible <:) Please contact the office if you are interested @ 508-324-3180. Or, email me at:
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Important Dates

Tuesday, October 2, National Custodian Day-Thank you, Mr. Greene and Mr. Januse!

October 2-October 15-South School Spirit Wear Shop-

*Please have students wear BLUE every Wednesday in October: 10/4; 10/11; 10/18; and10/25 to stand up and stand together against bullying.

Wednesday, October 4, Early Release at 12:30PM

Thursday, October 5, Papa Gino's Night-Enter Code 19 at payment and click redeem-South earns 20% of orders!

Monday, October 9, No School, Columbus Day/Indigenous Peoples' Day

Tuesday, October 17, PTO Meeting at 6PM in the cafegymatorium

Saturday, October 14, Somerset Musictown Festival

Saturday, October 21 , SBEF Fun Run and Walk @ 9AM @ Pierce's Beach. Registration info HERE.

Saturday, October 21, Trunk or Treat, 3-5PM @ South

Tuesday, October 24, Ma Raffa's Night, 4-8PM-Mention South and we get 20% of sales!!

Tuesday, October 31, Happy Halloween! Students can dress as their favorite Story Character-please no weapons or scary masks/outfits!

From Mrs. H., School Adjustment Counselor

September is Suicide Awareness Month

We are here to help support you and your family with any mental health concerns.

Let’s help stop the stigma. Knowledge is power.

For more info: Suicide Prevention Month

Reach out to me if you need information or a referal.

October is Bullying Prevention Month

October 2 is World Anti-Bullying Day

We wish to shed light on bullying and continue efforts to prevent it. We, at South, would like to wear BLUE as a school Every Wednesday in October,in an effort to educate and reinforce how important it is to STOP Bullying and learn how it impacts others.

Bullying is not just a conflict or being mean. It is a repeated, targeted, planned act. If you have any concerns that this may be happening to your child, please contact myself, the Principal, or Assistant Principal.

Let’s join this fight together. Wear Blue on each Wednesday of October and Stand together against Bullying . Click HERE for a table to show the differences between: conflict, rude, mean, and bullying.

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From Our Amazing PTO!

PTO’s October Newsletter

Upcoming Events: Mark your Calendars!

Thursday, October 5th: Papa Gino’s Night 4PM-9PM

  • 869 GAR Highway, Somerset

  • Walk-in or phone orders: Mention this fundraiser when you place your order for South School to get the credit for your order.

  • Online Orders: Enter Code 19 at the payment screen and click redeem.

  • South School earns 20% of orders!

October 2nd-October 15th: Spirit Wear Shop

Tuesday, October 17th: PTO Meeting

  • South School Cafeteria at 6:00PM

  • Review the upcoming school year and events!

  • All are welcome! Please join us!

Saturday, October 21st: Trunk or Treat 3:00PM-5:00PM

  • County Fare Hot Dogs will be there selling hot dogs!

  • Come and enjoy music, raffles, and a photo booth!

  • People interested in decorating vehicles can sign up using the Cheddar Up Link

  • Cars participating in the Trunk or Treat should arrive at South School beginning at 2PM to set up their decorations.For safety reasons, break down for decorated cars will begin at 5PM after families have left the South School Playground.

  • This is free of charge and all South School families are welcome to attend.

  • PTO will be accepting candy donations for the cars to distribute during the event. Donations can be dropped off at South School in our “Monster Box” until Friday, October 20th.

Tuesday, October 24th: Ma Raffa’s Night 4PM-8PM

  • 1142 County St., Somerset

  • Dine-In and Take-Out

  • South School will earn 20% of total sales!

  • It’s a great way to support a local business and South School PTO!

  • We hope to see you there!

Why Join the PTO?

  • The PTO is a volunteer organization made up of parents, teachers, administrators, and support staff.

  • The purpose of PTO is to enhance and support the educational and recreational experience at South School.

  • Meetings are a great way to meet other parents and work together on upcoming


Contact PTO

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From Ms. Bertrand, School Nurse


BODY MASS INDEX (Grades 1 & 4) and POSTURAL (“Scoliosis” Grade 5) SCREENINGS

Parents/Guardians: If you do NOT want your child to be screened for Body Mass Index (BMI) and/or Postural Screening, you MUST submit a signed letter in writing to the School Nurse ASAP. Screenings will begin in October.




URGENT: I am still waiting for quite a few medications that are needed for school, especially life saving medication such as EPI PENS. Please bring in as soon as possible.

