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Grundy Center Community Schools

Off to a Great Start!

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Summer has come and gone, and it is time to bring on the
2017-2018 school year! There is a lot to look forward to, and we can’t
wait to make it happen!
Something you will notice as you walk through the hallways
are the new faces of staff members. In third grade, Stephanie Smith
and Kassandra Albright bring teaching experience to the team. In
transitional kindergarten, Amber Haskovec is using her experience in
guiding the new all day program. Librarian, Mary Ascher, joins us as
our district librarian, and in her new role as paraeducator, Amber
Timmer has joined the team. We welcome all of these talented
individuals to our team at Grundy Center Elementary.
Our popular multiage student groups known as KIDS CLUB
will be making its reappearance after a successful first year. This
year’s Kids Club will meet twice a month for 20 minutes and focus on
creating and using a growth mindset. We will learn to be a jungle
tiger and not a zoo tiger, which will make a lot more sense to you after
we begin! Kids Club will also include lessons on creating and
maintaining good character.
One Community, One Book has returned with the book,
Wonder, by R.J. Palacio. The companion book, We are All Wonders is
also by the same author. I encourage you to check out the book from
the library or borrow it from a friend and read it with your child. It is a
wonderful story about friendship and understanding what is on the
inside is more important than what is on the outside. When you have
read the book, feel free to sign the posters in our school library and at
the public library!
The teachers at Grundy Center Elementary are sponsoring
another Saturday morning workshop for teachers around the state of Iowa called Think In on September 30. Think In creates an
opportunity where we can sharpen our teaching skills, get
updated on the best children’s books of the year, and also
gives us an opportunity to collaborate with others outside
Grundy Center. This year, we will be Skyping with children’s
book guru, Colby Sharp. We will also visit virtually with three
additional children’s book authors.
Our Teacher Leadership teams are in place for the
year, and we are excited about the possibilities! We have a
Student Achievement Coordinator working on literacy,
growth mindset, and math professional development along
with monitoring general education interventions for
struggling students. Our Mentor Teacher now has 1/2 day
of non-teaching duties in order to get into class and work
with teachers AND students about monitoring reading
progress. Our Mentor Teachers have been increased in
number in order to help the newest members to our
profession. The Building Improvement Team will be
working independently on skills for students to calm and
refocus themselves when the body feels stress.
As a HUGE proponent of children’s literature and
fostering the love of reading, I am continuing the monthly
Principal Book Talks. During the talks, I read a story, talk
about the author and illustrator, and give brief book talks to
get students excited about reading new literature.
If you have not heard, there is a free app you may
download that will give you allergen and nutrition
information for our school lunches. The app is called
YumYummi. Download it and give it a try!
Our annual fundraiser is in progress. Thank you in
advance for everyone who participates and assists students
in raising money for our school. This money is used to fund
field trips, bring in guest such as The Old Creamery Theatre,
pay for playground equipment, buy books for the library and
classrooms, fund Battle of the Books expenses, fund author
visits, and many other causes. It is an extra effort for families
to participate. Please know we recognize those efforts and
are very appreciative.
We will again be collecting BOXTOPS! Last year, we raised
over $1,000 of those tiny little squares! We spread the work
of preparing the BoxTops for mailing in among all the grades
throughout the year. Thank you for your participation
Maybe you have noticed the front garden rehab on the east side of our school. While the previous garden was beautifully grown, it also had become a bit overgrown with some key plants developing dead spots. The new landscaping will allow visual access between the school building and the street. Most plants on the upper tier will grow less than one foot tall, and everything that is growing can easily be divided to prevent overgrowth. Grundy Center Junior, Jake Ascher, is creating a metal Spartan logo which will be featured in the center of the lower garden!
Occasionally, it happens that another school wants to come and observe Grundy Center Elementary to see what we do because our reading proficiency scores are doing well. There is no doubt that we have support systems in place to help all learners, we have consistent curriculum in place to use, we have incredible staff professional development, and we have dedicated and talented teachers to guide the learning every day. But, in my opinion, we also have something special that encompasses everything previously mentioned. Our CULTURE. Celebrating reading is our culture. It’s the way we approach the many literature based activities we provide for our students. It’s the way we encourage readers to find just the right book they will love. It’s the way we celebrate when a student makes connections with the books they hold in their hands. It’s the way way we celebrate a book on it’s publication birthday. It’s the way we go beyond anything I have been a part of in my previous 18 years in education before coming to Grundy Center. Simply put, it’s the way we do business. Please visit gcelementary.weebly.com to see some of these amazing activities that have helped us form our reading culture.
You can follow some of the latest news of Grundy Center Elementary on Twitter @MrBSammons andon my blog On the Bright Side at MrBSammons.weebly.com. Thank you for supporting our school andbeing great partners in education!
Sincerely,
Brian Sammons, Elementary Principal

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Off to a Great Start!