EC-5 Elementary Express

December 2019

December Dates At-A-Glance

December 2 - December 19 - WIS Student Council Food Drive

December 3 - 4th Grade Field Trip to Capitol, Historical Museum, and MMoMA (Chapman, McSweeny, Krueger, Swinea, Schut)

December 5 - 4K Winter Craft Night at CEPS cafeteria - 6:00 - 7:00PM

December 6 - Science Night at WIS - 5:30PM

December 6 - 5th Grade Kindness Retreat

December 12 - K-2 Classes to Ice Rink during PE

December 13 - K-2 Classes to Ice Rink during PE

December 17 - 4th Grade Field Trip to Capitol, Historical Museum, and MMoMA (Shanks, Brown, Bjugstad, Hiveley)

December 20 - CEPS and WIS School Assemblies

December 20 - Festive Sweater Day at CEPS

December 23 - January 1 - NO SCHOOL - WINTER BREAK

Upcoming Dates in January:

January 2 - School Resumes

January 20 - NO SCHOOL - Conference Release Day

January 27 - NO SCHOOL - Staff Development

January 28 - 5th Grade Field Trip to Planetarium (Litz, Kuester)

January 29 - 5th Grade Field Trip to Planetarium (Lackey, Wells)

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Click on the links below for helpful hints on way to support your kids with math at home, craft projects, and other tidbits.

Winter Weather Gear!

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Our playgrounds can get very windy during the winter months. This can make it feel very cold when students are outside for recess or before school. Please help your child to enjoy recess by providing them with appropriate winter clothing.

Please help us keep your child safe, warm, comfortable, and dry by sending them to school dressed in the following outerwear:

  • Boots are required outdoor wear during the snowy winter months. Boots should be at least high enough to cover the ankle. Boots provide warmth, traction on ice and snow, and have the ability to keep your child’s feet dry. A commonsense approach will be used to monitor the wearing of boots. We will require students who do not have boots to stay on the blacktop if clear of snow and ask students to stand by the wall if the blacktop is snow-covered.

  • Snow pants are required for any student who wishes to leave the blacktop and play actively in the snow. Those who do not have snow pants are not able to play actively in the snow and may be restricted to the “blacktop only” depending on the conditions.

  • Hats or earmuffs should cover the ears to prevent frostbite. Seventy percent of a person’s heat loss is from the head, so hats are essential for conserving warmth.

  • Mittens or gloves that provide water resistance are preferred, especially when children play in the snow. Dry hands are warm hands! Wet hands are very, very cold!

Please label all of your child’s outerwear with their name. Many children have the same or similar items. In addition, coats, gloves, and hats are frequently left on the playground and can go into the Lost and Found where they are often forgotten.

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A Message From the Health Office...

Please read the information below for guidelines on when to keep your child home from school when they are ill.

Thank You!

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Lobby Guard Check-In System

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The LobbyGuard check-in system will soon be installed in all schools in the McFarland School District. If you've volunteered or visited a student at WIS this year, you've already used the system! It will also soon be in place at CEPS.

Our check-in process is largely unchanged - an office staff member will still be at the front desk to greet visitors when they arrive and to answer any questions. The LobbyGuard system allows us to quickly run a background check and then automatically print out a name badge with the visitor's photo on it. Bringing your driver's license with you when you visit our schools will help this check-in process to go much more quickly. It typically takes less than 20 seconds.

Thank you for working with us to help keep our students safe! Please contact us if you have any questions!

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Thank you to the PTO for providing meals to our staff during Parent Teacher Conferences! The food was delicious!

We appreciate you!

Updates From Your PTO...

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The PTO continues to stay busy and energized! In the month of October and early November, we were able to provide a staff appreciation meal at all three schools - CEPS, WIS, and IMMS. Thank you to all of you who donated through our sign-up genius and provided food and other items that rounded out the meal. On Wednesday, November 20, the PTO hosted the Play Time Productions' presentation of "Ali Baba and a Few Thieves." The show featured youth with extreme talent and even had a few McFarland students that performed. Thank you to the many families who attended the play.

We are amid planning a Winter Carnival scheduled for Saturday, February 29, from 10AM-12PM, in the Conrad Elvehjem Primary School Gym. The Winter Carnival will feature fun games, crafts, food, and a silent auction. We hope your family will join in celebrating the leap year with us! If you have silent auction items that you would like to donate or are interested in serving on the Winter Carnival committee, please email Jessica Liston at We are looking for volunteers to help with food and also are in need of someone with balloon artist talent! If you would like to donate your time, it would be most appreciated.

Stay tuned for a sign-up genius as we plan a holiday cheer appreciation event for our school staff!

Upcoming Advisory Committee Meetings - these are a great way to learn more about the inner workings of the PTO! All McFarland School District residents are encouraged to attend and get involved.

  • Thursday, December 5: McFarland House Cafe, 7PM
  • Thursday, January 9: McFarland House Cafe, 7PM - NOTE DATE CHANGE!

