Thursday, December 15, 2016

HAPPY NEW YEAR!



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Happy New Year to you all.
Enjoy the winter vacation! We know we will as we spend time with our families and our friends!

Suggestions for the winter break:
  *Spend a day in your jammies watching old movies with your children and playing board games!
  *Bake a favorite family recipe
  *Cook a favorite meal
  *Go for long walks
  *Build snowmen
  READ
   READ
     READ

*At some point, put your cell phones and computers away!  We will also try doing this!

*Do an Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math Project (STEAM)- more about that in the January 6th blog!
*Journal about your winter adventures
*SLEEP IN!
*Listen to music
*ENJOY, ENJOY, ENJOY!  and RELAX!




Friday, December 9, 2016

December Worthy Wildcats

Congrats to the following students who demonstrated Kind, Safe and Responsible behaviors this month!  They were nominated by our students/staff and then selected by students from the "Caught Being Good" committee facilitated by Mrs. Cooke.  Well done, Wildcats!

Cindy X.

Jenna S. 

Jose G. 

Lalitha R. 

Matt A. 
Mia P.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

ABC/25 Foundations Grants Approved for Windsor School



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Thanks to ABC/25 Foundation, Windsor was awarded 8 Karen Wessel Barr grants this school year. We are delighted that these grants were seen as innovative, creative and supporting the mission of ABC25. In addition, and most important, the materials and ideas will help our students to grow in school! We thank all of you that have joined ABC/25 as your membership help fund these grants that ultimately benefit our Windsor Wildcats! Did you know that ABC stands for A Better Community for District 25? ABC/25 has been a Foundation since 1991. Each year, it grows in its membership. Look for the Windsor School ABC/25 Drawing information to come out when we return to school in January. The drawing will have some new items on it this year and we are excited to share all the information with you. The drawing benefits the ABC/25 Scholarship and Grants Programs.

Here is the list of the grants that were funded this school year.





Legos for Learning- these will be used to teach, reinforce and assess throughout the primary grades and the curriculum. After learning about story elements during literacy, students will be able to design the setting of story. The Legos can also be used in math to understand attributes, fractions, adding on and more.

In Kindergarten, teachers received toobaloos. These look like elbow piping and help students hear themselves read softly aloud. They will use magnet erase boards to help work on writing during word work.

In music, the children will "travel" to Africa and having different opportunities to perform at each grade level as they work together.

The Predictive Early Assessment of Reading and Language (PEARL) is a universal screener for decoding and language skills for Kindergarten. Story Champs has a multi-tiered language curriculum that targets improving students in the development of story structure and language.

The students will enjoy learning how to use the new 3D printer in the LMC as they will need to problem solve to bring their ideas to life!

Fourth grade students will get to "STEAM" it up with their exploring of Rasberry Pi as they will learning about computer science as they utilize small, inexpensive computers that teach basic coding and programming. This help assist our children in being future ready thinkers.

Third graders at all reading levels will use Non-Fiction and Fiction Short Reads to help them practice their reading strategies and critical thinking skills.

Our Spanish dominant English Learners will benefit from new books in Spanish that explore our content studies like the Revolutionary War and the Symbols of the USA.

We look forward to getting all of these materials ordered and to begin to use them throughout our school day!

The Season of Giving!


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As we approach this holiday season, it is a great time to reflect on how fortunate we are for all we have.  No matter what holiday you celebrate, it is apparent all around us by the hustle and bustle.

This is also a good time to think of those who are less fortunate.  Many children have already spent time looking through toy catalogs, writing out wish lists, and telling their family and friends what they want this holiday season.  Wouldn’t this be a good time to also teach our children about the importance of giving?  Could we spend some time with our children volunteering our time to those in need?  What great lessons we can teach our children, so that as they write out those lists, not only are they enjoying their own holiday season, but also considering others to help make their holiday just as wonderful.

Volunteer opportunities in our area can be found:



Friday, November 18, 2016

Thanksgiving And Parent Teacher Conferences!







