It is hard to believe that it is already October! Once again, September felt more like mid-summer and it has certainly gone by quickly. Our first month of school has been a busy one as students are well settled in to their classroom communities and highly engaged in their learning.
The procedures and daily activities of your child’s classroom should be familiar and comfortable to them by this time in the school year. If your child is still experiencing anxiety or any type of concerns, please contact your child’s teacher or Ms. Spellman, our school counselor. You are welcome to also include me on those types of communications. We will be happy to visit with you on the phone or to schedule a meeting to talk together regarding ideas to help your child or the situation. Please don’t ever hesitate to contact us – we are here to help.
October is a very busy month so this newsletter is filled with information. Before we dive into the October calendar I would like to first share some of this important information with you, beginning with our first "Community Meeting" of the year celebration!
YES SEPTEMBER COMMUNITY MEETING
On Friday, September 28th our entire school came together to celebrate our first school wide Community Meeting. We celebrated the YES core values of RESPECT, CARING, FAIRNESS AND CITIZENSHIP. Each classroom sent a student representative who shared our school wide goals in the areas of the bus, bathroom, hallways, cafeteria and playground and bus dismissal. Students danced with Steamer, our adopted school mascot, to celebrate our core values and kick off the start of the school year.
Students in all grades 3-8 and grade 11 take the Maine Educational Assessment in March every school year. We will be sending the results from our current fourth graders (who took the MEA in March 2018) later this month. Harrison Middle School will be sending home the results from our current fifth graders.
Over the next few weeks, classroom teachers will be reaching out to you and setting up our fall parent- teacher conferences. This is a nice opportunity to get a face to face update as to how your child is progressing academically and as a member of the classroom and school community. It is also a time to learn how your child can specifically grow as a learner and also understand ways that you can help support that process.We appreciate your collaboration and partnership!
FALL LITERACY UPDATE
The school year is off to a great start with fun reading and writing work already happening at Yarmouth Elementary School! It has been wonderful to hear from parents about growth they are already seeing in their young readers and writers.
This summer, we were fortunate to send four K-4 staff members to Teachers College at Columbia University for a week-long writing institute with the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, led by Lucy Calkins. This instructional model cultivates children’s independence through choice and empowerment, which aligns with the Yarmouth district mission statement: “Empowering all students to create fulfilling lives in a changing world.” Students continuously cycle through the writing process (planning, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing) within yearly units of study, and create pieces of writing with which they are engaged and have ownership. As we continue to evolve with current research-based best instructional practices, we continue our shift in our writing workshop at Yarmouth Elementary School. You’ll notice this shift most when you look at your child’s published writing, which may be when you are invited into your child’s classroom for any sort of publishing celebration at the culmination of a writing unit.
The shift that you may notice is that we will focus more on celebrating children as writers and the writing process than the the final product. Thus, you may notice pieces of writing that are not “polished” by an adult; however, teachers will of course continue to conference with students throughout the writing process and guide them towards their best final product. Students are also taught skills and strategies continually throughout the units of study, which they will work to incorporate into their final drafts. However, like a child learning an instrument or a sport, the performance isn’t always without flaw. This is the process of learning and growing.
With any shift, we always work with the lens of what is best for children. Our work as educators is led by this purpose and our district mission statement. Teachers College Reading and Writing Project research guides our work in teaching into students’ independence. Children will become stronger writers through this process.
Please reach out with any questions or concerns. We look forward to seeing you at YES. throughout the year!
Sarah Johnston, YES Literacy Lead Teacher
FALL MATH UPDATE
We are writing with continued good news! Math instruction has changed dramatically over time, and, in our opinion, all the changes are upgrades. Today's math students are far better prepared to meet mathematical challenges that will allow them to absorb and process information more effectively. Communication, collaboration and innovation will be keys to their success when they reach the workforce. In Yarmouth, we already marvel at students’ comfort with numbers and are constantly reminded that all students can learn at high levels in math if we approach the hierarchy of learning methodically, explicitly, and systematically. Educators at YES strive to utilize instructional strategies that are steeped in place-value understanding to ensure deep mathematical knowledge of rigorous content. This includes manipulative work where students employ hands-on construction of their math skills, along with group work in which students explain their reasoning and incorporate the reasoning of others. Our mission is to replace the notion of “mile wide and an inch deep” instruction with rich mathematical content aimed at deepening the learning of each topic so as to not have to revisit the topics in perpetuity. This past summer, educators from each grade level in Yarmouth K-4 collaborated to continue building on this mission. This work established improved continuity as we strive to provide greater differentiated learning opportunities for all students.
If mathematics is defined as the study of patterns in quantity and space (Sharma, 2017), we must endeavor to make sure our instructional practices mirror the invitation implied by this definition. Therefore, we allow and invite students to discuss and play with patterns as they verbalize their observations of mathematical structures. YES teachers offer activities and games that allow for enduring engagement and increased motivation while also calling on students to apply their learning to new situations, insisting that they substantiate their answers with pictorial representations and valid arguments. In this vein, procedure is replaced with understanding as we opt for the perspective that “arithmetic is answering the question, whereas mathematics is questioning the answer.” (R. McAnallen, 2015).
