Dear Cedarhurst Families and Community,
Welcome to 2016-2017 school year! Cedarhurst Elementary is an incredibly welcoming and special school community and once you become a part of our “school family,” you are always a part of it! We value and celebrate the rich diversity of our school. Our families play a critical role to the success of our school and students. Our partnerships with families strengthen the work we do each day in service of students and learning. Our school is a place where every child is valued, loved and known by their name and by their strengths and needs as both a person and a learner. All staff are deeply committed to ensuring that each child receives our very best. Schoolwide, the belief is that ALL students can meet the high expectations set for them and we will match that with high levels of support to ensure each child meets their goals.
Our School Goals for the 2016-2017 school year align with the District Strategic Plan. We are diligently working to ensure that we fulfill our promise to students with the following goals:
• Mastery by 3rd Grade – At least 19/20 students entering Kindergarten in 2013 will meet or exceed standards in all core subjects by the end of 3rd grade.
• Success in Algebra – At least 19/20 students entering 6th grade in 2013 will pass Algebra by 9th grade.
• Zero Suspensions – By 2015, out of school suspensions will drop to zero (except when critical for student and staff safety).
• Tech Savvy and Tech Literate
• Bi-Lingual and Bi-Literate
• High School Graduation – Each of the goals above has this goal as the final step - at least 19/20 students will graduate prepared to choose their future!
To meet these goals, we will focus on the following things this year:
In Reading, Writing and Math, we are providing instruction that aims to help students meet the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). The annual Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBA) measures how students are progressing toward meeting these grade level standards. These standards ask more of our students and we know that they are ready to do the deep thinking that is asked of them!
To meet these rigorous learning standards, in Reading and Writing, we utilize a “workshop structure” using the Lucy Calkins Reading and Writing Units of Study. The workshop structure is designed so that all students are provided whole class instruction on a particular skill or strategy. Following the initial whole class lesson, students work at their level either independently or in a small group with support. In the few years that we have utilized this approach and these materials, we have seen dramatic increases in students reading and writing abilities. Our students are writing more and at a higher level than ever before. In reading, our students are making great gains in reading growth!
To monitor reading growth, every child at Cedarhurst is assessed one on one using a common assessment system called Fountas and Pinnell (F&P) and receives targeted reading instruction designed to meet their specific needs. The information allows us to place students on a continuum. With the goal being to move students from a level A (usually in Kindergarten) to a level Z by 7th grade.
The CCSS place an emphasis on balancing the amount of fiction and non-fiction writing and reading that a child engages in. Therefore, you will see that your child will spend time reading and writing about Science and Social Studies. Students also experience hands-on science in every grade. Students are expected to meet the Next Generation Science Standards.
In Math, we will continue to implement our district-adopted math program, Math in Focus. The program has an emphasis on visualization-teaching our students through a concrete, pictorial and abstract strategy for each math skill. In addition to rigorous math instruction, we focus on deepening thinking mathematical concepts and develops how students speak to each other so they can learn from peers.
We utilize a variety of technology tools to personalize reading, math instruction and English Language Development for students. We use internet-based programs such as MyOn, Imagine Learning English, ST Math, Think Through Math and Lexia. These programs serve the purpose of targeting specific student needs and support core instruction and can be accessed from home. Students who complete the expected work on these programs show higher rates of success on assessments and have a deeper understanding of the concepts in core content areas. This year we will be adding an on-line tool called Discovery Education to enhance and deepen student learning.
Cedarhurst’s philosophy is to develop the whole child. We do this by using a research based model called PBIS (Positive Behavior Intervention Supports) which is a system wide approach to creating safer and more effective schools with school wide and classroom discipline systems we provide clear expectations and routines for our classrooms and school-wide which make it a positive, safe and predictable learning environment. As a part of this model, students follow the Cedarhurst Guidelines for Success: Respect, Responsibility and Safety. These values are the basis for how we discuss and teach how to be a good citizen and compassionate human being. All students and staff at Cedarhurst are able to speak a common language around these guidelines throughout the school and common areas. One of our District Strategic Goals is to reduce out of school suspensions to ZERO (except when essential for student and staff safety). We have several strategies in place at Cedarhurst to meet this goal. We will continue implementation of Second Steps and Steps to Respect, Anti-bullying Programs, Sound Discipline Training, RULER (a research based social/emotional program) and our Student Success Center. Our school counselor and Success Dean work closely with PBIS teams, teachers and families to support each student. In addition, we have some amazing young students who have formed clubs to prevent bullying to make our school safe. As a way to honor the hard work of our students, we have several different ways to celebrate growth and success. We have classroom celebrations and school-wide celebrations throughout the year. We have monthly Spirit Assemblies where students from each classroom are acknowledged for their hard work on academics and citizenship.
Partnering with our families is the key to student success! We look forward to continuing to offer more opportunities for families to be involved in our school community. We have several different ways that you can get involved. You can help our school be a better place by volunteering to work in classrooms, help on the playground, help in the parking lot, make popcorn, help in the lunchroom, with family nights and much more. All you need to do is fill out the volunteer paperwork in the office. We also have a PTA that is dedicated to making our school a positive and engaging community. In addition, we have a Spanish speaking group called Hablemos that meets once a month to learn about how to support their students and they work to make our school a rich place to learn. We are hoping to start a Pacific Islander Club this coming year. We have several fun Family Nights throughout the year and we’d love to see you there! Each year we host our annual Multi-Cultural Night, a Science Fair, Art Night, Family Game Nights and several evenings focused on literacy and math. We will also have Family Fun Nights throughout the year where you can learn about how your child will be taught Math, Reading and Writing, play games and have pizza. Finally, we have a wonderful performing arts program with our music, xylophone club choir and band. In the spring, we have a talent show and school plays/musicals put on by several classrooms. Cedarhurst students are an incredibly talented group of children who know how to dance, sing and act!
We are looking forward to another great year at Cedarhurst! We welcome and value your ideas and your partnership. Our students are truly inspiring and we are so proud to be a part of their lives.