From The Vice-Director
In last week’s newsletter, we talked about the importance of having data to guide the education of our students. We do not want “invisible” children, those we cannot clearly see because they have not been assessed. We want to clearly see what our students need, and be able to plan for those needs.
We use student data in so many ways, all aimed at fine-tuning and improving your child’s educational program:
- Through Dibels we get to know your student as a reader. Do they know all their letters and the sounds they make? Can they blend them to say a word or part of a word? Are they reading fast enough to make sense of the text? Do they understand all the words they read? We analyze Dibels data a minimum of three times per year, and for many students, every 10 days, to ensure they are receiving the instruction they need every single day. Dibels data allows us to form student groups (both large and small), and select programs that target your student’s specific needs, from letter naming to Junior Great Books.
This year our 1st graders and 2nd graders in particular have needed extra care and support to make up for the period of time when we needed to quarantine in the spring of the 19-20 school year. The two and a half months we lost due to remote learning were critical months when we would have been cementing reading skills in the classroom. We see the impact of that loss, but we are so grateful to the parents who shouldered a large part of reading instruction during quarantine; we would be nowhere near the finish line without your help and support. This school year, our job is not yet finished as we have four important months left on the calendar and we plan to use every moment!
- MAPS allows us to see your child’s growth in math and language arts, and science in 5th and 8th grades. Are they learning at the same pace as their peers? Faster? Slower? Are there concepts they need more help with? Are there concepts they know so well we need to “level-up?” It could be your student is at the cusp of being advanced — how can we give them a push? It could be that your student is growing slower than his peers — what can we do to change this? Teachers know the academic needs of every single one of the kids in their class because they have had the opportunity to look at their data and ponder what they need.
This year we suspected we would find weaker areas in math knowledge stemming from last year’s remote learning period. MAPS confirmed that this was indeed the case and we prepared. We are now seeing the gaps more clearly, and in some of our intermediate grades we are filling those gaps by reteaching and reviewing last year’s content.
The Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS), which did not take place last year, is scheduled to take place this year in April. CMAS tests are not tailored to each child and do not measure growth, they are simply a list of questions or problems a student in a particular grade needs to be able to do, know, or solve. If this was a race, the CMAS would be the finish line. We want each and every one of our students to make it to that finish line; they deserve to win that race. We feel pride and satisfaction when our students “Meet Expectations” because we know their academic future is safe: they have learned what they need to know to succeed in the next level of their education, and eventually, all doors will open for them.
At the macro level, CMAS allows us to understand weaknesses and strengths in our program. Do our students know enough about poetry? Surface areas? Potential and kinetic energy? We need to know how we can improve, as we have our future engineers, doctors, scientists, writers, teachers, and possibly even presidents in our school today.
The additional inservice day in May that the PCK Board recently granted us will allow our teachers to review all of our year-end data in order to inform our summer programs, as well as the teacher your child will have next year. Last week Mrs. Aplin mentioned that we do not like shooting darts in the dark, and our May inservice day will allow us to look at your child’s data and know how close we are to hitting the bull’s eye this year and into next. No invisible children at PCK.
Parent-Teacher Conferences Mean Early Dismissals
If you haven’t already, make sure you sign up for parent-teacher conferences next Tuesday and Wednesday. Students are dismissed early these two days. If you normally pick up your student in the 3:10 carpool window, please pick up between 12:10 – 12:20 next Tuesday and Wednesday. Those who typically use the 3:20 window will pick up starting at 12:20, and the 3:30 window will open at 12:30. If you are unable to pick your student up early, please contact Vinny Ortega about using our Core Care Club.
Please note: lunch is not served on early dismissal days. Please send a hearty snack if your child will need one.
Mark Your Calendar
The PCK Board approved an extra teacher in-service day on Friday, May 14 to allow teachers additional time to review testing data and make plans for next year using this information. Students will not have school on this day. Enjoy the day off!
News From The PTA
Our February Spirit Night is Thursday, February 25th from 3:00-6:00pm at Berry Blendz Mainstreet, in the Safeway shopping center. Twenty percent of net sales will be donated to PCK! Please click here for more details.
Everyone is welcome at PTA meetings!
The PTA will now be meeting on Wednesday evenings. The last two meetings of this school year will be on March 10 and May 12.
Google Classroom and Infinite Campus for Parents
You’ve no doubt heard your student talk about Google Classroom, and when your child learned remotely this year you probably saw it. But are you comfortable helping your child navigate this virtual space? Do you know where your child needs to go to find assignments and turn them in? How do you know if your student is missing an assignment? When should you check Google Classroom and when should you log into Infinite Campus? At PCK, we use both Google Classroom and Infinite Campus, but they serve different purposes. Join us at 6:30pm on Thursday, February 25 for a virtual parent education session on the ins and outs of these tools and how parents can use them to keep track of their students’ progress. This session will be led by Drew Robbins, one of our middle school math teachers who has also taught 5th grade and technology at PCK.
Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org to receive the Google Meet link. You will need to log in with your student’s PCK account in order to access the meeting. This is the same login you will use for parent-teacher conferences.
No Parking At Joy Lutheran
Please do not wait for afternoon carpool in the parking lot of Joy Lutheran Church. Not only is their parking lot private property, but their preschool is in session and it makes their teachers and parents uncomfortable when their students are outside at recess and strangers are sitting in cars in the parking lot. We have reports from their staff of parents in cars with PCK stickers arriving as early as 2:30pm to wait in their parking lot! As we have asked before, do not come early to afternoon carpool. Please do not sit in the Joy Lutheran parking lot, the PCK parking lot, or the carpool line. Thank you for your help.
Connecting With Character
This week in Character Coaching, our students are learning about feelings and managing strong emotions. 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.
PCK Basketball is Back!
We are thrilled our our students athletes are able to have a basketball season this year! There are several changes due to health protocols, but we are thankful they get to play. You can see their game schedule 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!
News From Our Littlest Learners
Parent-teacher conferences are coming up for the big school, however our preschool conferences are scheduled for April. The same thing happened last fall as our preschool and junior kindergarten fall conferences were Thanksgiving week. You may be wondering why preschool parent-teacher conferences aren’t held at the same time as our elementary/middle school. Over the years, we’ve determined that it’s best for us to conference toward the end of the semester rather than the beginning or the middle so we can really get to know our students. Little ones will sometimes hold back when they don’t know someone. The more time we have with our students in class, the better data we gather through assessments. Enjoy your conferences next week for your elementary or middle school students. For those of you with preschoolers, we’re excited to conference with you in April!
Thank You To Our Safety Dads
Thank you to Chris Allen, Nathan Gandolph, and Charlie Miller for being this week’s Safety Dads. It was great having you here and we are so thankful you took the time to help be an extra set of eyes keeping us all safe.
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.