April 26, 2017
Next Monday marks the first day of May, and the home stretch for this school year. It never fails to surprise me how quickly the end of the year can flash by. We now have only five more Mondays of school before summer break! I have a few end-of-year items to bring to your attention:
1) First of all, we’ve entered testing season. I understand it’s frustrating for us all to see how much time we spend on assessment. Please know that despite the frustration, our assessments provide us with important and detailed data with which we work to make improvements.
Our 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students have begun their SAGE testing. The SAGE test is actually quite helpful, and is far superior to any state tests we have administered in the past. The type of questions, and the format itself, enables us to determine students’ depth of knowledge and abilities to solve problems. This is vital information in our on-going curriculum planning process, as we endeavor to continually improve our practice.
Further, SAGE testing is helpful in making improvements to our state educational system. High-performing schools and programs are highlighted in efforts to replicate instructional successes. Jeremy Ranch Elementary has received recognition at state and national levels for our SAGE performance. Last year the Utah State Office of Education collected writing samples from our students as a way to set performance criteria for all elementary schools. This year, JRES was named the 10th highest-performing school, out of 527 elementary schools in Utah, and was nominated to become a Blue Ribbon School – a national recognition.
So I would like to thank you for supporting us as we ask your students to complete our end-of-year assessments. Your encouragement, coupled with a good night’s sleep and a healthy breakfast, will help our students do their very best work.
2) You may be aware of our recent focus on safe and healthy recess, and our partnering with Playworks to bring about positive changes. Despite the challenge of adjusting long-standing routines mid-year, we are seeing improvements at recess. More students are starting and joining games, we are seeing more diverse teams, and kids seem to be enjoying recess more.
We are laying the groundwork for more comprehensive improvements to our recess program next year by increasing our commitment and partnership with Playworks. I believe next year at this time our daily recesses will enrich our students’ experience at JRES to a greater degree. We do have a problem, though. One of our recess anchors, Anne Bellew, has decided to return to her nursing career. This means we have an important position that needs to be filled as soon as
possible. Perhaps you, or someone you know, would thrive in a position that ensures all children have a safe, healthy, and fun recess. Please contact me if you would like more information.
3) We’re busy building our classlists and schedules for next school year. If you know of someone with Pre-School- or Kindergarten-age children, please make sure they know to register for next year now. We need to know who will be here so we can staff appropriately
4) Our students are fortunate beyond words to have the Masterpieces in Art program enriching their education. I hope you will make time to be at the Spring Art Festival this Friday evening, 4:30 – 7:00.
I appreciate your connection to our school. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if I can address any questions or concerns.