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Ms. Holloran's Writer's Corner

April 12, 2019

posted Apr 15, 2019, 7:35 AM by Christine Roman   [ updated Apr 15, 2019, 7:39 AM ]

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Why is it, that some of the shorter weeks seem to be the longest? Great things happened this week at our community school. Students and families were able to shop at the Book Fair. We had a great turnout for our Family Bingo Night. Parents, students, and teachers celebrated students’ success and talked about areas of focus for the remainder of the year during conferences. Students in grades 3-5 signed a banner (which is hung proudly outside of our school) to say that they would try their hardest on the upcoming state testing.

As we know, reading is the most crucial academic skill because it is the foundation for learning. Students in the primary grades learn to read and then students in the upper grades read to learn. Research shows that if students aren’t proficient readers by the end of third grade, they struggle far more in school and have a greater chance of dropping out. At NHCS, we know these statistics and strategically provide high-quality research-based instruction. We also know learning to read comes easier for some students than others. Our instructional model addresses the five components of essential reading instruction:

From our data, those students that need additional support are provided additional instructional time through our RTI model. Our advanced students are provided with other opportunities such as Read Works, individualized research projects, and small group reading using chapter books.
We use various assessment tools to guide our instruction. These assessments include; DIBELS, NWEA, End of Unit Balanced tests, DRAs, high frequency checks, and spelling inventories.

Our entire staff believes that each person is a “teacher of reading” and values the importance of this work!

Have a great long weekend!

April 5, 2019

posted Apr 8, 2019, 5:34 AM by Christine Roman

Dear Parents and Guardians,

One of the reasons I write a weekly article is to provide information. I have read different articles this week on SEL (social-emotional learning), parenting strategies, time management, and leadership skills. I came across this article on Twitter I thought was interesting and would provide an opportunity for
parents to think about and ponder. I am cognizant of the fact; I am not a parent. So I understand that I don’t “get” parenting 100%, that there will be experiences I will never have an opportunity to be a part of, and I will never feel that unconditional love for a child. However, I have been around children and
teenagers for over 25 years and I thought this article was worth sharing.
7 Crippling Parenting Behaviors That Keep Children From Growing Into Leaders by Kathy Caprino

While I spend my professional time now as a career success coach, writer, and leadership trainer, I was a marriage and family therapist in my past, and worked for several years with couples, families, and children. Through that experience, I witnessed a very wide array of both functional and dysfunctional parenting behaviors. As a parent myself, I’ve learned that all the wisdom and love in the world doesn’t necessarily protect you from parenting in ways that hold your children back from thriving, gaining independence and becoming the leaders they have the potential to be.

I was intrigued, then, to catch up with leadership expert Dr. Tim Elmore and learn more about how we as parents are failing our children today -- coddling and crippling them -- and keeping them from becoming leaders they are destined to be. Tim is a best-selling author of more than 25 books, including Generation iY: Our Last Chance to Save Their Future, Artificial Maturity: Helping Kids Meet the Challenges of Becoming Authentic Adults, and the Habitudes® series. He is Founder and President of Growing Leaders, an organization dedicated to mentoring today's young people to become the leaders of tomorrow.

Tim had this to share about the 7 damaging parenting behaviors that keep children from becoming leaders – of their own lives and of the world’s enterprises:

1. We don’t let our children experience risk
We live in a world that warns us of danger at every turn. The “safety first” preoccupation enforces our fear of losing our kids, so we do everything we can to protect them. It’s our job after all, but we have insulated them from healthy risk-taking behavior and it’s had an adverse effect. Psychologists in Europe have discovered that if a child doesn’t play outside and is never allowed to experience a skinned knee, they frequently have phobias as adults. Kids need to fall a few times to learn it’s normal; teens likely need to break up with a boyfriend or girlfriend to appreciate the emotional maturity that lasting relationships require. If parents remove risk from children’s lives, we will likely experience high arrogance and low self-esteem in our growing leaders.

2. We rescue too quickly
Today’s generation of young people has not developed some of the life skills kids did 30 years ago because adults swoop in and take care of problems for them. When we rescue too quickly and overindulge our children with “assistance,” we remove the need for them to navigate hardships and solve problems on their own. It’s parenting for the short-term and it sorely misses the point of leadership—to equip our young people to do it without help. Sooner or later, kids get used to someone rescuing them: “If I fail or fall short, an adult will smooth things over and remove any consequences for my misconduct.” When in reality, this isn’t even remotely close to how the world works, and therefore it disables our kids from becoming competent adults.

