Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Cases of Head Lice

This post is to follow-up on a School Reach call that was made to all families on November 29, 2011. 

Additional information is available at: www.health.state.mn.us  (search "head lice").

Health Office News,
Please remember that head lice are a nuisance and do not cause disease.  Anyone can get head lice, and it is not a sign of poor hygiene. If your child brings home a notification indicating lice in the classroom, please take the moment to read and check your child’s head.  If your child has head lice please contact the health office. 

Throughout the year I encourage you to continue to be diligent in checking your child’s hair for lice.  This is a crucial component in preventing the spread of lice to other family members and within the community.  A delay in identification and subsequent treatment may allow the transmission of lice to others.  Head lice are very small (less than 1/8” long), brownish-colored insects that live on human heads and lay their eggs (nits) close to the scalp.  The eggs are white or gray and the size of an eye of a needle.

I also encourage you to take this time to have a family discussion on prevention habits. Sleepovers are a common setting in which head lice are spread. When your child returns from a sleepover, check his or her hair for signs of lice and lauder any bedding that they brought home.  Remind them of the importance of not sharing hair and grooming products along with hats and head gear.

Feel free to contact the Health Office with questions.

PRIDE Video #2

Sioux Trail staff and students are proud to share our second PRIDE video.  This video introduces PRIDE MAN (yes, we have our own super hero!) and reinforces what the hallways should look like.

Enjoy!

The video is also available at this link: PRIDE Video #2

Monday, November 28, 2011

PRIDE T-Shirt Design Contest


PRIDE T-Shirt Design Contest
Shadow and PRIDE Man would like to see all staff and students in a Sioux Trail PRIDE t-shirt, but we don't have a PRIDE shirt - yet!
Each member of the Sioux Trail community is invited to submit a design for a Sioux Trail PRIDE t-shirt.
 

T-shirts designs should:
    ·   Be focused on promoting Sioux Trail PRIDE (Prepared, Respectful, Involved, Determined and Excellent)
    ·   Use school colors (Red, White and Black)
    ·   Use the words "Sioux Trail" in the design
    ·   Use the acronym "PRIDE" in the design
    ·   Be simple and easily understood
    ·   Be on 8 1/2" X 11" paper with the designer's first and last name

T-shirt designs are due to the office by December 7, 2011

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Burnsville Tree Lighting Ceremony


District 191 music groups will perform at holiday lighting ceremony


Two student musical groups from Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191 will participate in the annual Winter Lighting Ceremony in Burnsville at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 23, in Nicollet Commons Park, 12600 Nicollet Avenue.

The FreeStyle choir from Burnsville High School will perform under the direction of Bryan Fisher. The Sioux Trail Elementary School Choir, under the direction of Kristen Longanecker, will also perform.

During the ceremony, over 200,000 mini-lights and 225 streetlight snowflakes will be turned on along with lights on a 30-foot tree. Holiday treats will be provided by Jo Jo's Rise & Wine, Cub Foods and Chianti Grill.

Free parking is located at the Park and Ride Ramp located on Pillsbury Avenue and the Heart of the City Ramp located on Travelers Trail.

The lighting program is sponsored by the non-profit Burnsville Community Foundation with donations from area businesses and residents.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

PBIS PRIDE Video

This is a video that Sioux Trail staff and students created to remind everyone about showing Sioux Trail PRIDE around the sinks.  Enjoy!

If the video isn't working on this page you may see it here: PBIS PRIDE Video #1

Friday, October 14, 2011

School Choice Letters

All Sioux Trail families recently received (or will soon receive) a letter from ISD 191 regarding the AYP status of Sioux Trail.  Here is the most important message: Sioux Trail is MAKING Adequately Yearly Progress!

Adequate Yearly Progress is part of the No Child Left Behind legislation (the Re-Authorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act) that was put in place by George W Bush.  The legislation sets targets that schools must meet on an annual basis and consequences if schools do not achieve the target.  The end goal is that 100% of students are proficient (according to the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments) by 2013-14.

