As hard as it is to believe, we are entering our last three weeks of the school year. While some traditions have been lost this year, some are enduring! Our first ever virtual Field Day is scheduled for Friday, May 15th! Thanks to our amazing PE teachers (Ms. McClure, Ms. Howes, and Ms. Perll) for thinking waaay outside the box to create our first Pajama Party Field Day! IMAGES, another amazing tradition, is also currently on sale here – and always a kid favorite! We also were able to celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week last week thanks to the incredible 17 volunteers who dropped off potted flowers at staff homes. We also were showered with Kudos boards, shout outs, cards, and other tokens of your appreciation. Thank you to our incredibly generous HSA Board who made it possible for all the teachers to receive their flower, a tshirt, and a yearbook from this oh so remarkable year. We appreciate all of your love!
In other news that originated prior to COVID-19, the construction project to create 4 new classrooms in our lower level is continuing at full speed! In fact, we are set to begin construction on June 1st. The 4 new classrooms, plus one “common space” will help accommodate our ever increasing enrollment. The space being retro-fit is currently storage and unfinished spaces. The drawings look pretty incredible, including windows in all classrooms, with 3 of the 4 rooms receiving direct light. Given that next year we will have 7 classes in 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade, this is amazing! Next year 4th grade will also increase to 6 classrooms. To help be sure that we have everyone in classes and accounted for, please be sure to complete your online enrollment forms by May 15th for returning families!
Other dates to mark on the calendar as we enter these last 3 weeks:
- 5/15 – Mayor Bowser will give an update on next steps for schools
- 5/15 – Virtual Field Day
- 5/20 – 5th Grade Meeting (parents and students) with Principal Neal from Deal, 12:30 pm – 1:00 pm
- 5/22 – P/T Conferences
- 5/28 – 5th Grade Promotion Streamed Live @ 9:30 am. Save the date! Formal invitations coming soon.
- 5/29 – Last Day of School for Students
We have also recently learned from DCPS that the Central Office team will be supporting a procurement for a bundled, centralized mailing of both Term 3 and Term 4 report cards and IEP progress reports in June. We have also received guidance that students will receive either a “P” for pass, or a “NM” for no mark if a topic was not introduced for Term 4 grades. I will share more information about the timing of report cards coming home as it is shared with us.
To help guide our work in the classroom as we have pioneered our way into virtual learning, The Academic Leadership Team (ALT), compromised of our instructional coaches, ELL teachers, Manger of specialized instruction, and myself, has been hard at work. The ALT is the team that guides instructional decisions related to best practices, reflects on practices that work, guide our teams in collaborative planning, and plans for next steps in how to best educate our students. To that end, we have designed a way to implement some of our traditional end of year assessment measures for students to help inform our work as a school community.
We have decided to use end of year assessments to accomplish several goals: help teachers and staff analyze trends in the data, reflect on areas of strengths and need, and guide planning for next year. We are also using this time to sort out how these measures work online in the event that we may need to use them in the upcoming school year. These measures will in no way impact your student’s grades, or be used for purposes other than planning. We are working to prioritize students’ social emotional needs, accommodations, and to create supportive online experiences.
In grades KDG – 2nd grade, students who are not yet reading at the end of grade level goal will complete a DIBELS assessment in two measures to measure their decoding and fluency rates. First and second grade students will also work with their teachers in small groups to complete iReady for math online. These are both platforms and assessments students have seen before. Our 3rd – 5th grade students will use their regular online assessment tools to measure reading (RI) and math (iReady). Some students will complete these asynchronously while some students will complete them in a small group or 1:1 with their teacher. Students with IEPs and 504s will receive their accommodations to the greatest extent possible. Your teacher will be in touch in the coming days with more specific information about the days of these assessments and how you can support your child.
Although much around us has changed, we continue to stay focused on how we can best support students in their learning and their social emotional well being. We are hopeful that the information we gather in these last three weeks of learning together can shed light on the incredible work we have done so far in distance learning as well as guide us to a solid starting point for students in the upcoming school year.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or concerns. We stand beside you in this challenging time and know that we are stronger together!