Friday, October 20, 2017

PEACEFUL SCHOOLS
Legend High School students, members of the Parker Rotary and our first graders participated in a Peaceful Schools program that focuses on character education.  Our older students and Rotarians read students books, such as One and Hey Little Ant, and engaged students in discussions and activities.  Topics that will be addressed over the next month include caring, showing compassion and cooperation, expressing feelings, celebrating diversity and resolving conflict.  This was an experience that benefited all participants.  We look forward to continuing this program in the coming weeks!











HALLOWEEN
Halloween is right around the corner and students are already asking how we will celebrate at Gold Rush.  Halloween breakfast parties will be held on Monday, October 31, from 8:40-9:30 AM.  It is recommended that party treats be balanced with both nutritious options and sweets.  Our school parade will follow at 9:30-9:45 AM.  The parade route is included below.  Students who do not wish to participate in Halloween activities can rejoin the class at 9:45 AM.  We will resume with a normal school day schedule at that time.

We encourage students to be creative with their costumes, but safety remains our number one priority.  Please adhere to the following guidelines when selecting a costume:

* Students should come dressed in their costume and bring a change of clothing.

* Costumes can not be demeaning, offensive or promiscuous.

* Face paint, face masks and weapons are not permitted.



OUR FABULOUS FRONT OFFICE
You may see new faces in the front office.  When Ms. Panico retired prior to fall break Mrs. Schwalick joined our team as the health and office assistant.  Mrs. Dismang is now serving as the school's registrar and Mrs. Rudman is our administrative assistant.  They all look forward to continuing to serve our school community.





LOCKDOWN PRACTICE
We had the opportunity to review our lockdown procedures and practice this drill with the District security team Friday.  After completing the drill, students continued discussions in their classrooms. Students were assured that schools are safe places.  Teachers also reminded students that they should go to the closest room if they are not in their classrooms.  In addition, they discussed remaining in a locked stall with their feet up if they were in the bathroom. 

The National Association of School Psychologists provides some tips for talking with children.  They provide seven suggestions shown below.   Click here for the full article.

1. Assure Children They Are Safe
2. Make Time to Talk 
3. Make Explanations Developmentally Appropriate
4. Review Safety Procedures
5. Observe Children's Emotional State
6. Limit Television Viewing
7. Maintain a Normal Routine




2018-2019 ENROLLMENT CONFIRMATION

It's hard to believe, but we will be starting the planning process for next school year soon.  In order to assist us in this planning, complete the enrollment confirmation survey for your child(ren) by Friday, November 17th.  Please click here for the enrollment survey.  This will help ensure your child's classroom placement for the next year.

UPCOMING EVENTS
* October 31: Halloween Parade @ 9:30-9:45
* November 7: No School - Teacher Work Day
* November 15: Celebrations of Learning/Thanksgiving Feast (Grade Level Schedule to Come)
* November 20-24: Thanksgiving Break


Friday, October 6, 2017



CELEBRATING THE DIGGER DASH
We were all proud of students' efforts during the Digger Dash!  We enjoyed running for additional robots for our school's STEAM lab.  On Friday the fastest students at each grade level transformed the Principal and Assistant Principal into ice cream sundaes.  We thank the PTO and our parent volunteers for making this event possible! 





COLLABORATING ON DISMISSAL PROCEDURES
Gold Rush administration collaborated with the Parker Police Department, the Town of Parker Traffic Engineer and District Planning and Security personnel on existing dismissal procedures.  While the police were comfortable with our current arrival procedures, we brainstormed several different options for dismissal.  This team reviewed different plans for rerouting traffic during pick up only.  Proposals will be revisited with this planning team and our School Advisory Council when we return from fall break.  


FIRST GRADERS PROMOTE CITIZENSHIP
First grade students are learning about the rights and roles of responsible citizens.  They wanted to share their learning with others and remind students what responsible citizens look like throughout our school.  Students created signs that show what it looks like to Go for the G.O.L.D. in different locations in our building. Their posters include a QR code that explains their thinking.  Check out a few student samples below.




CRAZY HAIR FOR HARVEY
When fifth graders heard about the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey they were driven to act. They organized a crazy hair day to raise money for those affected.  Students and staff enjoyed showing their spirit and supporting a good cause.  Check out some of the crazy hair that shows up on Friday!





GRE ROCKS!
All students and staff decorated rocks for our school garden as a way to show our school pride.  The rocks demonstrate students' creativity and passions.  Click here to see a few samples.




NEW FROM TRANSPORTATION
Transportation is using a new Lets Talk app to respond to questions and comments from the school community.  If you have questions regarding bus routes, Z passes etc. consider reaching out using this tool.  The app can be found on the District website under the transportation page.