3. We rave too easily
The self-esteem movement has been around since Baby Boomers were kids, but it took root in our school systems in the 1980s. Attend a little league baseball game and you’ll see that everyone is a winner. This “everyone gets a trophy” mentality might make our kids feel special, but research is now
indicating this method has unintended consequences. Kids eventually observe that Mom and Dad are the only ones who think they’re awesome when no one else is saying it. They begin to doubt the objectivity of their parents; it feels good in the moment, but it’s not connected to reality. When we rave
too easily and disregard poor behavior, children eventually learn to cheat, exaggerate and lie and to avoid difficult reality. They have not been conditioned to face it.

4. We let guilt get in the way of leading well
Your child does not have to love you every minute. Your kids will get over the disappointment, but they won’t get over the effects of being spoiled. So tell them “no” or “not now,” and let them fight for what they really value and need. As parents, we tend to give them what they want when rewarding our
children, especially with multiple kids. When one does well in something, we feel it’s unfair to praise and reward that one and not the other. This is unrealistic and misses an opportunity to enforce the point to our kids that success is dependent upon our own actions and good deeds. Be careful not to teach them a good grade is rewarded by a trip to the mall. If your relationship is based on material rewards, kids will experience neither intrinsic motivation nor unconditional love.

5. We don’t share our past mistakes
Healthy teens are going to want to spread their wings and they’ll need to try things on their own. We as adults must let them, but that doesn’t mean we can’t help them navigate these waters. Share with them the relevant mistakes you made when you were their age in a way that helps them learn to make good
choices. (Avoid negative “lessons learned” having to do with smoking, alcohol, illegal drugs, etc.) Also, kids must prepare to encounter slip-ups and face the consequences of their decisions. Share how you felt when you faced a similar experience, what drove your actions, and the resulting lessons learned. Because we’re not the only influence on our kids, we must be the best influence.

6. We mistake intelligence, giftedness and influence for maturity
Intelligence is often used as a measurement of a child’s maturity, and as a result parents assume an intelligent child is ready for the world. That’s not the case. Some professional athletes and Hollywood starlets, for example, possess unimaginable talent, but still get caught in a public scandal. Just because
giftedness is present in one aspect of a child’s life, don’t assume it pervades all areas. There is no magic “age of responsibility” or a proven guide as to when a child should be given specific freedoms, but a good rule of thumb is to observe other children the same age as yours. If you notice that they are doing more themselves than your child does, you may be delaying your child’s independence.

7. We don’t practice what we preach
As parents, it is our responsibility to model the life we want our children to live. To help them lead a life of character and become dependable and accountable for their words and actions. As the leaders of our homes, we can start by only speaking honest words – white lies will surface and slowly erode
character. Watch yourself in the little ethical choices that others might notice, because your kids will notice too. If you don’t cut corners, for example, they will know it’s not acceptable for them to either. Show your kids what it means to give selflessly and joyfully by volunteering for a service project or
with a community group. Leave people and places better than you found them, and your kids will take note and do the same.

Have a great weekend!

March 29, 2019

posted Apr 1, 2019, 7:03 AM by Christine Roman

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Maybe we have turned the corner on cold and chilly mornings. Bus duty was different this morning. I did not have to wear my winter hat and wool socks! I enjoy this time of year. My golf clubs are back in my car and soon I can sit out on my porch to watch the sunset. As a teacher, I also loved this time of year. 
The time between February break and April break was a solid opportunity for learning time. I had built those strong relationships with my students and now was the time to push and take risks to have ultimate learning happen.