Please do NOT send any medication in with a child. *This includes: prescription, over-the -counter, lotions, drops, etc. Medication must be delivered by the parent/guardian directly to the School Nurse.

  1. All medication orders and parental consent forms must be completed and signed prior to the School Nurse accepting any medication.*

  2. Please make sure all medications that must be given in school, especially life-saving medications (Epi-Pens, Diastat, etc), are all set for the first day of school.

  3. All medical forms can be downloaded and printed from our district website:

Covid Guidelines: we are continuing the same guidelines as last year. Please click on link below:

Annual Physical Exams

Please submit a copy of your child’s annual physical exam as soon as it is completed. Please make sure all screenings (vision, hearing, postural) are completed and documented on the form.

Parent Resources

October Lunch Menu: please click HERE.

**Click HERE for October Read Aloud Books for Elementary Students

Click HERE for a 100s Chart to help count to 100, add, subtract, and notice number patterns.

Click HERE for an Alphabet Linking Chart to help your child match sounds and letters when writing/reading.

Click HERE for Multiplication Charts to practice math facts or use for a reference.

Somerset Public Schools, SY' 23-24 Calendar: please click HERE

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In our first few weeks we have been learning our classroom rules and routines and how to make good choices. We begin our day by saying the Pledge of Allegiance and having a morning meeting where we greet our friends, share about ourselves, and go over the schedule for the day. In phonics we are learning basic handwriting strokes to prepare us to write lowercase letters and have taught the high frequency words a, I, and the. Everyday we engage in an interactive read aloud where we ask questions and make predictions and connections. Before we begin the writing process, we are learning how to draw people and objects using shapes. In math we are learning the names of shapes (circle, triangle, square, rectangle, and hexagon) and are using words to describe how a shape is formed (curve, straight lines, corners, edges, and sides). In science we will begin talking about the four seasons and describing weather as we prepare for the arrival of autumn. Be on the lookout for our next family project - Pumpkin Pals!
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September was a busy month full of learning new routines, classroom rules and learning about our new friends. We were also busy in ELA, writing, and math! In Phonics, we learned about the difference between consonants and vowels. We learned what a closed syllable is, and we began our focus on the short vowels starting with the letter a. We learned that it can make two sounds (/a/ as in apple and /a/ as in ant). In writing, we began experimenting with beginning, middle, and end. During our math block, we focused on the numbers 5 and 10. WE built our very own number racks and learned how to use them as a tool to help us add. OUr Number Corner focused on ways to model numbers (sticks, ten frames, and tally marks) and we learned the difference between a nickel and a penny.

October is sure to bring more exciting learning!

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Our first month of school sure has been busy! At this point, we have adjusted to our new surroundings as we embrace the new curriculum for 2nd Grade. We have finished up our initial benchmark testing… Great work 2nd Graders! In class, our read alouds have led us to discuss what is important about being a family and what it means to fit or belong some place. Our next stop is Memory Stories! In reading, we have set up our reading time routines including having our own book bins, reading logs, and reading response journals. We have talked about 3 reading genres: fantasy, realistic fiction, and informational as well as what it means to be a “Just Right” book. This week, we will really begin to dive into the literary analysis with thinking and talking about books. In phonics, we have been focusing on initial blends, final blends, consonant digraphs, and the floss rule. We will continue this over the next few weeks before we move into phonograms. In writing, we have began to look at the Four Common Types of Writing: informational writing, opinion writing, and narrative writing, which includes both personal experiences as well as a character/problem/solution stories. We will continue to look at writing genres over the next few weeks, both annotating them and then writing our own! In math, we will be wrapping up Chapter 3: Basic Facts and Relationships. Our first science mystery will focus on where we end up if we float down a river and why there is sand at the beach!

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Dear 3rd Grade Families,

Happy fall! We hope this newsletter finds you well and excited about the wonderful progress our students have made so far this school year. We have some exciting updates and important information to share with you.

Math: We will continue delving into data and graphing, as well as exploring the foundations of multiplication. Encourage your child to practice their multiplication facts at home to strengthen their skills.

Reading: Guided Reading is up and running! Please remind your child to bring in their favorite books to share during our reading time. We will also introduce vocabulary-rich literature and continue exploring our identities as readers. Additionally, it is crucial for students to complete their Lexia units to enhance their reading abilities.

Writing: Our focus in writing this month will be on narrative writing. We will be using graphic organizers to help organize our thoughts and create engaging stories. Encourage your child to share their narratives with you at home!

