April 13, 2011

March Update Dear GM Families: Welcome to Spring! We have enjoyed several special weeks so far this month. We celebrated National PTA Exceptional Children's Week March 7-11. All of our students watched an excerpt of Front of the Class- a movie about Brad Cohen and his successful career in education while dealing with Tourette Syndrome. I know Mr. Cohen personally as he is also the Asst. Principal at Addision Elementary and his story is truly inspirational. From March 14-18 we celebrated PTA Health and Nutrition Week with special school to home activities and a Recess Boot Camp sponsored by Sports-A-Rama! Looking ahead we have an Honoring our Heroes Reception for all essay winners on March 23rd at 8:00 a.m. Brusters Night is also that evening (Trickum Road) from 5:00-8:00. Finally, we have Teacher Appreciation Week from March 28th-April 1st followed by Spring Break. Below is our March PAWS Article from Dr. Stasiak with some great testing tips for the upcoming CRCT which begins April 12th. We hope you find these helpful! The CRCT is fast approaching! The test starts on Tuesday, April 12th and ends Monday, April 18th. Students in grades 3-5 will be tested in the areas of Reading, English/Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social Studies. When you think of the word “testing,” what comes to your mind? A racing heart, sweating palms or your mind going blank may be a few responses. So how do we prepare our children so this experience is less painful? Some of the following tips are just common sense but are often overlooked. Before Testing….. The very best way to prepare your child is to let them become familiar with the testing format. You can go to https://www.georgiaoas.org, login with your child’s GTID # (given to you by the teacher) and the password “education” and have them take a practice test. Other important components include: Getting a good night’s sleep. Go to bed early. You will perform better if you are wide awake and well rested (and so will your brain!) Solve family/friend problems before the testing date. Talk to your child about any concerns that he/she might have about the test. Morning of Testing….. Start the day as you always do. Eat a good breakfast, don’t skip it. Food is brain power! Eat a balanced breakfast. Load up on protein, but avoid junk food, too much sugar, or anything that might make your child “crash” during testing. Be sure to pack a light nutritious snack that can be eaten between test subsections, but avoid salty foods that may make them thirsty later during the test. Another important component is to “think positive.” Say things to your child that will boost confidence. “This test can’t scare you, you are totally prepared.” Reassure your child and put the test in perspective… Tell your child that the test will be used to evaluate how well a school is educating its students. Explain that the scores are looked at along with many other pieces of information in determining your child’s achievement level. It’s only one piece of information and it is not expected that students answer every question correctly. However, remind your child that he/she should always try to do their personal best and to focus on the questions in other words not letting themselves get distracted because someone else has finished earlier. Take a deep breath…. If your child is a very nervous test-taker, have him/her do deep breathing exercise before the test. He/she can take a deep breath and count to ten. Then take shorter deep breaths in between passages or section of the test counting to three. This exercise is fast and simple but really works! Also consider dressing your child in layers so he/she can take clothes off or put them on, depending on the temperature of the room or their own personal thermostats. Other testing strategies…. Be on time for school. Testing will start right after morning announcements and it’s important to have time to settle in. Read the question and all answer choices before marking anything Pace yourself – limit the amount of time spent on any one question. Do your best and then move on. Focus on addressing each question individually. As you take the test, if you don’t know an answer, it’s okay. Eliminate choices that you know are incorrect. Then focus on the remaining choices. A word of caution about changing answers – do not change answers unless you are very uncertain about your first answer choice. Try to answer each question. Make the most intelligent guess you can. When using scratch paper on a math test, double check to make sure that you have copied the problem correctly from the test booklet. Line up place value correctly on you scratch paper, and if your answer does not match one of the choices, reread the problem, recopy the numbers, and try solving it again. If there’s time left, spend it on those questions about which you know nothing or almost nothing Remember it’s okay not to know everything – unlike class tests, these tests will have some questions designed to challenge the limits of your knowledge at a grade level above you current grade. Parents, please only share the testing tips that your child is ready for and will benefit from; it is not our intent to add stress to this situation. GOOD LUCK! Vicki Stasiak, Assistant Principal
May Update Dear GM Families: It is difficult for us to believe that this school year is almost over! We’ve had a very successful year and show positive academic gains in all grade levels based on our local data. Dr. Stasiak and I have truly enjoyed serving as your school administrators and working with the families and staff of Garrison Mill each day. Over the next few weeks we look forward to our First Grade (May 5th) and Kindergarten (May 17th) Musicals, Volunteer Brunch (8:30-12:00 on May 11th) and 5th grade celebration (May 24th). I hope you will all join us for the Volunteer Brunch when our staff shows their appreciation for all of you! At this time of year we enjoy looking back and celebrating our successes! This year we wish to congratulate the three different groups that play a large role in our overall success. Our PTA has worked tirelessly to advocate for our students and earned another District 9 award for the third year in a row! This year we were named 2nd place for Outstanding Local Unit for Elementary Schools at 750 enrollment and lower. District 9 includes all schools in Cobb, Marietta City, Douglas and Paulding Counties so we have some tough competition! We also wish to thank our School Council for the work they have done to support our school writing goal and citizenship through our “Thank a Veteran” Thanksgiving letter writing campaign followed by the Valentines for Veterans project. Both of these projects provided meaningful ways to both support writing and honor those who have served our country. Additionally, we want to celebrate the success of our GME Foundation and the monetary support we have received in the areas of science and technology from the proceeds of the first ever Greyhound Gala! This event replaced Boosterthon and was a successful and fun new event for Garrison Mill! Finally, we are of course still thrilled with our Platinum status for Highest Achievement on the Spring 2010 CRCT. We should receive our CRCT results for 2011 soon and will share those with you when we are able to do so. We also would like to congratulate our 5th grade students on the fantastic writing assessment scores. We should be able to release those scores to you very soon. In closing, Diana Whitson, a long time Garrison Mill teacher is retiring this year. We will have a celebration for her on May 10th from 4:00-5:00 in the Media Center. Light refreshments will be served. We hope you can join us to celebrate her dedication to our students and her teaching career. Please take time to rest and relax as a family this summer. Always remember to READ all you can and to practice those math facts! We’ll see you in August! Paula Huffman Principal