November Newsletter 2012
From the Health Office: Wednesday, November 7th is the date for the Influenza clinic. Please turn in your permission slip making sure you check your preference for administration. Injection or nasal route must be checked and this location is below your signature.The health office willingly accepts hand me down pants size 6-10 to keep in the office for those who need them .
Parent Conferences: Our first quarter of the year is already behind us! Our School Board wisely provides time for parents and teachers to get together to talk about individual student progress, your student. While teachers may vary conference styles and presentation, and some include students, what is constant is the focus on learning and growth. Please plan to attend this important meeting, and have with you specific questions about your child’s learning. Hard and fast grades really do not exist in the primary school as all students are learning skills and content on a continuum, and that “grades” or numbers, merely indicate relative position against a range of indicators and proficiency levels. This year’s dates are Monday and Tuesday, Nov. 5 and 6. School will dismiss at 1:00 PM on those days.
October Open House: Thank you all for making our Open House a huge success. A special note of appreciation to our PTO for organizing a successful “Book Swap”. This was a real hit. To our HEAL, and representatives we are grateful for their support. I believe it is important to keep the spirit of Open House alive every school day, and so should you think of Mt. Lebanon School as an open house of learning. There are many ways to support your child’s education from attendance at a Morning Sing, to reading a book in class, to teaching in Four Winds, weeding a garden. Please see Mrs. Vicky Moran in the office and fill out a volunteer application form today if you haven’t already done so and come on in.
Behavior Support: With many new students in school all day for the first time, teaching social skills is taking the lead in the kindergarten and first grade classrsooms. I encourage you all to visit the Responsive Classroom website www.responsiveclassroom.org to learn more about our emphasis on the social / emotional aspects of learning. Our rules for young students are consistent and easy to remember, but as simple as they are, we must be diligent in translating words into behaviors that students can see, remember and internalize: Be Safe, Be Cooperative, Be Kind and Courteous and be Respectful of People and Materials. We all continue to work hard to inculcate these values in our students, providing effective problem solving skills when dealing with others. Our success in this venture will certainly head off more serious problems in the future. Disrespect, aggression, harassment, or violence of any type, is not an option in our interpersonal relationships in the Mt. Lebanon School.
Responsive Classroom (cont): 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 “take-a-break time”. Take-a-break time allows a child time to observe others and reflect. Often, this break is sufficient to remind the child of behavioral expectations. Should that not be enough our next step, is 3) to ask the child to sit in a buddy teacher’s room take-a-break chair. Our final steps may include 4) a walk to the front room, or a walk to the planning room, where an adult will help a child process his or her inappropriate behavior, discuss how the behavior is counterproductive, seek positive ways to redress the situation, and return to class. We believe lasting positive behavioral changes come about most effectively through learning.
EST: The EST refers to Elementary Support Team. Once a week the guidance counselor solicits or collects feedback from teachers 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 lagging skills 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 reflections and suggestions. 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/her performance will be commensurate with his/her classmates. Sometimes this process may also lead to a referral for additional formal testing.
Reminder: Please call Vicky Moran in the office if your child will be absent from school.
From the Hood Museum Family Day at the Hood: Land and Stories in Aboriginal Art, Sunday, November 4, 2012 from noon-5:00p.m. Travel across the Australian continent to explore contemporary Indigenous art and the fascinating stories these works of art tell. Art-making projects include paste paper painting, collage, and soft clay sculpture. 2:00 p.m. Special performance by renowned storyteller Odds Bodkin who will be performing stories related to Aboriginal culture.
Free and open to everyone. Designed for ages 6-12 with adult companions.
Neely McNulty, Images and ArtStart Instructor
Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH 03755, Neely.H.McNulty@dartmouth.edu
Monday, November 12 Veteran’s Day
Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Nov 21, 22, 23 Thanksgiving
Michael Foxall, Principal
“It’s what you learn after you know it all that really counts.” Words to Live by, Alfred E. Newman