March message from the principal

Dear P.S. 307 Families and Friends:

While I did not go anywhere for mid-winter break, I did find time to relax and even came in to the school for a couple of days. I admit that quiet and minimal distractions allowed me to be extremely productive. But, there is nothing like hearing the hustle and bustle of children so by the end of the week, I was eager to hear and see happy students on Monday morning. One thing I always appreciate about being in a school, especially an elementary school, is that when we have these brief vacations, students always greet us as though it has been months. That enthusiasm is amazing and contagious, and oh, how lucky we are.

As you are aware, prior to the break, a horrible act of violence once again struck a school and 17 innocent lives were lost. This weighed heavily on me during the break, as it probably did for you. Educators always feel obliged to explain things, but in this case, it is incomprehensible. Of course, I thought about our students, our staff and our families. While it is unfortunate, and not the world I remember as a grade school student, it is my job as Principal to ensure that we do everything to minimize our vulnerability to these types of unimaginable events. I want you to know that the school prioritizes safety. We work closely with our Borough Safety Director and strictly follow all Emergency Response Protocols. Our Building Response Team/ Safety Team meets regularly to review protocols, discuss safety issues and ensure that we, as a whole school, are ready to respond to any emergency. We conduct regular drills with students, reviewing with them the importance of the protocols, while assuring them that we are here to make them safe. Staff members receive training on various types of emergency responses. An additional move we are making in order to further ensure our safety is to limit the number of open entrances to the building during arrival. Beginning Tuesday, March 6th, all students arriving prior to 8:00 a.m. must use the cafeteria entrance on Front Street. Our main entrance will be locked until 7:55 a.m. and we will be positioning our Safety Agent at the cafeteria entrance as students will be coming in for breakfast. Once breakfast ends, (7:55 a.m.) we will lock the cafeteria entrance and open our main entrance doors. While I realize that this may be an inconvenience for some, the safety of our students, staff, and families cancels out any inconvenience. An additional notice will go out on Monday to remind you of this change and I thank you in advance for your cooperation.

On a more upbeat note, a lot of great things are happening at P.S. 307. For the remainder of the year we are focusing on moving our students beyond meeting their grade level standards and we are asking the question: How can I deliberately teach into the next grade level to ensure that my students can excel at meeting the next grade level standards quicker? This approach, will lead to accelerated learning over time and result in students eventually performing above grade level. Worrying about a state test, will be a thing of the past. The good news is that our curriculum already lends itself to this, particularly our Teachers College Reading and Writing curriculum, as well as our Go Math curriculum. For example, our first grade team has exposed students to the use of quotation marks when writing in dialogue. Using quotation marks is a 2nd grade skill. In Opinion writing, 1st graders are required to share one reason to support their opinion, however, our 1st grade team encourage students to share 2 reasons if they are ready. So while some students may not be ready, they are exposed nonetheless and when they get to 2nd grade, the ability to recognize and utilize the skills is maximized.

Student-Led conferences are on March 15th from 12:20 – 2:20 p.m. and from 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. The students will be presenting key pieces from their portfolios that illustrate their progress and mastery across various subjects. We believe in this practice because it puts the students in the driver’s seat. Ownership of learning is critical to life-long learning.Please make sure to attend the conference because the children are extremely excited, maybe even a little nervous (good nervous), to share with their families. If, for whatever reason, you cannot attend on March 15th, please make every effort to schedule an alternate time with your child’s teacher.

Lastly, I will be co-facilitating an information session on Prepping for the NYS ELA and Math Exam. This session is open to all families in grades 2-5. I hope to see as many families present on March 21st at 2:30 p.m. or on March 28th at 5 p.m. On this rainy nor’easter day, I wish you all a fabulous month. It has definitely come in like a lion. Hopefully, it will go out like a lamb.

Stephanie Carroll


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