Falcon Flyer, Volume 3, Issue 4

Ms. Breidenbach’s Thursday Note

During early release time on September 28th teachers looked at student work to identify students needing academic support in addition to core classroom instruction. To meet these needs, classroom teachers offer small group instruction, and special education or ELL staff often provide extra help. We are also able to provide intervention reading support for about 35 students. I would love to be able to double this number, but we simply do not have the money. Discretionary funds are allocated according to the percentage of students receiving free or reduced lunch, which for FPE is about 13%. I would also love to be able to provide additional math support from a math specialist but lack of budget prevents this. While DreamBox is certainly not perfect, it does help address gaps in students’ math skills. DreamBox also offers acceleration opportunities.

I would strongly suggest a luggage tag for backpacks of children participating in after school activities. It’s tricky for students to remember which day(s) they stay for clubs, which day(s) they go on the bus, and which day(s) they get picked up. It’s almost impossible for teachers to keep track of these comings and goings. The luggage tag method works!

Our nurse is in the process of conducting vision and hearing tests for all students in grades 1-5. She’ll be contacting parents if follow-up testing by outside vision or hearing specialists is recommended. Kindergarteners will be screened later in the year.

Classroom based reading level assessments will be slightly different this year for students reading one year or more above grade level standards. We’ll be working with these students on their depth of understanding rather than acceleration. I’m afraid we have many students far more interested in getting to level Z rather than becoming skilled readers across all genres.

I’m pleased that many of our new families have no idea that we have a special program for students needing an accelerated curriculum (the Highly Capable Cohort or HCC). This reflects deep commitment to creating a school environment that supports all students without emphasizing labels. You won’t notice any rooms with HCC signs, nor will you hear much staff chatter about the HCC label. A fifth grader is a fifth grader. It’s not important to label children as English Language Learners (ELL), special education students, or HCC. We strive to give all students what they need rather than giving all students the same services. We are considered an option HCC school as we run our program very differently from the formal pathway HCC programs. FPE’s model for highly capable students is a flexible one. We blend students from other programs into HCC classrooms when needed and particularly in the area of math.

Are you interested in HCC for your child? You must complete the online form by end of business tomorrow (October 6th) if you want your child tested for 2017-2018 program access. To access the sign up form, first visit The Source and create a free account.

Please be sure to call the office to alert Lori or Kathy if your child is going to miss school due to illness. Our state laws require that we make contact with families when a child is absent.

We have a school tradition of celebrating Book-O-Ween on October 31st. Students are invited to dress up as a favorite book character. Students not dressing up as a book character should wear their regular school clothing. Participation is totally optional. I strongly urge you to spend little or no money on your child’s outfit. Last year I was Charlotte from Charlotte’s Web. I wore all black and used a $5 foam piece to create a web pullover. It was a simple costume that reflected Charlotte’s character. Blood, gore, or weapons should not be part of the costume. Elementary school activities should always receive a “G” rating!

We’ve had glorious weather during the month of September but winter is coming! Please remove the rain jackets from the closets to ensure that they still fit your children. We go outside for recesses unless it’s a major downpour so please send students to school with the appropriate weather clothing.
I would encourage all families to adopt a family reading practice before bedtime. It’s not surprising that my most highly skilled readers always have a book in their hands before falling asleep. Practice makes progress!

Enrichment Update

Enrichment classes are in full swing! A reminder that Ropeworks has a delayed start on 10/21/2016. If you have any classes you’d like to see after school at FPE in the winter or spring sessions, please let us know!

We are working to bring an organization called Girls on the Run to FPE this spring and we need another volunteer coach to make it happen. No experience required! Please email [email protected] very soon for more information.

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