To the Point

Prairie Point Staff Newsletter

Volume 3, Issue #2: Friday, August 17, 2017

Important Information

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One week down....About 40 to go!

What a fantastic start to the year. Thank you for pitching in and lending a hand throughout the first three days. What a great start! I know that this week has been crazy busy and the last thing that everyone wants is to read through a long I'll try to keep it short and sweet. Thanks again for all that you do, the next 40 weeks are going to be AWESOME!

AVID - Advancement Via Individual Determination

I wanted to again, share our goals this year with AVID. I look forward to exploring more and helping all of our students have the opportunity to go to Coke Machine University!

2017 - 2018 AVID GOALS


By April, all AE 5th grade teachers will provide opportunities and structures for students to organize information, materials and time by implementing a common binder system, agenda/planner system and by attending WICOR strategies professional development.


By April, the administration and site team will support an environment that promotes college readiness for all students by providing professional development for WICOR strategies and providing opportunities for student exposure to high academic expectations.


By September, AE administration will establish a site team, set goals for the four essentials and provide PD opportunities for all faculty members.


By implementing AVID Elementary in all 5th grade classrooms, the site team will assess and disaggregate data related to implementation three times throughout the school year (October, December, March).

People Like Me

Food Allergies

I sent the following communication about snacks at the first week of school last year. I realize that if you did not have students with food allergies, you may not have paid much attention to it. If you have questions, after reviewing last year's communication, please stop down and see Dominique. Our priority is to do all that we can to keep all students safe in our classrooms. If you have students in your class with EpiPens or Auvi-Qs and have not met with Dominique regarding administering this lifesaving medication, please do so ASAP.

I have come to understand that the district stopped disseminating “safe food lists” a few years back. There are a few reasons for this change. First, food manufacturers can change processing plants or ingredients, making what used to be a nut-free food, no longer safe. Secondly, there are foods out there are manufactured in multiple plants, some of which are certified nut-free others that are not. Meaning the same food could have two different labels depending on where it was processed. That said, the district (and most schools and districts) do not disseminate safe snacks/food lists because they really cannot guarantee that everything coming into a classroom is safe.

I understand that at Prairie Point we have continued to disseminate a safe food/snack list. I also know, without a doubt, our top priority is keeping students safe. With both of these in mind, we need to move forward in a way that keeps children safe, but does recognize that there is not a list that we can put out to parents to limit snacks that can be brought into the classroom.

What does this mean for this year? At this time, we are not retracting our list. I think that would be confusing and only cause more concerns than it would address the actual issue. Instead, should a parent have a question or concern about the snack list, Dominique will talk to them directly and explain where we are at. According to the district nurses, while we cannot disallow students to bring their snacks into the class (regardless of the labels), we will continue to explain to parents that there are children with these allergies and ask that they please read labels and send food that is safe, so that we can maximize instruction time and minimize the amount of time that is spent cleaning surfaces, hands etc.

The most important thing that we can do is check labels, we need to be monitoring what goes into the classrooms where students have life-threatening food allergies. For those classrooms with students who have life-threatening food allergies, we will need check the snacks. If there are snacks that we are unsure of (because they do not have an original label) or because they have a possible nut contamination, we will need to separate those children in the classroom. We need to be sensitive to all the students (both with the food allergy and who has a non-safe food) and make sure that we aren’t isolating anyone or making them feel bad. We then need to wipe the surfaces down and have students wash hands.

Early Childhood First Day of School

I know that we will start to settle in next week for our first full week of K - 5th grade, however, I did want to remind everyone that our littlest learners will start on Monday. Their daily schedule is as follows:

AM Session

8am - 10:30am

PM Session

11:45am - 2:15pm

DHH Students are with us from 8am - 1pm. Students who ride the bus will enter and leave through Door #4. Students who are dropped off and picked up will arrive at Door #3. Please know that our EC students will have scheduled time for motor breaks (outside on the playground or in the Community Room during inclement weather). Please be aware of this when planning outside incentives or taking classes outside for instruction.

Our EC staff has been amazing lending a hand as we kicked of our first days this week. If you are around as EC students are arriving or dismissing next week and able to help out, should there be a need, we would appreciate it.

