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HTS Newsletter of January 29, 2010
I am currently working my way through a book on American schools entitled Beyond the Classroom: Why School Reform has Failed and What Parents Need to Do. While it isn’t a “fun” book to read, it has captured my interest and I have been underlining like crazy -- trying to make sure that I can return to particular sections and do some more thinking on these important concepts. The following lines are a section that I have underlined, highlighted, and think that you, as parents, will find very interesting.
“Doing well in school is still one of the best -- if not the best -- predictors of later success, whether measured by the quality or quantity of one’s higher education, the prestige of one’s occupation, or the income and wealth that one accumulates as an adult.
As a broad barometer, then, engagement in school is an indicator of children’s commitment not only to education, but to the goals and values held by adult society -- by their parents, by their teachers and by members of their community. If children feel negative, or ambivalent, or merely nonchalant about school, this tells us something about their relations with adult society and, as well, about the messages and priorities they are learning from their elders. If we (as a country) are to be economically competitive later, our children must be committed to school now.
Interest in school also is an important indicator of youngsters’ well-being, because educational commitment is so highly correlated with other psychological and behavioral indicators of successful functioning. Because school is so central a part of the child’s life, engagement there can be a buffer against psychological problems, and disengagement from school often is a symptom of psychological difficulty...”
Education is not about how much time one’s body is inside a school building! (Educators call this “seat time”.) Education is about students who are engaged in their own learning working with teachers who are engaged in teaching. This team approach is alive and well in the rooms of HTS. Your role as parents? Speak often and positively about school; ask questions about things learned; discuss your expectations for both academics and behavior; remind your child that it is his/her education; make statements about attendance and its importance and follow through, getting your child to school on time and ready to learn; connect with teachers so that your child sees a link between home, school, and outside activities; be an example of a life-long learner. Please note that there’s no cost to any of my suggestions, but there can be a huge payoff - both financially and emotionally for your child.
Dates to Remember
5th: Pre-K Family Fun Day, 9:00 - 10:30
6th: PTA Family Fun Day, 1:00 - 4:00 at HTS
9th: Reflections submissions due
9th: PTA meeting, 6:30
12th: Movie Night, 6:00 - doors open at 5:45
15th-19th: Winter break
26th: Fifth grade popcorn sale (please note corrected date)
3rd-7th: Visit wgme.com to vote for your favorite Kid Correspondent
5th: End of second trimester
10th: Chewonki visits: Topic, Owls
12th: Chewonki visits: Topic, Owls
17th: Early Release
19th: PTA Spaghetti Supper
23rd: Spring Concert, grades 3-5, 6:30 in HTS gym
Important Attendance Note
If your child will not be coming to school,
please call us at 724-3930. All student absences are considered unexcused until parental contact has been made with the office.
Join us for Movie Night!
Friday, February 12th
Doors open at 5:45
Movie at 6:00
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
$3.00 per person, $10.00 family cap
Sponsored by the PTA
News from Your PTA
The Helen Thompson School PTA is made up of wonderful volunteers who are filling up their 2010 calendar dates with events and meetings. We'd like to share with you just a partial time line of what the rest of this school year holds for us and ask for your help with time, materials, and continued support.
Saturday, February 6th from1:00 to 4:00 p.m., we will host our FREE Family Fun Day. In addition to organized games, snacks and crafts, there will be a book swap. Do you have any books you have outgrown at home? Please bring them with you!
On March 19th, we will have our 8th annual "Cabin Fever" Spaghetti Supper. During this community event we raffle "theme" baskets. We ask for donations to fill them.
Jumping into spring, we will be seeking volunteers to run our after school enrichments programs. If you can knit, bake, fish or tell fish stories you can lead some students in a class after school.
Also, before too long, we'll be focusing on the Peter Pan Fair! - our biggest fund raiser of the year. As all this marks up our calendar, our children are enjoying the great outdoors with programs like Chewonki and WinterKids, our Reflections program is collecting pieces of art from your children which depict their view of what "Beauty is....", they will be "enriched" with animal presentations and theatrical performances, and they will go on field trips at no additional cost to the parent. So each time you buy a bag of popcorn or watch a movie, please know it is our children who benefit. And...THANK-YOU.
WGME COMES TO HTS
On Friday, January 22nd, WGME visited HTS. Two of our students participated in the program called Kid Correspondent. They moved throughout the school, with Jeff and his faithful cameraman in tow, describing the things they loved about HTS. It was quite an event!
Their Kid Correspondent segment will air on WGME-13 on the Daybreak Show…sometime between February 4th and March 3rd during both their 5:00 - 6:00 and 6:00 -7:00 shows. After the HTS segment “premiers” on Daybreak, you will also be able to view it on the website at wgme.com.
After an entire month of stories about schools around the State air, there's an online poll. From March 3rd - 7th, you'll be able to go onto the website, view the shows, and vote for your favorite Kid Correspondent. The school with the most votes will receive a trophy and a banner, and the two correspondents will receive personal trophies as well.
