Comet Chronicle, Jr.

September 11, 2020

A Common Question

One of the most commonly asked questions is: “How long will someone have to quarantine if there’s a case of COVID-19?" Our response is:


“The health and safety of our students, families, and staff is and will always be our primary concern. We have been working diligently over the past several months to prepare for the safe return to school for our students and staff—implementing sanitization and social distancing protocols across the district. In the event of a COVID-19 situation in one of our buildings or classrooms, we will work with the Berrien County Health Department to assist in contact tracing to determine who needs to quarantine and for how long as every COVID exposure is unique. Ultimately, the BCHD will provide specific guidance related to quarantining and isolation.”

Dismissal @ the Elementary

Dismissal can be hectic when your task is to move 300+ children from one place to the next in a relatively small area filled with moving vehicles. For those new to Coloma Elementary, our first priority as a staff is student safety. After safety, we want our process to be efficient.


In order to maintain student safety, it is critical that we keep walkers and transportation separated. This is why walkers are dismissed from the rear of the building. If we have car riders, bus riders, and walkers coming out of the same exits it becomes very easy to lose track of where students should be going. I know this from dismissal plans at schools where I was previously principal. We do have walkers that exit the building up front, but they are walking to the Intermediate building to link up with a walker or car riding sibling that attends that building. That group is escorted by staff, given the hazards of buses and cars waiting at the front side of the school.


As for our riders, we dismiss bus riders out of two doors adjacent to the bus lane that passes between the Intermediate building and the Elementary. Teachers escort bus riders to their buses and ensure they get on the buses they are supposed to. Once those teachers have their bus riders securely on their buses, they come to the car rider area to assist with that process.


Finally, our car riders wait in the Multipurpose Room for staff to call them out to traffic cones, when their ride pulls forward to a marked cone. We need cars to pull as far forward as possible in the drop off lane so that we can load as many vehicles as possible in batches. This will make pick up go quicker for everyone. The drop off lane is a fire lane so parking there is prohibited by law. If you need to park, please park in a space. Students will not be released for an early pick up after 3:00. We have many cars who wait in line and to allow someone to park and bypass the line would not be fair to the parents waiting in line.


If dismissal plans change, call the office before 3:00 so that we can communicate the change to our staff. We will not make changes to the regular dismissal plan after 3:00. The car rider line will continue to get quicker as everyone gets into the routine. We average 16 minutes for dismissal when everyone is on the same page. Thank you for your support!

What Color Were You On Today?

Returning families are likely familiar with color-coded behavior charts or Class Dojo in your student's classroom. I've overheard parents ask their child, "What color were you on today?" I wanted to let you know that we will not be using these tools anymore. There are a few reasons for this:


  1. The practice is not supported by research to improve behavior; it can cause more misbehavior.
  2. The practice shames some students and that's not what we want to be about.
  3. It calls greater attention to students who chronically misbehave, leading to conflict among peers.


Teachers have had all summer to consider alternatives to the behavior charts and Class Dojo. This in no way means that we are not addressing behaviors in the classroom. On the contrary, we are looking for better ways to support student behavior that are supported by research and respects all of our students' dignity. If you have any questions, please contact your child's teacher.

SchoolMessenger

Communication is a priority for all Coloma staff. We use SchoolMessenger to share information electronically with our families. Over the last few months we have received feedback from parents that they are not receiving emails with important messages, reminders, and newsletters. If you find yourself in that group, please reach out to our office staff to make sure we have a current email address in PowerSchool. If we have the correct email address, then the situation is that the parent may have changed their settings to have our emails blocked. If you would like to fix that, our office staff can help you with that too.

Mask Care

Students have been given two face masks from their teacher. Per our Safe Return to School Plan reusable face masks must be washed daily. Please help us in our efforts to keep our students and staff healthy and safe!

CARE Expectations

Coloma Elementary's schoolwide expectations for student behavior follow the acronym CARE. It stands for:


  • Come ready to learn
  • Always respectful
  • Responsible
  • Exceptionally safe
Expectations for the hallway, bathrooms, cafeteria, playground, arrival, and dismissal are posted throughout the school. We teach the expectations and review them throughout the school year. Students also earn CARE tickets when they follow the expectations. The office does a ticket drawing where students pick a prize from the CARE Box.