As we turn the calendar to April, we have a lot happening over the next few months. So let me highlight them:
 April 8-12—Buy One/Get One Free Book Fair—see flyer coming soon from Mrs. Roman
 April 11—Family Bingo Night 6:00-7:00 p.m.—see flyer at the end of this week’s newsletter
 April 12—Parent/Teacher Conferences: I hope you have signed up already with your child’s classroom teacher. This is a time for you to come in to meet        with the teacher to discuss your child’s academic and social progress. Review our most current data and also touch base about the goals you set at your        child’s fall conference.
 April 15-19—Culminating events for our One Book-One School
 Students in Grades 3-5 will take our state tests—a letter will go home early next week with more information. Grade 5 will take ELA and math before April    break. All other tests will happen after the break.
 May 2—PTO Kid’s Expo
 May 6—Kindergarten Connections—do you know of a child living in New Hampton and will enter kindergarten next year? Please have them call the office to    register and join us for this event.
 May 6-10—Teacher Appreciation Week
 May 9—Penny Hunt & Hide ‘n Seek 6:30-7:30 p.m.
 May 15—Spring Concert—6:30 p.m. @ NRHS
Have a great weekend!

March 22, 2019

posted Mar 25, 2019, 5:08 AM by Christine Roman

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Happy Spring! I am so excited to see the snow melting and feel the warmer temperatures. My trip to Chicago was insightful. I gained some new knowledge, did some touristy things (saw The Bean), reaffirmed some of my core beliefs in education (building relationships matter), and had some amazing food (Gino’s East and the Rosebud).

Here are some takeaways from different presenters (not all of them):

Maurice Elias-No Need to Choose: Integrating Social-Emotional and Academic Learning to Help Students Thrive
 NJ’s 5 Competencies in their Social-Emotional Curriculum—1. Self-Awareness; 2. Self-Management; 3. Responsible Decision-Making; 4. Relationship Skills; 5. Social Awareness (casel 2017)
 We need to teach skills and help develop character traits
 As a school, we need to practice and model what we teach!

Mike Roberts-Ten Things Every Teacher Should Be Doing in Their Class Every Day
 Just to name a few—Positive Attitude; Engaging Lesson; Vary Your Teaching Method; Include Movement and Create Relationships
Dwayne Reed—Warm-up before the Keynote on Saturday
 His creative teaching and music went viral on YouTube; I loved his energy and passion for kids and making learning fun! Check out his video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XBLcuGunRxU

Ron Clark—Keynote Saturday
 Don’t be a “bread” teacher be the “pizza”! His belief is that bread is nice, but it is boring. He wants teachers to be pizza with a lot of toppings!
 Ron, author of the books- The Essential 55 and The End of Molasses Classes, was Disney Teacher of the Year and now runs The Ron Clark Academy.
Tim Elmore—A New Strategy to Approach Social and Emotional Learning
 Dr. Elmore is President and Founder of Growing Leaders. He is a best-selling author. As a district, we read last summer his book, Marching Off The Map.
 He provided advice and suggestions on how to work, guide, and mentor our Generation Y and Generation Z populations. He also referred to Casel’s Social and Emotional competencies.
 Discussed his belief that we can teach SEL skills through pictures and discussion. I liked his example of Chess vs. Crackers from one of his Habitudes book.

Jen Schwanke—Avoiding Principal Burnout: How to manage the challenges and keep the joy.
 There were a lot of laughs and reaffirmation during this presentation. I felt like I wasn’t alone on this journey of being a school principal. Also allowed me to reflect on how I keep the joy in my job.

Doris Kearns Goodwin—Sunday-Keynote-Presidential Leadership Lessons
 She was a very fast talker! It was insightful to learn about her study of four of our past presidents and their different leadership styles. It was interesting to hear about how her career evolved.
James Carville and Mary Matalin—All’s Fair: Love, War, and Politics
 I am not a big political follower and I really knew nothing about these two presenters. This 45-minute session allowed us to see the interactions between two people (husband and wife) and how they have maintained opposite political views, but have remained married for 26 years. James spoke about his teaching experiences as a middle school science teacher and now as a college professor. Mary shared stories of their daughter’s life as an elementary special education teacher and Mary’s work volunteering at her local parish schools.

Another highlight from going to this conference is our time spent together as an administrative team. We had our meals together and tried to add in some tourist sites. During our time, we celebrated the great things happening in our schools, problem-solved some of our issues, discussed and debated educational topics, shared updates on our families, and laughed!

Moving forward, I will share some of my insights at our April faculty meeting. I will volunteer to sit on our district’s SEL committee. I will continue to build stronger relationships with my staff, students, and parents. I will continue to model how to be a lifelong learner!

I know this is a longer article than usual, but I wanted to share with you what happens when I (we) go to different professional development opportunities.