So, stay tuned for the HTS Kid Correspondents and your opportunity to put HTS on the map by voting! (Oh, and by the way, you may vote “early and often”!)
Important Notice Regarding Flu Vaccines
MaineGeneral will be holding two public H1N1 flu clinics, which will be the last mass public flu clinics in our area. These clinics are free of charge and are open to all on a walk-in basis. This is a great opportunity for students and family members who have not received the vaccination, or for students who have not received the booster.
Tuesday, February 2nd, 10:00 to 6:00, Calumet Club, Augusta
Thursday, February 4th, 10:00 to 6:00, Elks Club, Waterville
RSU #11 will not be offering booster vaccine clinics.
Knights of Columbus Free Throw Championship
For Boys & Girls ages 8 - 14
Sunday, January 31st
Laura E. Richards School
Brunswick Avenue, Gardiner
Shooting begins at 11:30
For more information contact
Pat Berands at 446-4011
Pre-School & Kindergarten Registration
The Four Year Old Program is currently accepting applications for the 2010 - 2011 school year. Children must be four years of age on or before October 15, 2010. Children may not turn five before the 1st of October, 2010 to be eligible. If you are interested, please call 582-5346 for more information and for an application. Space is limited.
It’s also kindergarten registration time! If you have a child who will be five years of age on or before October 15, 2010, or if you know of one, please contact the school at 724-3930.
A Note from the Kitchen
I would like to remind parents that if your child's account is in the negative by $10.00, they will not be allowed to charge snack milk, or milk at lunch time with their cold lunch.
Please check your student’s account either on line or call me here at school. You can pay on line, send in cash or checks, or stop by and pay in person if you would like. Be sure to visit mynutirkids.com!
The Fourth grade students have received their student ID numbers and will be typing them into the key pad when they come through the lunch line. This will prepare them for the 5th grade, when they will do this every day that they eat. Ask your student if they know their number!
As always, if you have any questions regarding your student’s account, or if your income changes at any time throughout the year, please feel free to contact me about this at 724-2930. I am here from 6:30 AM to 2:00 PM every school day.
Have a great day!
Lost & Found
Our Lost & Found area is overflowing! Please stop by sometime to look for items that your child might have forgotten or misplaced! Please put your child’s name on the inside
of his/her clothing, backpack, lunch box, etc. Names help us in returning lost items!
The Leadership Adventure Camp at Kieve
Join the Leadership School at Kieve for School Vacation Adventure Camp 2010. Play , have fun, and learn during this February's school vacation!
Where: The Leadership School at Kieve in Nobleboro, Maine
When: February 15th -19th, 2010, 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Who: Children Ages 5-14
Cost: $150 for the week
Meet new people, try new things, and experience their new climbing facility. Visit www.theleadershipschool.org for more information. This is not an RSU #11 sponsored event.
A Note from Our Spurwink Counselor
Happy New Year Parents and Students!
I began the school year as the new Spurwink Counselor and have had a wonderful first half of the year. Everyone here at Helen Thompson has been so welcoming!!! I wanted to explain a little of what I do here at the school for those of you who are not familiar with Public School Counseling within the district. Spurwink Services contracts with the Gardiner school district to have public school counselors in most of the schools within the district. We are all Master's level, licensed counselors. The wonderful part of this program is the convenience for all involved. Parents do not need to transport to outside counseling, counselors have direct contact with school staff, and teachers have access to the counselor to collaborate with. By being present in the school, I am also able to help students immediately when they are struggling during the school day. I can help your child with a variety of difficulties they may be experiencing, including emotional struggles, behavioral challenges, peer relationships, parental separation/divorce, anxiety, stress, abuse history and ADHD. The service is paid for through your insurance plan and you would be responsible for any co-pay, which is similar to seeing a counselor outside of school. Spurwink does have a sliding fee available, depending on the situation.
Miss T. has been wonderful in sharing her office with me, so that I can be available three different days during the week. I am more than happy to answer any questions you might have and guide you through the process. Please call the school and ask to be connected to me. I look forward to hearing from you!
Jill E.B. Avery, LCSW
Reflections Program Reminder
It’s not too late to write a story or poem, compose a song, take a photograph or paint a picture that relates to the theme “Beauty is…” We encourage all students to participate in the Helen Thompson School Reflections Program! Submissions are due by February 9th, so fill out your entry form (more available at the school office), attach it to the back of your work and bring it to school by the 9th. If you have any questions please contact Susan Caldwell at 582-8658 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Later in February the submissions will be on display in school and all participants will receive positive comments from the judges and an invitation to an ice cream social celebration. Get creative and join in the fun!
Remember to send in your empty printer cartridges, Box Tops for Education, soda can pull tabs, Campbell’s logos,
and Pennies for Peace!
