2008 11 November

November Newsletter:
October Open House:  What a wonderful response we received this year to our invitation to Open House.  Many teachers reported perfect or near perfect attendance.  We thank Mrs. Laura Dykstra, president of our School Board for her presence and support.  We were most appreciative of Mr. Chris Christopolis, Lebanon Fire Chief, and Ashleigh Connelly, for sharing news and information on safety and an Upper Valley planned response to a pandemic situation.  And, we thank Mr. Dennis Samuel of Café Services for making himself available to all parents with questions and/or suggestions to keep improving our breakfast and lunch program for students.

Responsive Classroom: As part of the Responsive Classroom protocol, we use at Mt. Lebanon the “behavioral hierarchy.”  When a student is having difficulty staying on task, the teacher 1) reinforces desirable behavior, reminds students what desirable behavior looks and sounds like, and redirects behavior to preferable and viable options.  When these methods do not yield the desired effect,  2) the child may be asked to sit in “think time.”  Even RC refers to “time out”, but at Mt. Lebanon, we feel that “time out” connotes an excuse to do nothing.  For other children “time out” is associated with punishment. “Think time allows a child time to observe others and reflect.  Often, a brief think time is sufficient to remind the child of behavioral expectations. Our next step, is 3) to ask the child to sit in a buddy teacher’s room think chair.  The child knows that they have missed the point in the own classroom and now have an opportunity to simply think, reflect and observe learning behavior in another classroom.  Our final step 4) is a walk to the planning room, where an adult will help a child process his or her inappropriate behavior, discuss why the behavior is counterproductive, and seek positive ways to redress the situation and return to class.  A logical consequence is suggested.  When a mistake is made, we help the child recognize the mistake and correct it, often with an apology and opportunity to help.  We believe lasting positive behavioral changes come about most effectively through learning.  

SST: The SST refers to Student Support Team.  Once a week the guidance counselor solicits or collects feedback from teachers or parents on students who, for any number of reasons, are facing unique challenges in the classroom or on the playground.  The Counselor contacts the principal, nurse, special educators, the speech language pathologist and the classroom teacher.  The process we follow is the same for each case: listening to the teacher(s) describes the strengths and difficulties a child is presenting.  The team asks clarifying questions.  We  hear specifically what the referring teacher would like the team to address.  The team members then share their thoughts.  The presenting teacher shares new insights as a result of this feedback.  Then, the team brainstorms next steps or strategies for teacher(s) to try.  Lastly, we set a date to check-in to see how the interventions or new strategies are working. Our best hope in implementing interventions at this level is that the student will demonstrate improvement so that his performance will be commensurate with his classmates.  Sometimes this process may also lead to a referral for additional formal testing.  Your child’s teacher will notify you if she is considering bringing your child to the attention of the SST before we meet.   

Voting Tuesday, Nov.4!  We are expecting a record number of voters on this day.  Please keep in mind that traffic will be heavier on Tuesday due to voting in the Multipurpose room.  Please plan accordingly.  Students who normally take breakfast and/or hot lunch will have the option of cereal and sandwiches this Tuesday.  We are grateful to the Headstart program director and staff for canceling instruction on this day and rescheduling.  

Parent Conferences:  This year our first formal parent/teacher conferences are scheduled back-to-back on Wednesday and Thursday, Nov. 5 and 6.  These days will be early dismissal (1:00PM) for students.   Teachers will be prepared to demonstrate and discuss the progress your child has made to date in the classroom.  As parents, be prepared to ask specific questions as to how you can best support your child’s growth in the home.  To have long-range goals is essential, but as important is to have plans that chunk those goals into small, reasonable and attainable steps.  Remember, too, that either you or the teacher may call for a conference at any time there are questions or concerns.  For general questions about class and program, we refer you to the class newsletters and teacher web-pages.  Our goal is 100% parental attendance!

ELL Potluck:  ELL (English Language Learners) is now the official designation for students whose first language is not English and are eligible for receiving additional support services in school.  The Lebanon District presently enrolls students who represent 38 different languages!  Here at Mt. Lebanon we have 21 ELL students with as many languages.  On Monday, Oct. 27, Mt. Lebanon hosted our annual district ELL potluck dinner.  ELL teachers, children and parents enjoyed a global array of gustatory delights, and we were later treated to some student piano pieces and participated in a traditional Vietnamese bamboo stick dance.  We thank our own Mrs. Charlotte Johnson and district coordinator Mrs. Rebecca Wardok, for organizing this festive event.  

Family Literacy Night: Tuesday, Oct. 28, our reading teachers and Mrs. Judy Klunder, our district language arts curriculum coordinator hosted a Family Literacy Night program at Mt. Lebanon.  All students presently receiving additional reading support were invited with their parents to participate with pizza, a storybook reading and classroom activities. Thanks to all teachers for organizing and parents for attending.  As reading is the single most important skill students will learn in school, we ask all parents to support reading and reading activities in the home.  

  Mount Lebanon Elementary School  5 White Avenue, West Lebanon NH 03784  Phone: 603-298-8