Thursday, January 5, 2012

Great things are happening...

...at the girls' new school. (I just realized I didn't take their picture on the first day of school here.)

With our move, the girls changed schools. They started in mid-November and have been loving it! I thought I'd share some of the cool new things they do. Some of these may be standard around the district, others might be just here. I don't have any previous experience in this school district, so I don't know. Here are some of the great things we've enjoyed. The school is brand new this year and they also went straight into the Common Core Curriculum that most Utah schools are starting next year.

- Staggered start. Half of each class starts school at 8:00 (early birds) and leaves at 2:15, the other half comes at 9:15 (later gators) and leaves at 3:30. The time when the smaller groups are there is when they concentrate on reading instruction. The small groups give the teachers & students more one-on-one time.

- The Christmas sing-in was very welcoming to parents. There were 100s of parents there & the principal welcomed us and even said that because of such great response, we might have to break it into two days next year.

- School shirts. I have wanted this for years. That's all I'll say here.

-They have little red flags that they put out on the side of the building on very cold mornings to let the kids know they can go directly inside, rather than wait out on the playground.

-They have lunch recess the 15 minutes BEFORE feeding the kids. No one dumps half of their food so they can go play sooner. They come in hungry & ready to eat.

-Aubrey's only homework every night is reading and one math activity that she chooses from a list from the teacher. One activity we have done: Learn about fractions by helping prepare a recipe.

-Part of Aubrey's reading is the Take Home Library books. Real stories about real things. No more Decodables!!

-Instead of class Christmas parties, the 4th graders collected items for babies & new moms. They wrapped the gifts & tied fleece blankets during the "party."

-They have fortune cookies with lunch every Monday. How fun is that! Great literacy moment.

- Every Friday is Spirit day where they encourage the kids to participate by wearing school colors.

-There is a high expectation for student performance (not behavior) and achievement. The principal's main concern when they had pajama day was that the he didn't want kids to think it was ok to dress sloppily on other days.

-They are open to trying new things, probably because there isn't the "way we've always done it" since it is a brand new school.

-The parents, PTA and administration work together so well. There is a ton of parental involvement and the principal is very involved and open. He's great!

-Every Monday there is an announcement assembly where the whole school comes together to hear the week's announcements, Caught-ya's (recognizing good work by kids), sing to the birthday kids, etc.

-Wednesday folders- all notes & fliers come home Wednesdays so you know when to look for important announcements.

We are loving it here and the great school has made the transition easier for the kids. I am glad to be involved in the PTA here and helping at the school. This has been a great move for our family!

3 comments:

This Place is a Disaster! said...

Sounds fantastic!
What is a decodable?
I wish we could do recess before lunch too. I am apauled at how much they let the kids throw away everyday. When I was young you couldn't leave until you had eaten "enough"

Corrine said...

A decodable is a paper book that the kids had to read every night- ala Dick & Jane stories, only with less plot & let entertainment. It was basically full of words that needed to be practiced but were so lame that they were torture. Even some teachers openly admitted their dislike for the dumb things.

Jill said...

We got to open a new elementary school here a few years ago and we have many of the same things going as your school. I have LOVED it! It is refreshing to get to start new and not do things a certain way just because that's the way it's always been done. The only thing that met resistance was we are a Gold Medal school, so no treat...no birthday treats, etc. We are encouraged to give a book to the library to celebrate our child's birthday. Now that we are a couple of years into it, it's really nice! So glad you are loving your new home town!

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