Every year at this time, I write about Thanksgiving. It is for certain my favorite holiday, and time of the year. It is a time for family and friends. It is a time to laugh, and sometimes cry!  It is a time to be grateful for all the wonderful things in our lives, past and present, and to reflect about something what we might need to persist through.  Dr. Bein had the administrators think and share with each other things we are grateful for and something that we need to push through. It was a great exercise and we all enjoyed it. In fact, it was even cathartic! I encourage you all to think about that as well! I am grateful for much. My health, my family, my friends and all the people in my life from Windsor School- the children, the staff and the parents as well as across the District.  It give me great joy to work here. It gives me a deep feeling of pride as I watch the students grow over their time here. I enjoy the relationships and the fun. I literally learn something every day- whether it is something I could have done better or differently, or something that your children teach me.  Being the proud principal of Windsor is something for which I am truly grateful. I hope you enjoy your families/friends next week. If you are traveling, be safe and if you are hosting- make sure you take some time to enjoy! I hope to make new memories having that little grandson with us (who is just crawling as of Thursday) to enjoy the festivities for the first time as I host 20 family members and friends! Happy Thanksgiving!        
                                                       

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Parent Teacher Conferences- We so look forward to spending time with parents to go over the progress your children have made since late August.  The time is flying by and we have so much to share. Our teachers have worked very hard preparing the progress reports and, additionally for conferences. We welcome you to ask questions and share your thoughts!

Some tips for you all:

• The 20 minutes go fast! If you have questions after reading through the progress reports, write them down so you can remember  your thoughts.

•Ask the teacher about your child's strengths and areas for improvement or challenge areas. Ask how we are differentiating curriculum. Ask how we are intervening to assist in the areas that need improving.

•Ask about your child's social-emotional-behavior in the classroom, at lunch and at recess.

•Ask if there are ways you can support  your child's learning at home.

•Share your thoughts on how your child can demonstrate leadership at Windsor.

•Share something we may not know about your child. We will help to promote those interests!

•If you think of other questions or thoughts after you have returned home, certainly feel free to email the teachers!


Friday, November 11, 2016

Grading and Progress Reporting


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The teachers and staff of AHSD25 had the privilege of working with Dr. Thomas Guskey on Tuesday. The topic was grading and progress reporting.  It was an interesting morning as he shared with us the importance of the purpose of grading and progress reporting. How we grade, what we grade and why we grade? The progress report is used as a communication tool with our parents, so we all need to be clear and on the same page.

As the AHSD 25 staff was "polled", we could not agree on the purpose of grading.  We also could not all agree on what elements of our work that we use to give a grade.  It was really quite fascinating. The positives and shortcomings of different grading systems was discussed.  Our district is currently working on defining this for all of us via committee work.

Dr. Guskey's conversation with us talked about the importance of how our students learn from feedback, but all learning may not be truly reflected in the grades that they get. We often hear from our students, "Will this be graded?" When what they should be asking is, What will I learn about and how can I demonstrate what I learned?" Our students hopefully are saying, "I am so excited to be learning about... ?"

Another area for all of us to think about is the student skills:  effort, persistence, study skills, etc. These are the skills that help all of our students become successful in school and life.

If we asked you as parents, how you feel about letter grades, what would you say?  If we asked you how you feel about percentage grades, what would you say?  If we asked you about the value of the comments the teacher's write, what would you say? So much of this dialogue reflects how we were taught!  How did we respond to receiving grades?  What did our parents think about report cards?  As we talk more about Standards Based Grade/Reporting in AHSD25, we will continue our conversation with you!

As we approach progress reports coming home next Friday and parent- teacher conferences, there are important questions to ask the teachers. Next week's blog will be about some ideas for you to think about as you meet your child's teacher to talk about their progress.



Thursday, November 10, 2016

Post Election Day 2016


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Yesterday was a bit of a tough day at Windsor regardless of how you feel about the election results or how you voted. We had upset and tearful students who arrived at school in the morning.  Some students worried that they would be forced to move. We had students who said hurtful things to their peers.  In our community, we have families who fear that they will need to move. We have families worried that they will lose their health care. Others are concerned that their children heard language or saw behavior on television that was mean, insulting and divisive for our community and our country, and they don't know how to talk about it. 

Our primary concern at school is to keep our children safe. We do not accept bigotry, racism or any form of discrimination. We highly value the diversity at Windsor. Our job is to protect our children from hurtful words and/or actions. 

As we try to pull together as a country, we encourage everyone in the Windsor community to model appropriate and expected behavior. Students overhear everything we say and what we do, even when we think they are not listening or watching. Children repeat things that are said at home. Everyone knows that words hurt and cannot be taken back while they may fade in our minds. 

We will support all our families the best we can.  We will assist as possible. We will continue to enjoy each other in all that we do. We will continue to educate our children about empathy, and finding the best in each other. We have wonderful and caring families at Windsor. I am proud and very thankful to be part of this community that cares deeply for all of our children.
 
As I told the students yesterday on Windsor TV, we all need to be kind, safe and responsible in our Windsor community for everyone here is important to us!   Let's renew our efforts to show all our children that they are safe and loved at Windsor School.