"Children are apt to live up to what you believe of them"
-Lady Bird Johnson
The mission of Union Pleasant Elementary School is to provide our children with an academic foundation and to create an environment that addresses their social, emotional, and physical needs.
Arriving Late to School
If your child arrives after the 8:40 AM bell in the morning, they should be signed in by a parent or guardian in the main office or have a signed excuse note from their parent. All doors are locked at 8:40 AM and students and parents should only be entering through the main door, accessible from the Union Street parking lot. Students will then receive a pass to go to their classroom.
If they are walkers and arrive a couple minutes late without a note, parents should send a note in the following day. Students are still required to come into the office to sign in.
'Tis the Season....
for many wonderful things:
Enjoy the upcoming days of the break with your child(ren), reading several books of course. I wish you a wonderful Holiday Season!
concerts...the children, in festive attire, are showing off their musical and speaking skills. Please be sure to join us for one of these wonderful evenings;
thinking of others....bake sales, food collections, mitten trees, etc. Thank you for your generosity as we help others who are less fortunate than us;
gift-giving....have you added a book to your child's Christmas gifts this year?
enjoying the great outdoors...be sure your child gets outside to play. Most classes go outside for recess each day, unless it's raining. Please make sure your child has warm clothes to enjoy these times.
It has been a busy 3 weeks of the 2012-13 school year! Besides meeting new teachers and seeing old friends, children have had time to meet new friends and enjoy themselves at our annual PTA Hot Dog Dinner. Three nights of Open House have provided the opportunity for parents and teachers to meet and clarify expectations for the new school year.
I continue to encourage you to be a role model for your child regarding "Reading" this year. Reading is the most important skill a child will learn in school as it impacts all other academic areas. When a child can read well, and enjoys reading, "school life" becomes much simpler!
You, as the parent or guardian, can help your child to love reading. Besides spending time reading to your child, allow them to see you reading on your own. When they see that reading is something that you do each day, they too will realize the importance and, as children do, want to be just like you.
The minimum goal for each child at UPES is to read 25 books this school year. That's a huge goal for adults, but I am challenging you to take it on. Are YOU willing? I'm going for at least 25 and hopefully many more. Feel free to ask me how many books I have read when we meet in the halls.... As I've said at each Open House, the question of the year is.....
"So what are you reading now??"
WELCOME to the 2012-13 SCHOOL YEAR!!!
It has come to my attention recently that many of our students are using technology throughout the school day in many ways. While I am all in favor of using technology, there is always an appropriate time and place for its use. What we are seeing more often than not, is that students are using their electronic devices to play games during the school day which has become a major distraction. This morning on the announcements, I clarified what the expectations are at UPES for these devices during the day. It is important the UPES community is also aware of these expectations:
Cell phones: are NOT permitted for use by students during the school day. Cell phones are to be turned off and put in backpacks upon entry into the building and left there until students are leaving the building. If there is an emergency, parents are to call the office and we will get a message to a child immediately.
Ipods and Ipads, etc: students may use these devices ONLY under the supervision of a teacher. Electronic devices are NOT to be taken to the cafeteria.
Kindles and e-readers: although this may be changed in the future, as of now,these devices also may not be taken to the cafeteria since they can also have games on them.
Students found using these devices outside of these guidelines (playing games in hallways, lunch, etc.) will be making the choice to hand their device in to either Mr. Martinez or me. Parents will then need to come to school to pick up these devices.
School is a place for learning and exploring but NOT for the sometimes mindless games that we have on our electronic devices.
We appreciate the support of parents as we implement these parameters and ask that you please do not call your child on a cell phone during the school day.
Bullying has been in the headlines lately due to the tragic events in a nearby community. I recently attended a conference sponsored by the Character Council of Western New York addressing this issue. The most important message I came away with, from this conference, is the importance of empowering those who are bullied and those who are witnesses. No child should feel that they must listen to taunts or threats and have no recourse. At Union Pleasant Elementary School, we continuously look for ways to support our students in any and all situations...especially any that may involve bullying.
Conversations at home can help this effort as you, the parents, also empower your child. Please check out the following websites to find more resources to enable you, and us on this mission!
This summer I was involved in a great deal of training on the upcoming changes that will be happening in all school districts in New York. Although we began last winter to study the changes happening in our curriculum, we will continue this study and analysis throughout this school year. Teachers will be trained and adjust their lessons accordingly as we being to incorporate the new
Common Core Curriculum.
Many of the new Teaching Standards are not new to most of our teachers. However this year we will be scrutinizing these standards to adjust instruction so that it has the greatest impact possible on what is happening in the classrooms. Data will be collected by teachers in each classroom to support or change the instruction as needed.
The Community of Union Pleasant Elementary School involves each of us being committed to doing what is best for our children: this includes YOU the parents, and every adult (teacher, administrator, bus driver, volunteer, teacher aide, etc) who interacts with a child within the realm of Union Pleasant Elementary School.
You will be hearing a great deal from your children about "STAR behavior" at UPES! Each child will be receiving a "Star Student" bracelet to wear each day at school to remind each of us what Star behavior entails. As students at UPES, it is expected that each child will:
in all settings and situations throughout the day. Staff will also be wearing the bracelets as we support our children in learning these important lessons. We know that you also will support us in these efforts through your conversations and expectations that you have at home.
