Principal's Monthly Message

From The Principal’s Desk

Dear Glen Grove Families,

I have ALWAYS loved the energy that characterizes the first days back to school, and the last week and a half has been no exception!  We felt the buzz on opening day as we greeted our Gators bustling through our doors sporting backpacks filled with fresh supplies, feeling both excited and anxious to start the year and see their friends and teachers. As I visited classrooms during these first days of school, I observed the following activities and more!
•    Students with teachers developing classroom norms, expectations or constitutions – all necessary first steps in creating a positive, orderly, and fair environment based on a collective commitment to common values!
•    Teachers helping students organize desks, color-code folders, label materials, tour the school, and engage in other such activities that contribute to an organized and productive classroom environment!
•    I saw teachers engaging students in Read-Aloud and stamina-building activities. Students completing Reading Inventories, choosing their first “just right” book of the school year, or designing an individual piece to become part of a classroom reading quilt - all very powerful activities that contribute to a strong community of readers!
•    I saw our amazing support staff teaching our students the AM, PM, lunch, and recess routines that create a physically and emotionally safe environment!
•    Students engaged in activities such as Saving Sam or the Marshmallow Challenge that encourage scientific thinking, collaboration, AND teamwork!
•    Students sharing their summer experiences, interviewing one another, completing interest surveys and other activities that help teachers and students learn about one another and begin building the important relationships that are the cornerstone of a strong classroom community!
The time, effort, and creativity our teachers put into planning for the arrival of our students was obvious, and I say with certainty that the tone for another successful school year has been set!!!

To begin to address our annual goal of helping students “demonstrate decision-making skills and responsible behaviors in personal and school contexts” we have also begun teaching our students the content of the Glen Grove Student Handbook – a set of guidelines developed by student leaders. If you would like to review our school-wide behavior expectation with your child, you can do so by accessing this handbook by using the link provided on the “Students” page of our the Glen Grove School website. As you look through it, remember that our handbook was written by kids and for kids, so the children’s “voice” is evident throughout.

To ensure that our bus-riding children enjoy the safe ride to and from school to which they are entitled, we will continue to use assigned seats on our buses. The students and I have spent some time during their lunch choosing seat partners, and as soon as that task is complete, we will begin to use our assigned seats. Thank you for supporting our efforts in this area, as we have found pre-assigned seating to promote a safer environment as:
•    Assigned seating becomes a predictable “routine” that has eliminated the unstructured and often chaotic after-school bustle of students charging to the buses to find the “best” seat.
•    Assigned seating helps our drivers learn the names of our students more quickly, which should, in turn, help them establish rapport and make positive connections with our children.
•    The seating assignments were made in a purposeful manner to promote an environment in which students respect and are kind to one another. For example, we no longer have 5th graders claiming that the back of the bus is “theirs,” and we no longer have a student late to get on wandering through the aisle hoping someone has room for a second person.

Please take the time to review the bus rules that can be found on the Bus Rules page of the Glen Grove Student Handbook which, as noted above, can be accessed on the “Students” page of our school website.

Students also recently completed the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) Measure of Academic Progress. This computerized assessment tool provides an individualized look at your child’s development in reading, mathematics, and language usage. The tests are dynamic with each child experiencing different questions based on the level of achievement they demonstrate on the questions they answer. In addition to the NWEA, next week, children will also participate in classroom-based assessments in math computation and problem solving. We use the information from these assessments to understand your child’s present level of performance in key academic areas and differentiate instruction. NWEA reports will be mailed home in mid-October, so you will have them in plenty of time for your fall parent-teacher conference, should you want to reference them during your meeting with your child’s teacher.

The start of the school year is also the perfect time to emphasize the importance of communication between the school and home, as effective lines of communication foster the partnership necessary for us to work together on behalf of your children. Please take a few minutes to review the important information reflected in the Frequently Asked Questions page located under the “Families” tab of the Glen Grove School Website, as consistency in adhering to the routines and procedures reflected there helps us maintain order and, above all, safety at school.  

Finally, you are your children’s biggest advocates and we are your partners in their education, so please do not hesitate to phone or email me with any questions or concerns. Welcome back, and on behalf of all of us at Glen Grove, we look forward to another GREAT school year!


Helena Vena