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The Principal's Corner
October 11, 2017
Wow time waits for no one…October is already here! The weather will soon shift, the leaves will turn color, and can you believe our first month of school is behind us? With the change in weather I am asking parents to please make sure children are dressed appropriately for the season and have a jacket in case it is chilly.
It was wonderful to see many families come out to join us for our Meet and Greet/Orientation Night on September 13, 2017. More families than ever joined us and this was the first of many opportunities we will host for families to partner in their children’s learning. Mrs. Ulaj our Assistant Principal designed a parent survey which was sent home to all families in September to take stock of what your interests are for Parent Workshops. Based on your responses we have scheduled several workshops on the most requested topics of interest. A calendar of those workshops and dates will be sent to families in the near future so you can save the dates. In addition we will send home reminder letters before each workshop. Be on the lookout for these wonderful workshops which will be presented by our very own staff and please make every effort to join us.
Data drives all instruction and our school-wide instructional focus is:
Tailored small group instruction across all content areas with an emphasis on consistent monitoring for understanding through the use of summative and formative assessments.
September was “getting to know each other” month. Classroom teachers and staff have been getting to know your children, what their interests are, and how they learn best. All students have participated in a variety of assessments so we can meet them where they’re at as learners and grow them along the learning continuum. Our staff continually assesses students throughout the year in regular cycles to better monitor student progress and performance. We keep open lines of communication with families and we focus on the “whole child,” (socially, emotionally, areas of strength, areas requiring more support, interests, etc).
In Pre-K children continue to participate in early childhood screening and teachers are beginning to set up work sampling portfolios which will be shared with you throughout the year as they discuss where your children are in the early childhood learning continuum. The emphasis has been on establishing rituals and routines throughout the day that will make children comfortable as they begin to see consistency in their daily school routines. At this young age, children are developing socially and emotionally and much of the learning takes place during play in centers. For example, as children explore, they are learning how to share, express themselves, problem solve, and play collaboratively. It is during this time teachers tuck in other learning experiences tied to theme studies. For example, they may tuck in a read aloud and art activity focused on friendship or a science experiment connected to the season…etc.
We are a Teachers College Reading and Writing Project School and for over 12 years we have partnered with Columbia University’s Teachers College. Our teachers receive state-of-the-art professional development that is aligned to the Common Core State Standards by attending workshops at Teachers College and working with our Teachers College in-house staff developers throughout the year. This staff developer supports our curriculum and data driven instruction.
In grades K-5 all students have participated in TCRWP reading and writing assessments. Teachers have administered spelling inventories and running record reading assessments to find each child’s independent and instructional reading level.
- In Kindergarten this usually begins with conventions of print such as the parts of a book, pictures versus words, directionality, and sound symbol recognition of letters. From this teachers develop and plan for early reading strategies.
- In grade 1, teachers are looking for this as well as fluency and comprehension. Fluency is closely correlated to reading comprehension. If a child is able to read all of the text smoothly but has no recollection of events, is not able to re-tell the story and cannot answer comprehension questions, then no matter how smoothly they may read every word, they are not reading, rather decoding.
- In grades 2-5 Fluency and high levels of comprehension are what we look for. Children should be able to demonstrate these both orally and in their writing about reading.
Spelling Inventories demonstrate to the teacher which level of word study children are learning at. This information is used to group students for instruction with the intention of growing them to the next level.
Children have engaged in On-Demand writing samples in both narrative and informational writing. This informs us if they are bringing up the grade with them last year’s learning and where we must drive our instruction during writing workshop.
All students have also participated in Go Math beginning of the year assessments and unit assessments that demonstrate again where children have strengths and what skills they need to develop. Students are grouped accordingly.
In addition to these assessments we have added NYC/DOE Common Core Aligned Performance tasks in K-2 and Common Core Aligned benchmarks in ELA and Math for grades 3-5.
Grade 3-5 teachers spend a great deal of time analyzing the state ELA/Math Data from last year to notice trends and patterns of what skills were strong for children and which areas need more support. All of this data informs our instruction
Teachers have analyzed all of their data and have begun to plan for instruction tailored to the needs of the children. For children who struggle, teachers develop a Response to Intervention plan. Progress and the close monitoring of these students are discussed between Administration and our School Assessment Team at our Monthly Pupil Progress Team Meetings, and among teacher inquiry teams.
Teachers are available to meet with parents from 2:45-3:20 on Family Engagement Tuesdays by appointment only, and are also available on their preps. During these meetings they will share data, celebrate your children’s successes and strengths and also share concerns and areas they may be struggling in. They will also share their intervention plan and how they are working to support them. This is an opportunity to share your thoughts and concerns as a parent and to be informed about how your children are learning so you can support the learning at home. If you wish to request a meeting, please call Mrs. Chow, our Parent Coordinator to arrange a date.
