2009 01 January

January Newsletter: 2009

Dear Parents,

Welcome back!  We hope that yours was a holiday break that will be remembered with smiles.  It is a true pleasure to see the children back and happy to be so.   The weeks and months to come promise to be busy and productive.  

Less is More:  My family decided a few years ago to have a blind draw system for identifying gift recipients.  Initially I did not support this proposal thinking it is my right to give whatever I fancy to whomever I choose.  However, I went along and bought the stocking stuffers for my two special recipients for the allotted upper limit of $25.00.  We also decided to select a charity to donate to in lieu of spending more on ourselves.  As a result of our shift, I find that we’re all more appreciative of each other qualities and virtues, and happier in giving to others less fortunate than ourselves.  
Likewise, we are finding ourselves entering a uniquely challenging economic period, one that is forcing us to examine the current district school and fiscal structures.  In all likelihood, the Mt. Lebanon School to is going to change.  Depending on the decisions made by our school board and the wishes expressed by the majority of voting taxpayers, we could very well have a grade level configuration different than at present at Mt. Lebanon.  Regardless, we will equip and make ready for such an outcome.  If needs be, we will make do with a little less, and be more creative in our thinking and application of resources human and material.   I encourage you to be an active partner with us in vouchsafing the quality of your child’s education in this district.  Begin by attending the Board meeting on Wednesday, Jan, 15, contributing your ideas and perspectives and exercising your rights to vote in our local elections.  As the year progresses and we have a firmer idea as to the profile of our district and school, I will keep you informed of our plans for transition.

Parental Input/ Principal Feedback to you:  
On vocabulary: A key to helping children become intelligent readers and thinkers is a robust vocabulary.  I am pleased to pass on a recommendation for a website designed to that end, which not only will increase your child’s word-power, but help feed the economically disadvantaged as well.  Her daughter is in the third grade in our school, and reads very well indeed.  Please check out:  www.freerice.com  You will enjoy it as much as your child.  
Another great vocabulary builder in the form of a table-top game is “Banana Grams”.  This is a lively word game played with lettered tiles, similar to Scrabble but livelier.  It was a hit with our family.  
On screen time:
On the Principal’s Challenge I am pleased to share that some of you have admitted to accepting the challenge (matching reading time to screen time) with positive results.  Thank you for both trying and sharing your feedback.
There is also a Mt. Lebanon family who turned off the TV last April during “No TV” week and has never turned it back on.  They have shared with me the interesting and positive results.  Also, to that end, I am putting some information links to parents at the top of my web page on our website under administration.  

Delayed Openings:  Last year our district used the two hour delay system when we felt that roads were not ready for bus and student transportation due to icy or snowy conditions.  If we have delayed openings, remember that we cannot gurantee supervision for any students prior to 9:15 AM.  The buses will run two hours later than usual.  If you drive your child, have them to school by 10:00.  The class day starts at 10:07.  

Coming Up: Mt. Lebanon Family Math Night.  Because last year’s evening family math night program was such a success, we will be holding our second such program on the evening of ….you are really stuck, just send them outdoors to play.  If yours is a typical American household it means that your child of six or under will go from 120 minutes of screen time and 39 minutes of reading or being read to, to two hours of reading or being read to!  (For second and third graders the national average is around three hours a day.) If you adhere to this ratio of equal read and math practice time to screen time, I am quite convinced that your child will experience 12 months of academic progress between now and the end of June.  Any takers?

Reminders on Report Cards:  This quarter we send home report cards but do not formally schedule conferences.  However, nothing precludes your asking for a meeting with your child’s teacher at any time if you have questions or concerns.  We ask that you seek a time that is mutually agreed upon.  It helps greatly to give your child’s teacher a head’s up about the nature of questions, concerns or suggestions you’d like to share at the meeting in a note prior to getting together.  In this way your time will be well spent.  Our first semester officially ends next Friday, January 16.  Report cards will be sent home on Monday, January 26.  

MLS Book Club:  The MLS book club selection for the month of January is Fred Stays with Me  by Nancy Coffelt.  This short picture book is rife with opportunities for discussion around the subject of children who spend time with parents in different households.   Each class will receive a copy for the class library.

Math Night:  The MLS Math Leadership Team is in the process of planning a family math program to be held in the evening.  This event is scheduled for Thursday, March 5, 5:45 – 7:00PM.  We will all congregate in the multi-purpose room at 5:45 for a welcome and overview of the evening’s activities.  The program will focus on various problems, tasks and activities that our students engage in on a daily basis in their math program.  More details to follow.  

Important Dates:
Wednesday, January 14:  School Board Meeting at Mt. Lebanon School 7:00PM
Friday, January 16: Early Dismissal for Students, 1:00 PM

  Mount Lebanon Elementary School  5 White Avenue, West Lebanon NH 03784  Phone: 603-298-8202  Fa