LETTER FROM THE PRINCIPAL
The list of assignments a school principal must concern themselves with is long and vast. The responsibility of hiring the best teachers and staff possible, providing the professional development so teachers know what must be taught and assessed, providing the necessary materials for learning, making certain every classroom is equipped and maintained, creating master schedules and calendars that work for all, having systems built in place to ensure all children are monitored for learning, behavior and safety concerns; working with all different agencies and support staff to intervene when children need more assistance are only a few. This does not even mention all of the building management pieces. However, the one critical element that keeps administrators awake at night and is never far from the forefront of our thinking is student and staff safety. We live in such an unpredictable world and nearly daily incidents demonstrate schools are no longer immune from unspeakable acts of terror. While it may seem impossible to keep ourselves safe at all times, it certainly will never keep us from trying.
When I first started my career as a teacher and principal, I rarely had to concern myself with the thought of an intruder entering our school with the sole intent to harm students and staff, as such incidents simply did not occur. Now that very thought is in my thinking at all times and is the single most concerning part of my career. I am a wife, daughter, mom and grandmother. I worry about my children and grandchildren and I worry about my staff and our students. That worry keeps us consistently thinking of ways to keep us safer. The need to keep us safe constantly competes with the desire for routines and procedures which allow for fluid movement and ease of practices. Let me review some of these safety procedures and why we need your support in making certain we are able to conduct school business with an emphasis toward safety.
-We have a secured entrance which means you must come through the office, sign in and secure a pass before entering the building. We understand you may be in a hurry and only need a minute, but it is vital we know who is in the building at all times.
-This secured entrance also means once school starts and there is no longer a staff member at all doors, those doors are locked and must stay locked. This means if your child comes to school late, you will have to bring them to the front secured entrance.
-If your child comes to school late, you must accompany them to the office and sign them in.
-We will practice a variety of drills to include fire, tornado, securing in place, intruder in building, and evacuating the building to a safe location. These drills are not meant to alarm your child, rather they are to develop mental memory so a child will recall what to do in case of a true emergency.
-Your child’s teacher will talk to them about keeping themselves safe in a variety of situations. Again, it is not meant to create alarm, rather to help the child understand what they would need to do to stay safe.
-In the event there is a neighborhood emergency, we will lock down in place. This has occurred a few times. Until we know the situation is stable, we will not let anyone in the building. This includes parents, so you may have to wait in the parking lot until we can release students through the office.
-When we are in the middle of a drill, you will not be able to pick up your child for appointments, etc. We do not schedule the drills out in advance so they can be more unpredictable. They only last for a few minutes, so we ask for your patience.
Please remind your child to always tell an adult if they hear students talking about anything that is not safe. Many tragedies have been avoided because a student shared a conversation they heard. Our school is very fortunate to have many built in structural safety features that we will not share with the public. These features do give us some peace of mind in our ability to keep students safe.
Above all, I wish we did not have to speak of such issues, but I do want you to know we spend a considerable amount of time in training for these types of incidents and take the safety of our students very serious.
Dr. Deb Gustafson
Warmer weather means more time outside and we couldn’t be happier to get out there and get our hands dirty! To start the month, we will begin with our theme, City Gardens & Country Farms. In this unit, students will learn about the life cycle and parts of plants, as well as how and where people grow plants in order to cultivate their own food. We will discuss farms, neighborhood, community gardens, and farmer’s markets. We’ll study farm animals and learn where the majority of our food comes from. It’s a fun unit with a lot of valuable vocabulary opportunities.
In reading we are continuing our shared stories. We are excited that each story has more words than the last, with more and more opportunities to sound out and blend more difficult words. Students are also learning new “letter teams”, letters that when put with another letter make a new and different sound. Please make sure your kindergarten reader practices the Shared Story and completes the R&R’s on a nightly basis. Encourage your child to read using a “story-telling voice”, with expression and enthusiasm. Make sure they are practicing sight words. These are what they might refer to as “red words” and should be recognized by sight.