“Crazy for You”
The Gardiner Area High School Visual and Performing Arts Department proudly presents its annual Broadway musical production Crazy For You. Crazy For You, the 1992 Tony Award winner for Best Musical, is billed as "The New Gershwin Musical Comedy" and is based on the 1930's Gershwin musical "Girl Crazy". Performances will take place on February 4, 5, & 6 in the Gardiner Area High School Little Theater. Performances will begin at 7:00 p.m. each evening. Tickets are $8.00 for adults and $5.00 for senior citizens/students. Tickets may be purchased at the High School Little Theater each day after school, by e-mailing email@example.com, or by calling 582-3150 ext. 3027. Seating is reserved and tickets will go fast so get your tickets early! Enjoy an entertaining evening of music, humor, fun, and help support the members of the cast - including Helen Thompson alumni! - as Gardiner Area High School presents its annual Broadway Musical!
No School Announcements
In the event that schools are unable to open due to inclement weather, announcements will be broadcast on TV stations channel 6, 8, & 13 and by radio stations WABK and WMME as early as possible. Cancellations are also posted on WABI’s StormWatch at www.wabi.tv. Please listen for the announcements and do not call the schools, principals, superintendent, or teachers. Occasionally, school is dismissed early during the day, which would also be announced on these
radio and television stations.
Bundle Up ... It’s Cold Outside!
Now that cold weather is here, students need to dress appropriately for outside recess - including boots, snow pants, hats and extra mittens or gloves -- each and every day. When there is snow on the playground, students who are not wearing boots and snow pants will need to stay on the paved areas. We continue to hold recess outdoors throughout the winter unless the weather is exceptionally cold. All students are expected to participate in outside recess unless there is a health reason accompanied by a doctor’s note.
Each student should have a complete change of clothing to be kept at school or in his/her backpack. Be sure to label all of your child’s belongings.
Time to Rhyme
Poems, rhythms, and word play do more than make your child’s day--they help her get ready to read.
by Susan B. Neuman, PhD
If you've ever recited a nursery rhyme, played "Itsy-Bitsy Spider" or sung "If You're Happy and You Know It," you've been preparing your child for learning to read. Familiar songs and poems can strengthen his ability to hear the sounds of our language — a skill that will serve him well when he learns to connect sounds with letters (phonics) in kindergarten and 1st grade.
Nursery rhymes are especially powerful, because they
are so memorable. Research has found that children who are familiar with nursery rhymes when they enter kindergarten often have an easier time learning to read. This is probably because rhyming helps them discover many common word patterns (such as those in quick/stick or down/crown). And the more familiar these patterns become in oral language, the more easily children will recognize them when they begin to encounter them in print.
The ability to hear rhymes — knowing that cat rhymes with hat, but not with bag — is an essential skill for learning to read because it means that your child can discern the differences among individual sounds (or phonemes). Playing with rhymes trains her ear to hear the differences and similarities in how words sound.
Songs with rhyming lyrics are also terrific devices for teaching your child about the patterns of sounds. You might remember the Schoolhouse Rock television segments from your childhood ("Conjunction junction, what's your function?") as some of your first lessons in grammar. The phrases were memorable because they were fun to say and sing. Here are some more fun ways to use rhymes to further strengthen your child's language and reading skills:
Find many opportunities to sing to and with your child. Create songs on the spur of the moment about whatever you are doing. Try "This is the way we wash our hands ... " Remember that you don't need to have a good singing voice; your child will love it because it's yours.
Combine rhyming with rhythmic clapping or movements. For example, try the rhyme "Ten Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed" to reinforce sound patterns. Rhymes like these are especially helpful for an active child who needs to involve his entire body in the activity. Songs like "Do Your Ears Hang Low?" or "The Hokey Pokey" can help your child follow directions as you sing the words. This kind of play involves your child's whole body in absorbing the sounds of speech, which may make it easier for him to connect the motion with the words you say.
Encourage wordplay using poems, rhymes, or songs. You might begin by saying, "What rhymes with Matt [his name]?" Make up silly rhymes, such as, "Did Matt sit on the cat?" Or try working together to tell a little story about a cat chasing a fat rat. Write down the sentence you've thought up, and have him illustrate the idea. Together, make your own rhyming book.
As your child gets more adept at rhyming, you might try to play a riddle game. Try something like, "I'm thinking of a word that rhymes with fish. And it's something in the kitchen that you put your sandwich on." "Fish rhymes with ... dish."
Seek out high-quality rhyming books. Most children love silly songbooks, such as Paul O. Zelinsky's The Wheels on the Bus; storybooks such as The Cat in the Hat, by Dr. Seuss; or stories that encourage rhythm, such as Helen Oxenbury's We're Going on a Bear Hunt. These books and others like them will bring laughter and still more language play. The best part? They will help your child associate the joy of spending time with you with the awesome task of learning to read.