Archive | December, 2012

Holiday Break ideas

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The importance of teaching…,0,6590555.story

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Tragedy in Connecticut

Dear Crocker Community,

Many of you might have heard by now about the horrible tragedy in Connecticut in an elementary school.  Honestly, I want to get through the school day with our wonderful children before I find out the details.  (I need to be home to hear and handle it.)  But I am sure many of you are hearing the stories and it’s natural to make connections to our personal lives.

I will be meeting with the teachers and staff to find out what more we can do to make our school secure.  No one plans for something like this to happen but we need to make sure we are safe.  It makes everyone think a little more deeply about what we are doing here at Crocker.   I am glad that we have done a lockdown drill and we will certainly do more this school year.  I’m glad I’ve been nagging everyone to check in at the office and will continue to do so.  I am also asking that all drop-offs (lunches, backpacks, instruments, library books) come to the office and not to the classroom.  No more pop-ins to classrooms.  I was going to put something in the bulletin about this for next week anyway, but it’s appropriate to bring this up now.

It’s very important to not scare our children, so please use your best judgment if you have conversations with them.  Some families may choose to talk about it, and some may not.  Often the kids come to school and want to share.  If you do talk with your children about this, remind them that it may need to be a conversation that stays at home.

I want everyone to be careful not to overreact about Crocker’s security – it’s a balance of creating a welcoming but safe school.  There are things that we can do to be a little more secure.  I was already considering some changes (locking more doors, push gates on the playground) but now there is a stronger sense of urgency.

I’ll let you know if there are any updates or information to share with you all. If I hear of something we can do to help the families, I will let you know.

Links & Resources:

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Report Cards

It’s that time of year – Report Cards! 

The first trimester of school ended on Friday, December 7th.  Report cards are going home today, Friday, December 14.
It is a standards-based report card, meaning that it measures whether or not a student has met the standards for their grade level.  Using a five-point scale, the following marks will be used for all the ELA and Math strands:
5 – Advanced Grade Level Performance (working above grade level expectations)
4 – Proficient Grade Level Performance (on track to meet grade level expectations)
3 – Approaching Grade Level Performance (developing towards grade level expectation)
2 – Below Grade Level Performance  (making progress but many areas of concern)
1 – Far Below Grade Level Performance (experiencing difficulty completing grade level work)
Marks for Growth in Meeting Standards/Expectations:
+   Above Standards/Expectations
/   Meets Standards/Expectations
–   Below Standards/Expectations (developing/area of concern)
The performance level tells parents how their child performed when compared to the standard and how close your child is toward mastering the standard. In order for a child to be Meeting a standard (level 4), he/she must demonstrate proficiency on all indicators listed for that reporting period. To achieve Advanced (level 5) a child must be working above or showing a depth of understanding beyond the grade level standards. The 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 performance numbers are not a match with traditional A, B, C grading.  
Please consider report cards a snapshot of your child’s progress, not a report of his/her successes and failures.  Our vision is for all students to grow academically, and we want to encourage the hard work and effort that goes into continuing that growth.  We want them all to see themselves as learners.

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Bulletin 2012.12.10

Dear Crocker Families,

It’s a crazy time of year and we are feeling it at school.  With the holiday season and all it entails (i.e., shopping, celebrations and parties, extended family visiting, travel plans, school vacation), many of us are feeling a little stressed.  In addition to their regular teaching day, the teachers are also working on report cards and holding parent conferences.  We had the Book Fair last week, and next week we have the Instrumental and Vocal Music Concerts.  Some families are feeling worried about their 2013-2014 school plans for kindergarten or 6th grade.  Phew, it’s exhausting.

It’s interesting to see how things trickle down.  At school, some students are getting snappy with each other and not always saying the kindest things.  It’s important that we are the role models for them, and so when you are feeling the December stress, breathe and show your child how you handle it.  There may be misunderstandings and conflict, but as I tell the kids, it’s how we try to resolve it that is the important thing.  We want to create a safe, supportive, and joyful learning environment for our kids, and we all play a role in making that a reality.

Last year, a couple of my 5th grade students got into a scuffle during a basketball game.  They were sent to my office and by the time they got there, they had cooled down.  When I asked them what happened, one of the boys said, “Ms. Rhine, we’re over it.”  I told the boys they need to get along and make good decisions when they are upset.  Then one of the boys said, “Well, sometimes friends fight.”  Those were wise words from a 10-year old boy.  Friends do fight and we all have disagreements.  But how we handle the disagreements speaks volumes about who we are.

Speaking of who we are, Crocker has done an amazing job collecting toys for the “Toys for Tots” program, and coats for Children’s Hospital.  Now it’s time to make another Oakland family’s holiday a little brighter.  Our PTA is helping the Tolento family from Community United Elementary School in Oakland have a happy holiday. They are a wonderful family with five beautiful girls, ages 2 -11 years old and they need our support.  If you would like to donate to the family, they have asked for gift cards to Safeway, Target, Toys-R-Us, and anything else you think would help them have a nice holiday.  Feel free to drop off your donations to the PTA green box by the front office before December 17; mark your envelopes “Tolento Family.”  It’s a chance to help out and remember the true spirit of the holidays.

Speaking of holidays, check out the blurb below from one of our great Crocker families – they are helping spread the word on a great program to shop locally and earn money for our school! The program is called the Oakland Grown Card Program, and details are below.

Beth Rhine

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Crocker Boundary Update

Hello Crocker Community,

OUSD has published their Staff Report and recommendation which was presented to the Board last week.  It’s my understanding that the Board heard the recommendation and will come back to make a final decision in January 2013.   If I hear any more, I’ll let you know.

I would like to recognize the efforts of the Crocker Long-Range Planning Committee in providing OUSD data and information in order to help make an informed decision.  They provided some valuable information!

Beth Rhine

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