October is National Bullying Prevention Month
Parents As Learning Partners Day:
October 13th is our first Parents as Learning Partner Day and we invite parents to join us at 8:35 a.m. to engage in learning along-side your child in their classroom. Our focus will be reading with an emphasis on Bullying Awareness and Respect for All.
If you have more than one child in our school you will have to choose one class to visit. We have these meetings every month and the next time you can visit the other child’s class.
United Nations Day: October 24, 2017:
On this day we celebrate our ethnicity and culture and invite everyone to dress up to represent their culture and where they are from!
Wednesday, October 25, 2017 is “Unity Day” and we encourage all students, staff, and parents to wear orange as we unite against bullying!
On this day please have your child wear orange as we stand together against bullying and stand united for kindness, acceptance and inclusion.
Wear Orange: Make a statement!
We have many safety protocols and procedures in place to ensure the safety and welfare of all children which were shared at our September Meet and Greet. In the near future we will be arranging a parent workshop to share these once again with families. Letters will go home as well as a phone blast with the information once it is set in place.
Also note that all of our exits are armed with alarms throughout the day. Children engage in bus drills, fire drills, shelter in drills, soft lock down drills and evacuation drills. All of these systems are put in place to further ensure student’s safety. We also have a Building Response Team trained in General Response Safety Protocols. They are the ones in the orange vests you see during our drills and special events.
Our 5th grade Senior Service Committee members serve as community role models and helpers and we are very pleased and proud to have them. This team of 5th grade seniors will be assisting in the cafeteria with recycling, assisting children, reading to kindergarteners, helping in the school yard, and helping during special activities. We have had great success with the Senior Service Committee led by Mrs. Ulaj. All children must adhere to the rubric of expectations/behavior as outlined in the SSC handbook, and all have met with Mrs. Ulaj, our Assistant Principal to discuss this in great detail.
Our PTA meeting will be on October 17th at 9:00 a.m. and all are invited to attend. At PTA forums we share policy and protocol and the PTA brings resources to support our families. Our October guest speaker Mr. Paul Helfman will share the Middle School application process and answer related questions and we will have a representative of the March of Dimes here to speak as well. Do join us. PTA membership dues of $10.00 are collected from each family to benefit the children of PS 38…please send in your membership dues and help support our children.
Our Halloween Wonder Walk Parade and Pumpkin Patch will take place on October 31st. Every child will visit our Pumpkin Patch to pick a pumpkin and will receive a cupcake and juice box. This is sponsored by our PTA and notes will be forthcoming as they will need donations of peanut-free cupcakes and juice boxes as well as parent volunteers to help. On this day children are allowed to come to school in their Halloween costume. We ask that parents do not send their children with accessories that are weapons. All costumes must be age appropriate/school appropriate and we must be able to see all children’s faces for safety. Grades K-2 will march in the school yard and grades 3-5 will march around the perimeter of our school. Our Building Response Team will be activated and posted around the perimeter of the school to ensure the safety and welfare of the children. Please come watch us as we March for Babies to benefit the March of Dimes. The March of Dimes funds lifesaving research and programs and works to end premature birth, birth defects and infant mortality. Every baby deserves a healthy start!
Lastly I would like to thank everyone who donated backpacks with supplies for our Hurricane Harvey backpack drive. All backpacks have been sent to the collection centers which will forward them to families in need. A little kindness goes a long way…thank you.
Once again, thank you for entrusting your children to us.
“Partners with Families…Partners in Learning”
Believing In Children...
Inspiring Young Minds,
My October 2017 newsletter 10-6-17.docx.doc
My September 2017 newsletter sept 11-17.docx.doc
Discipline Code Letter - DiciplineCodeParentLetterSY1516final91515.pdf
Testing Information for Parents- 2017-handout-for-parents-3-8-tests What Parents need to Know.pdf
Upcoming Events This Week
Safety Meeting-7:30amPS38 George Cromwell School
Pretzel Day- Bring your $1PS38 George Cromwell School
Breast Cancer Awareness Day- wear PINKPS38 George Cromwell School
United Nations Day- wear something from your culturePS38 George Cromwell School
Unity Day- Wear ORANGEPS38 George Cromwell School
Parent Reading Volunteer Program of P.S. 38
September 25, 2017
Dear Parents & Grandparents:
The Parent Reading Volunteer Program of P.S. 38 will soon begin servicing our children. If you have a little time you wish to donate by reading to a child, please join our Reading Volunteer Program. Anyone wishing to volunteer must go for training. The training requires a parent to attend a two hour workshop for two days at the Staten Island Mental Health Society located at 669 Castleton Avenue Building A, the Elizabeth W. Pouch Building. The schedule for the training is as follows:
Tuesday, October 3rd and Thursday, October 5th
Time 9:30 am – 11:30 am
Tuesday, October 10th and Thursday, October 12th
Time: 9:30 am – 11:30 am
For more information, you can contact me at the school 718-351-1225 or my cell phone 347-563-4635.
