A big thank you to Wendy Thelander and our amazing TPA for putting on another successful Scholastic Book Fair and Curriculum Night. TPA will sponsor an all-school Harvest Party on the afternoon of November 1st (no costumes please or on Halloween). Our Taste of Territorial Spaghetti Feed and Art Show is scheduled to take place on November 15th. Our ever involved and supportive parent group is off and running this year! We will also be holding our Annual Food Drive from November 1- 26th. All the food that we collect will be donated to the Goldson Grange and distributed locally.
This month marked the start of three very popular school programs including LEGO League, OBOB and Garden Club. Students in LEGO League will be presented with a problem and have to gather research and brainstorm as a team ways to solve that problem. Students in this club are also learning about programming robots to complete predetermined tasks and challenges. Oregon Battle of the Books also got underway this month and looks to be generating a lot of excitement among involved students. Finally, we held our first Fall Garden Club meeting on October 14th, with 50 students in attendance! Garden Club participants are enjoying the bounty of their harvest from their spring planting as well as planting fall crops, playing nature games and learning about gardening.
We are also super excited to share that our very own Aurora Cunningham-Mooney is our Territorial nominee for Oregon’s Kid Governor. She is running on the platform of stopping littering and educating the public on how harmful it can be to our environment. Go Aurora! The Kid Governor program, created by the Connecticut Center for Democracy, is in its third year in Oregon. This wonderful civics program is providing children with an outstanding, firsthand experience in civic engagement. It not only teaches them how elections work, but also why it is so important to be an engaged and educated voter.
I am also pleased to announce that last month’s Student of the Month was third grade student, Luke Pratt. Luke has been especially friendly to new Territorial students, making sure that they have someone to play with at recess. Likewise, this month’s Student of the Month is fifth grade student, Chloee Strasheim. She was nominated after staff members on multiple occasions noticed that Chloee was actively seeking out students who didn’t have a buddy at recess and inviting them to play with her. Way to go Luke and Chloee!
Beyond that our Fall Easy CBM benchmark testing wrapped up earlier this month. Staff came together for a school-wide data meeting on October 9th . We looked at student scores in math, identified strategies and planned for interventions to support student growth and enrichment. We will be working with reading consultant Teresa Lowell on the 24th to analyze reading data and make strategic plans to best meet every student’s needs. We will work to identify the best resources and strategies to elicit even more improved outcomes going forward.
A focus this fall among teachers has been planning and collaborating in teams to build effective Social Emotional units and lessons. Teachers have already been busy implementing components from two of our new SEL curriculums; Zones of Regulations and Second Steps. We believe as we increase students’ social emotional learning skills, we will also be able to increase student learning and overall student success.
Are you planning a family trip for the holidays? As you think about your arrangements, we want to stress the importance of sending your child to school every day possible. Every year, absences spike in the weeks before and after the winter holiday as families squeeze in a few more vacation days. It’s time to break that cycle. We know that just a few missed days here and there, even if they’re excused absences, can add up to too much lost learning time and put your child behind in school. This is as true in kindergarten as it is in high school. Put simply, too many absences at any age can affect a student’s chances for academic success and eventually for graduation.
We recognize that holidays are an important time for reconnecting with families far away. The costs of plane tickets often influence when you want to travel. But keep in mind the costs to your children’s education if they miss too much school— and the message you will be sending about the importance of attendance. Even if you’ve got a homework packet from the teacher, it doesn’t make up for the interaction and learning that happens in the classroom. Our teachers will be teaching, and our students will be learning, right up until vacation starts and the first day back. We will be having a special contest during this trimester to celebrate classes that have excellent attendance. You can help us convey that message. This holiday season, give your children the gift of an education and the habit of attendance.
Parent/Teacher conferences will be held at the conclusion of 1st trimester in December. By conferencing in December, with completed report cards in hand, teachers have the ability to not only speak to the standards of achievement expected for each grade level, but also provide detailed information about current student progress toward those standards. Also at conferences, teachers of 4th and 5th grade students will share individual student score reports from last spring’s Smarter Balanced Assessments as well as an overview of our school data from those same state assessments.