Have a great spring weekend!

March 8, 2019

posted Mar 10, 2019, 3:19 PM by Christine Roman

Dear Parents/Guardians,

Have you had enough snow? Well, they are talking about another snowstorm on Sunday! I think we have had enough for the season. I would not mind a couple of days in the 40’s, which would allow for some melting to take place. I am so ready to play some golf!

One Book/One School—we have kicked off our annual book and this year, it is Wonder. It is a powerful book!

We want to keep the book’s main theme moving forward so we are changing the system a little this year. In K-2, our classroom teachers are reading the book as a class Read Aloud and answering the trivia questions as a class. For our students in grades 3-5, this book is a required read. The students in grades 3-5 will also submit their trivia answers for the Friday drawings.

Throughout the book, we will have students start thinking about words which are meaningful to them. What are the words and characteristics that you look for in a friend? What are the words and characteristics that you want to be known for? What theme do we want to bring into our school

Our teachers will also use some of our Morning Meetings to talk about Mr. Browne’s Precepts. It is our hope that these discussions and some other activities planned throughout the next 7 weeks will continue to grow our positive school culture even more and help our students develop their own voice
and character.

Stay tuned for updates!

Our first week of trivia winners are: Lauren, Tyden, and Ava

Have a great weekend!

February 22, 2019

posted Mar 3, 2019, 1:19 PM by Christine Roman

Dear Parents and Guardians,

This week, we had our literacy consultant, Dr. Carol Tolman, working with our faculty and staff. Our focus was on writing. One key quote from Carol was, “If you have nothing to say. You have nothing to write.” Her comment had me thinking about our students in the classroom and the importance of background knowledge.

Background knowledge or prior knowledge is what someone already knows about a subject that will help him/her gain new information. Children begin to develop their background knowledge long before they enter school. Their interactions with parents and other caregivers help to establish what they think about the world and the things in it. Children who are read to about a lot of diverse subjects, who are engaged in conversations on a regular basis, and have the opportunities to visit different places, tend to have high background knowledge.

So, as a parent, you may ask, “How do I build my child’s background knowledge?” Well, that can be done in several ways. One way is to build the knowledge before the child needs it, by exposing him/her to different things, talking to him/her about new ideas, reading about various topics and researching interesting topics. Another way is to give your child background knowledge that he/she may be missing, prior to him/her learning a new concept in school. For example, if your child is going to begin a science unit about the respiratory system, you can build his/her background knowledge by helping him/her connect the term “respiratory system” with the lungs and the act of breathing, by showing him/her pictures of the respiratory system, by reviewing new vocabulary words and their meanings, or finding short video clips on the Internet about the respiratory system.

In education, background knowledge is an essential tool to help students comprehend and learn the material. If a child doesn’t have the background knowledge in a topic that is being covered in class, we as educators and parents, need to help him/her build that knowledge. If we do that, it will lead to much greater success in comprehension and in school.

Have a great vacation! Read, read and read to grow that background knowledge!

February 15, 2019

posted Feb 17, 2019, 7:39 AM by Christine Roman

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Last month, Former Chief Justice John Broderick spoke to students at Newfound Regional High School. His message is to encourage people to talk about mental health. His speaking comes from his personal experience with his son. Since retiring from the bench, Mr. Broderick has joined up with Dartmouth-Hitchcock and the Department of Education to spread the word. He has spoken to over 200 groups around New England and over 75 public schools.
(taken from the changedirection.org website)

He tells his audience to “Know the Five Signs” that may mean someone is in emotional pain and might need help.
  • Personality change—may notice sudden or gradual changes in how someone typically behaves. He or she may behave in ways that don’t seem to fit the person’s values or the person may just seem different.
  • Agitated—they seem uncharacteristically angry, anxious, agitated or moody. You may notice the person has more frequent problems controlling his or her temper and seems irritable or unable to calm down.
  • Withdrawn—they withdraw or isolate themselves from other people. Someone who was used to being socially engaged may pull away from family and friends. More severe cases, they do not make it to work or school.
  • Poor-Self Care—they stop taking care of themselves and may engage in more risky behaviors.
  • Hopelessness—they seem overcome with hopelessness and overwhelmed by their circumstances. Have you noticed someone who used to be optimistic and now can’t find anything to be hopeful about? People in this situation may feel the world is better off without them.
If you recognize that someone in your life is suffering….you connect, reach out, inspire hope and you offer help. There are different resources and hotlines on the website changedirection.org. You can make an appointment with your doctor or find a local counselor. One of John Broderick’s message is that we need to change the culture around mental illness. We need to know the warning signs just like we would a heart attack or stroke. Also, when we see the signs, we need to take action.