The AYP system evaluates multiple areas within reading and math including: all students, ESL students, Special Education students and five different ethnic subgroups.  The process evaluates participation and proficiency on the assessment and attendance at the school.  At the end of the 2008-09 school year Sioux Trail was found to not be making AYP in six different areas within the proficiency area. At the end of the 2009-10 school year Sioux Trail demonstrated progress and was found to not be making AYP in one area; Reading for Special Education students.  Based on 2010-11 Minnesota Accountability Tests Sioux Trail is making AYP in ALL areas.

This is terrific news for Sioux Trail and recognizes the hard work of Sioux Trail staff, students and parents.  Despite making AYP in all areas Sioux Trail remains on the Not Making AYP List because the process requires schools to make AYP two years in a row before being removed from the list.  Sioux Trail is in stage 1.2  meaning that Sioux Trail parents have school choice and can take their children to another ISD 191 school choice site.  Sioux Trail families will have more information on this soon.

Being identified as "Making Adequately Yearly Progress" by the Minnesota Department of Education doesn't stop our continued hard work towards moving each student forward and providing high quality instruction that facilitates personal and academic growth.   We have a lot of very important work to do and Sioux Trail staff are the right team to do this work.

The "School Choice letter that was included in the letter indicates that parents can choose to send their child to another ISD 191 school.  These two "choice" schools are Rahn and Gideon Pond Elementary Schools. The letter provides information on the overall percentage of students that are proficient on the Minnesota Accountability Tests, but it does not include Sioux Trail on this chart.  This is misleading, because it creates the perception that we are a lower performing school and this in not entirely true.  I have included a more inclusive chart below.


Reading Percent Proficient
Math Percent Proficient
Gideon Pond
81.54%
66.25%
Rahn
75.35%
69.62%
Sioux Trail
83.11%
63.27%

As you can see we our performance in the area of reading is stronger than math and we are working hard to raise scores in both areas and keep  each one of our students moving forward.  We are committed to increased student success and to meeting the needs of each child.

Monday, October 10, 2011

A small, mighty crew!

Saturday, October 8, was the annual Sioux Trail Fall clean up event!  We had a crew of  23 people who worked really hard and got Sioux Trail cleaned up and ready for winter.  Our work included cutting down all of the perennials , weeding, and spreading mulch on each landscaping bed.  Our crew started small with me and a Burnsville High School student and then grew over time.  The end result was a smaller team than I had hoped for, but everyone worked really hard and we kept Sioux Trail looking great.
 If you have feedback on this event, like how we can increase participation, please let me know.

Special thanks to the following people:
The Sickman Family
The Chromcsak Family
The Miller Family
The Schaefers
The Kirchoffner Family


Ethan J
An P (BHS Student)
Mr. Kern
Mrs. Tushie
Mrs. Stalock
Mr. Tofte
Mrs. Condon

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Her Day Made Better

Teachers get a wide variety of surprises during the day and never know what is going to happen!  Karen Otremba (second grade teacher) was surprised today when a team from Office Max arrived with an "A Day Made Better" gift box". 

Teachers spend roughly $1,000 out of their own pockets each year to offset school budget shortfalls and ensure that their students have the necessary classroom resources for learning. OfficeMax’s A Day Made Better program, in partnership with Adopt-A-Classroom, aims to help end the need for teacher-funded classrooms. Most of the recipient teachers work at Title I schools, where at least 40 percent of the student body meets federal assistance criteria; at Sioux Trail 44% of our student qualify for free or reduced priced lunches.

Each year, OfficeMax and Adopt-A-Classroom work with school principals nationwide to select and recognize 1,000 deserving teachers with an A Day Made Better award and $1,000 in classroom supplies donated by OfficeMax. Principals can nominate a teacher based on 1) passion for teaching, 2) innovation in the classroom; and 3) dedication to the profession and the success of their students. If selected, OfficeMax associates join the principals on the first Tuesday each October with a surprise event to honor the teacher and present the donation. 

