Special Education Chairperson
Dear Parents, Guardians and Community Members,
It is with excitement that I share with you some highlights from our first 2 months of school and upcoming events. The students have been working hard and appear to have settled into a routine. As much as no one likes to admit it, we all benefit from a structured routine and consistency!
We have many students who are “filling buckets” everyday, which creates a positive school atmosphere. Please ask your child what a “Bucket Filler” is if they have not already shared this with you. Next time you are in the school, please take note of our Bucket Filler bulletin board outside of the Elementary Office. I appreciate all of the students’ positive comments and compliments each day and look forward to recognizing many more “bucket fillers” as the year progresses.
I would like to thank all of you who attended Open House on September 18th. We had an overall attendance rate of 84% for grades K-5! Involvement in your child/children’s education will have positive long-term effects on their academic success. Research indicates that students with involved parents earn higher grades and test scores, attend school regularly, have a more positive attitude about school and better social skills, have fewer behavior problems, have increased self-esteem, consistently complete their homework, and are more likely to graduate and pursue post-secondary education. I encourage parents to share goals for their children with teachers, as well as having conversations about how you would like to be involved in the school.
One of our goals at the elementary level is to recognize as many students as possible for their accomplishments. Forty minutes of the last school day of each month is dedicated to doing just that. Kindergartners through fifth graders meet in the cafeteria and are recognized for upcoming birthdays, Citizens’ of the Month, Bus Riders of the Month, the class that has collected the most “bus hands” for positive behavior, Chronicle entries, involvement in organizations/activities outside of school, participants in school related events, Star Reporters for our elementary Newspaper Club, student successes, etc. This is a wonderful opportunity for us to recognize students and remind them about the great things they are doing to make our school and community a better place!
We had some visitors in the building in October to discuss Bus Safety and Fire Safety, as October is Bus Safety and Fire Prevention Month. Thank you to one of our bus drivers, Mark Miller, for organizing presentations for Kindergartners through fifth graders. We appreciate his time and help from Stacy Tyler as well. Hartford firefighters visited our Pre-K through grade 5 students on October 24th. I hope everyone took the time to create a home fire escape plan and completed the fire safety checklist with their child/children that the firefighters provided to them. We greatly appreciate their dedication to our community and the time they volunteer, especially in teaching our youngsters about fire prevention.
I am thrilled to announce that the recent PTA fundraiser has raised enough money to provide field trips to our students again this year. Your support of the fundraiser made this possible. While we have access to museums and virtual field trips through our distance learning room, actually taking students to some of these places on a field trip cannot be replaced. PTA provides many activities and experiences for our children and they need your help. Please consider coming to PTA meetings to share your thoughts, ideas and time.
On November 20th, our K-5 students will participate in our annual Harvest Fest. We start by having breakfast together in the cafeteria, which PTA has graciously offered to pay for this year. The afternoon will include 6 different educational stations for students to rotate through. I will provide more information to parents once the stations have been finalized. This is a wonderful day of learning and the students are always so excited to participate in all of the activities - this day truly puts the fun back in learning!
Parent-Teacher Conferences are November 21st, 24th and 25th. K-8 students will be dismissed at 11:30 on those days. Mrs. Ward has provided a separate schedule for Pre-K conferences. I hope you will make every effort to attend your child/children’s scheduled conferences to learn more about their progress in meeting Common Core Standards and answer any questions you may have. All students, starting at the Pre-K level, are being required to meet higher expectations through Common Core Learning Standards. State testing includes grades 3-8, with the English Language Arts and Math testing in April. Fourth graders will take the State Science Test in May and June. It is important to realize that Pre-K, Kindergarten, grade 1 and grade 2 provide a foundation for the third grade tests. The State Education website (nysed.gov) and Engage NY (engageny.org) are great on-line resources for parents and teachers and will help you better understand what New York State is expecting of your child.
As always, I encourage communication between school and home. Please feel free to contact teachers and myself via phone, written notes or e-mail throughout the school year. Most e-mail addresses are the teacher’s first initial followed by their last name @ hartfordcsd.org (firstname.lastname@example.org). I feel confident that together we can make 2014-15 a very successful year. It is our goal to provide all students with a quality education, rich in experiences. Your support and time at home are greatly appreciated and a wonderful gift you can give your child/children. As Henry Ford once said, “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”
Bethellen C. Mannix