Click here for the Dialogue form

Transportation is also promoting the Z Pass + program that allows you to track your child's route. You will receive an immediate text message or email when your child swipes in and out once you register for Z Pass +.  There is no cost to this program.  Click here for more information.




THANK YOU!
A special thank you to our PTO and parent volunteers for our wonderful conference meals.  They were greatly appreciated!




UPCOMING EVENTS:
* October 9-13: No School - Fall Break
* October 16: School Resumes
* October 20: School Lockdown Drill Practice with the District @ 1:15
* October 19: SAC Meeting @ 4:30-5:30 in the Gold Mine Room
* November 7: No School - Teacher Work Day

Friday, September 29, 2017




DIGGER DASH 
We had a wonderful time during our annual all school fun run- the Digger Dash!  Each year students run for a great cause.  This year we are hoping to purchase additional robots for our Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math Lab, or S.T.E.A.M. lab.  Students in all grades enjoy applying their problem solving and math knowledge while they create and code robots. We appreciated students' enthusiasm and creativity throughout the Dash!  We thank our PTO and parent volunteers for making this honored tradition possible! 


DIGGER DASH MATH
Fifth graders used the Digger Dash as an opportunity to apply math to the real world.  Students were asked to determine how much each student/family would need to raise in order to meet our goal of $30,000.  Students determined the cost per student and the cost per lap.  See two examples of students' math reasoning below.



GRE SUPPORTS PARKER TASK FORCE
Gold Rush teachers and students are committed to supporting the Parker Task Force.  The Parker Task Force is a local organization that serves over 400 families in our community.  Our students have already donated over 700 unopened, prepackaged food items that would have otherwise been thrown away!  Last Friday Gold Rush teachers contributed to this cause.  They packed over 60 lunches for the organization that routinely sends backpacks of food home with students.



PRINCIPAL HELPER
Brynn Poli served as the principal's helper.  Her family bid on this opportunity at Western Night. Brynn interviewed Ms. Panico, our Administrative Assistant, who retired today.  See her blog post below.


Brynn interviewed, Administrative Assistant, Ms. Panico who retired this Friday.

How many years have you worked in schools? 
19 years!

What will you miss most about Gold Rush?
The kids!

What do you want to do in retirement?
Drink coffee and exercise!


We thank Ms. Panico for her many years of service! 
We wish her the best in retirement!

STUDENTS CREATE CHANGE
Several students were driven to act after hearing about Hurricane Harvey.  Student are organizing a crazy hair day on Friday, October 6, to support those affected.  Students can bring in any donation to wear any hairdo.  We are proud of these students' desire to help others!





FALL CONFERENCES
We enjoyed our first night of parent teacher conferences.  We appreciate the opportunity to meet with families.  Our second conference night is scheduled for Thursday, October 5th. We thank the PTO and parents for donating teacher meals for both evenings!  They were greatly appreciated!


UPCOMING EVENTS:
* October 5:  Parent Teacher Conferences
* October 6:  Crazy Hair Day
* October 9-13: No School - Fall Break
* October 16: School Resumes


Thursday, September 21, 2017

GOLD RUSH OUTPERFORMS THE DISTRICT & STATE
We are excited to share our state assessment results!  Each spring, third, fourth and fifth graders take the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers test, or the P.A.R.C.C. assessment.  In 2017 Gold Rush performed better than 78% of the schools in the state that took this assessment.  We outperformed the District in English Language Arts and Math at each grade level (see charts below).  Our data also shows that classes of students are growing in both content areas as they move from fourth to fifth grade.  Our numbers of students meeting and exceeding state standards are also increasing each year.





We are proud of our students' achievement and growth.  While we are celebrating our many accomplishments, we are always striving to improve.  Our school goals for this year are the following:

Math
* Create a stronger understanding of content across grade levels.
* Differentiate instruction by creating parallel and open ended math tasks.

Reading
* Implement a common word study program K-5.
* Provide instructional strategies to support students' individual needs during workshop.
* Building our understanding of thinking strategies and how to apply them in multiple content areas.


KIDS' BLOG
Fifth graders started a student blog to share the wonderful things that students are doing at Gold Rush.  We look forward to sharing school highlights from students' point of view each week.


Click here for GRE's kids' blog.


THANK YOU PTO
We thank the PTO for a wonderful Western Night last Friday.  We all enjoyed the music, games, food and raffle.  We thank the PTO and our parent volunteers for making the night possible.






PRINCIPAL HELPER
Brayden Poli served as my principal helper on Thursday.  His family bid on this opportunity at Western Night.  See Brayden's blog post below.


