9/13/2013 – Monthly Message from Principal Bloom

Sep 5, 2013 by

9/13/2013 – Monthly Message from Principal Bloom

Welcome to the 2013-2014 school year!  We are off to a fabulous start.  It is wonderful to see all of the familiar faces, to welcome new families, and to enjoy the long-anticipated new building!  (See below for an update on the construction.)

BACK-TO-SCHOOL NIGHTS:  SEPTEMBER 10 AND 12 (ADULTS ONLY, PLEASE)

  • September 10, 6:00-7:30:  Back-to-School Night for grades K, 1 and 2.    Parents and guardians of children in grades K and 1 will meet at 6:00 in your child’s classroom.  At 7:00 you will move to the Ottertorium, where Principal Bloom will speak.  Parents of children in grade 2 will begin in the Ottertorium at 6:00 and move to the classrooms at 6:30.  (Note that going forward, events for K-2 only will generally be held in the Ottertorium.  Events for grades 3-5 or for the entire school will be held in the Multipurpose Room.)
  • September 12, 6:00-7:30:  Back-to-School Night for grades 3, 4 and 5.  Parents and guardians of children in grades 3 and 4 will meet at 6:00 in your child’s classroom.  At 7:00 you will move to the Multipurpose Room, where Principal Bloom will speak.  Parents of children in grade 5 will begin in the Multipurpose Room at 6:00 and move to the classrooms at 6:30.

o   Teachers are aware that parents or guardians may have children in more than one grade, and that this schedule may require them to divide their time between classrooms.  And, although Nancy Bloom’s talks are grade-level specific, we strongly encourage all of you to attend at least one talk with Nancy Bloom.

When you show up at school events, you send a message to your child that his or her education is important.  Please come and find out about ways to get involved in the school.  There are many volunteer opportunities to fit every schedule, so please come!  Meet your child’s teacher, find out how to take an active role in your child’s education, and learn about important dates for the year.  We hope to see you there!

VOLUNTEERING IN YOUR CHILD’S CLASSROM

If you want to get involved in your child’s classroom, there are three volunteer orientations coming up.  There have been OUSD policy changes, so even if you attended last year’s orientation session, you will be required to attend one of the three orientations this year.  (See dates below.)  Look for more details via email and in the weekly Green Folders.

  • Volunteer Orientation #1 – Tuesday, 9/17, 8:40-9:40am
  • Volunteer Orientation #2 – Tuesday, 9/24, 6-7pm
  • Volunteer Orientation #3 – Wednesday, 9/25, 8:40-9:40am

PTA MEETINGS

PTA meetings will be the second or third Wednesday of each month.  The first meeting of the year will be on September 18.  Presenters will give updates on the new building, the new kitchen, and Common Core Standards.

PARENT-TEACHER CONFERENCES

Parent-teacher conferences will begin in early October.  Please note that we will have minimum days on October 8, 9 and 10 to facilitate these conferences.  There will be no school on October 11, which is a professional development day.

THE OTTER WALK IS COMING—DON’T MISS THE FUN!

The Otter Walk is simply the social and community building event of the season.  The kids look forward to this day all year, and your child will not want to miss out.  Please mark your calendars for Saturday, October 19 from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m.  New parents:  be sure to wear comfortable shoes, and bring a water bottle and sunscreen.  Children will bring home packets on September 20.   Please read these thoroughly to learn all you need to know about our largest kid-centered fundraiser and community-building event of the year!

A NOTE ABOUT ATTENDANCE

Attendance really and truly does matter.  Please do not plan family vacations while school is in session.  Empty chairs do not learn.  Ms. Bloom cannot stress enough the importance of having every child present and ready to learn on time, every day (barring illness or true emergencies).

CONSTRUCTION UPDATE

We are receiving extremely positive feedback from all of you about the new building, and we are thrilled that you like it.  Please bear with us as the construction crews add the finishing touches.  We are all eager to have construction come to a close, but we also know that these final steps are necessary and will add to the beauty and utility of the school.  As of the first day of school, we can assure you that every child had safe passage, safe play areas, all of the classrooms were ready for use, each child had a desk and chair, and every student began eating lunch in our new multipurpose room.

Over the next few weeks, we will really see the project come together.  Please be patient as the following projects are completed:

  • The play structure will be installed on the Upper Playground.
  • The ball wall will be installed on the Upper Playground.
  • The Class Gardens will be completed.
  • The Living Roof will be completed.
  • Planters will be installed and filled throughout the playground.
  • The Bioswale will be completed and the fenced area beyond the Lower Playground will again be accessible.
  • Gates will be completed around the school.
  • Awnings will be installed on the Upper Building.
  • Blinds will be installed in new classrooms.
  • Landscaping will occur throughout the schoolyard.
  • The finishing touches will be added to the Multipurpose Room.

Please note that we are using the new, official terms for the school facilities and grounds (capitalized above).  These terms will be used for years to come, so please become familiar with them so you know where events/activities are happening when announced.  Official site terms include (Main Building / Upper Building; Main Entrance / Upper Entrance; Lower Playground / Middle Playground / Upper Playground; Class Gardens / Friendship Garden; Multipurpose Room / Ottertorium).  See the updated school map for locations: Click here for the school map!

Main Entrance and Upper Entrance, Lower Playground, Middle Playground and Upper Playground, Class Gardens and Friendship Garden, Multipurpose Room and Ottertorium

 Construction Issues in Individual Classrooms?  

If your child’s teacher is experiencing an issue with his or her classroom, you can help ensure that it gets addressed.  As with any new building project, adjustments must be made after the fact.  The list of items needing attention is called a punchlist.  Teachers have been advised that if they have items to add to the punchlist, they should leave blue tape and a note on the problem area.  There will be many walk-throughs over the coming weeks, and all such needs will be addressed.

