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 Principal's Letter



From the principal’s desk…
Dear families,
The shortest month lived up to its billing in 2014! 28 days went by as fast as I can ever recall. Your children are now over two-thirds of the way through the school year, and you should be receiving the 2nd trimester report card this afternoon. This will be important information for you to have as you prepare for parent-teacher conferences, which begin next week. If you haven’t scheduled a conference appointment time, please make sure to contact your child’s teacher as soon as possible.
            Over the next two weeks, our 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students will take reading, writing and math assessments through the Transitional Colorado Assessment Program.  3rd graders have two sessions each of writing and math (reading was assessed two weeks ago), and 4th and 5th graders have three sessions each of reading, writing and math. Each assessment takes about an hour to complete, with no more than one session each day.
            Parents can help our kids do their best by doing the things they already do – ensuring a good night’s sleep, and having a healthy breakfast in the morning. We will otherwise have a normal school day, with no schedule changes to art, music, physical education or recess.  While there are days set aside for students to make up sessions they missed, it will be important for students to be at school on time every day as well.
            These are excellent examples of the 7th and final Habit we will center our classroom activities around – Sharpen the Saw. The metaphor as explained by Dr. Stephen Covey is that of two woodsmen, one who struggles to cut down the trees he is responsible for as his saw dulls, while the other takes the time to make sure his saw is regularly and carefully sharpened. We’ve talked together and with kids about the truth of this “habit of renewal” – taking care of ourselves through proper nutrition, exercise, and rest, as well as participating in activities that rejuvenate and re-energize us.
             A high school in Denver had followed the “reform” efforts for much of the past two decades, which included a longer school day and school year. Unfortunately, those were not the magic bullets they hoped, and the school will return to its traditional schedule this year. The reason school administrators gave – all work and no play for their students burned kids out, and I suppose, never gave them the opportunity to sharpen the saw.
            Not us at Douglass! In fact, today was a showcase of renewal activities provided to our 2nd grade students. Today was our Health Fair, where kids took part in activities teaching them physical health, how the circulatory system works in their bodies, ideas for relaxation and activity, from Zumba to yoga, and healthy eating habits. Our 2nd graders are sharpening the saw at school!
            I’m glad we are providing our kids with these ideas, but I’m persuaded that kids learn most from the role modeling we provide them – for my own children, am I not just exercising but being intentional about a schedule? Do I talk about my hobbies with the kids, and share some ideas about hobbies they can participate in? I can teach all I want, but showing as well as telling my kids is the most effective way for them to learn from our example.
            Have a great weekend with your family, and take the time to Sharpen the Saw as well.
Your principal,
Jon Wolfer
P.S. – look inside for information on the Douglass Business Directory, a great way to support our family and community businesses. Donations to the Directory support our continued implementation of The Leader in Me and other activities at Douglass. 



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