Parents often ask us how they can help in this process. Partnering with you to bring authentic opportunities to real world applications is key to our success with your children. Encouraging your children to embrace the productive struggle (https://www.edutopia.org/blog/harnessing-power-of-productive-struggle-ellie-cowen) that defines math dialogue will help us replace simple, procedural answers with reasoned, well-constructed responses. This model of instruction allows us to meet the needs of different learners by inviting them all to the table initially and providing multiple pathways to greater challenges that promote deeper learning (low floor, high ceiling, Boaler, youcubed.org).
Thank you for your involvement and please be sure to seek us out as we partner to provide best practices in mathematics instruction.
Rachel Clark, YES Math Lead Teacher
SCHOOL COUNSELOR NEWS
In Guidance class students have been learning about "whole body listening.” In whole body listening students learn to listen with their eyes, ears, mouth, hands, feet, body, brain and heart.
- listening with the eyes (looking toward the speaker)
- listening with the ears (both ears ready to hear)
- listening with the mouth (quiet and waiting for your turn to talk)
- listening with the hands (quiet and kept to yourself)
- listening with the feet (quiet and still)
- listening with the body (facing toward speaker)
- listening with the brain (thinking about what is being said)
- listening with the heart (considering the speaker and others listening)
I use the book Whole Body Listening Larry at School by Kristin Wilson and Elizabeth Sautter to teach this concept. If you are interested in a book to read at home the authors have also written Whole Body Listening Larry at Home. I encourage you to ask your child, or rather, have your child teach you about whole body listening.
Laura Spellman, School Counselor
SCHOOL NURSE NEWS
With flu season approaching, Yarmouth Elementary School and Rowe School will be having an influenza vaccination clinic on October 10, 2018 during school hours. We will be partnering with VNA Home Health Hospice to provide our students this clinic.
On the school nurse blog please read the Vaccine Information Sheets attached and complete the attached Health Screening and Permission Form and return to the school no later than Friday, October 5, 2018. Please fill out the insurance information correctly. Children with incomplete forms will not receive their vaccine.
For questions about the vaccine clinic at our school, please call - Alison Thomson (207) 846-3391
For more information about flu prevention and to access the permission form, please read the YES school nurse blog. http://yarmouthelementaryschoolnurse.blogspot.com/2018/09/cold-and-flu-season-has-arrived.html
Alison Thomson, RN BSN
PTO EVENTS NEWS
Yarmouth PTO is lucky to be part of such a responsive and caring parent community! Your interest, donations, and willingness to volunteer have been amazing. Thank you!
What We’re Funding: This past month, your donations enabled the PTO to fund:
- A field trip to learn more about primatologist, Jane Goodall! Late in the school year, third graders will see the show, Life of Jane Goodall at Merrill Auditorium.
- A celebration of reading! We will provide third graders with pumpkins, which they will transform into favorite book characters.
- A field trip to a quarry! Third graders will visit Mt. Apetite to explore and learn about different rocks and minerals from a geologist.
- Other grades are busy planning their funding requests. Stay tuned!
YES Teacher Appreciation: Help us celebrate our YES staff on Wednesday, Oct 3! Click the link below to sign up. Thank you for supporting our teachers! http://signup.com/go/DJeTQXJ
Calling All Creative Types: We are looking for volunteers to help with our annual Make-It Take-It Craft Fair. If you’d like to help children put together a craft, supply your own craft idea and supplies, or help with the bake sale, please contact us at email@example.com.
Different Ways to Get Involved:
Next Hannaford GC load is Wednesday, Oct 17. Purchase a card, receive the full amount, and the PTO receives 5% of your card amount! A form will come home in backpacks. We’d love to work with you in whatever way is best for you! Please share your volunteer interests on our (brief!) survey.https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1vjwhnPBMlSUR2hg7f6QtbuZJLk0fiDtizGAOqatmxNU/viewform?edit_requested=true
No time to volunteer? You can write a check to Yarmouth K-8 PTO and send it to PO Box 262 Yarmouth, or click on the blue “Donate Now” button on our website.http://www.yarmouthpto.org/
Close Buy Sale: Close Buy info is coming home soon. It is our only buy-this fundraiser, providing artisan products from the New England area that are wonderful to keep or give as gifts. Merchandise delivery will be in time for the holidays.
Many Thanks To: Meg Swift for leading the Hannaford Gift Card Program; Jessica Raimy for organizing our volunteers; Christina Powell for providing our spirit wear merchandise!
PTO Meeting: Oct 18 at 4 pm in the YES library. Please join us if you’re able!Thank you again for all your support. Please feel free to contact us for any reason. We’re always happy to hear from you!
