I am overflowing with excitement about the opportunities for your children and our school community as the 2019-2020 school year approaches. With planning nearly complete, I would like to provide you a summary of the elementary level, and what you can plan to see in the upcoming school year. I look forward to seeing all of you on the evening of Thursday, August 29 for Open House.
Curriculum & Instruction:
We have worked hard to update our elementary curriculum over the past 6 years. We currently use Math Expressions for our math curriculum, Lucy Calkins Reader’s and Writer’s Workshop for English Language Arts, Project Lead The Way (PLTW) in science, Weekly Gospels in religion and TCI for social studies.
- Math Expressions is about looking beyond numbers to understand how and why they work and using thoughtful strategies and approach to solving problems.
- Reader’s and Writer’s Workshop helps teachers address each child’s individual learning needs, while teaching strategies students will learn to use outside the workshop. This workshop also supports small-group work by learning as a community to bring all students together.
- PLTW program empowers students to adopt a design-thinking mindset through compelling activities, projects and problems that build upon each other and relate to the world around them. As students engage in hands-on activities in computer science, engineering and biomedical science, they become creative and collaborative problem solvers ready to take on any challenge.
- Gospel Weeklies are a great way to understand the readings before or after Mass for the week. Along with getting to learn about Bible stories, this resource provides current stories for compare and contrast learning. Gospel Weeklies studies saints, prayer life, and tradition within the Church. They have great online resources for families and school.
- TCI programs bring learning alive and achieve consistent and positive classroom results. TCI’s curriculum has been specially curated to meet standards, create engagements in lessons and help students better understand the content through hands-on and experiential exercises.
The elementary level uses the state’s Forward exam for all students in grades 3 – 5. We’ll be using MAP (Measures of Academic Progress) testing for all students in grades 2 – 8. These two assessments will provide teachers with data necessary to evaluate student progress and adjust instruction to meet the individual needs of the student (in real time) and for administrators to gauge necessary curricular adjustments to ensure students are achieving at a high level. This data is important to evaluate all students who need added support, are at grade level or those ready for advanced curriculum.
Cohesion of Faculty/Staff:
Over the course of the last three years, I’ve been blessed to lead and work alongside the very best community of teachers. Each of them is special to SMSA and bring their talent, faith, knowledge, positive energy and love to school. Our focus has been on consistency at each grade level including learning strategies, grading and planning.
A personal “shout out” to my fabulous teaching team, “Keep up your outstanding work and positive energy as we continue our growth mindset for everyone in the building!”
Student Services Department:
The Student Services department has been evolving in great ways. This four person elementary team (Mrs. Zangl, Mrs. Driedric, Mrs. Sawicki and Mrs. Saunders) are focused on intervention and enrichment strategies for students, both in and out of the classroom. As a team, we continue to research and implement ways to reach every student at SMSA.
Ms. Anderson and Ms. Fictum are our school counselors. They do an incredible job reaching our students, offering them growth and development opportunities as a whole as well as individualized sessions as needed. They will be helping us move towards a positive behavior intervention system this 2019-2020 school year.
Culture & Community:
The teachers and I are working together to continue to use the language of Love and Logic while incorporating our Core Values, “The Ledger Way” with students both in and out of the classroom. You will detect a Love and Logic poster along with a Core Value poster hanging on the wall inside each classroom. Our Core Values are Faith, Learning, Respect, Leadership, Community and Responsibility. I can’t wait to see these actions by all who enter the building!
Love and Logic posters state the following messages:
- I will treat you with respect, so you will know how to treat me.
- Feel free to do anything that doesn’t cause a problem for anyone else in the room.
- If you cause a problem, I’ll ask you to solve it.
- If you can’t solve the problem, or choose not to, I will do something.
- What I do, will depend on the special person, and the special situation.
- If you feel something is unfair, whisper to me “I’m not sure that’s fair, “ and we will talk.
Feel free to hang these sentences in your home somewhere and help your child/children know the language they will be hearing. As I share with my faculty and staff, “Practice does not make perfect, practice makes permanent.”
We are excited about the direction of SMSA and our partnership. Together, we can support our school mission to further benefit children in their educational journey.
P3 – Grade 5 SMSA Principal
Stay tuned for a message from our Middle/High School Principal, Eamonn O’Keeffe in our next summer edition.