 KITCHEN UPDATE

We are still anticipating that the kitchen will be ready in the beginning of October.  Please attend the first PTA meeting of the year for an update.  (See below for details).

 

SECURITY GUARDS

You may have noticed security guards around the periphery of campus over the past couple of weeks.  An unsatisfactory subcontractor was terminated, and his employees protested our site briefly over the summer.  OUSD officials decided to provide the security guards to ensure that any potential protests did not disrupt traffic and pedestrian flow for construction vehicles and families.

LOCKED GATE AT THE PARK AND OTHER INCONVENIENCES

We regret any inconvenience that the locked gate on the park side of campus has caused families.  We do not anticipate any further problems.  We know that issues like this are frustrating.  Please keep in mind that we still have construction crews on site, and this leads to some unanticipated hiccups.  Thank you for your patience as we work to resolve these issues as quickly as possible.

TRAFFIC AND SAFETY –  KEEP OUR KIDS SAFE!

School traffic rules are in place to ensure the safety of our kids.  Please, for the kids’ sake, let’s be responsible at pickup and drop off!  We are all in this together, and our children’s safety is paramount.  Please respect the following traffic safety rules.  For more information, see our school web site, Traffic Safety section:  Click here!

1.   Do NOT park in the drop off zone on Mountain Boulevard, not even for a few moments.  Do not brush your child’s hair, or make a quick call in this zone.  Your behavior will affect dozens of other parents, and can lead to unsafe conditions for those behind you. Please pause only long enough for your child(ren) to get out of the car safely.

2.   Do NOT drop your child on the opposite side of the street and let him or her run across Mountain Blvd!  This is incredibly dangerous.  Please take the extra 5 minutes to wait in the queue to drop them off on the correct side of the street where a volunteer will help them out of the car and make sure the door is securely shut.

3.   Park ONLY in spaces in the parking lot and do not block other cars.  Do not park in the yellow zones, do not park in the red zones, and do not park in the spaces designated for Nancy Bloom or the Otter Ball winners.  In the rear lot, leave lanes open for cars to exit, and do not block other cars.  Beginning immediately, cars parked in reserved spaces or red or yellow zones will be towed.

4.   Also, PLEASE be sure that you drive WITH the traffic flow in the parking lot.  The parking lot is ONE WAY and we have seen some families enter the parking lot from the wrong side.  Needless to say, this poses a significant safety hazard.  We hope that this was an error and will not happen again.

5.   Neighbors ask that you not park in or block their driveways, even if it is just for a moment.  Please be respectful of our neighbors—they have endured a lot this past year!

LOGISTICAL REMINDERS

1.   If you park on the basketball court (the rear area of the parking lot), please be sure that your car is out of the lot by 8:45 a.m.  This area is used for PE and for recess.

2.   Access to campus from 9:00 until 2:30 is limited to the main entrance.  Please sign in at the office.

3.   The school day ends at 2:50 p.m. every day except Wednesday, when students are released at 1:30.  To ensure that your child is safe, please be on time.  There is no yard supervision after dismissal.

DRESS CODE

The following is excerpted from the MES handbook.  Although we do not have uniforms on campus, we do have a dress code.

“Students are expected to dress appropriately for school.  No foul or suggestive language on clothing, no bare midriffs or bare backs, no sleeveless tops, no tank tops with straps thinner than 2 adult fingers wide, and no shoes with wheels.  Shorts and skirts must be at least as long as the end of a child’s fingertips when arms are at sides.  Closed toe shoes are preferred due to the hilly nature of our school yard.  On PE day, running shoes must be worn.  Hats are not permitted to be worn inside the school buildings, but may be worn on the school yard.  The Principal will also use judgment for other questionable attire. Please label all coats and jackets.”

HELP EASE HALLWAY CONGESTION

1.   At drop-off: please bring your child to his or her line.  The teacher takes charge of the class at lineup.  Parents should not follow the children into the building.

2.   At pick-up: if you have a kindergartener or you do not feel that your child is developmentally ready to walk independently through the halls, please pick up your child at the door to the classroom.  All others should have a designated meeting point on campus, outside of the building.

Again, thank you all for your patience and cooperation as construction comes to an end and we begin an exciting new chapter for our school!

QUESTIONS?

As always, Nancy Bloom maintains an open door policy and welcomes questions or feedback.  Please also feel free to contact PTA Board members (listed below), or the Communications Committee (Lauren Disston , CC Holland cc_holland@yahoo.com, and Melissa Raymond ) with questions or comments.

Warmly,

Lauren Disston

(on behalf of Nancy Bloom and the Communications Committee)

 

PTA BOARD MEMBERS (2013-2014):

President: Melissa Raymond

EVP Internal Affairs: Wonny Mullen

EVP External Affairs: Leslie Dougherty

VP Enrichment: Johanna Jones

VP, Membership: Michelle Branner

VP, Fundraising: Susan Terrill

VP, Technology: Candace Apple

VP, Diversity and Outreach: Mason Brooks (Diversity) and Ann Sinclair (Outreach)

VP, Community Programs and Events: Corinne Welpton

Treasurer: Amy Omand

Financial Secretary: John Uselman

Recording Secretary: Sharleen Haarsma

Corresponding Secretary:  Renee Chatas

Historian: Cynthia Judkins

Auditor: Janelle McCuen Geistlinger

Parliamentarian:  Russell Robinson

Teacher Representative:  Julie Chanter

For email addresses, click here:  PTA Board Email Addresses

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