Friday, January 25, 2013

Reasons to Celebrate:
At our parent coffee this week I shared several reasons Gold Rush is celebrating. Below are few of the many reasons we believe our school is a great one!

Our Students Achieve!
I was pleased to share a lot of achievement data that confirms our students are achieving at high levels.  Look at just a few of our highlights from the state assessment (TCAP):
·      Gold Rush exceeded in reading and math growth!
·      89% of third graders and 90% of fifth graders were proficient or advanced in reading!
·      Students who scored advanced also grew at high levels!
·      Students in fifth grade made gains of 21% in reading proficiency from when they were in fourth grade.

In addition to TCAP data, I shared that former Gold Rush students scored above the feeder average on a 6th grade MAP math assessment, or the Measures of Academic Achievement, this fall.  Middle school teachers also complimented our students’ ability to question and think critically.

We Work Collaboratively to Support All Students!
As a school we believe that working together allows us to meet all students’ needs. It has been wonderful to watch classroom teachers’ work across their grade levels and with the special education team to create common reading outcomes.  We are looking forward to expanding our conversations with sixth grade teachers so that we can ensure that students make the transition to middle school with ease.  In February, for example, we will be hosting a fifth/sixth grade math articulation!

It has also been wonderful to have parents serve as active members of our collaborative team and we thank you for the support you provide your children.  We are looking forward to providing you with additional ideas on how to support your child in math in February when we host a K-5 parent math night. Please remember if you ever have questions on how to support your child or your child’s progress do not hesitate to contact your child’s teacher.  We value your questions and insight!

We Learn Together!
Teachers enthusiastically embrace the opportunity to learn from one another and from one of the most renown reading experts in education– Stephanie Harvey!  These learning opportunities have expanded how we teach key reading strategies and promote critical thinking in all content areas.  We look forward to welcoming Stephanie back during our next professional development day in February.

Mark Your Calendar:
State of Gold Rush Parent Information Meeting – Thursday, February 7 @ 7PM
Please join me in additional conversations about our accomplishments, our goals and our vision for the future.

Creating Innovators:
While the children were off of school last Friday the teachers were busy learning how to best prepare students for the future.  We dug into Harvard Professor Tony Wagner’s work.  Wagner researched innovators in science, technology, the humanities and the arts and examined what contributed to their success.  Wagner identified critical thinking, collaboration, adaptability, initiative, information analysis, effective communication and curiosity as essential skills.  His book, Creating Innovators, also provides examples of how innovators’ parents provided them opportunities to play and develop their passions and a sense of purpose. Click here to hear Tony Wagner speak about his work.

Well Wishes:
* We wish Penny Jackman, office registra, the best of luck in her new position as nurse at Shy Ridge Hospital.

Volunteers Needed:
* Volunteers are needed for vision and hearing screening on Monday (1/28) and Tuesday (1/29). Click here to help.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Highlight of the Week
While your children are preparing for a long weekend, Gold Rush staff members are excited to continue their work in the area of reading on Friday.  This year teachers have been working on creating common grade level outcomes in the area of reading that incorporate best reading practices and state and district standards.  On Friday we will consider how our current outcomes prepare students for the 21st century.  The National Educational Association and Douglas County School District have identified the following criteria as essential for our children’s future: critical thinking, collaboration, creativity and communication.  We will reflect on our work to date and identify ways that we incorporate the 4 Cs into our classrooms.  I look forward to sharing our progress with you in future newsletters!

Parent Coffee: School Goals & the Future of Gold Rush
* Tuesday, January 22nd, @ 9:15 AM in the Gold Mine Room
Please join me for our parent coffee next Tuesday morning. The focus of the meeting will be on our accomplishments for this school year, our goals for the remainder of the year and our vision for the future.  I look forward to sharing with you many celebrations and outlining several future initiatives.

