The 2018-19 year is off to a great start! I can see the routines taking hold in the classroom as well as outside. Drop off and pick up are going much more smoothly. Thank you for helping me ensure that our kids are safe!
We have two new programs in our school this year to enhance social emotional development as well in addition to promoting leadership skills, problem solving ability, conflict resolution and positive character traits. When we purchase materials for our school, we always look for representation of diverse populations and freedom from stereotypical biases. I’m pleased to say that both these resources meet this criteria and much, much more.
Peace Jam Juniors is a curriculum developed by the Peace Jam Foundation with the intention of creating young leaders committed to positive change in themselves, their communities and the world through the inspiration of Nobel Peace Laureates. Each grade will study a different Laureate, learning about the Laureate’s choice to stand up against injustice and oppression in their own communities. I love how the Laureates are from all over the world!
We are pleased that our school psychologist, Lisa Strassburger, is now on Polaris staff full time. Ms. Strassburger is excited to get to know even more Polaris students as she visits classrooms weekly to facilitate discussions designed to help our students manage their emotions, develop empathy and build positive relationships. She will be using Second Step Curriculum lessons to help our students learn valuable life long skills.
Ms. Aruca has been working hard to get a great line up of electives classes, and electives begin next Friday. We have some new classes as well as some favorites. One class that has been very popular is Mock Trial. The kids love it! We’d like to offer it, but we really need another lawyer or two to help. Please contact Ms. Aruca if you can help.
Our staff has a new structure for learning this year as well. We will be meeting twice a month in content area Professional Learning Communities. These groups will study content area standards, curriculum implementation and student data to identify the best methods to ensure that our students are enjoying deep learning here at school.
We are proud that we are able to offer technology here at Polaris and we take internet safety and computer usage very seriously. We have firewalls set up that only allow access to certain websites, and we limit usage to learning, and it is always well-supervised by an adult. Internet safety is important at home too, and I try to pass on information that will keep you informed about danger when I hear of it. This week I heard about a game that is circulating on social media called the “Momo Challenge,” similar to a game that circulated last year called the “Blue Whale Challenge.” This is an online challenge where participants are urged to commit various acts of self-harm. The acts of harm increase in severity with participants having to upload physical evidence that they completed each challenge. On the final day, participants are urged to win the game by committing suicide. I would like to take this opportunity to encourage you to determine whether your child is involved in games like the “Momo Challenge” or the “Blue Whale Challenge” and to discuss the dangers of playing games online. Please explain to them that games like these may seem harmless at first and remind them that they should be wary of games that require them to interact with persons they do not know. In a time when social media is consistent and present in our everyday lives, I would like to remind our students and families about the responsibility we have as a community. We will continue to work with our students to empower them to understand online safety and cyber-citizenship. As a reminder, the terms of service for all social networks prohibit anyone under 13 years of age from using the services. This applies to Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and all other social networks. As an additional resource to learn more about cyber-safety as a parent, I encourage you to visit Commonsensemedia.org, a partnership we have forged through Denver Public Schools.
The fifth grade parent social was wonderful. It was a lovely evening and a great chance for parents to meet and mingle. Thank you, Eric Rassmussen and Sarah Baack for hosting. I’m looking forward to seeing second grade parents at the Worrell’s (September 13), fourth grade parents at the Freedman’s (September 14), third grade parents at the Sawyer’s (September 20) and first grade parents at the Gladnick’s (September 20). If you haven’t done so, please mark your calendars and join me! If you need more information, please call the office.
You may have noticed the lovely blue wall in the foyer that is brightening up our school. I can’t wait to see it hung with more of the outstanding artwork kids are doing with Mrs. Rogers. Thank you, Haley Figueroa and Jay Vasconcellos for your labor and for the love you put into making our school beautiful.
Do you have an idea, question, or a concern? Please don’t hesitate to contact me. Our school is an amazing one, and it’s due to the fact that we all love it and contribute!
Have a wonderful September!
Anne Sterrett, Principal