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First Day of School Letter from Principal

Reported by on 8/24/18

Hello Wonderful Longwood Families!

On behalf of our entire staff, welcome to the 18-19 School Year! I hope that you have enjoyed a restful and relaxing summer! I also hope you are recharged and ready to start a new school year. I am so delighted that you are part of our amazing learning community. I welcome and value your positive energy and dedication to excellence in education, and I look forward to working with you and your family. Personally, I am grateful and elated to continue this journey with you as your Principal.

I wanted to share some important things to know about this school year. First and foremost, we have organized our school for more personalized learning, meaning students will be engaged in learning activities that are at their level and personally challenging. In both math and reading, there is time built into our schedule to support students who are not performing at grade level, students who are performing at grade level and students who are performing above grade level. We will also be introducing a social emotional learning program called Second Step, which will assist all students in their social emotional development. Students will continue to have personalized experiences during Genius Hour in Grades 1-5 and each classroom will be attending the Maker Space on a weekly basis to explore and learn.

Here are a few changes I wanted to make you aware of right away.

We are changing the way we utilize Class Dojo. Class Dojo will still be a big presence in your child’s classroom, however, the purpose has shifted slightly. Instead of using the Dojo points feature for student behavior, we will be going back to using paper “Pride Points” during the day as part of our PBIS (Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports) program to support student behavior and social emotional learning. Class Dojo will still be used as an excellent resource to showcase the great things happening in classrooms, provide communication between individual parents and the teacher and provide reminders about things occuring at school. If there are concerns regarding student behavior, communication will be had between home and school and through utilizing the multi tiered system of supports we have set up for students.

We are going to be replacing Longwood Leader Assemblies with Recognition Breakfasts. Once per quarter, a few students from each classroom will be honored either by their teacher or their peers for consistently modeling our school wide traits- Be Safe, Be Responsible, Be Respectful. If your child is chosen, you will be notified and invited to a before school breakfast where your child will be honored.

Students in grades 2-5 all receive Chromebooks! If your child didn’t receive his/her Chromebook at the Back to School Party, please sign the Chromebook agreement, send it back to school and your child will be given the Chromebook and charger. Please note the Chromebook is to be charged each evening at home. I am excited for the many opportunities this will provide for our students.

On a personal note, I am expecting baby boy #3 in early December. While I will be gone on maternity leave for part of the winter, I know that your students will be in wonderful hands. Mrs. Nancy Valenta, who previously did a maternity leave for me at Longwood, will be back! Ms. Valenta was the Principal at Longwood at one point during her career and retired as the Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources from the district. She is an excellent educator who will work closely with Mr. Folley during my absence.

Thank you for reading this lengthy letter. Don’t forget to make sure your correct email address is listed in Home Access Center so you receive the weekly preview emails every Saturday morning.

As always, feel free to reach out at any time with questions or concerns.

It’s going to be a great year!


Mrs. Tracey Ratner
Principal, Longwood Elementary School

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