Principal's Monthly Message

From the Principal’s Desk- It’s Back to School! 

We are already a month into the school year and what a busy four weeks they’ve been! The time, effort, and creativity our teachers, custodians, administrative assistants, nurse, and the folks in food services put into planning for the arrival of our students paid off, and the start of the 2018-2019 school year could not have gone smoother. 

Our fall assessment cycle is behind us, with all of our students having completed the NWEA Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) testing in reading and math, as well as the Curriculum Based Measures (CBM’s) that assess fluency in reading. Teachers use both assessments to help them identify student strengths as well as areas of need allowing for the differentiated approach to instruction necessary to ensure all students learn and grow. Please note that your child’s individual NWEA scores will be sent home in the near future.

As important as the aforementioned assessments are in supporting our students academically, it is important to note that a truly effective school does not limit its focus solely to academic goals; rather, equal emphasis is put on the social-emotional well being of its students. To help foster skills needed to raise knowledgeable, responsible, and caring children, we have taken a systematic approach to Social Emotional Learning (SEL). SEL describes a process through which we learn to recognize and manage emotions, care about others, make good decisions, behave ethically and responsibly, develop positive relationships, and avoid negative behaviors. To meet the challenges of effectively integrating SEL into our school setting, we have taken a layered approach that entails the following: 

  • To ensure that all of our staff is committed to this goal, our school improvement plan includes a social-emotional goal that states, “Our students will demonstrate social-emotional progress by demonstrating decision-making skills and responsible behaviors in personal and school contexts.” 
  • As the school principal, I continue to have the privilege of working with a group of 4th and 5th grade student leaders who advise me on all things related to student behaviors at our school. This year, this group has plans for developing a Student Ambassador Program.
  • Our Glen Grove Student Council organizes school-wide service events throughout the year that focus on a theme. Themes of the past have included homelessness, hunger, and environmental awareness, and although they have not announced this year’s theme, I’m certain it will bring awareness of an important topic to our students. 
  • We teach the Second Step curriculum once a week – an ongoing effort to not only promote students’ social-emotional wellbeing but to explicitly teach the skills to manage emotions, resolve conflicts, and make responsible decisions.
  • All staff members encourage and coach students through a set of steps created to help students resolve conflicts.

    The whole child approach to education states, “each child in each of our communities deserves to be healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged.” We are completely committed to educating the whole child and because learning does not begin and end in school, we appreciate all you do at home to partner with us in supporting your children in all their endeavors. 

The start of the school year is also the perfect time to emphasize the importance of communication between the school and home, so I would like to encourage you to read this and future publications of the Gator News, which is published every other week, for valuable information and important reminders. 

I would like to end my note by stating that I am beyond honored to serve in the role of your children’s principal, and look forward to another fabulous school year!


Helena Vena