Friday, December 19, 2014

Terese Jurgensen - Elementary Principal Grades 2-6; Director of Special Education PK-12

Mrs. Jurgensen looking forward to the New Year!  

Crestwood Elementary
We have had a fun and eventful week at Crestwood Elementary School. The students and staff have worked hard this week finishing up Lead 21 and Math Core Curriculum testing as well as enjoying co-curricular holiday events. In my weekly blog this week, I will reflect on these events as well as outline educational goals and activities that we will provide for our students in the New Year of 2015!

Multi-Tiered System of Supports    
The Howard-Winneshiek Community School District is committed to providing a Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) model. What this means is that when students struggle academically, specifically in the area of reading, writing, math, or behaviors, we provide small group, direct instruction specifically in the area of student need and progress monitor their academic growth. This instruction is provided across all grade levels during our Cadet Time, which occurs daily for 30 minutes in small groups. 

My area of expertise is in the area of challenging behaviors. Often, a student's academic growth is hindered because they lack the social thinking or executive functioning ability to be able to process academic areas because they lack the ability to problem solve, focus, plan, organize or resist their impulses in order to learn. Challenging behaviors specifically cannot only infringe on the individual student's academic growth, but on other student's academic growth in a classroom.  

During our Teacher Quality Day on January 2nd, we will be outlining our MTSS strategies and plans both academically and behaviorally. I have spoken briefly on executive functioning, but Social Thinking is equally as important for a student's success in school. Social Thinking was termed by Michelle Garcia Winner only a few years ago, and is a skill that is essential for students being able to comprehend reading materials as well as being able to "work well and play well with others." Social Thinking is a critical academic skill and is outlined in the Iowa Core 21st Century Skills. Here is a short excerpt outlining Social Thinking:
After School Tutoring with Educare - Starting Tuesday, 1/6/15
As a part of our SINA plan, we are thrilled to partner for the third year with Educare Tutoring Services for our students who have been selected for this opportunity. The tutoring this year will begin on Tuesday, January 6th at 3:30 - 4:30; 4:10 - 5:10 (Lime Springs Bused Students) four days weekly except for the Wednesday's that are early outs for Teacher Professional Development. The tutoring will be held for 30 school days. Lynn Murray, the director for the after-school tutoring, will be sending out letters to all of the families who have chosen to have their children enroll in the program. The program has proven to provide academic growth for our students, and we are looking forward to seeing additional gains this year. Mrs. Murray will be sending a letter home this Friday, December 19th, to the families who will take part in the program. I would like to make a "SHOUT OUT" to all of our certified teachers who have offered to provide this outstanding opportunity to students grades K-5th grade!        

Christmas Around the World!
The second grade classes held Christmas Around the World this week for their students! This co-curricular event partnered with their Social Studies, Literacy, Art and Music curriculum. The students truly enjoyed and learned about the Holiday traditions in Mexico, Norway, Germany as well as Hannakah. Here are a few pictures of the exciting experiences:
The picture on the left shows Mary Watt, second grade special education teacher co-teaching with Kelly Buehler about the traditions of Mexico. The students drank Mexican hot chocolate, created pinata's and poinsettias. Mrs. Buehler and Mrs. Watt taught about the traditions of Mexico and how their traditions are similar to ours and yet unique in so many ways. You can see in the picture below how engaged the students were during the instruction about the country of Mexico. Feliz Navidad!

The pictures to the left and video below highlight the exciting events that were taking place for  Germany  in Mrs. Kuhn's classroom. The students enjoyed making Christmas Trees, decorating gingerbread cookies and hearing Christmas Carols in the German language.  It was fun to see their faces as they realized that the songs being sung were Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and (of course) Oh Christmas Tree in the German Language!  


"We have had a great time learning today! "    
Mrs. Ihde Taught 
Hannukah Traditions!
Pictured to the right are three, second grade students who were enjoying eating Latkes a traditional food for Hanukkah. Latkes are small potato pancakes that have a little onion and egg in them that are eaten with a small dollop of apple sauce and sour cream on them. Yum! Our sweet student below is finishing coloring a Menorah.

This is a seven-lamp (six branches) ancient Hebrew lampstand made of pure gold and used in the portable sanctuary set up by Moses.
Pictured below are Mrs.Tuchek and her mother Grace, who is 100% Norwegian. She brought in many holiday artifacts from Norway. Grace shared holiday traditions as well as the family legacy that Grace's family, Mrs. Tuchek's great grandparents, were some of the founding Norwegian people here in the Howard-Winneshiek Counties. 

A 2nd grade student is also pictured with the "Christmas Around the World" bag each student created to take their goodies home in!


Howard - Winn Students Participate in the "Snow Queen"
Several elementary and a few junior high students present "Snow Queen"
A local Lime Springs church presented an extremely professional rendition of the "Snow Queen" on Thursday, December 18th to our Third and Fourth Grade classes. It was a fast-paced, funny and warm play with the theme that warmth, love and good will not only mend a heart, but indeed can change the world. The play will be shown this weekend on Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. as well as a matinee on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. I encourage everyone to attend this outstanding show that is wonderful for the whole family!

"Coded" Christmas Cards!
5th grade students in Mrs. Suckow's classroom, coded these trees, stars and holiday messages!

Thank You Crestwood Elementary!
I had a birthday this week and it was wonderful! A huge thank you to all of the staff, students, and families who made my day so special! Below is Mrs. Timp's kindergarten class! Loved it!!!!

Have a Safe & Wonderful Holiday Season!

Looking forward to an amazing New Year!

Thank you for allowing me to serve our students & families at Howard-Winneshiek Community Schools!

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