Have a great weekend!

PS. Just a reminder we have school on Monday! We are aware at one point the Fresh Café menu had us with no school but that was an error. They have updated their calendar.

February 8, 2019

posted Feb 11, 2019, 5:06 AM by Christine Roman

Dear Parents and Guardians,

To help reduce rumors and to provide some basic information, I wanted to write about an incident we had today. First of all, I want to commend the first grade class for immediately following my directions. One of our teachers was feeling ill and called me up to her classroom. After assessing the situation, I had those students join another classroom. Mrs. Morrison came up and we went into a “Shelter in Place.” That is when we ask students and adults to stay in their classroom for a time. We did call 911.

After the incident, I debriefed with the classroom where the event took place. I thanked them for following my directions, shared with them the basic information, and told them that I would be their substitute for the rest of the day.

Again, I would like to thank the whole school community for their work and collaboration during this medical situation.

Have a great weekend.

February 1, 2019

posted Feb 4, 2019, 5:49 AM by Christine Roman

Dear Parents and Guardians,

I can’t believe how cold it has been this week! I am so looking forward to golf season! Our students have done a nice job of being flexible with some days of indoor recess and some days with an outside recess. It is nice when we can go outside each day for some fresh air. I know that there is a lot of winter gear (snow pants, hats, mittens and boots). Using a grocery tote bag is helpful to keep things organized and to carry all of those items. Wearing winter boots all day at school can be uncomfortable. We recommend if possible that students leave a pair of sneakers or shoes at school during the winter months.

Today, I had a student come to my office to practice his skills in starting and carrying on a conversation. He did a nice job. After he left, I reflected on all the different skills a person needs to have in order to freely converse with another person. He was practicing on making eye contact, using a proper voice (not a silly voice), listening to my answer, and working on making a comment after I shared my response. This incident got me thinking about myself, my nieces, nephews, and godchildren.

I am definitely an introvert. Although I have an easier time with children, it is a challenge for me to carry on a conversation with new or unfamiliar people. I believe some of this is part of one’s personality, and I know that with practice and guidance, talking with others can become easier. Last weekend, I watched as one of my nieces carried on a conversation with her grandparents and various swim teammates. At another time, I witnessed some of my other niece's struggle with carrying on a two-way discussion. As parents and teachers, I feel it is part of our responsibility to help children develop these communication skills. We need to provide our children with different opportunities to practice and feel comfortable having conversations with a variety of people. These skills will help them down the road with interviews, relationships, and friendships.

Have a great weekend!

January 25, 2019

posted Jan 28, 2019, 8:30 AM by Christine Roman

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Our Attendance Committee meets monthly to review our overall school attendance and individual student attendance. In these meetings, we share information about illnesses, family vacations and to see if attendance has improved. We look at attendance with a 10% combination lens understanding that there are sicknesses, doctor appointments and other reasons for absences, tardiness, and dismissals.

Here is data from our most recent look at attendance.
83 days of school
 As a school—we have had students absent 399.5 days
 Our average daily attendance is at 94.5%
 Students have lost 2,596 hours of instruction because of being absent
 Only 4 out of 89 students have perfect attendance (no absences, tardies or dismissals)
 29% of our students have been absent 7 or more days from school
 24% of our school have 4 or more tardies

While balancing the understanding that the best practice is to stay home when sick, we encourage families to instill the importance of regular school attendance as a preparation for future work and other life endeavors. Keeping students home because they are tired and other reasons, sends a mixed message regarding the value of school. Having over a quarter of our student population with considerable absences and tardiness is a concern. Students need to be in the classroom learning the curriculum, mastering the standards, and socializing with peers. We will continue to send letters home regarding attendance. We will meet with individual families to address concerns. Our custodial staff will clean desktops, door handles and our water fountain on a more regular basis during cold & flu season. I am hoping these numbers will improve in the second half of our school year.

Have a fabulous weekend!

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