Upcoming At Large PTO Meeting

Wednesday, February 19: WIS Multipurpose Room at 6:30PM

Among other topics, we will learn how our schools incorporate gender neutrality.

Did You Know...

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...If your family qualifies for Free or Reduced Lunches, you also qualify for Free or Reduced Breakfast! Give us a try. We have many daily options to choose from including cereal, muffins, yogurt, hard boiled eggs, and more. All meals come with fruit, 100% juice, and milk. Menus can be found on the district website and our Facebook page

Breakfast begins to be served at 7:25 at CEPS and 7:15 at WIS.

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Please Be On Time!

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Please note: At CEPS, supervision begins at 7:25 AM on the playground and for breakfast.

At WIS, supervision begins at 7:30 AM on the playground and at 7:15 AM for breakfast.

Thank You!

Box Tops is Changing!

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Conrad Elvehjem Primary School Information

School Principal:

Greg Nelson

Associate Principal:

Brooke Hauser

CEPS Building Administrative Assistant:

Emily Broome - (608) 838-3146

Administrative Assistant:

Sheryl Leemon - (608) 838-3146

A Note From Our Principal...

Warm Greetings, Families!

As I type this message and look out the window, it is pretty clear that winter is here! I hope during this busy season, you find the time to relax and enjoy special moments with those you hold dear. Maybe warm up a mug of cocoa and read your child’s library book with them, or sip some cider and put together a big puzzle. As for me, I’ll be lucky if I get out and try sledding or skiing at all; I am a warm-weather person through and through!

In order to support the expectation of wearing coats, hats, boots, snow pants and gloves with our cold weather (please label them!), I want to ask that you continue to have your child practice zipping zippers, buttoning buttons, putting on hats and gloves, and pulling up those boots at home! The more independent our students become with those skills, the more time they will have to play at recess. Please plan to send your students to school wearing their snow pants and boots (instead of bringing them in their backpacks), as they go outside before school begins. Students that do not wear snow pants and boots will be asked to remain on the blacktop.

This is also a good time to mention our before-school plan if it is too cold…“brrr!” When the combined temperature and wind chill is below zero (and in the spring/fall, if it is raining), students remain inside. Before school, kindergarteners will enter the building and place their bags outside of their classroom and can choose to walk laps in their wing or watch a video in the music room. First and second graders will hang up their belongings at their cubby and then make a choice to walk laps to music in the gym or read books in the hall outside of the office and gym. Since this does not happen too often, I ask that on days when we may anticipate this to happen, and if you are able to do so, to please foreshadow this plan to your child, so they walk into school knowing their options. Staff will be located at each location to remind students as well.

Speaking of reminders, I want to ask for your help. We work on teaching and reinforcing our Spartan Star expectations of being safe, kind, and responsible everywhere in school. One area that needs some work is our bathrooms. The students have been explicitly taught our expectations, and we have done some individual student and even grade-level review of the rules, but I ask that if you have a moment, please discuss showing character in the bathroom with your child since that is the one area that students are expected to use independently. Our custodians are unfortunately continuing to report some unexpected and unsafe messes in the bathrooms, and if you can help reiterate our message of using our new and beautiful bathrooms the right way, it could really help reinforce our goal of keeping the bathrooms clean for everyone. Without being too specific, we are really hoping that our students will work on being safe by not making “bathroom messes” on the ground, stall doors, and walls.

Two additional reminders that do not need their own separate email, but also don’t have a specific forum to share on their own (which is why I’m including here):

Parents and guardians (and other relatives and family friends, as long as the parent calls the office ahead of time) are welcome to visit for lunch. With our limited cafeteria seating and large class sizes, these visitors are finding that space is tight! We have found that Tuesdays and Thursdays are “lighter” days, so if you want to visit for lunch, I encourage you to try coming one of those days.

Due to the young age of our students, it is very challenging for them when they have inconsistent dismissal plans. I ask that you try as best you can to stick to one regular method for getting your child home, be it bus, pick-up loop, daycare van, walking, etc. We have students who have up to three different ways to get home depending on which day of the week it is, and with weeks that are shorter, and with last-minute changes to plans, that makes it harder for the student to remember where to go at the end of the day. Even if grandma is visiting from out of state and wants to pick up her grandkid as a surprise, we encourage grandma to wait to surprise your child at home so that he/she can follow their regular plan.

I want to give a shout-out to our teachers and staff here at CEPS. As I visit classrooms during the day, I am continually impressed by the teaching and learning that I observe. It is awesome to see the progress students have already made this year in their academic work, and one of my favorite parts of the day is seeing the pride students take in accomplishing their goals. The staff here know how to incorporate high expectations in a developmentally-appropriate way so that students are engaged and classrooms feel warm, safe, and fun! From kindergarteners that are working on counting to 40 and counting by tens, to first graders adding details and conclusions to their writing, and second graders diving into non-fiction text, real learning is happening. Of course, all the hugs, special handshakes, smiles, and high-fives I see teachers get and give in the hallway, lunchroom, and recess show the students here feel happy and loved.

