December 2017 Principal Chat

Our last Principal Chat of 2017 might have been a small & cozy affair, but the energy was dripping from the walls.  First pertinent and vital topic– is a timberwolf an actual animal?  Discuss.

Preschool Prep

The long-anticipated Bonny Slope preschool is ACTUALLY HAPPENING, America.  Here’s the super-short-10-fun-facts version:

  1. Opens February 2018 and will operate Mon/Tues/Thurs/Friday
  2. Tuition is on a sliding scale, up to $300/month
  3. Will have two sessions (AM & afternoon) and will serve four-year olds
  4. Will use the former resource room on the first floor (old art room)
  5. Is a partnership with NW Regional Education Service District (NWRESD) and students with IFSP (Individualized Family Service Plan) will be offered automatic slots
  6. The other ten slots are for non-IFSP students from our attendance boundaries
  7. The teacher (hired last week) and an IA (instructional assistant) are funded by BSD, while NWRESD funds a second IA, meaning three adults will supervise 15 students, with the focus being on socio-emotional growth
  8. Current BSE students may come in and read with the preschoolers and the preschool class will attend assemblies
  9. BSD’s Superintendent eventually wants a preschool in every elementary school
  10. Bonny Slope will be a pilot for non-title one schools with a blended classroom

Here are more answers to other burning questions you may have regarding BSE’s preschool.

Why go to all this trouble?

Short version:  Incoming kinder students with lagging socio-emotional growth cannot access kindergarten academics and they start the year significantly behind their preschooled peers.  Barriers to preschools include the high cost in this area, waiting lists, and the false idea that full-day kinder will allow their child to “catch up.”  

Will they get their own playground?

Nope, no funding right now.  The preschoolers will play on the current playground, though eventually they hope to put in a more preschool-focused playground near the bus loop.

Where ART thou?

BSD giveth… and BSD taketh away.  Bonny Slope was lucky and privileged to have an art specialist for the past two years.  Sadly, the tedious circus act of enrollment, classrooms, and contractual obligations meant that Ms. G has moved on to Stoller.  While it lasted, we were the ONLY elementary school to have art as a special.  And while the kids miss it, it won’t be coming back anytime soon.

So what’s an artistic child to do?  Well, thanks to BSCO funding and some incredible volunteers, Bonny Slope enjoys a very strong Art Lit program and Artist in Residence program (which is coming in Spring 2018).  Teachers are also trained in Arts for Learning to incorporate art into reading, writing, and math.  And thankfully, art is still offered as an elective in middle school and high school.

TAG! You’re it!

So…. what actually happens when you qualify for TAG in elementary school? Well, first they test the test. Research shows that the results are most accurate when students are tested every two years rather than every year.  Then, students remain with their peers, but teachers provide opportunities so that students can access material into higher level thinking.  Translation:  TAG students are generally grouped or given differentiated instruction within their classroom.

Winter Break Blues

Terrified of all the whining, complaining and PLEADING for the iPad that will inevitably occur over the break?  Here are a few Janet-and-Ali suggestions to help break up the monotony.

  • Find a series at the library and see how many they can read
  • Blog – either in journal or online (with parent supervision) about a favorite topic (similar to an idea board), either typing or using a voice translator
  • Set up an email and have a pen pal with family members only
  • Vlog – video log on important topic
  • Brain Boosts
  • Invest in earplugs  (kidding, kidding)

Other Juicy Topics

  • Another lice resurgence at BSE.  Every. Single. Winter.
  • BSCO’s first ever Coder in Residence has been fantastic, with great reviews from students and teachers.  Thank you Erin Hire for all your work!
  • Teachers can’t accept more than $50 from a single source in a calendar year, less they be risk being reprimanded by Oregon’s Teachers Standards and Practices Commision.  Just a reminder that gifts are not required, cards and thank yous are always enjoyed, and the BSE staff feels appreciated and supported all year.
  • The 2018-19 starts BEFORE Labor Day.  So buckle up and plan your vacay accordingly.

And that’s a wrap!  Join us for the next EVENING Principal Chat at 6pm on Wednesday, 1/31/18.