Friday, February 5, 2016

February 5, 2016 Preschool and Elementary

PK-6 Principal
Sara Grimm
Twitter: saramarleygrimm
SKYPE: saramarleygrimm

Early Literacy

As a part of efforts to support improvement of literacy outcomes for Iowa’s Children, the Iowa Department of Education in collaboration with Iowa’s school districts have implemented a system to assess each students’ literacy skills. During your child’s Parent-Teacher Conferences on February 22nd or February 25th your child’s teacher will be sharing the results of our most recent literacy assessments. These literacy assessments called the FAST Tests (Formative Assessment System for Teachers) are mandated by the State of Iowa. We will be giving this screening assessment and collecting data three times a year to determine if our instruction is sufficient for the students to master the skills. Students who are struggling in reading may be identified to receive more thorough or intensive instruction to help them learn and stay on track. Once identified, a plan is put into place to help the student. Progress monitoring is then done to measure the benefit of the additional instruction and decide if the plan needs to be modified or changed to increase effectiveness.

How will additional instruction help my child?

     Students who struggle in reading may come into the classroom at a lower reading and comprehension level than their peers (though other subjects may be at grade-level or higher). Intensive instruction can help struggling readers reach a higher reading level than they could with a traditional classroom approach and stay on track with their grade-level.

     Students who struggle in reading may benefit from different reading techniques; helping them identify words more easily, read aloud and to oneself more fluently, and comprehend written stories and instruction more effectively.

Since reading is a primary tool for learning, identifying and helping children who struggle in reading early on can greatly benefit their learning capabilities in the future. Providing them with the right tools to be effective readers and heightening their potential for success.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.

Sara Grimm

"Take a deep breath. It calms the mind." ~~ Regina Brett


Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedules to be involved in your child’s education. We use many assessments to help guide our instruction. We regularly utilize formal assessments like MAP (Measures of Academic Progress) in grades K-6 and FAST (Formative Assessment System for Teachers) in grades K-6 and many other informal assessments. The information obtained from these assessments helps us to determine how your child is progressing with key academic skills and to determine if additional support is needed to ensure your child’s academic success. Should you have questions regarding your child’s performance in class (academically or socially), don’t hesitate to contact your child’s teacher. Right now we are wrapping up our MAP and FAST testing. Your child’s teacher will be sharing the results with you at Parent-Teacher Conferences.

Stay positive when talking with your child about grades

The report card came home—and it was disappointing. You know your child has the ability to do well. His teachers have told you that every year. But he doesn’t work up to his potential. What should you do? The most important thing to remember is to keep your emotions in check. Getting angry or showing your disappointment just won’t help. Instead, look for ways to encourage your child to do the best he can. After you have had time to “digest” your child’s report card:

Ask him to talk about his grades. What does he think is going on? Does he complete his classwork in school? Is he turning in his homework on time? Does he understand the lessons? Are there things he could do differently? 

Talk with his teacher. Ask if she has noticed any issues at school. Discuss ways you can work together to boost your child’s performance. Perhaps your child could stay after school for extra help.

Set up a time each day when your child will do his homework. During that time, the TV should be off and the computer should be used only for studying. Set a timer for 20 minutes and let him take a short break before getting back to work. 

Offer support. Provide help if necessary, but don’t ever do your child’s homework for him. Let your child take responsibility for completing his work. It’s the only way he will get the practice he needs to succeed in school and in life.

Source: The Parenting Institute

Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation Grants Awarded

We were excited to be informed this week that Denise Shekleton and Julie WIlson were each selected to receive an Agriculture in the Classroom Teacher Supplement Grant funded by the Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation. Each grant is worth approximately $200. Mrs. Shekleton's project was titled "Farm Animals to Food" and Mrs. Wilson's project was titled "Agriculture Passion Projects/Genius Hour Projects." These grants were made possible through the support of the Iowa Farm Bureau. The Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation and Iowa Farm Bureau believe that by investing in our youth, they are investing in the future of Iowa. They show their commitment, by supporting educational programs that teach youth about agriculture by using agriculture to enhance student learning of science, social studies, language arts and other curriculum. 

EduCare SES Tutoring Program

The after-school tutoring program is well underway. There are about 51 students at
Crestwood Elementary in grades K-6 receiving extra instruction in the Discovery Center during the hour after school. The Supplemental Education Services (SES) Program is offered to meet the requirements of schools identified as SINA (School in Need of Assistance). The tutoring program is part of the plan developed by teachers on the Crestwood Elementary SINA Team. A big shout out to the teachers who have agreed to tutor, and to Lynn Murray, who is serving as director of the program! 

You're Invited to the 2016 Northeast Iowa STEM Festival!

Families are invited to attend the Northeast Iowa Family STEM Festival on Thursday, April 7 from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the Wilder Business Center, Northeast Iowa Community College in Calmar. The festival is free and open to the public.

The goals of the festival are to promote, inspire and engage youth in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) activities and to introduce children and parents to STEM careers in their local communities.

More than 30 exhibits will feature hands-on, interactive STEM activities for 3rd-8th-grade students and their families but all ages are welcome to attend. Attendees can travel a solar system in the digital planetarium, drive a robot, conduct science experiments, explore the nursing field and much more!

The Northeast Iowa Family STEM Festival is a community-wide partnership led by Northeast Iowa Region Governor's STEM Advisory Council at the University of Northern Iowa, Northeast Iowa Business Network (in part, by the Iowa Economic Development Authority), Northeast Iowa Community College, Keystone AEA, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, IowaWORKS, and Upper Exploreland Regional Planning Commission.
For more information visit:

Substitute Teachers and Associates Needed
Do you like working with children and helping them learn? Do you enjoy working in a high-energy, creative learning/working environment? If your answer is "YES" we need you! Howard-Winn is looking for substitute teachers and associates to work in our classrooms. In the absence of the regular classroom teacher or associate you would be helping students to learn subject matter and/or skills that are required for curriculum lessons and providing meaningful instruction for our students in their classrooms. If interested please submit a letter of application and a resume to: Superintendent, 1000 Schroder Drive, Cresco, IA 52136

Classroom Redemption Contest

The Crestwood Cadet PTO is sponsoring a Classroom Redemption Contest. The classroom that brings in the most redemption items (boxtops, labels for education and milk moola) between now and January 29th, will win a class party. Be sure to ask friends, neighbors and out town and in town relatives to start collecting on your behalf.

100th Day of School

The 100th day of school was a moving target for teachers to plan this year with all the school cancellations. These celebrations were held on a few different days among the district classrooms. The Kindergarten celebrated on February 5. The students rotated among the four classrooms working on different stations. The stations included: 100th day crowns, necklace making, making trailmix, stamping to 100, 100th day glasses, money hats, painting 100 gumballs, 100 stickers and 100th hidden number design. The students practiced making 10 groups of 10 in order to count to 100. The students had lots of fun! A big thank you to the volunteers who came to help with the 100th day activities!

Our Learning This Week.....
Learning about Static Electricity

Kindergarten writing their plans for Global School Play Day! 
Play, explore, share, learn

Reviewing spelling rule of final double consonants with a video 

Using Google Slides to prepare #passionproject presentation about the Titanic

Preparing props and scenes for #geniushour project on #legomoviemaker app

We love using #MysteryScience to help us learn more about force and motion in science  

Students having a great book club discussions!

Students learning about local animals and having fun with the pelts

5th graders have a blast on their play day and sharing great reflections! 


February 15       No School (President's Day)
February 22       One Hour Early Out/Parent-Teacher Conferences
February 25       One Hour Early Out/Parent-Teacher Conferences

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