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December 9, 2012
It is hard to believe that it is already December, the first term of our school year is over and it is time for Parent Teacher Conferences. The teachers and I look forward to welcoming you this Thursday and Friday. This also means that it is time for my "Report Card Memo" to families. Though the below message is a repeat from last year, it is a timely reminder of our goal in reporting student progress.
The distribution of report cards can be a big day in the life of our students. For many students, this brings a great deal of anxiety as children are concerned about how parents/guardians will react when they open the envelope. Growing up, I remember this same feeling. My parents' mantra was "It is not the grade that counts as long as you try your best!" No matter how many times they said that though, I was still nervous handing that report card to my mom when I did not receive straight As or get top marks on effort and conduct.
I want to share with you a portion of an email sent home regarding report cards from a colleague of mine who is a 4th grade teacher in another school. She writes,
"There has been much anxiety over the report cards coming up in our morning meeting discussion sharing comments such as "If I don't get top marks, my mom is taking away my ipod" or "My dad said I would be grounded for a month." Now, some of this is "talk", but this fear of "bad" grades is real for your nine and ten-year-olds. Your children want to please you. They want to impress you. They want you to be proud.
When I was a child, my dad was a teacher (and he still is---39 years later!). On report card day, he would look through the report card and only point out the things that really made him proud. Then, we went out to eat or for ice cream to celebrate "Cara's math grade, Jenna's conduct marks, and Erik's grades in PE and Art." He didn't burst our bubble by pointing out things to improve at that moment of anxiety. He made us feel good for our talents. Then, a few days later, we would have a serious discussion about areas of excellence and areas to improve. But at that moment of truth, as we stood in front of our parents holding our breath and hoping they were happy, he made us feel important, valued, and special. When my own children's report cards come home, I still remember the way our dad treated us and try to do the same.
When your kids come home this week with their progress reports, hug them, kiss them, tell them you are proud. Hang up the report card. Call the grandparents to share the great news. Head out to celebrate hard work and effort. You'll gain bonus points as a parent and as you head into the adolescent years, you'll have the respect and trust of your children."
Her story is a powerful one and it is clear that her father's approach had a profound impact on her as a child, as a mother and as a teacher. I encourage you to take time this week to celebrate your child's strengths and their effort over the last several months. Find a time in the next week, perhaps after conferences, to discuss his/her challenges and areas for needed growth. Ask questions like, what are your goals to improve in this area? How can I help you reach that goal? These are conversations we have in school with your children on a regular basis. I am confident that working together, we can help your child reach his/her goals!
Wishing you all a safe and enjoyable week,
Julie A. Vincentsen
Helen Keller Elementary School
"If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow!" ~John Dewey
Upcoming December Keller Events: (The dates of new events are in color)
Click here for the December Lunch Menu
December 10: Writing PD, Grades K and 1 (1/2 day only)
December 11: Math PD, Grade 5 (full day)
December 12: Skydome Assembly, Grades 3 & 5
December 12: Report Cards Distributed
December 13: 1/2 day, 11:40 dismissal, Parent Conferences
December 13: Keller CAN Help Food Drive, 1 can = You can wear a hat to school
December 14: Coffee Talk with Administration, 9:00-10:30
December 14: 1/2 day, 11:40 dismissal, Parent Conferences
December 14: Keller CAN Help Food Drive, 1 can = You can wear pajamas to school
December 18: Writing PD, Grade 4 (full day)
December 18: 5th Grade Committee Meeting, 8:45
December 19: Brain Show, All School Assembly
December 19: Writing PD, Grade 3 (full day)
December 24-January 1: School Vacation
Keller Updates: (The titles of new information are in color)
Principal Communication: Moving forward my updates will be coming out at least monthly instead of weekly.
Coffee Talks: Mr. Atwell and I are looking forward to spending time with those who are able to join us at this week's coffee talk which takes place this Friday, December 14th at 9:00. We will be meeting in the Conference Room. This is an informal opportunity for parents to meet with us and discuss how we can continue to lead together to make the Keller experience a positive one for the children. Future dates will be Wednesday, January 16 (7:00 pm), Friday, February 15 (9:00 am), Wednesday, March 20 (6:00 pm), Friday, April 12 (9:00 am), Wednesday, May 15 (7:00 pm), Friday, June 14 (9:00 am).
Food Drive: Did you know that...
More than 3,000 Franklin residents, over 9 percent, may be struggling with food insecurity?
The Franklin Food pantry distributes more than 14,000 bags to more than 1,000 neighbors in a year?
The food pantry distributes over 123,000 lbs of food and averaged 35 new clients each month?
300+ volunteers help sort, check dates and stock our shelves with community donations?
In the words of our namesake, this week remember that "Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much,” as we run our annual Food Drive to benefit the Franklin Food Pantry.
Because our last food drive was such a success, the PCC would like to replicate having a spirit day to thank the children for their donations. We will be collecting food on Thursday and Friday of this week. Thursday will be hat day and Friday will be Pajama Day.
FPS Calendar Change: There has been a change to the district calendar. Two additional half days were added at each level for Professional Development for teachers. These days will be devoted to discussing the state mandated change in the teacher evaluation system. Click here for a link to the new calendar. You will note that the additional half days for the elementary level are on April 12th and May 24th.
Lost and Found: Our Lost and Found is getting very full. We encourage you to ask your son/daughter to visit the tables outside of the Health Office to look through the Lost and Found if he/she is missing an item. The contents of Lost and Found will be displayed during Parent Conferences. Any items not claimed by Friday will be donated to charity.
Banking/Save for America: Keller is pleased to be partnering with Dean Bank again this year to offer students in grades 1-5 the opportunity to participate in the 'Save for America' program. This program is designed to educate elementary students about fiscal responsibility and develop an appreciation for the importance and benefits of saving. Banking is held every Wednesday following morning announcements. Any students in grades 1-5 can join at any time by picking up a packet on banking day or in the office. Once the required information is returned and confirmed by the bank the student may bring a deposit to the next banking day.
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Updated: December 17, 2012
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This Web site has been developed for the benefit of residents, schools, businesses, and anyone who is interested in the town. It is a work-in-progress. We welcome your questions, comments, and feedback on how we can make it more useful and enjoyable to use. Please contact the Webmaster.
education is like silver in the mine." - Benjamin Franklin