Free Tutoring!

From the Coloma Public Library:


With the school year kicking off, I wanted to share information on the free Tutor.com database service through Coloma Public Library, to promote to anyone in Coloma schools that could utilize the service. This information can be shared out to staff and parents/guardians via email, Facebook, etc. as you would like. When I attended the online townhall Q&A session over the summer, I noticed that a parent had a question about tutoring resources available, and wanted to make sure this was included in that list of tutor resources.


Tutor.com provides online academic tutoring, homework help, and test preparation for kindergarten through 12th grade students. Coloma Public Library card holder can connect with an expert tutor in a safe and secure online classroom. Students can get help with homework and test preparation including AP course-level work. Subjects include algebra, calculus, geometry, science, writing, English, Spanish, social studies, ACT/SAT, practice tests for the GED, HiSET and ASVAB exams. Microsoft® Office tutoring is also available. Assistance is available in both English and Spanish.


The writing tutors help students improve skills by offering constructive feedback. Students can submit essays, reports, and even college applications and scholarship essays for (1) live writing help in an interactive, online classroom, or (2) for review through Tutor.com’s Drop-Off Writing Review service. The latter option allows tutors to provide thorough feedback to students with a 12-hour turnaround.


Tutor.Com is free to all Coloma Public Library card holders. Simply go to www.tutor.com/swmichigan, and enter in your library card number. Once logged in, learners can create an account with an email address and a password. Live tutoring is available from 3pm-10pm on weekdays. Access to the Skills Center Resources is available 24/7.


More information can also be found on our website (www.colomapubliclibrary.net) or by calling 269-468-3431.


*For those needing to be set up with Coloma Public Library cards to use the Tutor.com service, we will be happy to work with them.

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PTO News

The PTO is a great group of parents that work with our teachers to plan a successful year for our kids. Right now with restrictions, planning is on hold. The PTO will hold a meeting soon to inform parents and gather ideas. We look forward to working with our parents!

Specials News

Music

We have had a fun first week in K-3 music class! This month, we are focusing a great deal on getting to know one another better, so we have been doing icebreakers and name games. We are also beginning to review steady beat and rhythm. Unfortunately due to the pandemic, we will not be able to sing in the classrooms this year. Instead, we will be creating, moving, and listening/responding to music more than we've had time for in the past. We also may be able to go outside and sing where there is better airflow. Our Young Fives class has Creative Movement, Arts, & Play each day with me, and we integrate elements of play into music, movement, language, visual arts, and technology activities. I have really enjoyed seeing so many of our students in person and meeting our new friends! I look forward to continued music-making!


~ Mrs. Kirksey


Physical Education

Welcome to the new school year. I am very excited to see your child and get moving. During the first couple weeks of school we are getting to know each other, practice our procedures and routines for physical education. We will cover our building CARE expectations. Our focus will be stretching our body, performing our warm-up activities, and practicing locomotor skills. We will be implementing some new games and starting a soccer unit in September. Students are expected to bring the following 3 items to the gym (shoes, water bottle, and a mask). Our schedule rotates on an (A,B,C) schedule. If you have any questions, please email me at pveine@ccs.coloma.org.


Thank you,

Mr. Veine

Art

Hello Comets! It is awesome to see everyone back in the classroom making Art! We are currently working on Self-Portraits in 3rd Grade to start the year. They are masked portraits that hold a special surprise. Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade are working hard on making their names out of bubble letters, while following directions and learning the rules of the Art Room. In the weeks ahead we will all be working on an amazing school-wide project where every artist will contribute their small part to the giant work of Art!


Mr. Selvidge

Stay Connected!

How can you stay connected to what's happening at Coloma Elementary?


  • Follow us on Facebook.
  • Make sure the office has your email address on file so we can communicate via SchoolMessenger.
  • Read the Comet Chronicle, Jr. (twice a month).
  • Read your classroom newsletter.

Did You Know?

Becoming a good reader takes practice, but how much practice should children get? Research recommends reading at home (or being read to) at least 20-30 minutes a day. It's never to late to start!