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Autumn Is the Time of Year

Be Careful on Halloween- Here are some safety tips so you can have a FUN day.   



The Principal's Corner

October 11 2016

Dear Families,

Wow, October is here already! The leaves are beginning to change color, the weather has shifted, and 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 at Orientation Night on September 22, 2016.  115 families joined us for this informative evening laying the foundation for their children’s success this year. This was the first of many opportunities we will host for families to partner in their children’s learning. 

During the month of September, classroom teachers and all 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.  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.  For over 11 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.  We have a K-2 staff developer and a 3-5 staff developer who 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. 

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.  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.

 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. 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

October 19th is Unity Day and we encourage all students and staff to wear orange as we unite against bullying. Our first Parents as Learning Partner Day will be on October 21st and we invite parents and students to wear orange once again and join us at 8:35 a.m. to engage in learning along-side your children. Our focus will be reading with an emphasis on Bullying Awareness.

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.

 Please note that we drive a very strong attendance/late policy and the Department of Education requires all children to regularly attend school and to be on time.  There are incentives for classes and students who have 100% attendance and those that have 100% attendance all year receive a special reward and certificate.  When a child is absent or late two consecutive days, you will receive a call from our attendance monitor inquiring as to why the child is absent.  If your child is sick we ask that you bring in a doctor’s note for their file.  This does not excuse the absence but informs us as to why.  We also look for patterns of children who take extended vacations and extended weekends and are consistently absent on Mondays and Fridays.  All attendance is documented in our ATS system and these reports will be printed and shared with families where there is concern.  In order for children to learn, they must attend school regularly.  Every day they are out, they fall behind and it makes it even more difficult to catch up.  We want to set all children up for success so please adhere to our attendance policy.  Research shows a direct correlation between student attendance rates and student achievement.


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. 

Please take time to view our display cases outside the school.  We have posted our Safety Committee minutes and Leadership Team minutes as well as photographs of family engagement activities and moments we want to celebrate and highlight. 

Our next PTA meeting will be on October 19th 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.  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. 

Picture day will be on October 26th and all forms should be sent to school prior to this date.

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!

Once again, thank you for entrusting your children to us.

Believing In Children...

Inspiring Young Minds,

 Nancy Murillo



For my October 2017 Family Letter please click  October Family Letter.docx 

For my September 2017 Welcome Letter please click   sept 8 2016.docx  

Get Your Smile On!!!

Picture Day


Wednesday October 26th is picture day for all students. Please fill out the order form and return it to school. Make sure your child’s name and class are on the envelope. Please choose a package and background. All checks and money orders must be made out to LIFE TOUCH, include your child’s name in the memo. If you send cash, please enclose EXACT CHANGE ONLY. The PTA does not open the envelopes they are given to Life Touch directly.


  • Fifth Grade parents please note these pictures will be in the yearbook in June.