Karen received a digital camera, swivel chair, and large box containing essential classroom supplies – a total donation valued at $1,000.   In October, 2010 Katie Mulvahill was nominated and then selected to receive an "A Day Made Better" gift box from Office Max.  In addition to the donation to Mrs. Otremba and her students, Office Max also collected over $1,000 in donations from store patrons and donated that to Sioux Trail as well.  We will be distributing those materials to classrooms and to students who need school supplies. Please help keep this terrific tradition going, by supporting Office Mac and Adopt-A-Classroom.

Show your support for a teacher in your community through the following activities:
  • Go to adoptaclassroom.org, select a classroom and donate needed items for the teacher and students to use.
  • Surprise a deserving teacher in your community by donating your own A Day Made Better box filled with classroom supplies. Visit adoptaclassroom.org/better and chose from three box sizes, including a $25 starter kit, $50 classroom box or a $100 classroom box. Each branded A Day Made Better gift box comes with a variety of much-needed school supplies, an A Day Made Better t-shirt and instructions for selecting and conducting your own surprise event.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Adequately Yearly Progress

Sioux Trail is MAKING Adequately Yearly Progress!

Adequate Yearly Progress is part of the No Child Left Behind legislation (the Re-Authorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act) that was put in place by George W Bush.  The legislation sets targets that schools must meet on an annual basis and consequences if schools do not achieve the target.  The end goal is that 100% of students are proficient (according to the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments) by 2013-14.

 The AYP system evaluates multiple areas within reading and math including: all students, ESL students, Special Education students and five different ethnic subgroups.  The process evaluates participation and proficiency on the assessment and attendance at the school.  At the end of the 2008-09 school year Sioux Trail was found to not be making AYP in six different areas within the proficiency area. At the end of the 2009-10 school year Sioux Trail demonstrated progress and was found to not be making AYP in one area; Reading for Special Education students.  Today the AYP results were publicly released and Sioux Trail is making AYP in ALL areas.

This is terrific news for Sioux Trail and recognizes the hard work of Sioux Trail staff, students and parents.  Despite making AYP in all areas Sioux Trail remains on the Not Making AYP List because the process requires schools to make AYP two years in a row before being removed from the list.  Sioux Trail is in stage 1.2  meaning that Sioux Trail parents have school choice and can take their children to another ISD 191 school choice site.  Sioux Trail families will have more information on this soon.

Being identified as "Making Adequately Yearly Progress" by the Minnesota Department of Education doesn't stop our continued hard work towards moving each student forward and providing high quality instruction that facilitates personal and academic growth.   We have a lot of very important work to do and Sioux Trail staff are the right team to do this work.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Bubble Maps

Sioux Trail parents have noticed information on Thinking Maps coming home in Friday Folders.  Thinking Maps are tools for a common visual language for learning within and cross all disciplines. class room Teachers have been making extraordinary use of these tools with their students and I had the opportunity to use Thinking Maps with classrooms when we discussed several different topics. 

The first set of photos shows a Circle Map.  These are from a Second Grade classroom and we used the Circle Maps to identify things that should and should not come to Sioux Trail.  Sioux Trail families should watch for a letter that will be coming home with more information on these items.


The second set of photos (both from Fourth Grade) are from conversations we had around how bullies make us feel and steps for solving a problem.  We used a Bubble Map to identify the ways a bully can make us feel and we talked about the fact that most of these feelings aren't ways we want to feel at Sioux Trail.  The problem solving map used a Sequencing or Flow map to chart out step by step problem solving.


These are "low tech" examples, but Thinking Maps can be done with SMART Boards and other technology tools.  I chose chart paper because I wanted to leave the maps behind in each classroom so that our thinking was visible.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Sioux Trail Boat Cruise and Silent Auction

You are invited to a casual parent/staff evening to support our fabulous Sioux Trail School. Come with us and enjoy the colors on the St. Croix! You can enjoy a full River Boat Buffet, sip a beverage of your choice, listen to the music of the very talented Billy Johnson and bid until your hearts’ content on the exciting items on the auction table.