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Eclipse Update

If you haven't noticed, there is quite a bit of hype regarding Monday's solar eclipse. While I never did pursue a career with NASA, I have to say that I am pretty excited to find out what it would feel like if we were in school at nighttime!

The last eclipse that I can remember happened when I was in elementary school. I can remember being super excited, as a 6th grader, to to outside with my class and stand with my back to the eclipse, viewing it through a homemade eclipse viewer (some kind of box and tinfoil thing we made). I remember learning all about eclipses and being pretty sure that I was going to be an astronaut (not really a great career choice, as I hate flying)...but that is how excited I was!

As you know, it is a different day and age and while my memory of standing with my back to the sun is awesome, I now realize the risks that my teacher took in assuring that all of us 6th graders were going to listen to the directions and do what he told us to. Being responsible for over 1,000 eyeballs is a big task and I support the districts decision to keep all of those eyeballs safe in the building during the time of the eclipse. That said, we want our students to have the same excitement and enthusiasm on Monday. All classrooms should have the ability to view the eclipse in real time via website. It is my hope that the "talk around the school" on Monday will be the eclipse. What a great way to promote those STEM careers to our students...they almost had me sold!

If you have not already reading through the information provided by Melissa McDowell, please do so. That communication is copied below. Please also note that Val Patterson has requested that all blinds be down during the eclipse.

On Monday, 8/21 we will experience a total solar eclipse. This is the first time since 1918 that North America will experience this phenomenon. ​Learning about and experiencing a total solar eclipse provides a great learning opportunity for our​ students​. In this age of technology, all students and staff have safe access to "real time" viewing of the eclipse via a number of websites. NASA has already set up a countdown clock you can use as well.

While protective eye-wear does exist for eclipse viewing, there are reports of recalls and counterfeit glasses being sold, along with concerns related to proper use and positioning of the glasses. For this reason we have elected not to allow students outside to view the eclipse, even with protective glasses.

During the eclipse, from approximately 11:50 a.m. until 2:30 p.m., all instructional activities and recess/lunch will be conducted indoors to protect students from the dangers of viewing the sun. The sun can cause damage to the retina, leading to partial or even permanent blindness.

Included in the link below you will find a number of ​helpful ​websites/downloadables that can be used for instructional activities up to and during the solar eclipse. Teachers are encouraged to provide students the opportunity to view the live streaming of the solar eclipse. In our area 12:45-1:20 p.m. has been identified a​s the optimal viewing time. NASA will be offering viewing perspectives from multiple locations. The link for live streaming is also included in the link below. Enjoy!!​

Classroom Readers, Listeners, and Partners

Over the past two years, our partnership with the Oswego Senior Center has taken off. We will be continuing this again this year. Please let Janet know if you would like to have a classroom visitor weekly to partner with your classroom as a volunteer, read to your students, or listen to your students read.

As a reminder, the goal of this program is to develop a two-way relationship across generations.

In Every Issue...

Wednesday Morning Meeting Schedule

The Wednesday Morning Meeting Schedule has been shared with you and is available by clicking below.

1st PLC Meeting

We will have our first PLC meeting on Wednesday, August 23rd. Please plan to start your PLC meeting by 7:30 am. Please also remember to share your PLC agenda with both Jennifer and Janet.

PLC Agenda Options

You should have a PLC Agenda Template in your Google Docs.

The link below contains files for 3 different templates for PLC agendas/notes. You are able to choose to use one of these as well. Please remember to share them with Jennifer/Jen and any specialists that you have working with your team.

The video below shows you how to save the agenda templates to your own Google Drive.

SD 308 PLC Agenda Video

Prairie Point Family Celebrations

Requesting Summer Updates

Still requesting updates of our extended Prairie Point Family. I know that weddings were had, grandbabies were born and lots of exciting accomplishments took place over the summer months...send pictures my way!

This is the part of our news letter where we can share exciting updates and pictures of ourselves or our family. I loved sharing some of the exciting accomplishments of our faculty members' children last year. Let's keep it going. If you have something exciting to share from the summer (weddings, grandchildren, academic, arts or sports accomplishments...) send them my way and I will include them in our next newsletter. I love when our celebrations include pictures!!!