Science: We are excited to dive into the fascinating world of climate and extreme weather this month. Students will learn about weather patterns, climate zones, and the impacts of extreme weather events. Encourage your child to observe and discuss weather changes in their surroundings.

Social Studies: We will begin our exploration of our country's government, learning about the different branches and their functions. This will help foster a deeper understanding of our nation's democratic system.

Tips for Student Success:

  1. Encourage Daily Reading: Set aside dedicated time for your child to read their favorite books or explore new genres. Reading at home plays a vital role in improving comprehension and expanding vocabulary.

  2. Establish a Homework Routine: Help your child establish a consistent homework routine to ensure they complete assignments on time and develop good study habits.

  3. Foster a Growth Mindset: Encourage your child to embrace challenges and view mistakes as opportunities for growth. Remind them that perseverance and effort lead to success.

In closing, we are grateful for your continuous support and involvement in your child's education. Together, let's make this month a memorable one, filled with growth, knowledge, and joy.

Warm regards,

The Third Grade Team

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Grade 4


In ELA, students are continuing to learn the routines that will help them be successful for the rest of the year. We are focusing on utilizing our Reader’s Notebook to capture our learning during reading mini-lesson. Our phonics lessons include skills for reading closed syllable words, words with consonant blends, and words with silent e spelling patterns. We’re also learning how to use the knowledge of prefixes and suffixes to help us understand the meaning of new words. Next week also begins our Informational Writing Unit. In Social Studies, students will gain more information about the physical make-up of our country as they use a physical map of North America to locate and identify important physical features. They will also learn to identify cardinal directions, use map scales, and use map key/legend symbols for mountains, rivers, deserts, lakes, cities.

Over the last few weeks our fourth grade scientists have begun their unit on energy. Our first two lessons focused on speed & energy, as well as gravitational energy, speed & collisions. For each lesson, the students completed a hands-on investigation to solve the following questions: how is your body similar to a car, and what makes roller coasters go fast? To connect our understanding of energy to real-life problems, the students have been assigned to help the engineers at Acme Amusement Park to create and experiment with different rides. It is wonderful to watch the students collaborate, and use their knowledge and reasoning skills of energy to create solutions to make the Twist-a- Matic spin faster, or the Bumper Coaster go slower. During our math block the fourth graders are reviewing different methods and models for multiplication (skip-counting, repeated addition, tile array, area model, etc.). We are applying those models to help us to solve story problems with multiplication, as well as solve multi-step story problems with only whole numbers, using addition and multiplication. We’re also playing a variety of games to encourage more efficient and effective strategies in multiplication, such as - tic-tac-toe product, multiplication mania, and array capture. We are excited to continue our learning during the month of October!

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Grade 5

In ELA, students are continuing to learn the routines that will help them be successful for the rest of the year. We are focusing on utilizing our Reader’s Notebook to capture our learning during reading mini-lesson. We also continue to learn how to respond to text providing evidence of our thinking. Our phonics lessons include skills for reading closed syllable words, words with consonant blends, and words with silent e spelling patterns. We’re also learning how to use the knowledge of prefixes and suffixes to help us understand the meaning of new words. Next week also begins our Informational Writing Unit. In Social Studies, students will continue their focus on early colonization of America. We will focus on the influences of native people and European political principals as the new world was being shaped.

Over the last few weeks our fifth grade scientists have begun their unit on the Watery Planet. Our first three lessons focused on the hydrosphere & water distribution, mixture & solutions, and groundwater as a natural resource. For each lesson, the students completed a hands-on investigation to solve the following questions: how much water is in the world, how much salt is in the ocean, and when you turn on the faucet, where does the water come from? The fifth graders have also enjoyed a variety of articles and videos in connection to our watery planet unit. They read how the Great Salt Lake became so salty, and the benefits of scientists filtering wastewater to make it drinkable. Lastly, they enjoyed reading the National Geographic books, and using data to create their own bar graphs or circle graphs to represent the various types of water on Earth’s surface. It’s wonderful to see how excited the students are to collaborate and explore each lesson. During our math block, the students have started their first module on multiplication & volume. The fifth graders are currently helping a business owner who needs to decide how he will box 24 baseballs to ship to customers. They are being challenged to figure out all the different ways they can arrange 24 cubes in the form of a rectangular prism by building them with manipulatives, and recording the dimensions with a numerical expression. At the end of the investigation, all of the fifth graders will have the opportunity to review each other’s work, and as a class decide which strategies were efficient and effective. October will be a fun month of learning in fifth grade!