School Spirit Day- Blue day
Show your school spirit!!! Wear our school color BLUE!
SLT-School Leadership Team
Our School Leadership Meetings are open to the school community and the public.
Read.. Read... Read...
Leveled Book List
The following books are listed from easy to difficult by reading levels and can be found at www.amazon.com or Barnes and Noble.
Books that are “just right” for your child will be the ones on their level. To build fluency, have your child read books on an easier level. Books above your child’s level will be too difficult. However, a child’s listening level is usually 2-3 grade levels above their reading level. If your child is reading at a first grade level, they can listen and comprehend books at a third or fourth grade level.
Reading aloud to your child will help challenge students by introducing them to more sophisticated vocabulary and increasing their cognitive skills. In addition, reading together is a great time for parents to bond with their children and will provide opportunities for meaningful discussion. It will become a time you and your child look forward to each night!
Remember; don’t restrict your child’s reading material to only books. Provide the chance to read other types of materials (magazines, comics, newspapers, atlases, recipes, game instructions, etc.). This will allow them to discover several reading materials of interest.
For more leveled books, check out this website: http://orgs.bloomu.edu/americareads/leveledbooks/leveledbooks.html
Also, www.reallygoodstuffreading.com has a great set of Learn to Read Books for levels A-J.
For a list of leveled books, click here Leveled Book List _summer_.pdf
Town Hall Meeting!
A Town Hall Event with Chancellor Carmen Fariña
All District 31 parents are urged to attend!
Tuesday, October 3 6:30–7:30 p.m.
P.S.048: 1050 Targee Street , Staten Island NY 10304
Don’t miss this excellent opportunity. Issues and concerns for District 31 will be addressed.
**On site interpretation services will be available**
HOW YOU CAN HELP YOUR CHILD AND YOURSELF
How Trauma Affects Kids in School
Ongoing exposure to neglect, abuse, homelessness or violence causes learning and behavior problems in children. Signs of trauma and tips for helping kids who've been traumatized.
We tend to think of trauma as the result of a frightening and upsetting event. But many children experience trauma through ongoing exposure, throughout their early development, to abuse, neglect, homelessness, domestic violence or violence in their communities. And it’s clear that chronic trauma can cause serious problems with learning and behavior.
Trauma is particularly challenging for educators to address because kids often don’t express the distress they’re feeling in a way that’s easily recognizable — and they may mask their pain with behavior that’s aggressive or off-putting.
Identifying the symptoms of trauma in the children can help educators understand these confusing behaviors. And it can help avoid misdiagnosis, as these symptoms can mimic other problems, including ADHD and other behavior disorders.
In brief, the obstacles to learning experienced by these children include:
- Trouble forming relationships with teachers
- Poor self-regulation
- Negative thinking
- Executive function challenges
Trauma and trouble forming bonds
Children who have been neglected or abused have problems forming relationships with teachers, a necessary first step in a successful classroom experience. They’ve learned to be wary of adults, even those who appear to be reliable, since they’ve been ignored or betrayed by those they have depended on.
One of the challenges in giving that support is that when kids misbehave, our schools often use disciplinary systems that involve withdrawing attention and support, rather than addressing their problems. Schools have very little patience for kids who provoke and push away adults who try to help them.
Instead of suspending children, Dr. Rappaport argues, schools need to work with them on changing their behavior. When a student is acting up in class, she explains, teachers need to recognize the powerful feelings they are expressing, if inappropriately.
Rather than jumping right into the behavior plan – deducting points or withdrawing privileges or suspending — Dr. Rappaport stresses the importance of acknowledging the emotion and trying to identify it. “I can see that you are REALLY angry that Andrew took the marker you wanted!” she suggests. “If you’re wrong about what the student is upset about, he’s likely to correct you.”
Acknowledging and naming an emotion helps children move towards expressing it in a more appropriate way. Communicating that you “get” him is the necessary first step, she explains, to helping a child learn to express himself in ways that don’t alienate and drive away people who can help him.
Traumatized children often have trouble managing strong emotions. As babies and toddlers, children learn to calm and soothe themselves by being calmed and soothed by the adults in their lives, Dr. Howard notes. If they haven’t had that experience, because of neglect, “that lack of a soothing, secure attachment system contributes to their chronic dysregulation.”
