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Principal Message From Curriculum Night

Reported by on 9/21/18

Please see below Mrs. Ratner's speech from Curriculum Night:

Hello, I am Tracey Ratner and I’m the Principal here at Longwood Elementary School. I am so glad that you came tonight. We want to work together with you to provide the best education possible for your child. I would like to take a few minutes to introduce our wonderful staff.

The school year is off to a great start due to our staff, students, and of course, you. Last year, our staff spent time reviewing our schoolwide data and came up with a School Improvement Plan for this year. This is our plan:

All of our students will be actively engaged in learning activities that support their personal growth. This connects directly to our need for students to be challenged at their level in math, reading and in social-emotional learning. As our data shows, our students come to us with all different abilities, at all levels, and at all different times throughout the school year. In order for each student to make personal gains, we must organize our school for personalized learning.

Our schedule, programs and professional development revolve around this plan. There are a few other things I wanted to highlight for you that are going on at Longwood. This year, all students will be going to our Makerspace at least once a week. They will be able to work on challenges relating to their curriculum, explore interests such as coding or engineering or work on creating other items relating to their Genius Hours projects. Speaking of Genius Hour, students in Grades 1-5 will continue to have time weekly to explore their passions and learn what they are passionate about.

We have refined what we call our Multi-Tiered Systems of Supports in the areas of both academics and behaviors. This means that all students will be receiving high quality programming at Tier I such as common core math, reading, next generation science standards, second step social-emotional curriculum and more. Students who need more support in these areas will receive this through our Tier II systems, with rapid access to interventions and supports. As the parent/guardian, the classroom teacher will communicate this with you. If students still require additional support, they will be part of Longwood Individual Problem Solving, where you will be an active participant in Tier III. You will know exactly what supports your child is receiving every step of the way and we look forward to partnering with you.

Tonight, the teachers will share information about what your child’s classroom is like, including some of the new engagement strategies that will be utilized this year. New this year will be our Learning Playground in the LMC. Makes sure to visit! Our support staff will have tables with additional information to help support your child in the areas of , with handouts you can take home. Don’t forget to sign up for Parent Teacher Conferences in early November in your child’s classroom. Please make sure to fill out a survey before you leave. They will be available at the main entrance and the doors near the gym. Before we jump into the evening, I am required to share information with you regarding Title I.

Longwood is a Title I school, which means more students here qualify for free or reduced lunch than at other district schools. We receive federal funds through the Title I grant to help us address the challenges that some of our students face. Due to the fact that we have a higher percentage of free or reduced lunch students, we are able to use our Title I funds for all of our students and we all benefit from additional funds. For example, this year is the 6th year we have been able to host a preschool program. We were the first elementary building to have a satellite preschool in the district. In addition, we have 5 Title I Teaching Assistants who work with small groups of students on enrichment, behavior and academics. This year, we were also able to hire an SEL Coach/Mental Health Counselor who is actively helping teachers address the social-emotional needs of students. Due to our Title I status, we are also able to have some specialty programming such as Club and Camp Invention at no cost to families, where intermediate students stay after school or in the summer to engage in a Science, Engineering,Technology and Math based exploration program.

Our summer library program has been very popular, as well, with storytelling, activities and book check-outs each week.

As you can tell, our Title I status provides many opportunities for all of our students. Thank you for listening to some of those opportunities.

It is extremely important to me that you feel informed. There are many avenues for communication: The connect ed messages through your phone, a weekly email preview on Saturday mornings, our school website, the sign out front, the district school calendar, and backpack mail. If I send something home, I use purple paper so that you know it is something important. Check your child’s backpack each and every night. Everyone should have received an updated handbook at the start of the year, so that is a great place to find information. It is also on our website. Make sure that we have updated phone numbers and email addresses so that you can be reached. We also tweet about fun happenings at Longwood, so if you use Twitter be sure to follow us.

I also want you to know about our strong social-emotional programming here at Longwood. All of our classrooms have community or class meetings, where students problem solve issues, share ideas and build relationships. Some of these meetings are even student led. Our teachers infuse social-emotional learning targets into every lesson, and they also focus on collaboration and communication throughout the day. Our ELA curriculum has many social-emotional tie-ins as students explore literature about tough topics. Our school utilizes the PBIS, Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports, model where we teach students expected behaviors and provide feedback when they are and are not following our three expectations of Be Safe, Be Responsible and Be Respectful. We also value leadership opportunities for students such as Safety Patrol, student council, buddy class pairings and more.

Working together with you is very important to us. We want to make sure your child receives an amazing education, feels safe at school, and learns the necessary skills to be successful in life. We thank you for supporting our school and helping your child know that this is one of the most important parts of their day.

Enjoy the sessions in your classrooms. The first session is 6:30- 7:05 and the second session is 7:15- 7:50. The classroom teachers also have volunteer forms if you are interested in volunteering. We would love to have you! As the year progresses, we will be looking to do some focus groups with parents to talk about things going on at Longwood and ways we can improve. If you are interested, let me know. I will be sending home information on this soon, as well.

Thanks and have a great Curriculum Night!

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