Christy Hayashida and Heather Meier, PTO Co-President
UPCOMING EVENTS/DATES TO REMEMBER
As I shared, October is a busy time at YES and this year is no exception. Here are some other important dates/events to be aware of this month:
Thursday, October 4: Fire Safety Awareness: Yarmouth Fire Department Visit
The Yarmouth Fire Department will visit all grades during lunchtimes to celebrate Fire Safety Awareness Month. I'll have to work up my courage to get on the fire ladder again this year!
Thursday, October 4: Facilities Information Session 6:30 p.m. YHS Cafeteria
This meeting will provide detailed information about the building projects that you will be voting on. To learn about the projects, please access our Facilities Committee page on the School Department website. http://www.yarmouthschools.org/facilities-committee We encourage you to familiarize yourself with these projects and to make your way to the polls on Tuesday, November 6 to cast your ballot on these critical questions for the future of the Yarmouth Schools.
Friday, October 5: NO SCHOOL FOR STUDENTS - STAFF INSERVICE PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT DAY
We will be spending the day with the entire K-12 staff, along with some focused K-4 staff time, to learn about ways that we can better empower our students. A.J. Juliani, co-author of the highly acclaimed book "Empower: What Happens When Students Own Their Learning" will be working with us all day.
Monday, October 8: NO SCHOOL FOR STUDENTS- COLUMBUS DAY
Wednesday, October 10: YES Walking School Bus 8:00 a.m. Royal River Park
October 10th is International Walk to School Day, and to celebrate at YES we will be having a Walking School Bus. We will assemble at Royal River Park (the parking lot near the Historical Society) at 7:55 to depart at 8:00. We will walk on the sidewalks up Elm Street to the intersection with Main Street, cross over Main Street, and continue up West Elm to the walker's path.
Please feel free to join up with us anywhere along the route!
Parents and siblings are encouraged to attend. Please ensure that your child has plans to get home independently (there will be no Walking Bus in the afternoon).
We look forward to seeing you!
Wednesday, October 10: YES Free All Day Flu Clinic
Again, this is offered to for students and staff and no cost.
Wednesday, October 10: International Potluck Dinner 5:00 p.m. YES Cafeteria
Preparations are being made for our 2nd annual International Potluck Dinner on Oct. 10th from 5-7pm. More information to come. Bring your family!
Thursday, October 18: PTO Meeting 4- 5 p.m. YES Library
Thursday, October 18: Yarmouth Parent/School Alliance: Navigating the Path to Student Wellness 6:30 p.m. YHS Cafeteria
The first meeting is a time for parents to share perspectives- in a safe and welcoming environment- and to engage in a dialogue about student wellness. Together, we will identify the current challenges that we face as their caretakers at home and as their educators in school. Following this first session, our meetings will focus on proactive supports that will help us all improve student wellness in Yarmouth. You can RSVP for the first meeting by filling out this form. Please join us!
Friday, October 19 and Wednesday, October 24: Cromwell Center Visits (All Grades)
We are pleased to welcome back representatives from the Cromwell Center. This organization offers disabilities awareness and sensitivity programs for southern and central Maine elementary school students at no charge to schools. These programs build sensitivity and understanding, reduce bullying, and help create more inclusive schools and communities. This training aligns with our core values and the bullying prevention learning that is a big focus of Ms. Spellman's October guidance lessons.
Saturday, October 20: Yarmouth Education Foundation Blue Jean Ball
It’s time to celebrate and support our great schools! Tickets are now on sale for the Yarmouth Education Foundation’s 8th Annual Blue Jean Ball. Join us for a fun night out benefiting Yarmouth students in grades K-12! We hope to see you on Saturday, October 20, at 6PM at the AMVETS on North Road.
Tickets are available here: https://yefbluejeanball.eventbrite.com/
The Blue Jean Ball is going “back to blue jeans” this year and we’ll be dancing to the music of one of our favorite local bands, The Loose Threads! The BJB also features our impressive silent auction, food, and fun!
Your ticket purchase directly impacts students. Thanks to your support, YEF has awarded more than $250,000 in grants in recent years to all Yarmouth schools. Thank you!
Monday, October 22- Friday October 26: Annual Book Fair YES Library
The annual YES Book Fair is coming up! All classes will be scheduled to come in twice, each for a 25 minute block, during the first four days for viewing and/or making purchases. Mrs. Clark will be getting the detailed schedule out prior to that week, but please note that regular Library classes will NOT be held during that week.
Parents and other community members are invited to come in anytime during the school day as well as Tuesday and Wednesday afterschool/evenings, as the fair will be open straight through until 7:00 pm on those days.
Wednesday, October 31 - HALLOWEEN
Whew! What a busy month to come. I hope that you are able to enjoy all the fall activity and fun with your families. Happy October!
Ryan Gleason, YES Principal