Principal's Corner

Principal: Annette Sisler
 
March  5, 2019
 
On February 13th, Territorial students participated in a “Most Recycled” Valentine’s Day box contest.  Students gathered various items; such cardboard, pop lids, and even past homework assignments to construct fabulous creations.  The entries lined the main hall for all to see.  The Valentine boxes ranged from washing machines to unicorns.  It was a fun sight to see. 
 
The annual Grandparent’s Day Tea was a great success, with outstanding grandparent participation.  We estimate that 192 grandparents and special guests joined a child or two or three for tea and pastries February 14th.   Entertainment was provided by Territorial students, directed by Music teacher Amy Burrow.   Each class performed a song or instrumental selection for their guests.  Festivities wrapped up with students and grandparents visiting a photo booth to commemorate the day, before stopping off to shop at the Scholastic Book Fair, and then wrapping up with crafts in the classroom.   Thank you Matt Thelander, Justin Boon and Officer Jackson for helping our guests get parked and to Lysa Sangermano for organizing this event again, as well as our faithful TPA volunteers, and TES staff; all of whom worked very hard to make this a memorable day for students and grandparents alike.  Likewise, a huge shout out to Jordan Peterson who used his tractor to pull vehicles out of the mud. 
 
Speaking of which, parents please refrain from parking on the grass.  Unfortunately, our parking lot capacity is limited and for the time being we are unable to increase the parking.   Thus I highly encourage you to consider carpooling or busing options.  We have asked First Student (our bus company) to consider adding a third bus to reduce student’s time on the bus.  They are working on some of the logistics involved with this request, we hope to hear from them soon. 
 
Please drop off students at 8:00 so they can be in their seat and ready to start instruction by 8:15. Also when dropping off students at student drop off, please pull forward to the end of the sidewalk, and have students ready to exit the vehicle safely and quickly.  Please remember that if the driveway gate is open, the “man” gate is unlocked, and students should pass through that versus walking through the driveway gate.  If you are parking in the lower parking lot, please walk your student up through the parking lot and not up the driveway.  It is a narrow driveway, and doing so creates a safety concern.  Once the buses arrive and are parked, you are welcome to pull up to the upper black top to unload students.  However, if you are not using the student drop off area, it is your responsibility to walk your child across the blacktop, as cars are passing through this area at this time. 
 
Students being picked up are released once the buses leave the parking lot at approximately 2:38. It is my goal to have all bus riders on the buses no later than 2:37, and buses pulling out of the lot by 2:38.  For safety reasons, those picking up students need to stay outside the fence until the buses leave.  Again, once the buses leave the upper blacktop you are welcome to pull up and park there.  Once again, it is important that you walk out to meet your students, as it is not safe for them to cross the black top unaccompanied.  You may stagger your pick up time by a few minutes, and come closer to 2:42 to help with congestion.  
February was a busy month with thirteen Territorial students participated in the Oregon Battle of the Books program this year.  Two teams continued on to the District competition held on February 21st at Oaklea Middle School. Ultimately, one team from Territorial qualified to move on to the regional competition to be held March 9th at Thurston High School.  
 
Speaking of reading we were thrilled to return to school after four snow days, just in time for our Read-Across-America celebration.  On Friday, March 1st all students participated in a school wide Dr. Seuss Read-a-Thon, in which students partnered up to read as many Dr. Seuss books as they could in a half hour. 
Likewise, the entire school is preparing for the annual Project Fair.  Due to the snow days we have moved this back to March 21st.  Students will develop their projects using the science inquiry method; ask a question, form a hypothesis, identify variables, design an experiment, perform the experiment, and then gather, record and analyze the data.  This is optional for K-2nd grade, and a required assignment for 3rd-5th. 
 
Speaking of snow days, the JCSD School Board met last night and identified calendar adjustments.  As long as there are no more snow days, no days will be added to the end of the year in June.  March 14th will now be a student contact day (school), with March 15th serving as a grading day (no school). 
 
With so many fun and engaging activities planned for the upcoming month, and the end of flu season in sight, we hope to see higher attendance rates.  Improving school attendance is a center piece of the district’s improvement plan, and Territorial has made eliminating chronic absenteeism a top priority.  We are doing this in several ways.  First, by reviewing attendance data at regularly scheduled intervals, thus allowing us to better analyze trends in student absences and attendance over time.  Furthermore, we are striving to make more meaningful outreaches to parents when students are identified as chronically absent.   We want to work with families to address barriers to attendance.  As part of the infrastructure to intervene and reduce student absences we are raising awareness about the importance of school attendance for students’ academic achievement and well-being through monthly mailed newsletters.  An important component of this is providing parents with the common definition for chronic absences; which is missing more than 10% or 18 school days.  Excessive absenteeism in elementary school for any reason- excused, or unexcused reduces students’ opportunities to learn and increase their risk of falling behind academically (Every-Day-Matters.org).  Being in school every day means your child won’t miss out on learning.  Try to schedule appointments and family trips outside of school hours.  If your child asks to stay home “just because,” remind him/her of what he’ll miss, such as his reading group or PE class.  It takes a team to improve attendance, and many small efforts can add up to big improvements.  We look forward to continuing this partnership with families.