Dear Columbine Families and Friends,
I can’t even tell you happy I am these days as I walk the halls at Columbine. I am seeing students beginning to post work in order to make their thinking and learning visible, teachers are working hard to meet their students’ academic and social-emotional needs, and volunteers focused on supporting learning for all students. I am in a principal’s paradise! Thank you to all of you for making our Columbine Learning Community such a great place for students and staff.
This month we had visitors from CABE (Colorado Association for Bilingual Education), Education Northwest , USGBC (United States Green Building Council), I Have a Dream Foundation Board National Board of Directors, and even Univision (Spanish TV station). All of them had great things to say about our school and our school and program. As an example, I want to share some feedback given from the researcher from Education Northwest. His feedback is important since his job is to travel across the country observing and auditing bilingual programs and making recommendations to help schools and districts so that they can continue to improve. To that end, he was hired by BVSD as part of a team auditing BVSD’s English as a Second Language program. This is some of what he shared with us:
- Student interaction was very mindful
- Teachers were very good at identifying language objectives
- Teachers were very intentional when addressing language needs within content taught
- that he was impressed with regards to the consistency between classrooms and routines. That students were talking to each other about the content
- That it was a treat to be in our school that he sees classrooms all over the nation and that he felt this school was special.
- He asked how we were achieving this level of consistency
- He wondered how we communicated to parents the importance of learning Spanish and English as a second/world language
- He thought this was great: that students actually would request from the teacher opportunities to turn and talk so that they could process together the information
Needless to say, I am super proud!
Our focus this month has been to make some new structures work. In particular, as it relates to how we use the restrooms and hallway passes. I am going to talk to the students next week and ask for their feedback. I encourage you to let me know what you think and what you are hearing at home. Even though Rosy Reyes, our health room attendant doesn’t see a change, I am concerned that a few students have wet their pants because they wait too long to go to the restroom or they are simply not available when they need to use it. I called the principal at Community Montessori School, Shannon Minch, and she told me that even though they have a similar student to bathroom ratio they are not having this issue. So I am hopeful that we can figure this out together. Thank you for your patience. I have noticed a big difference as it relates to discipline issues with regards to the bathroom and hallway zone. This month we will add focus to the cafeteria and lunch recess. We circulate about 542 students through lunch and recess in 1 hour and 45 minutes in order to make sure that we have healthy instructional blocks for every grade in the schedule. Together we can make it work. Does anyone have an old IPod, or something like it, to donate so that we can stream some calming music for the students?
I also want to once again thank you for your patience when it comes to students in our school that need additional help because they have challenges regulating their behavior. For me it is disconcerting that I am unable to guarantee the physical and emotional safety of all our students at all times while under our care. For instance, we have had two students fall while playing and ended up requiring medical care. Having over 540 students is a huge responsibility! What I can guarantee is that we will continue to do everything in our power to make sure our students are safe. For what it’s worth, this happens in all schools in the district.
Something important to add is that, even when it may not seem obvious at times, the administrative and instructional staff is doing as much as we can to support the students needing additional academic or behavioral support while also attempting to keep all students learning at high levels and safe. The point that I need to make is that under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) we are unable to disclose any student information, including discipline and consequences, unless we have written permission from the student’s parents or guardians. From an insider’s perspective, it is challenging when I am unable to satisfy a parent’s natural need for information related to the safety of their child. I just hope that by sharing this challenge you will better understand when I, or my staff, cannot share consequences or interventions that we have put in place. The only thing that I can say is that this, as well as similar laws, are meant to protect all children.
The challenge and opportunity of your neighborhood public school is that we teach any student that comes through our doors. Each one of our students has something to learn from us, teachers and parents, and from each other. The community that I am trying to foster is one where all students are cherished and where we, the instructional staff, keep learning how to better address the developmental needs of our diverse students. To give you an example, did you know that research says that for some individuals Executive Functioning, the equivalent of the air traffic controller for the brain in charge of regulating everything we do, doesn’t fully develop in some individuals as late as age 40? Follow this LINK if you are interested in learning a bit about Executive Function and Self-Regulation from the Center for the Developing Child at Harvard (there is a short video).
I want to end by thanking the many parents and family members who are doing so much on behalf of all our students. Many of you are sponsoring Columbine students so that they can attend fieldtrips or have supplies. Many more are challenging their own child to be welcoming of others because you value diverse perspectives, or volunteering your time to make sure that children don’t fall through the cracks or are adequately challenged. Others are representing us on school, district committees, and local boards so that all Columbine students succeed. WE appreciate your efforts and you keep making our school a great (I didn’t mean to sound like a politician).
Below please find the Calendar and a letter from our Nurse and Teacher Librarian. Thanks!
· 3-5 from 1:15-1:45
· K-2 from 2:15-2:45
|October 25 and 27||
From Leslie Boyhan RN, BSN Columbine’s School Nurse Consultant:
Autumn is here!
As we move closer to the cold and flu season, I wanted to remind families of the guidelines for keeping your student home when sick.
The beginning of any infectious illness is usually the most contagious period. In order to keep everyone healthy, we ask that you observe the following guidelines.
- Fever, Vomiting or Diarrhea: Your student should remain home for 24 hours after symptoms resolve.
- Colds/respiratory viruses: Keep student home at the beginning of a cold. When your student feels better they may return to school
- Strep Throat: Your student may return to school after taking antibiotics for 24 hours.
Halloween is a time during which we see an increase of lice at schools. Be on the lookout. Please discourage students from sharing wigs, hats and costumes. If you find that your child has lice, treat them before sending them back to school.
From Mrs. Oviatt, Columbine Teacher Librarian:
The library is up and running for 2015-16 school year. We are excited about our programming and all of the learning that will happen. It’s only October and we’ve already had some great presentations, such as Ariel Castro, meteorologist from Telemundo, who came to teach our 5th graders about Weather Forecasting. Author Teri Kanefield, skyped with 3rd grade students in Mr. Ollanik and Ms. Karla’s 3rd grade classes to share the craft of writing. The library is a place for all of our Columbine community to congregate and take advantage of. I would like to invite you all to come and enjoy our wonderful space. Parents are welcome to come check out books to read with your kids at home.
We also will begin a new e-book and audiobook program through Overdrive, an app that allows students to check out electronic materials. Third through fifth graders will be able to check out these materials to be viewed on devices at home. These materials will be due in 2 weeks as are the library books.
First through fifth graders are checking out 2 books on a weekly basis. Please check with your student as to their library day to help them remember to return it. Library is more fun when you can check out your books!
Kindergarteners have been learning about book care and will begin checking out in October.
UPCOMING AUTHOR VISITS
We have two authors visiting during the month of October.
Stuart Gibbs, author of Spy School series will be visiting 2nd – 5th grade students in the cafeteria on Wednesday, October 19 at 9:00 a.m.
Jennifer Fosberry, author of Isabella series will be visiting Kindergarten — 4th grade students on Thursday, October 27 at 9:00 in the library.
Upcoming Parent Events in the library:
We will be hosting parent meetings to share information about the library and the technology use of students. Dates and times to be announced next month.