Letter from Claire - January 4

Dear Families,
Welcome back! It’s so nice to be back together feeling recharged, reenergized and refreshed.  I look forward to hearing students, families and staff share their stories from break. I was fortunate to travel and explore Brazil over the break. The food, beaches, people, scenery, culture are busting with beauty and excitement.  I look forward to sharing photos from my adventure far, far away.
Right before break, we finished our K tours. They were filled with many families who loved visiting our school, and our caring community. Big shout out and thank you to our extraordinary K Welcome Committee!
Thank you also to everyone who came to December “Chat with Claire.” We continued our discussion on school safety and school progress reports.
School Safety
Our PTA Co-President Brad spoke about the community meeting the 24th Precinct held at the Library on 100th Street.  Brad expressed our concerns in relation to the incidents happening around our neighborhood.  It’s good to know that positive steps are being taken to ensure our student’s safety in the after-school hours.  A van has been set up to patrol our area during dismissal.
The during morning entrance to our school, I enjoy greeting everyone in the morning, and both Maxine and I (along with the security guards) monitor the swiping.  Security also ensures that no one goes upstairs without an ID. 
Some good news!  The netting on the scaffolding has worked, and the climbing has stopped.  We’re very grateful to our staff and families for speaking with the students about being safe around the scaffolding.
Progress Reports
After listening and talking to staff and families, we are grappling with understanding the Performance Levels.  The DOE mandated STARS report card has different meanings to the levels: 1=Well Below Standards, 2= Below Standards, 3= Proficient, 4= Excels in Standards.   Given that, we have had to shift our thinking on what constitutes a performance level 2, how we are assessing students, showing evidence to support the performance levels and what opportunities are provided so that students can achieve a level 3 and 4.
K-5 STARS Progress will be distributed on January 26th.  Staff will be having conversations with families of students who are presently performing at a level 2 or 1. This will be a time for staff, families and students to check in and make a plan for improvement.
For grades 6-8, we are at mid point of marking period #2. It has gone by fast! The second marking period for grades 6-8 ends February 5th.  Families of students who are performing below an 85% will be contacted. Staff, families and students will check in with families and make a plan for support.
From the Classroom
Elizabeth S’s Second Grade class shared their published Non fiction books. Students wrote 3-5 chapters about animals, gymnastics, fantasy movies, basketball and so much more. I learned about cats, vault apparatus, Jurassic world the movie, and Legos.  The books included illustrations to highlight what the students learned about their topic.
Kelly's Fifth Grade class had a learning share of informational reports about Mayans and the Aztecs.  Students were assigned partnerships and they taught each other about Aztecs, mosaic mask, sunstone, Aztec fan, codex, Inca mask, Mayan pots and rattle, masks and so much more!  They also shared maps of terrain model of landforms and wrote a journey entry on each map.  Amazing! 
In Marissa and Alice’s Third Grade persuasive essay publishing share, students wrote how noteworthy people should be appreciated and earn respect in school.  During the unit, they learned how to include transition words, catchy titles, how to talk to the reader, and strengthening punctuation and spelling by using the opinion writing checklist.