Whittier Weekly Newsletter

September 11, 2020

This One is a Bumper Crop Edition

Dear Whittier Families,

It's late on a Friday evening and I'm finishing up the week. One of the highlights of this week was seeing so many of you and our students. Our staff was so excited to have the opportunity to see our Whittier students and families, and I know that I certainly appreciated the chance to meet and speak with many of you for the first time.

I appreciate your continuing efforts to support your child's learning and communicate with our teachers and other supporting staff.

In the coming week will be organizing structured supports for many of our students and families who need additional supports. Communicating your specific needs to your child's teacher is a very appropriate way to seek assistance. Each week, we meet together with all teaching teams and share information that we can use to identify and organize support for students who may need it. Sometimes it's technology support, sometimes academic support, and at other times, social emotional and wellness support. No matter the need, we will continue to develop our responses and supports to help our students to be successful.

The most important thing you can do as a parent, besides communicating effectively with your child's teacher, is to create routines and habits of mind and action that supports your child's learning and well-being. Please be kind to yourself as you try to make virtual learning as successful as possible. Don't expect perfection from yourself, your child, or anyone else. It is an elusive and often disappointing expectation for all of us to have.

I will send a read-aloud on Sunday. I had the best intentions of doing one for today, but the day was full and perhaps overflowing at times.

Below are some very useful and timely resources to access. Please take the time to browse and respond to anything that needs a response.

Be well,

Lorcan OhEithir, Principal

Please Join Our PTA! We Need You.

Wow! What a different start to the school year! Your WHES PTA Executive Board is excited to welcome you back to 20-21 school year.

We need your help!

  • What ideas do you have to support our students during virtual learning?
  • What ideas do you have for activities to support students?
  • What do you want from your PTA?
  • Let us know by completing the feedback form here: PTA Membership Feedback

Show your support of public education by joining our PTA.

Looking forward to a great year!

Big picture

Some Habits that Will Serve Us Well

This year, we will focus each month on one of these habits described below. They derive from the work of Sean Covey in his book, Seven Habits of Happy Kids. They are all important and can help us find the right mindset to make the best of whatever life may bring us. Right now, we are focusing on Habit 2: Beginning With the End in Mind, and looking ahead to where we want to be at the end of next week, then the following week, and ultimately what we want for our students, to learn and to be happy.

1. Be Proactive I have a “Can Do” attitude. I choose my actions, attitudes and moods. I don’t blame others. I do the right thing without being asked, even if nobody is looking.

2. Begin With the End in Mind I plan ahead and set goals. I do things that have meaning and make a difference. I am an important part of my school. I look for ways to be a good citizen.

3. Put First Things First I spend my time on things that are most important. This means I say no to things I should not do. I set priorities, make a schedule, and follow my plan. I am organized.

4. Think Win-Win I want everyone to be a success. I don’t have to put others down to get what I want. It makes me happy to see other people happy. I like to do nice things for others. When a conflict arrives, I help brainstorm a solution. We all can win!

5. Seek First to Understand I listen to other people’s ideas and feelings. I try to see things from their viewpoints. I listen to others without interrupting. I am confident in voicing my ideas.

6. Synergize I value other people’s strengths and learn from them. I get along well with others, even people who are different from me. I work well in groups. I seek out other people’s ideas to solve problems. I know that “two heads are better than one”. I am a better person when I let other people into my life and work.

7. Sharpen the Saw I take care of my body by eating right, exercising, and getting sleep. I spend time with family and friends. I learn in lots of ways and lots of places.

Assessing Student Learning- Performance Series Assessment

As we transition students to learning online, we must also transition how we assess that learning. In addition to the formative assessments that students will be given from their classroom teacher, FCPS will also administer the Performance Series assessment at the beginning, middle, and end of the school year. This will allow schools to ascertain a students’ current level of performance and will allow schools to monitor growth.

The Performance Series assessment is an entirely web-based adaptive assessment. Based on the students’ responses, the assessment will provide questions that are more or less difficult until it can accurately report the students’ performance level. This will provide school staff information on student proficiency in reading and mathematics that will help drive personalized instruction and measure student progress.

Your child's teacher will be directing the administration of the assessment. Here is an overview of the dates and times for Performance Series:

Whittier ES Performance Series Parent Information

How Can I Find My Student ID Number at Home?

Quick step-by-step guide to find your student ID number. This will be helpful for when your child takes their Performance Series Assessment next week.

Google Meet Recording Permission Form

We have 469 permissions completed as of today. If you have not had an opportunity to complete this short permission form yet, please do so today! Thank you very much for helping us to respect your wishes regarding privacy and student safety.

Resource to Help with Virtual Learning

How to log in to Chrome correctly, Schoology overview, how to get help when you need it.

The Schoology Parent Experience

This guide will help parents (like me) access their child's Schoology account. It provides directions for the Schoology app as well as the desktop/laptop browser.

Schoology Troubleshooting for Parents & Care-Providers

If you have are encountering issues with Schoology, chances are, the answer will be here. It's almost as easy as an IKEA manual.

Counselor's Corner Newsletter

Every week, Mrs. Reese and Mrs. Leatherman will provide some fantastic, just in time resources for families. If you have not already done so, let them know what you need in their individual family survey..

Becoming a Reader

Below is an image that illustrates just how complex it is to become a reader. If you are reading this right now, you have accomplished an amazing feat. Notice a few things about the image of the rope:

  • Language Comprehension has significantly more areas of development for early readers. It is really where a parent creates a reader. It involves talking and listening, sharing great stories and books, shared experiences in observing the world around us, and so much more that we do as parents. Be aware that ever moment you spend talking, listening to, and reading to your child is creating a reader.
  • Too often, we think that reading is all about the bottom two skills under word recognition (decoding and sight recognition). These are critically important to becoming a skilled reader, but they can only be developed when the Language Comprehension has already been developed sufficiently.
  • Bottom line - talk and read with your child. That's the most important thing to do every day to develop a reader. Let the teachers help with the phonics and decoding skills.

Big picture
Parent Guide to Resilience

This resource provides simple, practical, just-in-time advice and guidance in navigating not just these times, but any times.

Whittier Elementary School - Believe, Achieve, Succeed

Please use Find Out First for up-to-date FCPS and WHES news.

We will also communicate through our school website

Follow me on Twitter @fcpsOhEithir where I will communicate school news and happenings