Save the Dates
Nov. 5: Teacher Workday/Parent Conferences. No school for students.
Nov. 6: Professional Development Day. No school for students.
Nov. 8: Report Cards go home in Thursday folders for those students whose parents have already had a Parent-Teacher conference. If you have not yet had your conference, you will receive your child's report card at the conference.
Nov. 9: Picture retakes
Nov. 12-16: International Education Week Celebration(s) at Venable
Nov. 13: PTO Meeting, 5:30pm - 6:30pm
Nov. 14: 3rd Grade field trip to Monticello, 8:35am - 2:00 pm.;
Nov. 15: Thanksgiving Dinner during lunch time at school.
Nov. 16: Grades K-2 Student of the Week assembly, 8:35 - 9:00am; International Pot-Luck, 5:50pm - 7:00pm
Nov. 19-20: No Clubs due to short week.
Nov. 21-23: Thanksgiving Vacation. No school for students or staff.
Nov. 30: College Spirit Day. Wear college gear to school. 3-4 Student of the Week assembly, 8:35-9:00am.
Picture Make-Up day is next Friday, November 9. If you would like to have your child's picture retaken, please let your teacher know. We will send home a new order form, which you will need to return along with the complete package of pictures you are returning. If your child was absent on picture day, we are sending home an order form for you. Please return the form, should you choose to purchase pictures, along with your check or cash.
The CSS calendar indicates that the first two make-up days for school closings are Feb. 19 and March 29. Please plan on sending your child to school those days.
Changes Coming to CCS Email
Next week, school emails will migrate to a new server. You will notice that email addresses from CCS employees will now end in @charlottesvilleschools.org. Both old and new email addresses will work through the remainder of this school year, but there may be a few bumps in the transition. If you send an email and do not receive a response within 48 hours, please call the school or try the alternate email address, just in case your email got delayed. Once the migration has taken place, we will be able to make better use of mail groups and listservs, more easily getting information to parents electronically.
Looking for something to do with that leftover Halloween candy?
We'll take it off your hands! We always have a stash for teachers in the office and at faculty meetings. Candy fairies can bring donations to the office. :)
Book Buddies Volunteers Needed
Do you know someone who would be interested in helping a young student with reading skills? Our Book Buddies program is looking for a few more people who could spend 2 hours a week (2 different mornings) working 1:1 with a first grader on reading, word games, and writing skills. The person does not have to be a Venable parent, so if you know someone, please have them contact Lauren Penniman, our Book Buddies coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Talent Development Teacher
Welcome to Kathleen Woodard, our new Talent Development teacher (replacing Karen Minor, who took our new Kindergarten class). Kathy started last week. Soon she will be doing whole-class Talent Development lessons and working with small groups of students in K-1 to help cultivate higher order and creative thinking skills. Ms. Woodard has been the gifted education specialist at Hampton Cove Elementary in Hampton Cove, Alabama for the past 11 years and is excited to be joining family in Charlottesville. We will share Ms. Woodard with Jackson-Via Elementary.
Report Card Updates
In the October newsletter, I highlighted anticipated changes to the 2012-2013 CCS report card. Since that newsletter, the decision was made division-wide not to change the wording of the standards grades on the report card. However, the report cards you receive next week will reflect how your child is performing at this time. Each quarter, student progress will be reported based on the quarterly expectations, as opposed to end of year expectations.
The front page of the report card is meant to give you a general overview of how your child is doing. The boxes at the top will have a number signaling how your child is performing overall in each subject area. A "3" means that your child is meeting expectations for this point in the year. A "2" means your child is making progress, and/or may need some support to show mastery of this quarter's concepts. A "1" means your child needs significant support with the concepts.
The remaining pages of the report card break down the standards that students need to master by the end of the year. Some of those standards are written too broadly to parse them into neat quarterly benchmarks (particularly in K-1). It is likely that your child will receive a 2 for those standards, but may have a 3 for the overall grade (on the front page). This signals to you that your child is making progress toward that end of year goal and is meeting expectations overall at this time.
One implication of this change in the way we're reporting student progress is that a student's scores may change each quarter (up or down), as expectations rise or change. Please see October's newsletter for more detail.
MAP Scores Coming Home in Report Cards
If you have not yet received your child's MAP test results at a parent-teacher conference, those reports will be coming home in report card envelopes. Look for the cover letter from Mrs. Kershner and some explanatory reports along with your child's individual scores. Please keep in mind that MAP results are just one piece of the assessment picture for your child. At Venable, we use a variety of assessments to make instructional decisions for students. We look for trends and correlations among assessments in order to have confidence in our reporting. Where there are not correlations, we look more closely to figure out why there are variations in the data and how we can alter our instruction to meet students' needs.
The next Parent Coffee Chat on December 14 will be focused on assessments.
Responsive Classroom: What Is "Take A Break"?
Has your child come home and reported that he or she went to "Take a Break?" Take a Break is the school-wide signal for Positive Time Out. Teachers use it to help students get back on track before behaviors become significantly disruptive. It is different from other forms of time out that have traditionally been more negative or punitive in nature. Take A Break is an opportunity for a student to remove him- or herself from the larger group in order to regain self-control or return to expected behaviors. The Take A Break spot is a designated location in the classroom that allows the student to be physically away from the group, but still have access to the instruction. The student typically remains in the Take A Break spot as long as he or she feels is necessary to return to the group and follow expectations. Some students, particularly younger ones, may need prompts to recognize that it's time to return to the group, but many students do this on their own. How can parents help reinforce the positive nature of Take A Break?