In math, we will be learning the value of 10 and how teen numbers can be broken down into groups of ten and some more. This will build the foundation for learning more complex numbers as we begin counting our way to 100 by tens and ones. Enhance your child’s math knowledge by providing counting opportunities at home. Legos on the floor, forks on the dinner table, weeds growing in the front yard…EVERYTHING can be counted!
Visit with your kindergartner about what they are talking about in school. Thanks for your support in your child’s education!
Time just seems to be flying in first grade this year! As we begin looking toward the final few months of school, the first grade teachers are extremely proud of the progress our students are making.
We would like to thank you for continuing to read each night with your child. We are encouraging our students to take reading counts tests. Therefore, we need them checking out library books at their level and taking weekly comprehension tests at school. Please reinforce reading at home as we would like a majority of our first graders to have a Lexile score by the end of first grade. This will help make the transition into second grade easier.
We are continuing with our Engage New York math curriculum and will be working on our fifth unit that covers identifying, composing, and partitioning shapes. Students will build two and three-dimensional shapes by sorting, analyzing, comparing and creating composite shapes. They will also relate geometric figures to equal parts and begin work with fractions. Students will then use their understanding of halves to tell time to the hour and half hour.
Please mark your calendar, Parent-Teacher Conferences will be held March 13-15. Notices will be sent home with a specific meeting time. Please double check that your assigned date and time work with your schedule. We are very eager to share all of the great accomplishments the students are making!
We hope everyone has a safe and relaxing Spring break week. Thanks again for all your support throughout the year, your assistance is greatly appreciated.
In math, we are finishing up on the foundations of multiplication and division by using equal groups, arrays, and discovering the meaning of even and odd numbers. Our next math focus will be moving into problem solving with length, money, and data. We will focus on organizing our data into different kinds of graphs and tables. This will roll us right into money where they will apply coin values to their knowledge of place value strategies for addition, subtraction, and word problems.
Reading classes for 3rd quarter are wrapping up. It has been amazing seeing all of the growth our students have made! Even though the year is almost over, please keep encouraging your second grader to read 20 minutes per night. This will continue to improve their fluency and comprehension of text.
In Social Studies, we are studying economics. We are working on making our projects for Market Day, which will be held Thursday, March 8. Look for more information on Market Day to be coming home with your student soon.
In Science, we are beginning a scientific study of insects and plants. We will be caring for and investigating several different insects, and growing a plant from seed, to find out more about their lives!
In writing, we are finishing up our unit about poetry writing. We will begin narrative writing at the end of the month.
Let’s keep pushing ahead! Next thing you know and it’s going to be May!
Third grade has been rocking fractions this quarter. The students have been working really hard to understand how shapes are partitioned, or cut, into equal pieces. Your student may be talking about the state assessment. State tests begin in April so we are revisiting and practicing all of our third grade math skills. This also brings up the importance of attendance as we practice all of our testing skills and gear up for state testing.
We are continuing to explore non-fiction texts in reading and learning all the skills that come with that aspect of reading. Please continue to encourage your student to read at home and take RC tests over their books when they return to school. Feel free to ask your child questions about what they read to increase their comprehension!
Students enjoy the challenges and fun that our Science has provided us. Currently, we are exploring structures of life. This includes plants, owl pellets, crayfish, and our skeletal system. The kids have been extremely engaged and excited for all of our new learning! Social studies continues with community resources, maps, and more.
As we prepare and practice for state testing, it is vital that your student brings their ThinkPad charged! We use these daily to enhance your child’s learning. They have become more responsible and this is a great life skill! Our thoughts continue to be with your loved ones who are deployed. Always let us know if we can help you or your child in any way!
The Ware Bear fourth graders are continuing as busy and active learners. In Math we continue learning about fractions and then decimals. We will learn to add and subtract fractions, with like and unlike denominators. We will also be reviewing and preparing for the state math test coming in April. Students really need to be able to reason about their answers and think critically when solving word problems. The more “how” and “why” questions you can ask them about their math, the better they will become at reasoning and explaining. Please continue to have students practice their multiplication facts. Spending just 5-10 minutes each night reviewing those facts can really help. Xtra Math and Front Row Ed are two great resources for students to practice their fact fluency.
