February 20th School Closed – Non Instructional Day

. . .to provide a stimulating learning environment to develop responsible students who strive to achieve their academic, social, and artistic goals. University Hill honors the rich diversity of its school culture and instills a commitment to personal excellence and a love of lifelong learning. The school values its physical environment and enjoys a mutually beneficial relationship with the community it serves.

The University Hill community has been working hard to implement plans and programs related to our school literacy goal this year. Our primary staff meets regularly to share, collaborate, discuss needs and plan for growth in literacy development and our new School Planning Council is beginning to gather information and provide advice regarding plans and progress.

Once again this year, our primary goal this year is Literacy Development. We have been working to examine and to be thoughtful about our discussion of practices in literacy development and to implement new strategies for both reading and writing development in Kindergarten through Grade 7 classes. In addition, we will be offering early literacy and school readiness opportunities through Ready, Set, Learn funding, for families in our school with children 3 to 5 years old, and expanding our small ‘Early Literacy’ Collection in the school library. We are also focusing our professional development on learning about ‘best practices’ in literacy development, and are continuing to expand our repertoire of literature based reading and writing strategies throughout the grades. We are in the process of collecting and collating data from several sources (report cards, FSA scores, DRA and RAD Assessments, Performance Standards, School Wide Writes, etc) and are beginning to review it to find trends and make plans for next year regarding how best to help our students progress in this area.

As part of this year’s focus on literacy development, we have begun the year with a renewed and refreshed commitment to writing development through our School Planning process. Since the beginning of the school year, we have focused our professional development as a staff on writing strategies. To date, we have focused largely on learning about ‘Six Traits’ writing strategies and putting them into practice in our classrooms. As part of our ongoing assessment, every student K-7 has been involved in a school wide write. In addition, every intermediate student has participated in a RAD (Reading Assessment District 39) assessment and every primary student has been assessed using the DRA (Developmental Reading Assessment). These measures help to give us insight into each student’s individual progress and allow us to plan instruction to suit individual student needs in literacy development. We continue to refine our thinking about and instruction in the area of literacy development in order to best facilitate student growth in this area.

As you may know, University Hill elementary fills very quickly and each year we have a very long wait list of people wanting to return to and/or enrol in the school. This year we have already started a wait list for fall enrollment at the school.

While we try to contact every wait list family by letter, there are always some that don’t hear or don’t realize the importance of early registration in this community. If you know of families who would like to come to the school for the 2009/10 school year, please encourage them to register as soon as possible.

All University Hill students are encouraged to use our school library & borrow library books on a regular basis. Intermediate students possess their own school library cards intended for independent book borrowing as the Teacher-Librarian is frequently involved with teaching classes. Numerous primary classes are scheduled for weekly teaching/library borrowing periods. Intermediate students borrow 2 books & primary students borrow 1 book at a time. All students have been advised that books should be returned before others are borrowed. If more books are needed, then please ask the Teacher-Librarian.

Many student library monitors help out during the week. They are an excellent and valuable asset to the smooth running of the Library. The monitors have been instructed not to allow more books out to a student if other books have not been returned. Unfortunately, some books have a way of returning to the shelf without being checked into the system which complicates the whole process. When you return books to the library, please be sure to put them in the bin or on the check in counter in the library.

If you have any questions regarding your child’s book borrowing, book return, or suggestions for reading, please do not hesitate to contact the librarian.

Basketball season is in full flight. This year we are flooring 4 teams, Junior Girls & Boys and Senior Girls & Boys. Teams emphasizing sportsmanship, skill building and teamwork. Thank you to the coaches, Susan Hufty, Val Day, Barry Wright & Craig Polzen. Stop by the gym and cheer on our teams.

Thanks to all of you who helped to make our reporting period a celebratory and successful experience for all students. We now look forward to an equally successful Spring Term.

It seems we are missing a significant number of report card envelopes. These are used for all three terms of the school year. If you have not already done so, please sign and return your child’s report card envelope to the school.

We would like to remind parents that at this time of year we have regular visits to the office from students who did not come to school appropriately dressed for the weather. While children may choose to stay inside on days when the weather is wet, most days it is expected that children will go outside to play at recess. Please help us by sending your children to school with appropriate clothing for the cold weather.

During the recent cold weather we have noticed an increase in cars dropping off and picking up students. Traffic flow is extremely congested and continues to be a very concerning issue at the school. To keep our children safe please do not pick up your children on the road into the school without pulling over into a parking spot. Please continue to drive slowly through the round about loop. As space permits, please drive all the way through the round about. This will prevent cars from lining up into Chancellor Blvd. This will also prevent cars from driving side by side which can lead to accidents.

Additionally, please respect the parking regulations posted and remember that it is both dangerous and illegal to make U-turns or stop in the middle of the road (double park). The small amount of extra time it takes could prevent the injury of a child. We would also like to remind you to encourage your children to use the right sidewalk as they leave the school to walk out to Chancellor Boulevard. There is no crosswalk or safe crossing area between the school and the light on Chancellor.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. As always the students’ safety is of most importance.

Parents can demonstrate how much they value education and motivate their children to do well in school. Their help is needed to: provide books and other reading material at home, help children set goals, give praise and encourage them to do well.

As a parent you are your child’s first and most important teacher!

  • Show your child that education is important to you. Set aside fifteen minutes a day to talk about assignments and school activities.
  • Monitor homework, helping your child when necessary, but don’t DO it!
  • Read to or with your child, and let your son or daughter see you reading every day.
  • Turn off the TV except for special shows or at agreed-upon times. Serve as a good role model– don’t spend all your time watching TV.
  • Get to know your child’s teachers and obtain any special help that your child may need.
  • Attend all parent-teacher interviews, and as many school events as possible.
  • Be sure your child is properly supervised before and after school hours.
  • Help your child feel good about herself or himself. Children with good self esteem are better students and grow up to be happier and healthier adults.