November and December Life Skills of the Month
“Kindness, Curiosity and Problem Solving”
November 14, 2018
Dear Bancroft Families,
There is just no greater joy than to watch our children grow in their learning and friendships at Bancroft School! Daily observations and data reveal steady gains in areas of social, emotional, and academic growth. November 9th marks the end of our first trimester and teachers will be completing assessments as well as using many learning tasks and observations to determine where their students are at this point of the year in showing growth towards end of year standards. Paramount to the standards are the life skills and Common Core learning practices that must be cultivated and nurtured in the process of learning. Rigor and difficulty are very apparent in the demands and expectations of Common Core State Standards. Struggle accompanied by a growth mindset allows our students and teachers to work in the paradigm of learning from trial and error. Learning without the “struggle” offers very few life lessons and experiences that lead to wisdom and deepened understanding and appreciation.
Instruction and learning are provided within the hours we have your children at school and must be continued at home through various on-going practices in the area of reading, math and writing. These additional hours in the home settings give our students more time to fine tune skills, observe and acknowledge their struggle and to celebrate successes. I encourage families to reward and praise the efforts and perseverance within the family rather than to find an easy excuse for why practice or homework is not possible for the busy routines and commitments that may be defining family time. With this said, teachers offer a menu of ideas for practicing and strengthening concepts. An important skill to build at home is listening. Students who can stop and listen (putting aside a motivating activity to listen, process and respond) will become older students, teens and adults who can react with patience, wisdom and the ability to adjust and respond to the needs around them. Give your children a responsibility that they can have and perform each day with pride and a sense of accomplishment. Knowing how to make a contribution without expectation of payment or reward… is the essence of building community, citizenship, and personal character.
We live in an era where we have come to expect things quickly and without much extra thought or effort toward the safety and well-being of self and others. It is important to remember, that wait time, struggle, and delaying the immediate fix is part of what we are experiencing as we support our children through their learning day and beyond at Bancroft School. Teachers are focused on helping your children become strong, capable and confident learners.
Nurturing individuality, and guiding actions and words that lead to safe, responsible, respectful and kind decisions are at the heart of our work with children and one another at Bancroft School.
“Think twice before you speak, Your words and
influence will plant the seed of either success or
failure in the mind of another.”
In the next several weeks, please look for teacher correspondence that provides you with reminders about the basic expectations for home-to-school communications. Teachers will give best ways for contacting them via phone, email, and other types of systems that are in place that best serve the common purpose for consistent and successful communications. Please remember that all teachers are preparing for students and instruction before school starts each day and that “at the classroom door questions” lead to teachers focused on adults rather than students causing a delay in a smooth and focused start to the student learning time. I have reminded teachers to close the door to signal that daily instruction has started. Thank you for respecting this boundary for our students.
Bancroft School and Home Family Partnership
Safe, Respectful and Positive Daily Outcomes Include:
- Arrival to school on time each day- Being on time is a valued characteristic by employers. Being educated to get the job someday will not matter if being late to the job spills into work habits as an adult. Make this a priority for you and your child.
- Daily attendance- Vacations that take students away from school can lead to small or larger gaps in student learning. See student handbook for other information on absence reporting and Independent Study Contracts.
- Time for nightly reading- Read, Read and Read. It is the only way to get better and more proficient. Read aloud, read together, partner read, read silently, ask questions, check for understanding, make predictions and think about the who, what, why, where and when with fiction and non-fiction. Turn learning to read into reading to learn!
- Time for weekly homework- Teacher try to plan this for 3 nights per week. Work with the teacher to make sure that the amount of time and tasks offered make sense for your child. A healthy and realistic dose of “struggle” is okay, however exhausting, high levels of frustration, and anger needs to be discussed to better decide the requirements of practice outside of the school day. This must be discussed early and monitored often.
- Time for family – Maybe a game night- see the Bancroft web site for game ideas under resources. This is a great way to build listening, speaking, turn taking and other academic critical thinking skills.
- Consider the use of social media and video gaming time at home. Video games and social media have a place- however for our young students this can cause huge distractions. Research is showing that this can lead to one sided thinking and lack of problem solving, as it limits or eliminates the chance to interact authentically with the human face, voice and body language. Social skills are on the decline with our children, and the need to teach these skills to a greater number of students has become a new reality. It can impede the learning process for all our children.
- Review returned school assignments. Look over successes and capitalize on areas of strength. Work on areas that need growth with gentle reassurances and practice.
- Review homework- Ask your child what he or she is proud of. What learning did they practice? Correlate how they practice and prepare each day to your jobs and what will be expected of them in future years of schooling and careers. Teacher lead instruction, guided practice , feedback and re-teaching is followed by paper pencil practice and or web based skill practice set to be diagnostically appropriate to build necessary skills.
- Model respectful communication with other adults at school, family and in the community. Our kids are watching and learning from us. The day to day lessons are powerful. Do not waste the opportunity to cultivate positive and productive conversations.
- When contacting any school teachers or other staff members- please do so by emailing. Requesting a meeting either by phone or in person will require that parents understand the working day of the school individual. Just like your health care providers, teachers, too, are not be able to see you “on demand” but can make an appointment after school on a day that works for both parent and the teacher. Teacher planning time and other commitments may require that a meeting take place a few days after requesting it and that parents may need to take time from work, but it will be scheduled. Urgent or emergency information should be shared via email and can be cc’d to the principal to make sure we are supporting any family or situation that must be addressed early and with insight as soon as possible.