In Social Studies we are working on learning the states and capitals of the Western part of the United States. In Science we are focusing on Environments. We are observing the life-cycle of a Mealworm and how environmental factors can effect organisms in certain environments. With our new FOSS lessons, we have scheduled hands on experiments. The students are challenged and enjoying these types of activities and investigations.
We have Parent Teacher Conferences the week of March 13th-15th and we are looking forward to seeing all of you again. It is nice to be able to meet with you about your student so that we continue to share information to help make them be as successful as possible. Our report cards will go home the week after Spring Break and we will have our Awards Assembly for the 3rd Quarter on the 14th at 9:00.
We hope all families have a safe Spring Break and that our students come back refreshed and ready to tackle the rest of the year.
March is an exciting time as students and teachers will be preparing for state testing. The Math and Reading state testing is scheduled for early April. Fifth graders will also take the Science state assessments. You can help your child prepare for state assessments by making sure they are in attendance each day, maintaining a good sleep schedule, and eating a healthy breakfast each morning. Be on the lookout for more information coming home regarding state assessments.
Don’t forget that fifth graders are expected to read for twenty minutes each night and then write a three sentence summary of what they read, which they should then turn into their teacher the next day. You can help support your child’s comprehension by having them summarize their reading out loud to you or by asking them questions about the setting and characters in your child’s book.
Fifth grade math will shift focus on volume and measurement while applying what we have learned about multiplying fractions. We will continue to review learned math concepts as well. To continue to help strengthen your child’s concepts in all areas try turning everyday activities like cooking and shopping into real life opportunities for problem solving. Also, having your child help with measuring in the kitchen and household is a wonderful way to build confidence with measurement and conversions.
During science, students will be studying living systems and participating in many hands on investigations. In social studies, students investigate causes of the Revolutionary War.
We appreciate your continued support in your child’s education and look forward to visiting with you during Parent Teacher Conferences later this month.
As spring approaches and the weather starts to turn more favorable, we want to encourage everyone to make family fitness a goal. Recreational activities that improve fitness and provide family experiences can make for wonderful memories and lifelong healthy lifestyle habits. Families who are active are more likely to make better nutritional choices and have strong relationships with one another. It is great to make plans for family activities in advance such as vacations or trips to a water park or zoo, but often the spontaneous family events are most enjoyable…a game of catch with the Frisbee, a long conversational walk through the neighborhood, a basketball game in the driveway, or whatever it might be with your family.
In the 3rd quarter of Physical Education class we have been finding enjoyment in movement through volleying sports, basketball skills, jump roping, and a variety of other skills. On the 3rd quarter grade cards you will see motor skill assessment grades on a 1-4 scale for skills such as throwing and catching. We believe that when students show higher levels of competency in various skills it leads to increased confidence, which in turn leads to more enjoyment and participation in physical activity. To get a better idea of what those assessment criteria look like, visit the following pages with rubrics:
Kindergarten – https://goo.gl/dcgQUA
1st grade – https://goo.gl/JSx9x1
2nd grade – https://goo.gl/MsrtMm
3rd grade – https://goo.gl/SXkqBp
4th grade – https://goo.gl/5YkYhK
5th grade – https://goo.gl/uPPJav
One other achievement we would like to mention is our recent Jump Rope For Heart campaign. Our students participated in a two week jump rope unit, including short jump ropes, long ropes, and helped collect over $3,000 to aid in the fight against heart disease. Way to go Ware Bears…you are Heart Heroes!
Mr. Derek Scott
Miss Mariah Wheaton
March brings along the sounds of ukuleles and recorders from the music rooms. The students are having fun as they learn to play these two instruments and love the hands-on learning experience. Kindergarten and second grade classes are also playing instruments and the first graders are working on their program.
