The Home of the Sharks
A message from our Principal:
April 8, 2016
What a wonderful time of year this is! Bulbs are in bloom, our students are making plans to get out into our school garden, and daffodils are waving in the breeze to greet children as they arrive at school. Preparation is underway for our Spring Concert, annual field trips are in the works, and SBAC tests are focusing our students’ attention. Just as the bulbs that were planted many months ago are now showing their vivid colors, so our students are blossoming right before our eyes! It is so exciting to see our children’s achievements. Boys and girls who could read only a few words in the dark of winter, are now devouring books as they walk down the hallways. Students are writing letters to their favorite authors; and learning to multiply, divide, and manipulate fractions. They are creating PowerPoints in the computer lab, and writing biographies and persuasive essays in their classrooms.
While standardized testing can be anxiety producing, there are things we can do to make it as stress-free an experience as possible.
- Maintain “business as usual” at home and in school. Try not to deviate from regular routines and see that bedtimes are adhered to. Getting adequate sleep is especially important during testing weeks.
- Send students to school with a healthy snack, and water bottle.
- Teachers will be sure to keep homework assignments to a minimum.
- Provide many opportunities for exercise. Now that the days are getting longer and the weather is warming up, it’s easier for children to get outside and enjoy the fresh air.
In spite of the fact that standardized testing has of late become a highly politicized topic, there are several ways in which students, schools, and districts do benefit from them:
Knowing how you measure up to the rest of the country can be a helpful thing. Test data tells us where students are strong and where more focus should be placed in the classroom. It also allows for a national and even global comparison. Typically, routine tests and quizzes that are given in the classroom are created by the teachers, as well as graded by them. This makes them highly subjective, whereas standardized tests are a true objective measure.
March 7, 2016
There are countless studies and reports suggesting that parent involvement is the greatest predictor of student success. “Parental effort is consistently associated with higher levels of achievement, and the magnitude of the effect of parental effort is substantial,” according to researchers at the University of New Hampshire. The research shows that parent involvement both enhances students’ academic success and leads to improved classroom behavior.
Parent involvement can mean very different things to different people. To some, parent involvement means taking an active role in their child’s education: helping with homework, chaperoning field trips, and attending parent-teacher conferences. To others, parent involvement means attending school board meetings, lobbying legislators, and taking on leadership roles in parent organizations. For some, volunteering in the classrooms and spearheading fundraising efforts defines their view of parent involvement. There is definitely not a “one size fits all” model, especially in the East School community. We are very lucky to have parents who do all of this and more, and our school benefits from the many forms of participation.
As the end of this school year is on the horizon, I hope everyone will realize how much their participation has enriched our school community. At the same time, I hope you will consider how you might want to be involved in the coming year. Our PTO is always looking for family members who want to get involved. I hope you will attend one of the upcoming meetings and consider becoming actively involved. If you’re not sure where you fit in, don’t hesitate to talk with me or other parents. Your child, and our entire school community, will benefit.
Thanks so much for all you do!
February 16, 2016
Educators everywhere recognize the essential contributions parents make toward a child’s success in school. There is no question about it - success at school begins at home. Parents are the single most important variable in a child’s schooling. Parents model both a silent and spoken language in front of their children every day.
One of the most important hallmarks of a great school is the partnership between the school and parents who work together for the best interest of children. The close partnership between home and school is one of the exceptional strengths at East School. It is in fact one of the things that allows our school to be so successful. On any given day, we may have parents helping with a PTO event, chaperoning on field trips, working in the library, assisting in the computer lab, helping with projects, and being that “extra pair of hands” in many classrooms. We are truly grateful for your help, and want you to know what a valuable contribution you are making! If you are new to East School and would like to volunteer, please contact your child’s teacher or call the main office and we will assist you. We ask that you sign in at the office whenever you are at school to volunteer. This allows us to keep track of who is on the campus and for what purpose. Thanks for your cooperation!
Routines are important. In the most successful classrooms, teachers have established specific routines for the children to follow. This means giving the children a specific place to find and keep materials, a set schedule for classroom instruction, etc. These routines, blended with the teacher’s consistent standards, form a smooth running classroom where the children have the security of understanding their environment and are reinforced positively for their contributions.
At home, it is also important to provide routines. Many families build a daily “quiet time” when the television is turned off. This quiet time provides students the opportunity for completing schoolwork or for recreational reading if there is no homework. During this quiet time a suitable place, somewhat free of other distractions, should be available. The routine of a daily quiet time provides an opportunity to develop self-discipline, stimulate imagination, and enhance reading skills.
Regular attendance is critical to your child’s success in school, and in addition it sets up a good pattern for your child’s continued success. Show your child that school comes first by scheduling routine appointments for after school or during school breaks. In addition, make being on time a goal for your family; instill a sense of urgency around the morning routine, so that your children know that getting to school on time is important.
Thanks so much for all you do to help make East School a wonderful place!
January 13, 2016
Happy New Year to everyone in our East School community! I hope you all had a restful break and have returned to school ready to participate with renewed energy. I want to thank everyone for the many thoughtful gifts, cards, and expressions of appreciation that the office staff and I received during the weeks preceding the holiday break. What a very caring and appreciative community we have – thank you all so very much!
During the recent winter break, I found myself writing our family’s traditional holiday letter. In the course of filing it away, I discovered the letters I had written for the past many years. It was wonderful to sit down and enjoy reading a virtual history of our family. I was reminded that the act of writing things down not only memorializes them, but also allows our children to see the value of the written word. A child
who grows up in a family where writing is valued is more likely to come to appreciate it. Whether it is through keeping a journal, writing letters to family members, jotting down memories to give to your childre
n, or making lists of important things you and your children want to learn how to do, you will be doing yourself and your family a favor by insuring that this time in your life will not be forgotten. May the new year bring you many opportunities to make, and record, lasting memories with your children.
During the weeks leading up to the break, the 5th Grade Student Leadership Council sponsored a Food/Toy Drive to benefit the families of Torrington. Collected were 687 food items and 364 toys! Thank You, East School Families!
Additionally, the students in Grade One teamed up with 4th graders to host a clothing drive. Among the items collected were: 63 winter coats, 55 pairs of mittens, 60 sweatshirts, 82 hats, 26 scarves, 7 pairs of boots, 7 pairs of snowpants, 30 pairs of socks, and 5 pairs of shoes! Way to go, East School!