Our first week back, after the holidays, brought about many challenges. Several of them being a cancelation or significant delay in transporting students to and from school. These staffing shortages, absences, and health cancelations were unexpected and inconvenient. It is hard to plan for a crisis but we certainly appreciate the way our families filled in the gaps to transport children to school. Please accept our sincere gratitude for your extra efforts during these trying times.
*Parent Circles:Please join us virtually for Parent Circles on Monday, January 10th at 6:00 pm. Parent Circles build community and connections while mirroring many morning meeting practices that our students participate in. The Circle process is an organized group discussion that invites everyone to share openly when they feel comfortable. This invitational dialogue process builds rapport, strengthens relationships, and bridges differences. Please RSVP and let us know how many adults to expect from your family. We will send the Google Meet link out to everyone that registered.
*Free and Reduced Lunch Applications: Our school district receives additional federal funds based on each school’s free and reduced lunch application status. These funds are utilized to support literacy intervention positions. These funds helped hire extra teachers and provided necessary classroom supplies. Also, the NC Department of Health & Human Services is collecting student free and reduced lunch, and attendance data from WCPSS, to determine any additional Pandemic Electronic Benefits (P-EBT) that need to be issued in the coming months. By not applying for these meal benefits, you will miss the potential opportunity to receive direct P-EBT funds for your family. If needed please complete the free and reduced lunch application.
*Dreambox: Dreambox continues to be an engaging digital math program for students provided by our school district. This program provides opportunities for students to review previously taught grade level concepts. Dreambox provides predictive insights as to how our students are performing with grade level standards. Students are grouped into five categories: no usage, insufficient usage, not on track, potentially on track, and on track with grade level standards. Our students complete Dreambox lessons weekly in our STEAM Special, classrooms, and at home. As expected, since we were out of school for a few weeks in December, the amount of lessons our students completed decreased. However, our students did complete 12,116 lessons during the month of December. Here were the grade level classes that completed the most lessons in December:
*COVID Conditions: We so appreciate those of you that kept your children home this week because they were exposed to someone in the community that tested positive for COVID-19 recently or tested positive themselves. Thank you for prioritizing the health conditions of others. We assure you that our school staff are following the same safety protocols. WCPSS updated the guidance of when to return to school to make it easier to follow.
*Cell Phones: Students are not permitted to bring cell phones to Carpenter Elementary. We have had numerous issues, that have resulted in disciplinarian measures, with students using the camera and video features inappropriately on the bus and at recess. If a child has a cell phone at school, we will confiscate it and contact parents to come pick it up.
*Literacy Resources from DPI: The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (Office of Early Learning) is providing new resources to support young readers in North Carolina called “Literacy at Home.” As part of current legislation, Senate Bill 387 directs NC DPI to develop and share a digital children’s reading initiative designed to support the continued growth of our youngest readers. The site is home to easily accessible resources in the foundational areas of reading supported by the science of reading. Developed for each grade level, pre-kindergarten through fifth grade, resources are available to support phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension, and oral language. Click here to access the resource.
*Teacher of the Week: Would you like to nominate your child’s teacher for Teacher of the Week? If so fill out this nomination form. We have had several teachers not return after maternity leave and several leave the teaching profession recently. After listing these positions, we received only a handful of candidates and many of them were not certified. We must compete with 117 schools over this same small pool of candidates. This is in stark contrast to just a few years ago, when we would receive 60 applicants for one position. The teachers that we have are GREAT and they work so hard for your children. We cannot afford to lose even ONE of them. Please take the time to share some words of affirmation about your child’s teacher.
*Substitute Teachers: We have a critical need for substitute teachers when our teachers get sick or must be absent. There simply is not enough substitute teachers that are accepting the reported jobs. The school district increased substitute teacher pay to $115 per day ($130 certified). Please consider applying to be a substitute teacher as even working one day a week would be a tremendous gift to our school.
We want to shout out Mrs. Aesusireesha Parnam as she has become a beloved substitute teacher! She is one of our Track 4 parents that has covered several of our maternity leaves and has been supporting us for a number of years. We have offered her a permanent job multiple times and she respectfully declines. We know she helps us out of the goodness of her heart.
We also want to thank Mrs. Sandra Hibbard for answering the call to substitute teach. She is one of our Track 3 parents that has become one of our most reliable substitute teachers. She works with us on a daily basis. We could not get through this season without her dedication!
Remember that whatever challenges come about this week, a three-day weekend is right around the corner.
Dr. Fay Jones
Dates to Remember
January 10th = Virtual Parent Circles at 6:00 pm
January 17th = School Closed for Martin Luther King Jr. Day