In the classroom, teachers need to support and coach these children in ways to calm themselves and manage their emotions. “We need to be partners in managing their behavior,” Dr. Rappaport explains. “Co-regulation comes before self-regulation. We need to help them get the control they need to change the channel when they’re upset.” They need coaching and practice at de-escalating when they feel overwhelmed, she adds.
Another challenge to traumatized kids is that they develop the belief that they’re bad, and what’s happened to them is their fault. This leads to the expectation that people are not going to like them or treat them well. As Dr. Howard puts it, “I’m a bad kid. Why would I do well in school? Bad kids don’t do well in school.”
Traumatized kids also tend to develop what Dr. Howard calls a “hostile attribution bias” — the idea that everyone is out to get them. “So if a teacher says, ‘Sit down in your seat,” they hear it as, ‘SIT DOWN IN YOUR SEAT!’” she explains. “They hear it as exaggerated and angry and unfair. So they’ll act out really quickly with irritability.”
“They see negative where we see neutral.” To counter this negative thinking, these students a narrative about themselves that helps them understand that they’re not “bad kids.” And learning to recognize their negative patterns of thought, like black and white thinking, is a step towards being able to change those patterns.
Dr. Rappaport notes that children from abusive homes are sometimes unable to participate in classroom activities because they are paralyzed by fear of making a mistake, and that can make them appear to be oppositional. “A mistake that might seem trivial to us becomes magnified,” she explains, “if their experience has been that minor mistakes incurred adult anger or punishment.”
They need not only support to have incremental successes they can build on in the classroom, but help to see that in this setting, making a mistake is considered a necessary part of learning.
One of the classic symptoms of trauma is hyper-vigilance, which means being overly alert to danger. “These kids are jumpy, they have an exaggerated startle response. They can have some big, out-of-control seeming behaviors, because their fight or flight response has gone off.”
This can look like hyperactivity, she adds, leading kids who have been traumatized to be misdiagnosed with ADHD. Being chronically agitated can lead to difficulty with sleeping and chronic irritability.
In workshops, Dr. Rappaport coaches teachers on how to help kids to settle down when something in the classroom triggers an emotional outburst. When a child is escalating, the key, she says, is to “match their affect, but in a controlled way.”
The goal is to connect to their big feeling. “If you can connect with what they’re trying to tell you, they may settle. It can work even if you just make a guess — you don’t have to be right, they can correct you.”
Chronic trauma affects children’s memory, their ability to pay attention, plan, think things through, and other executive functions. Kids who have ADHD as well as trauma may be especially impaired in these skills.
Difficulty planning impacts not only completing tasks in school, but a child’s ability to plan his behavior, rather than acting impulsively, and deciding on the best way to communicate his needs and feelings.
One of the things that tends to upset kids who’ve been traumatized is difficulty predicting the future — not knowing what is coming is unsettling for children and creates anxiety. These kids can benefit, Dr. Rappaport notes, from repeated dry runs of what’s coming up and what they should expect.
Another executive function that may be weak is the ability to self-narrate — to mentally talk themselves through what they need to do as they are carrying out a task. It’s a skill young children learn from listening to their parents talk to them when they are babies, and, she notes, if they haven’t had the experience they may need help developing the skill.
Focus on positive attention
In addition to connecting with kids who’ve been traumatized, and helping them build missing skills, Dr. Rappaport emphasizes the importance of giving them as much positive attention as possible.
Kids who have experienced chronic neglect tend to be better at getting attention by provoking the adults they depend on than by complying with expectations. “Negative attention is fast, predictable and efficient,” she notes. “We need to make positive attention as fast, predictable and efficient.”
But she adds that positive attention includes not only praising them for desired behavior but expressing warmth and kindness that aren’t necessarily earned.
Surprising kids with “random acts of kindness” can help wean them from habits of acting out to get attention. “When a kid is acting out and sucking the oxygen out of a classroom,” she notes, “some teachers have found it works to set their phones to buzz every 5 minutes to give the kid positive attention.”
Parents Information Links
- Click here for theParent Handbook Parent Handbook.pptx
- Click here for New York City Public Schools Information
- Click here for information on our SAFE school water. LetterForSchoolsThatTestNegative 1.docx
- Click here for the 2015-2016 New York City Public School calendar
- Click here for the school menu
Parent Notices-5th Grade Parents
Information for current 5th Grade students-
September 15, 2017
Dear Parents of our Incoming 6th Grader’s 2018,
You are cordially invite to attend our 5th Grade Articulation Night here at I.S. 2.
Come Join Us On:
Tuesday, October 10, 2017
Come learn about I.S. 2 and all we have to offer!
Here from our Staff, Teachers, UAU and meet our PTA
Have all your questions answered!!
Save the Date...
Where can I find....?
General- All subject, All grades
Pre-K Registration Starts January 17, 2017
Pre-K Directories for 2017 Registration are Available in the Office.