There are several performances second semester and more information will be sent home with students as their performances get closer. First grade will perform on Thursday, April 19 and their program will feature songs about different colors. The kindergarten students will have their performance and awards assembly on Thursday, May 10. All grade-level performances are at 6:00 p.m. in the Ware Elementary auditorium.
The fourth and fifth grade students from the 21st Century After-School program will present the musical “Magic Tree House – The Knight at Dawn” on Thursday, April 5 at 6:00 p.m. This is the second year that Ware students will put on a musical and it is sure to be an entertaining evening. We hope many of you will be able to join us
Your Music Teacher,
Susan Gillespie SusanGillespie@usd475.org
KSU Intern, Ryan Moos
LIBRARY MEDIA CENTER
We are excited to remind you about our Book Fair!!! During parent teacher conferences on March 13, 14 and 15 we will have our Spring Book Fair set up for students, parents and teachers to purchase books and other materials from Scholastic. Students will have the opportunity to preview the books during the school day. Purchasing books will only occur during parent teacher conference hours. However, you may order books anytime from March 4 to March 17, 2018 at our online fair http://www.scholastic.com/bf/wareelementaryschool5
Kindergarten classes are continuing their weekly lessons in the library. March 2 is Dr. Seuss’s Birthday and during Kindergarten lessons, we have spent some time learning all about Dr. Seuss and his countless remarkable books! Students learned all about his life and rhyming words!
Many first graders have been diligently working on reading the black dot books and taking Reading Counts tests. Be sure to encourage your first grader to read a dot book every day!
Grades three through five have continued to demonstrate that they can be responsible and reliable with their Lenovo ThinkPads. Please remind your student that when the device goes home, it should return to school fully charged and ready for the day!
Veronica Wait – Library Media Specialist
Mrs. Kidwell & Mrs. Gimble – Library Clerks
When we think of exercise a lot of us think of it as a form of punishment. There are probably a lot of other things we would rather spend our time doing.
In order for American’s to win the battle with obesity we need to change our mindset. Think in terms of “activity” rather than exercise. Sixty minutes (for children) of activities each day. Have fun and play, even grown ups need to go out for recess!
* Be creative take your child on an adventure hike or a mystery run around the block.
* Play games—Tag, Simon says, etc. the internet and Library are great places to look up fun activities.
* Unleash your inner animal—run like a gorilla, walk like a spider, hop like a bunny and s-t-r-e-t-c-h like a cat.
* Playing ball or Frisbee are always fun activities.
* Playing organized sports like baseball, bowling and soccer are great activities.
* Have fun exploring your local community bike trails, roller-skating or ice-skating rinks.
I hope this will help motivate you all to GET MOVING!!! Lets shake off those winter cobwebs!
Once again please… Keep your phone/contact information up to date; Keep your children dressed for the weather (I know it’s a challenge in the constantly fluctuating Kansas weather); if your child comes home in borrowed clothing please return them to the school clean.
Karen Roles – School Nurse
This month in Speech and Language we will be discussing the Spring season and all of the changes that come along with Spring. As mentioned in previous newsletters, changes in weather, seasons, and even upcoming holidays lend themselves to many opportunities for language development.
Some of our favorite “new season” activities include discussing new themed vocabulary, using description words and adjectives to describe the things we see in the Spring, practice using verbs to describe and label actions of activities we see in the Spring, and practice speech sound production skills by coming up with Spring-themed words containing target speech sounds.
If your student brings home an activity or word list from Speech, be sure to discuss it with him/her to help generalize these skills to all communication environments.
If you have any questions about your student’s speech and language skills, please do not hesitate to contact us!
Laura Thompson – SLP
Brittany Chatmon – SLP-Assistant
Student Council would like to thank everyone who supported the Ware Bear’s Pennies for Paws. We were able to raise $840.59 for the Junction City/Geary County Animal Shelter. Donations will go toward Spays and Neuters for cats .
Ware Mart will be open on Fridays before school. Student Council sells school supplies with prices ranging from $0.25 to $5.00. All profits will be used for school projects and community service by the Student Council. All Ware Bears may shop, but must eat breakfast first.