- Please read and make note of all important information shared at the August Back to School Nights, any school communication and obtain clarifications when needed. Often teachers are repeating what they have already communicated to parents at Back to School Night and in newsletters. This information must be read and utilized appropriately so that informed parents can support their children’s school careers and the busy teachers who are endlessly preparing for their learning opportunities.
- Respectful exchanges are always expected and a teacher or staff member may request that a meeting is stopped and rescheduled if the tone does not meet this expectation.
“Think twice before you speak, Your words and
influence will plant the seed of either success or
failure in the mind of another.”
Thank you for making Bancroft School a respectful environment, and for all that you do to support your children on their learning journey. Your sacrifices and investment of time will have big returns in the future.
Does the traffic around school cause you concern?
A traffic committee has been meeting that includes staff, parents, City of Walnut Creek and MDUSD director of Maintenance and Operations to address needs and oversee some changes. Please review the following expectations.
Effective November 26- the double gates near day care will be point of entry for car pool drop off each morning and the middle gate will be point of exit for dismissal pick-ups. This is to help car pool drivers move forward and to utilize all the drop off space provided.
CAR POOL PROTOCOLS and ARRIVAL and DISMISSAL PRACTICES
Be familiar with these and share with all members of the family that will provide rides for your children. It is always recommended to car pool with other families in your area to reduce the number of cars coming in and out of Bancroft School.
- Drivers must be in the vehicle and moved up to the most open position along the green drop off curb in the car pool lane.
- Do not let students out on the driver side of the vehicle and do not get out of the car to open the trunk to remove items for school.
- Drop off lane- students must be drop-off ready! Please use a parking spot to stop your car and organize when needing to access the cargo area of your vehicle.
- Read and obey traffic signage and laws. Do not drive distracted.
- Drive slowly in all areas around the school. Pay attention.
- Be patient and have a “waiting” plan with your child so they know how to cope with wait time. Adults are at the car pool lane from dismissal until 15 minutes after the bell. Any student not picked up will be safely in the office for pick up.
- Supervision before school is provided for a daily discounted cost at Diane Adair. There are immediate openings from 7:00-7:45 am daily. Students should not be dropped off before 7:40 without supervision. Students are not supervised until 7:45.
- Rainy Days or days where the blacktop cannot be safely used between 7:45-8:00- students in grades 1-5 will arrive to the MUR for supervision before school. Kindergarten students are to report directly to their classrooms.
- DO NOT use the front bus circle for drop off or pick up. This practice is not safe and slows down the flow of traffic when drivers try to turn out of the bus circle if they have incorrectly used it for drop off. The bus circle is reserved for handicapped student drop off and pick up and for day care vans and school buses.
- The staff parking lot is never a drop off or pick up area. NEVER.
- Starting soon, the Kindergarten drop off will be eliminated. Parking on Parish Drive will be increased with the removal of red curbs in front of the staff parking lot. The Kindergarten curbs will be painted red and no further drop off or parking will be permitted. This area has repeatedly been used in an unsafe manner by drivers thereby causing the forced changes.
- When leaving the school during arrival and dismissal times- please exit Parish Drive using Terrebonne or Arkell instead of Claiborne. Reduction of left turns onto Claiborne keeps traffic moving and makes that area for pedestrians safer. Please note that there is not street signage to this effect, however it is requested of all drivers in and out of the school.
- Please be courteous to our traffic guard on the corner of Claiborne and Parish. The guard is to help pedestrian safety and to encourage the correct routes of travel as indicated above.
Thank you for following these expectations and practices. Your dedication to arriving and departing safely each day is greatly valued.
Parent Teacher Conferences
Parent Teacher conferences will be conducted after Thanksgiving Break and will be completed by December 21. Please sign up for a conference time when your teacher contacts you to do so. The student report of progress will be shared as well as learning goals already in place for the new trimester. Please note the dismissal time changes for December 12-21 for grades 1-5. Please be sure to inform your child care providers.
- M, T, TH, F – Dismissal will be 1:30 p.m.
- Wednesday- remain the same at 12:20 p.m.
- Kindergarten schedule- please see your child's teacher newsletter for any changes
Fifth Grade at Exploring New Horizons Science School!
Congratulations to our fifth graders who have raised the needed funds to make the long awaited trip to Exploring New Horizons Science School November 13-16, 2018. It will not be long before your son or daughter will be a Bancroft fifth grader, looking forward to this same experience. Thank you to our dedicated teachers who oversee this program and to the many parents and community members who organized fundraisers and made donations so that all the students could attend. This is about a $30,000.00 trip annually and it does take the “whole village” to make this happen. Thank you Bancroft Families and Friends… and we look forward to hearing about the amazing adventures from the class of 2019 at Camp Loma Mar!
In closing, please enjoy this time of year when autumn and winter traditions allow us time to reflect and to fill our hearts with gratitude and appreciation. I extend to all of you the very best as you plan holiday feasts, events, travels and time with family and friends.
Linda Schuler, Principal