Sometimes it seems that "LIKE" is the only word young adults use. Below is a link to an article about how parents and teachers can help students to become better speakers. This is definitely one of those skills that we all can help our children practice.
Click on the link to get some pointers as to
A+ Advice for Parents: Speak, like, proper English
To listen to my 16-year-old daughter, Alicia, you'd think she had a vocabulary of three words. She says "like" constantly in a valley-girl voice. She has a summer job as a receptionist and should speak more maturely. She's a good student who sounds like a sitcom character. How do we change this? Help!
In "A+ Advice for Parents," nationally syndicated columnist Leanna Landsmann calls on Erik Palmer, author of the new book Well Spoken, to help answer this question. Check out the response here:
New Core Curriculum Standards coming to us from NYS…an exciting time to be in education!
As part of Race to the Top, New York State has realigned the ELA and Math standards. Mastery of these standards will ensure that our students will be college and career ready in a “twenty-first century, globally competitive society”.
Beginning in January, teachers throughout the district will be working at their grade levels to become familiar with the changes in these standards and how they will affect the instruction given in their classrooms. Reading, writing and math skills will mean more rigorous expectations for each of our students and adjustments will need to be made concerning what is taught at each grade level. The importance of incorporating creativity and technology daily cannot be over estimated as we work to make sure our students are prepared to be 21st century globally competitive adults.
This will be a time of careful thought and introspection for each educator as we adjust why we do what we do in the classroom. A huge challenge faces every teacher and administrator. I can tell you that I, for one, am looking forward to the process of analysis and collaboration that will be happening as teachers and administrators work together in the months to come to meet this challenge!
"ELA/Math Assessment Season"
Recently I was asked by some parents about the New York State English Language Arts and Math scores of Union Pleasant students and how I feel about our ranking in Business First. Since we are heading right into this "Assessment Season" I thought I should share my response with the entire community. I replied that, since Business First has never clearly shown HOW they get their rankings, it is rather frustrating to try to explain our rank. The rankings typically do not show the many facets of each building such as population, programs that the teachers are implementing and the general "spirit" of the school. Just walking into a building can give you a great deal of information regarding those very important aspects of a school. But regarding scores, I am very pleased to say that last year on the NYS ELA assessment our scores improved as follows:
Grade 3: 87.4% passing to 94% passing
Grade 4: 80.1% passing to 89% passing
Grade 5: 92.8% passing to 93% passing.
Our NYS Math assessment scores improved last year as follows:
Grade 3: 93.7% passing to 98% passing
Grade 4: 86.1% passing to 97% passing
Grade 5: 91.2% passing to 93% passing
As you can see, these are the scores of students who are working diligently with teachers who are focused and love children. I, as Principal of this building, am pleased with where we are and where we are headed! As these assessments come upon us again this spring, parents please make sure your child is present, well-rested and well -fed so they are prepared to do their best.
"Kid of Character" Awards
Once again this year, Coyote Cafe is sponsoring the Union Pleasant Elementary School "Kid of Character" awards. Each month students will be nominated by any staff member in the building for demonstrating good character in some way. On the 15th of each month, one name will be drawn from the nominations and that child will receive a certificate and a gift certificate for $10 to Coyote Cafe. Their nomination will be read over the announcements and put on my webpage, and their picture will be taken with the principals for the Backpack Express.
Throughout the rest of the month, nominations of other students will be read over the announcements. In addition, a letter will be sent home to parents to let them know why their child was nominated as a "Kid of Character".
Kid of Character for May
Our "Kid of Character" for May is Dima Blundell from Ms Takacs' 5th grade class. Ms Takacs nominated Dima with these words, "Dima consistently demonstrates the character trait of endurance. He has an inner strength that he utilizes to withstand stress and do his best at all times. Dima keeps his eyes on a set goal, takes it one step at a time and doesn't give up! I am extremely proud of him!" Congratulations, Dima...we are ALL proud of you!
As stated on my earlier post, "implementation of SSR (Sustained Silent Reading) time is something that we will adjust and modify as we go through it". Below is a letter that is going home to all parents today regarding some changes that we will be implementing on November 2.
Thank you for your wonderful support of the Sustained Silent Reading portion of our literacy program here at Union Pleasant. I, along with our Core Team (the decision making group of the school) have been observing what has been working well and what could be improved upon these last six weeks in regards to our SSR time. After consulting with Dr. Crawford, Superintendent of Schools, and meeting together as Core Team, we have decided that we will be moving our Sustained Silent Reading time from before school into the scheduled day, from 8:35-8:55 AM each day beginning November 2. Due to bus arrival time, many students were not able to join in SSR time prior to the beginning of the day, and we want to include all students in this dedicated time of reading.
The building will still be open at 8 AM for student arrival. Students arriving from 8-8:10 AM will report to the Union cafeteria and will be dismissed to their classrooms at 8:10. This allows teachers the time needed each morning to attend scheduled meetings and finalize preparations for the day, while ensuring that students are properly supervised at all times.
We appreciate your continued support of this very important piece of our day and look forward to the excitement of SSR time growing!
Jacqueline K. Peffer