Car loop Duty

Welcoming Board Member David Ray


This has been a great day!
I liked saying the Words of Wisdom on the morning announcements
I also liked talking about a school purchase and visiting classrooms.  
I liked meeting new teachers and seeing kids do their work.  The fifth graders created and programmed Lego robots to move in certain ways (see picture below).  I learned the school had a social media committee.  I liked experiencing what it is like to be a principal.
By Brayden Poli





DIGGER DASH SCHEDULE & SHOUT OUTS
We are looking forward to our all school fun run on September 29.  We hope that you will come and cheer us on.  Please see our running schedule below.  You will also see the form for shout outs, or personal messages you want announced to your child during his/her race.  The form is also included in this week's Thursday folder.

8:45 – 9:00            Stretching (Preschool and Kindergarten)
9:00 – 9:15            Race  (Preschool and Kindergarten)
9:10 – 9:25            Stretching (1st and 2nd grades)
9:25 – 9:55            Race  (1st and 2nd grades)
9:50 – 10:00         Stretching (3rd and 4th grades)
10:00 – 10:45       Race  (3rd and 4th grades)
10:40 – 10:50       Stretching (5th grade)
10:50 – 11:35       Race  (5th grade)



FALL CONFERENCES:
Fall conferences will be held on Wednesday, September 27th, and Thursday, October 5th, 2017Click here to schedule your conference using the online scheduler
.  The password is digger.  Click here for information on how to use the conference scheduler.


UPCOMING EVENTS:
* September 27: Parent Teacher Conferences
* September 29:  Digger Dash
* October 5:  Parent Teacher Conferences
* October 6:  Rain Date for Digger Dash - Crazy Hair Day (more information to come)
* October 9-13: No School - Fall Break

Friday, September 15, 2017

COMMITTED TO CRITICAL THINKING
As a school we are committed to promoting critical thinking.  We strive to create reflective classrooms that foster a culture of thinking.  We explicitly instruct the following seven thinking strategies in grades K-5 in order to develop critical thinking:


Monitoring for Meaning
Utilizing Background Knowledge
Asking Questions
Drawing Instruction 
Determining Importance
Creating Sensory Images 
Synthesizing Information


We believe strongly in teaching these thinking strategies that are widely supported by research.  We know that we routinely use these strategies as adult readers to create meaning as we read, write and do math.  We believe that by modeling these strategies for students in the content areas we will develop their ability to think at a deeper level.

PARENTS BELIEFS ABOUT MATH CHANGE ACHIEVEMENT:
Research shows that the messages parents send about math directly impacts students' achievement.
One study showed that parents' math anxiety communicated while helping with homework reduced students' performance (Maloney, Ramirez, Gunderson, Levine, & Beilock, 2015).  Another showed that mothers' negative statements resulted in decreases in their daughters' achievement (Eccles & Jacobs, 1986). These studies affirm that sending positive messages about math is more important than knowledge of math content.  Click here for the full article.


DIGGER DASH SCHEDULE:
We are looking forward to our all school fun run on September 29.  We hope that you will come and cheer us on.  Please see our running schedule below.

8:45 – 9:00            Stretching (Preschool and Kindergarten)
9:00 – 9:15            Race  (Preschool and Kindergarten)
9:10 – 9:25            Stretching (1st and 2nd grades)
9:25 – 9:55            Race  (1st and 2nd grades)
9:50 – 10:00         Stretching (3rd and 4th grades)
10:00 – 10:45       Race  (3rd and 4th grades)
10:40 – 10:50       Stretching (5th grade)
10:50 – 11:35       Race  (5th grade)

USING ART TO SPEAD GOODWILL
Students are using their artwork to promote kindness and school spirit.  These are two examples of signs displayed throughout the building.  We appreciate students' messages and creativity!




FALL CONFERENCES:
Fall conferences will be held on Wednesday, September 27th, and Thursday, October 5th , 2017. Click here to schedule your conference using the online scheduler
.  The password is digger.  Click here for information on how to use the conference scheduler.


UPCOMING EVENTS:
* September 15: Western Night @ 5:00-7:00
* September 21: SAC Mtg @ 4:30-5:30
* September 22: No School - Teacher Training
* September 27: Parent Teacher Conferences
* September 29:  Digger Dash
* October 5:  Parent Teacher Conferences

Friday, September 8, 2017


THE POWER OF A GROWTH MINDSET: 
Gold Rush teachers are committed to creating critical thinkers who take risks.  Research affirms that making mistakes furthers students' cognitive development.  Jo Boaler, professor at Stanford, defines a mathematical mindset as a belief that anyone can learn math and be a strong mathematician. She contrasts a mathematical mindset with a fixed mindset that suggests only some people are born with the ability to do math well.

