March came in like a lion. I am hoping it goes out like a lamb. I am proud to say that all of our students and staff are working hard to improve both academically and social/emotionally each and everyday. I was disappointed not to be named a Prince William School of Excellence in my first year as the principal of Piney Branch. I have reviewed the data and with some minor adjustments I am confident we will achieve this recognition for the 2017-18 school year. Please come to the PBAC meeting in March if you are interested in learning more about the criteria and what we need to do to achieve it.
I reviewed our projected budget at the PBAC meeting for the 2017-2018 school year. My number one goal is to keep class size as small as possible. The county class size ratio is 24 to 1 to 28 to 1. Our current projections of class size is:
||22 to 1
||23 to 1
||24 to 1
||26 to 1
||25 to 1
Teaching additions and changes:
In order to adjust to our growing population we will be adding a sixth kindergarten class, two second grade classes, and adding a 3rd full-time Special education teacher. Current staff members will be changing grade levels to grow professionally and improve their skill set. Jennifer Stump and Jessica Marean will be moving to second grade. Chris Roehn will be joining our 5th grade team. We have hired Linda McDonald for our new kindergarten position, Roxanne Edwards will be joining our first grade team ( Mrs. Overmyer is resigning at the end of the school year to be a stay at home mom.) Brian Southerland will be joining our 4th grade team and Patricia Hilton will be our new special education teacher.
Over the next 6 weeks we are piloting new reading and math software to excite students about reading and mathematics. The Myon (reading) and Dream Box software (Math) provide students with 1000's of book choices and interactive adaptive math problems to meet the reading levels and math levels of all students. Please have your children access these programs at home.
Virginia Standards of Learning
SOLS are right around the corner. We are excited about the opportunity for our students to show us how much they have learned. While we realize the SOLS are only one measure of students ability. However we also understand the important data they provide to allow us to help all students reach their full potential. Thank you for your continued support.
5/3 Grade 4
5/4 Grade 5
5/9 Grade 3
5/16 Grade 4
5/17 Grade 3
5/18 Grade 5
5/23 Grade 4
5/10 Grade 5
Reading Tips for Parents:
The best way for students to improve their reading skills is to read. It is important they read books that are on their independent level. Please ask your child's teacher their strengths, reading level , what it means, and what you can do to best support your children at home.
Tips for early readers
Invite a child to read with you every day.
When reading a book where the print is large, point word by word as you read. This will help the child learn that reading goes from left to right and understand that the word he or she says is the word he or she sees.
Read a child's favorite book over and over again.
Read many stories with rhyming words and lines that repeat. Invite the child to join in on these parts. Point, word by word, as he or she reads along with you.
Discuss new words. For example, "This big house is called a palace. Who do you think lives in a palace?"
Stop and ask about the pictures and about what is happening in the story.
Read from a variety of children's books, including fairy tales, song books, poems, and information books.
Reading well is at the heart of all learning. Children who can't read well, can't learn. Help make a difference for a child.
Tips for all readers
It can be helpful for your child to get some work done before approaching a
text. Pre-reading allows your child to get ready for a new text before tackling
it. There are many pre-reading techniques you can show your child, like skimming
for main themes and brainstorming about what may come. Have your child say or
write down a few ideas about the text before diving in.
Cause and Effect,
Inferences and Drawing Conclusions
It's important for your child to understand cause and effect when reading.
There are exercises you can do to help. For example, tickle the bottom of your
child's foot. When your child laughs and kicks the air, ask why. At some point
in the near future, apply this to same principle to a text your child must read
Your child will sometimes need to understand the difference between an
inference and an observation. An observational statement is usually a statement
about what has been seen. An inference, however, is a conclusion logically drawn
from what has been seen.
As a critical thinker, your child will need to draw his or her own
conclusions from a text, in addition to understanding the overall theme. Go over
texts with your child and help him or her draw conclusions, such as the story's
moral or what the character would do next time.
Prediction and Context Clues
A common exercise, when it comes to strengthening reading comprehension, is
prediction. While reading a story or book with your child, have him or her make
guesses about what might occur later in the text.
Understanding and using context clues is also a reading skill your child will
often need to master before entering into middle school. Context clues are the
words in a sentence that surround a new vocabulary word. These words are
designed to help your child gain an understanding of the new term. Although
context clues are most commonly used in textbooks, they are also used in many
genres of children's literature.
Reading at Home
In order to ensure that your child learns all of the basic reading skills
that he or she needs, encourage reading at home. Take your child to the library
or a bookstore and allow him or her to pick out books. You can also print book
lists from the Internet that you and your child can look over. If you can, set
aside a family reading time every day.
I want to continue thank the Piney Branch Community for all the kindness, thoughts and prayers my family has received due to the sudden death of my step-daughter. It has been a difficult beginning to 2017, but with everyone's support time will make each day easier.
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