Friday, September 30th, 2011
6 pm St Croix Boat Company

Your $40.00 per person ticket includes:
2 1/2 hour cruise up and down the St Croix River, Full Buffet dinner and Music
Silent auction & cash bar are available for an additional charge

All proceeds from your ticket purchase and silent auction items
go directly to PTO
Donate your time, talent or treasure
Share your unique resources by donating an item or service for this event. We are seeking items of all price points. All proceeds benefits the Sioux Trail PTO general fund. Go online regularly to view the silent auction items and keep checking back as new items are added daily.
www.isd191.org/siouxtrail

Billy Johnson web site is www.billyjohnsonmusic.com

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Bullying Meetings


This letter will also come home in Friday Folders on 09.23.11
 
Dear Sioux Trail families,

I am writing to let you know that I recently met with each classroom to discuss bullying with all Sioux Trail students.  My first priority as principal is to create a safe learning environment where bullying does not belong here, nor is it tolerated.  I meet with students every year, and I wanted to share the same information with you.  In my conversations with students, I defined what bullying is, highlighted a specific set of steps that can be used to stop bullying and shared with students that bullying is not a part of the Sioux trail community and that I will not accept it.

I shared the following definition of a bully with students; A bully is someone who finds something you don't like and does it over and over again.  Olweus, a national bullying prevention program, defines bullying as: "A person is bullied when he or she is exposed, repeatedly and over time, to negative actions on the part of one or more other persons, and he or she has difficulty defending himself or herself."

After defining bullying and talking about the various ways it might happen, I shared the following steps for dealing with a problem.  When I met with students, we used a Thinking Map called a flow or sequencing map to chart out the process step by step.  Several Sioux Trail teachers are using different types of Thinking Maps as tools to help students increase their understanding of various topics.  I encourage you to ask your child to map out these problem solving steps.

Identify the problem.  What is happening that you don't like?
  1. Tell the person who is doing this to you to stop. 
When you do this:
    1. Say the other person's name
    2. Use eye contact
    3. Say it in a firm or assertive voice (let the other person know that you are serious)
I shared with students that if the problem stops after this first step, it is not bullying because the behavior isn't being repeated.  I define this scenario as someone making a mistake and learning from their mistake.

If the problem continues:
2.      Say it again.  Tell the other person one more time.
a.       Say it differently than you did the first time, use a louder voice or be more assertive
b.      Include a non-verbal signal.  This accesses a different part of the brain and may make a connection that the words did not.
3.      Get help from an adult.  ALL Sioux Trail staff care about our students and any adult at Sioux Trail will intervene and help. There may be situations when a student needs to go directly to an adult, and I told students they may need to "bypass" the first two steps and go directly to step number three. 
 
These steps may not work for every situation, but they provide students a simple template that he / she can use to clearly communicate that they do not like what is happening, and want the behavior to change.

Open communication is important to problem solving.  If you know of a problem, please report this to your child's classroom teacher right away.  Classroom teachers are the first step in problem solving, and when needed, they will work with me to ensure that the problem is solved.

If you have questions, or want additional information on the prevention of bullying, please feel to contact Sioux Trail staff or visit one of the following websites:
http://www.stopbullying.gov
http://www.pacerkidsagainstbullying.org
http://www.aacap.org/cs/root/facts_for_families/bullying

I hope you find this information helpful. 

Sincerely,
Taber Akin; Principal

Monday, September 12, 2011

Cafeteria Grand Opening

video
Sioux Trail had a an upgrade to our cafeteria this summer.  Gale and Karra put this video together to share the "Grand Opening" with the entire Sioux Trail Community.  In addition to the cafeteria upgrades we also added six round cafeteria tables to the cafeteria and these are a big hit with students.  We plan to rotate the seating arrangements so that all students will be using the round and rectangular tables.