Mohawks for Money

 

mohawktrio1A big thank you for everyone that supported our Grizzly Fun Run fundraiser.  We met our goal so Mr. Rasmussen, Mr. Burrup and I got our mohawks.   The money will be distributed to each grade for field trips and other enrichment activities.  Thank you.

 

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2016-17 Was a very good year!

end of the year video

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September

I hope you enjoy the Labor Day weekend. We’ll start back Tuesday at full speed. Students will do their beginning of the year DIBELS assessment. This helps us set our reading instruction goals. If your student is a struggling reader or a strong reader our goal is for them to read significantly better at the end of the year. Reading is the key to all other learning and academic success. We encourage you to read with your children even if you can’t get any other homework done.
September 16th will be picture day. It’s also a professional development day so students will be released at 1:15.
Just a dress code reminder. Tank tops and thin strapped shirts and clothing are not allowed. Please make sure your students wear clothing that meets school dress code standards. You can refer to our student information material for clarification.  student information

 

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Great Start!!!

We have had a fantastic start to the school year! Thank you parents for sticking with us through the new registration process. It will continue to get better and more streamlined. The students have shown up happy and excited to work which is thrilling. We want to keep that thirst for learning in each of them. I have been happy to see the utilization of dreambox math over the summer. Since July 1st our students have completed 2571 lessons! Amazing! There has been 27% average growth per student since July 1 as well- Incredible! I know not every student is using the program so that equates to even larger gains for the students using this tool. Thank you for encouraging your students to read 20 minutes every day and spend 20 minutes twice a week on dreambox. The impact on their learning will be huge.
I’ve been happy to see the courtesy and patience during morning drop off and pick up in the afternoon. Thank you for that. I’m attaching a link to the parking lot traffic flow. Please make sure anyone picking up your students knows our procedures to keep it working well.
Parking lot map

It’s great to see so many students walking and riding their bikes. It not only alleviates car congestion, it’s so healthy!  We’ll continue working on safe walking and biking habits to make this a safe option for more students.
Next week we will be on a regular schedule and we look forward to welcoming our half day kindergarten students on Tuesday. There is no school on Labor Day, September 5th.
It’s going to be a great year!  Thank you for choosing Green Acres for your children.

Lisa Gilstrap
Principal

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Why Dream Box?

We are working hard to eliminate the phrase, ‘I can’t do math’.  According to brain research cited in many places but specifically by Carol Dweck author of ‘Growth Mindset’ everyone can learn to do math or anything they work at learning.  Dream Box is one of our tools to help students stay in the struggle to learn math.  I hope our students are taking the challenge to complete 30 lessons in Dream Box so we can award them a math medal when the Superintendency comes to our school in the fall.

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Opportunities to Explore

supt.edit

Superintendent Stephens presenting summer reading awards.

One thing I love about elementary school students is their willingness to try new things. They’re interested in most things we cover in class and want to be involved in the things offered after school.  I think it’s awesome that we have so many  quality opportunities for our students to explore their interests and talents.  The school musical sounds fantastic as does the choir!  So much talent and enthusiasm in our kids.  The track club is building their endurance in preparation for their Fall track meet.  The robotics club is working on their robot designs for this year’s challenge.  It is such a pleasure to watch them amaze themselves with their own capacity to learn.  I hope our parents see that happening in their kids.  It’s our hope to keep that thrill of discovery alive even with hard things.  I want Green Acres Grizzlies to always believe that they can persist and accomplish whatever they choose.

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Watch this video clip about the importance of STEM education to our future.

STEM is it’s own stimulus

 

I’m so pleased with the progress we made toward our STEM emphasis last year and look forward to going further this year.  This includes huge advances in our math instruction.  Stay tuned…

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Grizzlies shine at the world championships

Grizzlies shine at world championship

Grizzlies Shine at World Championship

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Mid-Year Check-Up

The year is flying by and this is the time of year where we can get a little fatigued.  It’s helpful to take stock of what we’ve accomplished and review our goals to help maintain our focus.

STEM emphasis
We opened this year as a STEM emphasis school.  We have several goals associated with this and we have met almost all of them already!  First goal was that all of our students would complete the Project Lead the Way Launch- Structure and Function module.  This is an introduction to the engineering design process and the kids have loved doing it.  As of today, all but 5th grade has completed this goal.
Our second STEM emphasis goal was that every student would have another STEM experience and we’ve met that goal with the following field trips and activities:
An hour of code- each grade participated in December, some classes have continued and some students have continued on their own.
K-     Nature Center
1st-  Environmental Center
2nd- Nature Center
3rd-  Tulip planting
4th-  Water Van,
5th-  Bird Refuge, Environmental Center
6th-  Environmental Center, Hansen Planetarium

A third goal associated with our STEM emphasis was getting teachers professional development to help them feel comfortable integrating STEM into our subjects.  Most of our teachers came in the summer for a training and we’ve done additional training since then.   It really shows when I’m in the classrooms.  Teachers are giving students the opportunities to discover and wonder in reading, math, and science which is exactly what we want them to do.  We want them to learn to stay in the struggle to master a concept.  This is what  being a life long learner means.  There will always be new things to learn and we have to be able to figure things out to function.

Reading Goal
We recently did our middle of the year Dibels assessment.  We are doing great in the younger grades.. the number of students reading at benchmark increased by 12%.  We dropped a little with our students 4-6.  These reading benchmarks are moving targets- they continue to increase throughout the year.  It is a permanent expectation that students read 20 minutes a day.  We have our reading incentives over the summer and Christmas breaks and also the drawings each quarter to try and keep this goal in mind.

Math Goal
The only school-wide measure I have right now for math is our Dreambox data.  I’ve heard SAGE and other end of level tests called autopsy assessments because by the time we get the data there isn’t anything useful we can do with it.  We have various assessments being used to help drive our instruction but the only school-wide tool is Dreambox.  The research says that if we can get students using it 3 times a week we can expect students to gain more than 1 year of growth.  According to the data we aren’t getting students using this tool regularly enough for the results we’d like, that is why we started our weekly drawings for a $10 gift card. Our first week was very successful, it will be interesting to see what happens as a result of our campaign.

So all in all, we’ve had a very successful first half of the year academically.  I’m also very pleased with all of the other opportunities we’ve provided for our students.  The 7 Habits are going well with Mrs. Ramage, our counselor.  The PTA fitness clubs have been a huge success with students developing all types of athletic skills, our Robotics Club has been a very different opportunity for growth and choir and orchestra have been awesome.

Looking forward, we have clear goals for the rest of the year.  Literacy week is the first week in March, Spring Break is the last week of March… Still lot’s to look forward to and accomplish.

 

 

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Robotics team captains rock!

Robotics- our beginning

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