Boaler argues that all children are capable.  She cites brain research that shows brains are constantly evolving.  She refers to research that notes that individuals develop synapses by making mistakes and those that have a mathematical mindset learn more from mistakes than those with a fixed mindset.  Boaler encourages teachers and parents to explicitly promote a growth mindset.  She states, "if we believe that we can learn, and that mistakes are valuable, our brains grow to a greater extent when we make a mistake."

GRE teachers believe all students need rigorous tasks that provide them the opportunity to learn from their mistakes.  We also talked about the importance of valuing mistakes in the classroom.  In addition, teachers reflected on their ability to communicate and celebrate their own mistakes.




Listen to fifth grade students talk about the importance of a Growth Mindset.

video

First graders reflect on when they grew from a mistake.



Stanford professor, Jo Boaler, talks about the impact of having a growth mindset in math.

  



STUDENT LEADERS SHINE:
Fourth and fifth graders interested in serving as Student Council officers participated in grade level elections this week.  Students shared reasons why they would best represent their classmates and their ideas for improving our school.  We are proud of all of the students that expressed an interested in serving others.  We thank Ms. Holtzer and Ms. Lautenbach for facilitating Student Council this year.



GOLD RUSH ROCKS!
Gold Rush students and teachers rock!  To show our school pride students and staff are coloring rocks for our school garden.  We are excited to beautify our grounds and show our spirit.





GRE PRIDE
Fourth and fifth grade students who participate in running club marched in Legend High School's homecoming parade Wednesday.  We thank them for their enthusiasm and spirit!  We also thank Mrs. Warner, Ms. Lautenbach and Mrs. Holtzer for participating!





UPCOMING EVENTS:
* September 8: Legend High School Homecoming Game (See Electronic Thursday Folder)
* September 12:  PTO Mtg @ 8:45-10:00
* September 15: Western Night
* September 21: SAC Mtg @ 4:30-5:30
* September 22: No School - Teacher Training
* September 27: Parent Teacher Conferences
* September 29:  Digger Dash
* October 5:  Parent Teacher Conferences

Friday, September 1, 2017

COUNT DOWN TO DIGGER DASH
We kicked off one of our favorite school traditions today - the Digger Dash!  GRE's annual fun run is enjoyed by students and staff alike because it is fun and it supports our school.  This year we are continuing to raise money for our S.T.E.A.M. lab.  Students began working collaboratively on integrated science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics projects in this lab when it opened last year. Some of the students' favorite projects included creating and coding robots and exploring science concepts, such as force and motion, using Legos.    

This year we are looking forward to expanding the resources we use in the lab and supporting our commitment to providing each student with his/her own device.  This year we will be purchasing more kits that so that students can build and create in even smaller groups.  We are also looking forward to adding a new robot to our collection - the EV3.  Click here for a video demonstration of one of the many things he can do.




NO WASTE
This week students began collecting unopened, prepackaged food from their lunch that they would have otherwise thrown in the trash.  Gold Rush is partnering with the Parker Task Force to reuse what would have otherwise been waste.  We assured students that their first priority is to take care of themselves by eating their lunch and saving their uneaten food.  We know that the simple acts of reflecting and repurposing unwanted food will make a big difference in our community.




SWIFT FOX LANE DURING ARRIVAL
District Security and our Parker Police Liaison Officer have observed unsafe traffic behavior on Swift Fox Way during arrival and provided recommendations.  We were advised that all cars must wait to turn into the parking lot, including those only wanting to park in the parking lot.  District Security and our Parker Police Liaison Officer stated that cars should not move into oncoming traffic at any time.  We were advised to place cones at the entrance of the parking lot to ensure compliance.  We also ask that cars pull all the way around the loop to accommodate more vehicles.  We will move supervision further down to ensure the safety of all students.  We ask for your patience and compliance.


STUDENTS USE ART TO TELL ABOUT THEMSELVES
In art students expressed their personality and interests in their drawings.  Students communicates their hobbies and style to their classmates and teacher through their self portraits.  We are proud of their creativity and willingness to share.





STUDENT DIRECTORY
The 2017-2018 Student Directory is now available.  The directory can be found on the Gold Rush website under Parent Resources.  Contact the office if you need the password.

UPCOMING EVENTS:
* September 4: No School - Labor Day
* September 6: Legend High School Homecoming Parade @ 4:45 (See Electronic Thursday Folder)
* September 12:  PTO Mtg @ 8:45-10:00
* September 15: Western Night
* September 21: SAC Mtg @ 4:30-5:30
* September 22: No School - Teacher Training
* September 28: Parent Teacher Conferences
* September 29:  Digger Dash