January message from the principal

January 22, 2018

Dear P.S. 307 Families and Friends:
Happy New Year. We are using the month of January to progress monitor. The school has goals for where we want our students to be at this point of the school year, in terms of mastery of standards across core subjects.
Our next round of Student-Led Conferences will be on March 15, however, we will be sending progress reports home on February 2nd. The important thing to review is whether or not your child is on track towards mastery of all grade standards by the end of June. What you will be receiving is a level for each content area, based on a 4 pt. scale. All students are assessed multiple times throughout the school year to determine their reading level. An explanation of reading levels will be attached.
We immerse ourselves heavily in student data and we use it to plan for whole group, small group, and individualized instruction. While students are encouraged to read as much as possible at their independent reading level when they are reading alone, their instructional reading level is where the teaching takes place. We want to move students through the reading levels at a pace which is consistent with what the grade level expectations are.

Upon reviewing the progress report, talk to your child about their goals. They should be able to tell you what, specifically, they are working on to improve in each area. They should also be able to tell you what successes they have had since sharing their goals with you in November. Important, as well, is that students are developing their Executive Function skills, which are instrumental to their ongoing success as a learner. According to the American Psychiatric Association: Executive function is a set of mental processes that helps us get things done. It allows us to plan and organize and to link our past experiences to the present. Executive function is sometimes described as the CEO of the brain — in charge of making sure things get done. Executive function helps people:

o Manage time
o Pay attention and switch focus
o Plan and organize
o Remember details
o Do things based on experience

As I watch my daughter go through the process of applying for college, I will tell you that the above skills are completely necessary and I hope that it pays off.
The good news is that our teachers work hard at supporting students with developing their Executive Function skills. In fact, our TC curriculum in reading and writing is heavily focused on process, as is our math, social studies, and science curriculum.
We are also planning on having a Test Preparation Academy for students in grades 3-5 who have been identified as needing additional support in English Language Arts and Mathematics, as we prep for the upcoming State Standardized exams. The sessions are on Wednesdays from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. I am not sure if we will begin on January 31st or February 7th as we are waiting for the resources to be delivered. Another message will go out with the start date and schedule.
I am happy to announce that we have additional space to conduct physical education to ensure that all students get sufficient exercise, especially during these winter months when we get snow and ice. In October we ordered mats to pad the columns in the cafeteria. The custodial staff is installing the mats this week. When planning in the fall, we were mindful to only schedule gym classes when lunch is not in session.

Finally, our 3rd annual MLK Jr. Concert, known as the Beloved Community Concert will be held this Thursday, January 25th at 9 a.m. If you have not yet had the privilege of attending this concert in years past, please make sure to save the date. Now more than ever, Dr. King’s message of peace and celebrating diversity is what our children need to be impactful future leaders who will positively contribute to society and the world. I look forward to joining you as our young performers move us.
Stephanie Carroll


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