As I wrap up, I want to take a moment to wish you all the best this holiday season. I hope you and your loved ones enjoy some special time together during the break, and I look forward to welcoming our students’ bright and shining faces back to school in 2020!

Thank you for your time and support. As always, feel free to call at any time with questions or concerns you may have.

Greg Nelson

CEPS Principal

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Waubesa Intermediate School Information

School Principal:

Corey Shefchik

Associate Principal:

Al Northouse

Building Administrative Assistant:

Arlene Bast (608) 838-7667

A Note From Our Principals...

Hello Waubesa Families and Friends,

We hope all of you enjoyed your Thanksgiving Holiday. There is always so much to be thankful for. We appreciate the extra time with our family and friends and are grateful for the terrific staff and families here in McFarland. We appreciate and value your partnership as we continue our journey to support your students. Your commitment to our partnership was evident with the high attendance at the recent parent/teacher conferences. Thank you!

As you know, the leaves have fallen off the trees and the cold temperatures have arrived much sooner than expected. Please take a few minutes to read through the winter dress requirements included in this month's news. We’d like to take a moment to highlight the Arrival to School information from the Family Handbook:

Students are not supervised until 7:30 a.m. unless they are in the Commons for the breakfast program which starts at 7:15. At 7:30 a.m., students may report to the playground or to the Commons if they are eating school breakfast. They will be supervised in both locations until the first bell rings. The first bell rings at 7:52 a.m. and school starts at 8:00 a.m. If it is -1 degrees or colder or if it is raining, students will be allowed to enter the building at 7:30 and should report to the Commons or gymnasium after they have taken their coats and backpacks to their cubby.

WIS has been working hard the past several years at helping our students develop a growth mindset. This requires students to believe they can learn anything as long as they work hard, try various strategies, and accept input from others. In the process, they may fail, but this failure can help them to gain an even better understanding in the end. We often hear students say things like, "I am just not good at reading or math." They seem to think that some people are good at certain subjects and some people aren't. The staff at WIS do not believe this is true. We believe ALL students can be strong and are capable of developing their skills in any academic or non-academic area. Students just need to work hard, try various strategies, be open to ideas from others, and believe in themselves. We'd love to ban the phrase, "Well, I wasn't good at reading, math, etc. either." This phrase gives children the permission to not persevere through a problem and can lead to developing a fixed mindset that they’re incapable of developing those skills. We believe this is detrimental to their growth. Check out this link to learn more.

This year, winter break starts December 23 with classes resuming on January 2, 2020. This is a perfect time for children to enjoy family and friends, as well as to read a good book (or two), and to practice math on Dreambox.

As always, feel free to reach out to us with any questions, comments or concerns.


Corey Shefchik - Principal

Al Northouse - Associate Principal

Movie Donations Needed!

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Do you have extra movies you no longer watch? The Waubesa Library is in need of G-rated movies. If you have any extra you're willing to donate we would GREATLY appreciate them! Thank you for taking a moment to look around. You can drop these off in the office or you can send them in with your child and they can bring them to the library.

Thank you!

Family Science Night at WIS December 6th!

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Waubesa Intermediate School is hosting a science night with the UW-Madison Biocore Ambassadors! Experience science in a fun and interactive way!

Who: K-8 Students and their Families

Where: Waubesa Intermediate School

When: Friday, December 6 from 5:30 - 7:30PM

You may come and go at any time during this block!

Holiday Food Drive at WIS!

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Forgot Your Shoes?

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During these snowy and slushy months, if your child wears their boots to school and forgets to bring their shoes, please don't feel obligated to make a special trip to the school to drop them off. Kids always have the option of wearing their boots all day or changing into their gym shoes.

Internet Safety

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In November, our school resource officer, John Miller, held a presentation to inform families about how to help keep students safe online. Click the link below to view his presentation.
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The following flyers are NOT all school-sponsored activities and the McFarland School District does not provide support or endorsement of the program/flyer. It has neither reviewed nor approved the program, personnel, or activities announced in the brochure/flyer. Permission to distribute this material must not be considered a recommendation or endorsement by the School District.


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The Optimist Club of McFarland has a direct phone line to the North Pole and would like to arrange a call between your child and Old Saint Nick himself!

All telephone calls will be made between 6:00 and 8:00 p.m. on Sunday, December 8th. It is your responsibility to ensure that your child is available between those hours on that evening when Santa calls from the North Pole.

Simply fill out this form by Thursday, December 5th. -- $10.00 for the first child, then $5.00 for each additional child

If you have any questions, please contact Katie Miller at 608-239-3689 or

All proceeds will be donated to the Weekend Snack Sack Program for McFarland students in need (used in grades K-8 to provide weekend meals to children in need).

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