Principal’s Monthly Message 9/9/2014
In addition to our new students, we’re pleased to announce several additions to our MES staff and faculty. Joining us this year are:
- Nancy Steimle, kindergarten
- Christopher Winslow, 3rd grade
- Lynette Neidhardt, STIP sub
- Sophie Seigmann, art and enrichment
- Susan White, library
- Maria Cortez, cafeteria
- Aleta Sanchez, prep/PE
- Jerem Pfeifer, student teacher with Ms. Rasul
- Peter Limata, student teacher with Ms. Turcitu
- Jill Akin, student teacher with Ms. Woodruff
BRUSHING UP ON THE BASICS
- Choose appropriate footwear for our multi-terrain playgrounds. Flip-flops can cause falls and stubbed toes — and don’t work well for climbing play at recess.
- Remind your children to wear tennis shoes on PE days!
- Straps on tank tops should be at least as wide as two adult fingers.
- Shorts and skirts should be no shorter than a child’s fingertips when his/her arms are hanging at their sides.
- Active girls might consider wearing bike shorts under skirts, especially if they plan to spend time upside down on the monkey bars (but this is of course optional).
- Please label ALL clothing items, lunchboxes, backpacks, etc. with your child’s first AND last name.
- We have three lost-and-found areas that you should check regularly:
- On the hallway hooks across from the girls’ bathroom in the lower building
- In the cafeteria (most abandoned lunch items will be here)
- The office (for smaller items like jewelry)
We get it: Drop-off and pick-up can be a mammoth pain in the you-know-what. But if we work together and observe common courtesy, things can go much more smoothly and safely. For the best possible experience, please remember these guidelines:
- Never send your child running across Mountain Boulevard if you pull over on the street. It’s incredibly dangerous!
- When you enter the lot for drop-off, please pull all the way forward to the back parking area. Stopping in the front parking area can cause traffic to back up into Mountain Boulevard.
- Exit the lot correctly, by driving all the way through the back parking area. This ensures the smooth flow of traffic.
- Never, ever, double park so you are blocking in another car.
- Similarly, please don’t block our neighbors’ driveways on Mountain Boulevard.
- Make sure you have a green MES sticker prominently displayed on your car. The lot is for school parking only during school hours; cars without stickers will be towed. You can pick up stickers for free in the office.
To save yourself some headaches, consider parking in a legal street spot in the neighborhood or next to Montclair Park, or on the roof deck at Lucky supermarket if you’re walking your child in. Remember not to leave packages, backpacks, and purses visible in your vehicles — school drop-off is a prime target time for smash-and-grab activity. Above all, please model courteous and safe driving and parking behavior for your kids.
CLASS SIZES AND HONING HOMEWORK
With an enrollment this year of 575 students, we’ve nonetheless managed to beat the new state standards for class size. The average class size across our 17 K-3 classes is 24.1 students (below the state standard of 24.8), while in grades 4 and 5 our average is 29 (state standard is 31).
We have also implemented some optional changes to our homework policies. Many teachers are opting in to thenew homework model, which reduces daily worksheets and assignments in favor of expanded reading requirements, challenge problems in math, and longer-term projects that require planning, organization, and sustained effort on the part of students. This research-based approach is designed to help our students develop critical thinking and an exploration mindset rather than regurgitating rote facts, and aligns with the Common Core ethos about arriving at a solution rather than simply spitting out an answer.
Our new approach is reflective of recent research that suggests we need to improve on “traditional” homework models. If you’re interested in reading more, we suggest the following links:
- Homework: An Unnecessary Evil? Surprising Findings From New Research (Washington Post): http://wapo.st/WwdOEx
- Stanford Research Shows Pitfalls of Homework (Stanford): http://stanford.io/1ndUGr1
- The Trouble With Homework (New York Times): http://nyti.ms/1lQcAA8
- The Case For and Against Homework (Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development): http://bit.ly/1eG7zU3
OUR KITCHEN IS REALLY COOKING!
- Meals are $2.50 per student (please note: it’s a $0.25 increase from last year).
- Pay in advance by giving a check to Mrs. Cortez in the cafeteria between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m.
- Reduced-price lunches are also available; for more information, please visit http://www.ousd.k12.ca.us/Page/938.
- Don’t forget to tell your kids to grab a free breakfast! Even if they aren’t hungry in the morning, they’ll have a great snack later in the day.
We’re also excited about piloting a new OUSD program in our cafeteria: a biometric ID process that will replace the photo ID lunch cards we’d been using. Please note this is NOT fingerprinting! This system measures the unique proportions of your child’s thumb and uses this data for quick, easy, and accurate ID verification. We are the only OUSD school selected to pilot this program and we’re looking forward to the benefits: faster lunch lines, no lost cards (or fees), and — most importantly — more time for your kids to eat, relax, and recharge. We think you’ll love the improvement, but please be assured that participation is optional. If you have any concerns, pleasespeak with Nancy Bloom and we will have your child continue to use the old ID card system.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS
- September 26: Family Outdoor Movie Night! Entrance is free, and concession sales will raise funds for the 5th grade field trip.
- October 10: No school for Professional Development Day
- October 18: OTTER WALK!! This is the MES community event of the year. New parents, don’t let your kids miss out! It’s a walk-a-thon, it’s a fundraiser, it’s a carnival, it’s an unbelievably great time that our students talk about for weeks to come. If you’d like to get involved, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Treasurer: John Uselman