Principal Carroll's April's News Report
Dear 307 Families, Caregivers and Friends:
December is a special time at P.S.307. There are so many opportunities to celebrate and get into the spirit of the holidays. The Farragut Stakeholders held the first Christmas Tree lighting ceremony on December 12th for the Farragut community. Our 307 choir was present to kick off the festivities. It is a beautiful tree. If you reside in Farragut you were either present, or heard the lovely sounds of our choir and other artists performing from your windows. It was great to see people from neighboring areas be present as well. Before the holidays are over, please visit the tree.
It is the season of joy and peace, and I’ve been thinking a lot about the joy of learning. As many of you know, learning without joy, to me, is not learning. Joy is that feeling when you discover that what you are learning has brought you a new and deeper understanding of a complex situation. Joy is knowing that you have an unlimited number of questions to ask about the world. Joy is that feeling deep inside that you are part of something bigger than yourself and that the part you play in it with others is what makes it evermore significant because learning is social. Joy is not aiming for perfection, but appreciating that we are all human; each carrying within us amazing potential -our job is to help each other uncover that amazing potential.
Joy is not the same as happiness, because happiness is fleeting. Joy is what we want to see for all of our young learners at 307. This is a fundamental part of the philosophy that drives our vision and our mission.
I am happy to report that our student-led conferences were well-attended, as were the students. Post conferences the staff reflected how we can ensure that students are lead presenters at the March conferences. Our commitments included increasing opportunities for students to reflect on their learning during and after lessons, inviting students to review their progress regularly, more experiences giving and receiving peer feedback, in addition to teacher feedback, and expecting students to set short and long term goals that they monitor regularly.
All grades have launched their first project-based learning units, designed to engage students in deep inquiry around a big question. Students work on the important 4 C skills: Collaboration, Communication, Critical Thinking, and Creativity to approach learning in an interdisciplinary way, culminating in a final product for an authentic audience. STEAM is integrated as well.
The following are the big questions that each grade is studying:
Kindergarten: How does the weather affect how we get dressed?
1st Grade How can we create authentic spaces that help animals survive?
2nd Grade How can stomping bugs restore balance?
3rd Grade How does the disappearance of the honey bee affect me and what can we do about it?
4th Grade What are the benefits of conserving energy?
5th Grade How safe is our water?
Because we believe that Social Emotional skill building prepares our students for continued success beyond 307, making the connection between SEL and knowledge building ensures that we are helping develop lifelong learners capable of solving problems and being innovative. An assessment given by your child’s teacher enables us to understand each child’s strength, and areas of development in the SEL competencies. Our next step is introducing interventions, to address gaps that seem to be more generalized for the grade, and also skill-specific interventions for individual students. Despite the fact that this is not a requirement of New York City Public Schools, we believe it is just as important as academics and therefore have continued to prioritize social-emotional building.
We continue to prioritize literacy and remain heavily focused on ensuring that students have a solid foundation in literacy. As we expose students to more STEAM-based and project-based opportunities that require close reading and analysis through research and non-fiction text, we recognize that literacy is essential to gaining access to this content.
There are two literacy workshops for families in January. One will be held by our very own teachers for families in grades K-2. Our Literacy coach, Ms. Brinn and I will lead a session for families in grades 3-5. Both will include practical guidance on how you can support your child to not only improve their reading, but to increase their engagement in reading. Please look for the dates when you receive the January calendar before the end of this week.
Students in grades 3-5 are receiving targeted instruction in reading during period 2 Strategic Reading Period. K-2 is also receiving targeted instruction in foundational literacy skill building, and we have reassigned a highly experienced educator to conduct a small group and 1:1 reading support for students who are in need of a more robust reading intervention. If you are interested in learning more about these interventions and strategic reading period, reach out to our Literacy and Response to Intervention Coach, Ms. Brinn @ [email protected].
It takes the whole community to improve the community. With so many opportunities for volunteering, Mr. Williams and our leadership team will be facilitating training sessions for interested family and caregivers throughout January and in regular cycles thereafter. We need families to support our commitment to maintaining a safe and fun recess during lunch. We also want to increase the levels of engagement and interaction between families of individual classes and we invite you to consider becoming a class parent. Lastly, there are a few committees that we would like to see established and we are always in need of families in all types of careers and all types of skills to help us expose our students as much as possible.
We are seeking families interested in:
1. Beauty and Environment Committee
2. Recess Committee for games and enrichment during recess period 5
3. Literacy and Project-based Committee
We hope you will join us this Thursday, December 21st for the Winter Concert at 9 a.m. in the 307 Auditorium and for the Breaking Bread Vision Board Party right after the concert. I wish you all a safe and peaceful holiday, full of joy and dreams fulfilled.
Please enjoy the End of Fall edition of The 307 Buzz, where you’ll find more highlights from 307 this Fall, including introduction to the Student Council and other cool happenings.