From The Director
Here at PCK, the 3 R’s stand for Respect, Responsibility, and Ready to Participate. They could just as easily stand for our favorite mantra: Read, Read, and Read some more! Teachers across the school can be heard encouraging students to read…to learn, to grow, and to read for pleasure. The importance of reading cannot be understated in terms of a critical life-long skill that affects and determines so much. This past Tuesday night, Mrs. Harth and our Tier-Two Intervention Manager, Mrs. Hall, presented a very informative session in our Parent Education Series called Reading 101 For Parents. If you were unable to attend this virtual session, here are some of the highlights. You can also watch a recording of the session here (please fast-forward to timestamp 3:06 to get to the beginning of the session).
- Reading is the most important skill we teach in grades K-3. Scientifically, we know that the brain is readily ‘open’ to learning to read in kindergarten through 3rd grade, but after that, windows in the brain close and it becomes more difficult to teach someone to read. Additionally, a student who can read at grade level can access all the information the teacher is teaching, and they are able to independently acquire the information they need from books and online sources. Furthermore, reading skills are so important that it’s been shown a student’s 3rd grade CMAS results have a 1:1 correspondence with 10th grade academic results. The stronger the reading skills early on, the better students do in the long run.
- We need your help to foster a LOVE of reading in our students. Learning to read is hard work, and students in the primary grades ‘work’ at it all day long. While this is critical work, we need your help at home to encourage the LOVE of reading. The more a student reads, the easier it gets, and soon they are devouring books at a rapid rate, and actually enjoying the act of reading. I like to call it learning to ‘watch a movie in the mind’ as they read. Once they can do this, they are off and running, and you will be making weekly trips to the public library or the Kindle store. Please read to your student as much as you can, and make it fun and easy to read at home by having books in all the places your kids hang out.
- WIN Groups. Reading is a complex skill that, like any skill, requires consistent practice. Students are assigned to WIN (What I Need) groups in order to practice a specific reading sub-skill (decoding, fluency, comprehension, etc.). Everyone in the WIN group is working on strengthening the same reading sub-skill. The WIN groups are fluid, which is why they change periodically, and students may enter, change, or exit a group once they have accomplished the sub-skill being taught. Teachers and Tier-Two Interventionists lead the individual WIN groups, and all WIN group teachers use research-based programs to develop the necessary skills and strategies. In addition to WIN groups, we also have Guided Reading groups for students who just need to practice reading, and other comprehension groups are formed to work specifically on reading strategies and vocabulary. Learning to read really is hard work!
If you would like more information about what you can do at home to help your child with reading, please make a note to discuss your questions/concerns with your child’s teacher during our February conferences. Teachers are a wealth of knowledge and resources, and they will happily assist you by suggesting at-home strategies or activities you can easily implement. As we all learned so long, long ago…practice makes perfect! Applied to reading, that means learning to love watching incredible ‘movies in your mind.’ This is our reading goal for every PCK student.
Off to read a good book…
Don’t Miss Your Chance To Order A Yearbook
The last day to order a yearbook for your student is March 15. Yearbooks were automatically ordered for all students in the past, but this year each family must place their own order. Yearbooks are $19.65 plus tax, and can be ordered here.
Snacks = Happy Testers
CMAS testing can work up quite an appetite, and our students love getting special snacks during test week. This year we will start testing after spring break, so it is time to start collecting snacks to feed our hungry students. If you can donate snacks, please sign up here. Thanks in advance for your help!
We’re Jumping For Healthy Hearts
Our annual Kids Heart Challenge, sponsored by the American Heart Association, will soon be kicking off in PE. Please register your student for this fun jump rope competition that encourages a heart-healthy lifestyle. Any student who completes “Finn’s Mission” at www.heart.org/KHC or on the Kids Heart Challenge app will get their name in a drawing for a mystery prize. This is always a fun event for our students, so please register your student either on the Kids Heart Challenge website or via the app.
A Chance To Say Goodbye
As we prepare to say goodbye to Mrs. Aplin when she retires at the end of the school year, we are cooking up several fun ways to recognize and thank her for all she has done for PCK in her 19 years as our School Director. If you and/or your student would like to give her a card, share a special memory, post a picture, or otherwise share your appreciation for her, please drop it off at the front desk of the school. We will be making a special bulletin board commemorating her service and all we have accomplished under her leadership. You can bring things any time as we will be adding to the board throughout the semester.
Connecting With Character
This week in Character Coaching, students are learning about compassion and how to be kind when someone feels differently about a situation than you do. The following Home Links will give you a glimpse of what your student is learning in Character Coaching, and will help reinforce the lessons at home. They do not need to be signed or returned to school.
A Note From The Foundation at PCK
Postcards went out this week and we are thrilled with your response and support of all the wonderful programs PCK offers! We have currently raised over $27,000 through this fundraiser, which ends January 31st.
On behalf of the Foundation, we would like to sincerely thank the following families for their generous donations to the Annual Giving Campaign:
Scan Your Box Tops and Send In Your Milk Caps
Our PTA has two very easy ways to raise money for the events they hold to support our community and our teachers. If you drink milk from Longmont Dairy, please send in your clean bottle caps for the Milk Caps For Moola program. There is a collection box near the front office at PCK, and we earn 10 cents per cap.
You can also scan Box Tops and easily earn money for the school! Simply download the Box Tops For Education app, look up our school by the name Core Knowledge Charter School, and scan your box tops.
Thanks for supporting our PTA!
Help Your Teen or Tween Get Organized
On January 25 and February 5, DCSD is sponsoring a class for parents on family organization, including how to help teens and tweens manage homework. Get more details on what the class covers and register here.
News From Our Littlest Learners
Though it’s cold outside and patches of our playground are still covered in snow, we love visiting our Outdoor Classroom on these fun winter days. Our Outdoor Classroom was built a few years ago with the help of Tricia Calandra, Dave and Bre Lewis, Corey and Danae Jackson, Marian Kreul, the Thomas Family, and many others. This beautiful space features a sensory path for children to traverse as they practice their gross motor skills. Students can create art on the big chalkboard, make music in the sound garden, and use their imaginations in the kitchen. There are raised beds for each classroom where we grow vegetables every year. You may have seen our corn get taller from the summer into fall the last two school years, as well as peas, carrots, radishes, and watermelons. If you haven’t checked it out, take a moment to come see this magical place.
Three Cheers For School Choice
Next week is National School Choice Week. As a school of choice, we appreciate everyone who works hard to ensure families can select the right school for their children, and we are grateful you chose PCK!
Thank You To Our Safety Dads
Thank you to Clint Morgan for being this week’s Safety Dad. We are so grateful to you for spending the day with us. We appreciate you more than you know.
We have lots of openings for Safety Dads this semester. Feel free to sign up for multiple shifts! Get more information and sign up to volunteer here.
Did You Know These Facts?
Thank you to Mike Mockus for creating this PCK Fast Facts sheet for us. Check it out for at-a-glance facts about our school.
Thank you to the Langton family for the fabulous muffins our staff enjoyed throughout the week. They were a big hit!