School Security
We have had to alter several school practices to accommodate our now locked front entry to the school. Please help us keep our school safe by following the practices outlined below:
* Arrival
Students should arrive at 8:55 AM when supervision begins. Be mindful of the weather and dress your child appropriately.
* Deliveries
Students should be prepared each day with backpacks, library books, water bottles, lunches, etc.  Delivery  of these items to classrooms will be at 10:00AM and 2:00PM only. Please use Thursday folders to deliver BASE calendars, lunch account money, payment for clubs, tuition, etc.
* Communication
The office will check phone messages at 10:00AM and 3:30PM. All messages for students must be received by 3:30PM.
* Before school clubs and groups
If your child participates in a before school club/group, please arrive on time and line up outside the main door. The adult in charge of the group will meet the group at the door and let them in to the building.
* After school clubs and groups
If your child participates in an after school club /group, the adult in charge of the group will bring your students out through the main doors as a group and hand them off to you. Please be on time for pick up.

* No School  - Monday, January 21st – MLK Jr. Day

Friday, January 11, 2013

Highlights of the Week
Happy New Year!
It was wonderful to welcome the students back from winter break!  They were excited to reconnect with their classmates and they transitioned back into classroom and school routines easily.  It was great to hear from the children how you spent your vacation.  Like many of you I too spent time with loved ones.  When I reunited with friends and family the question that I was routinely asked was how do you like Gold Rush and our school District? I found myself immediately smiling and sharing how much I love it!  I shared that while I have had the privilege of working in several great schools, Gold Rush was certainly my favorite.  I pin pointed our positive school culture, dedicated and caring faculty and supportive community as some of the things that make Gold Rush a wonderful place.  I feel fortunate to be a part of our school community and I look forward to many more wonderful years at Gold Rush!

Team Spirit!
Students and staff showed their spirit for the Broncos on Friday by wearing their team gear.  Go Broncos!

Teachers Talk Bullying
Gold Rush staff continued discussions around how to prevent bullying prior to winter break.  School staff reflected on current practices as they discussed several articles on the subject.  Staff identified that bullying differs from conflict in that bullying puts one person to be in a position of power over another.  They discussed how bullying is harmful to not only the victim, but also to the bully and witnesses.  Staff shared a collective belief that bullying is not a normal part of childhood and that it cannot be tolerated.  They were optimistic in their ability to prevent and bullying and they felt they could do so by paying close attention to student dynamics and by being visible. Read on for additional parent resources:
* Click here for information on bullying.
We look forward to continuing discussions on how we can prevent bullying from occurring.

Police Review Arrival and Dismissal
You may have noticed the Parker Police Department during arrival and dismissal.  We are pleased to be working with the police who are currently helping us review our drop off and pick up procedures.  We will continue to observe these practices in the coming weeks to determine if there are ways that we can increase students’ safety.  I look forward to sharing with you our findings in the future.

New Phone Tree
You may have noticed that Gold Rush’s answering system was revised over break.  You are now able to immediately select the direct extension you are seeking. If you want to leave a message for your student regarding dismissal instructions, please press 0 or wait until the main line picks up by 3:30PM. We will check messages left on the main line at 10:00AM and 3:30PM. Please be sure to select #1 for the attendance line. Do not leave attendance information on the main line.  We hope this system will allow us to be even more efficient!

Mark Your Calendar
·        No school Friday, January 18th  -  Staff  Professional Development Day
·       No School Monday, January 21st – Martin Luther King Jr. Day
·       January PTO Meeting Rescheduled - Now February 5th @ 6:30 PM

·        Please remind your child to come to school with all of his/her supplies for the day (i.e. homework, lunch, warm clothes) as this helps your child transition into the day smoothly.
·        With winter weather upon us students are prone to illness. Students should only return to school after 24 hours of medication for the following conditions: strep throat, conjunctivitis, infected skin eruptions, other conditions requiring antibiotics. They must be free of fever, diarrhea and/or vomiting for 24 hours once symptoms cease.  Giving students the time needed to fully recover from sickness keeps our school community healthy.
·        Your cooperation is appreciated!