The New York State Education Department (NYSED) is developing a Parent Dashboard to increase transparency and make information about school performance and other school-level data easier for parents and the public to access. This is part of New York’s ESSA plan.
NYSED is gathering feedback from parents and stakeholders to guide the work of developing the Parent Dashboard. NYSED will use this feedback to identify the data that is most useful to parents and the public.
As the calendar pages flip toward September, you might be asking if your child is ready for school. Whatever age your child is when they start school, you can help them enter the classroom with confidence by being your child’s first and most important teacher. To ensure the best possible school experience, there are skills and tasks that all children should be comfortable with before entering the classroom.
1. Teach independence
The more things a child can do on their own, the more time they, and their teacher, will spend on classroom activities. Practice having your child:
- Use the toilet by themselves.
- Put on coats, boots and shoes with minimal assistance.
- Make choices: red or blue crayon; blocks or dolls.
Bradley Strait, principal at The Learning Community, a pre-K through grade 2 school in the Broadalbin-Perth Central School District, recommends making incremental changes toward Independence
“Set your child up for success,” he said. “Instead of letting them pick an outfit from their whole wardrobe –and risk them picking shorts when it’s snowing outside – lay out two weather-appropriate outfits and let them choose which one to wear.”
2. Read together
Children have to learn to read before they can read to learn. Learning the alphabet is the first step.
- Sing the alphabet song together.
- Point to written letters as you sing.
- Point out the letters in your child’s name.
- Choose books about your child’s interests.
- Visit your local library and let your child choose books to read with you.
3. Count together
Recognizing numbers and understanding their relationship to one another is a basic foundational math skill.
- Count steps together while you walk up and down a flight of stairs.
- Count pieces of cereal or crackers as you put them in a bowl (or as you eat them!).
- Ask your child “how many?” when you see groups of items that number fewer than 10.
- Practice sorting and classifying—big, small, near, far, under, above, colors— as a way to reinforce early math skills.
4. Look for social opportunities
In preschool and kindergarten, children are learning social skills such as sharing, communicating and listening. Look for opportunities for your child to practice.
- Make playdates.
- Go to library story times.
- Visit local playgrounds.
5. Establish—or reinforce—routines
Help your child become accustomed to routines by establishing a set of activities to do every morning upon waking and every evening before bedtime.
- Get dressed.
- Brush teeth after meals.
- Put dirty clothes in a laundry hamper.
- Read before bed.
6. Engage your child in conversation
A three-year-old might not yet have a robust vocabulary, but they can still express their needs, wants, hopes and fears in their own way. And the more you talk with them, the more words they will learn.
- How do you feel?
- Why do you like this toy?
- Why are you scared?
Why is pre-K and kindergarten important?
Children benefit from early-education programs, like prekindergarten or kindergarten, because they learn academic and social skills that lay a solid foundation for the rest of their years in school. Kids who attend early-education programs receive higher reading, math and cognition test scores into early adulthood and earn more money over the course of their lifetime compared with those who did not have the benefit of early education.
Is my child not ready for school—or is it something else?
If you have questions about what your child should be able to do at their age, speak with your child’s pediatrician, call the early intervention office in your county or contact the school for support. The sooner kids get the help they need, the sooner they’ll be able to thrive at school.
So your child will be going to school!
Whether it’s preschool or kindergarten that your child will be attending, change can be unsettling for everyone involved. Before school starts, there are a few things parents should know and can do to help ease their family into a new school routine.
Visit the school
The more time your child spends at the school they’ll attend—especially with you—the more comfortable they’ll be when they start attending school by themselves.
- Arrange a tour at your local elementary school or early learning center.
- Attend concerts or other public events that interest your child at the school.
- Play on the playground.
Know the rules
It’s true: Schools have lots of rules and policies, all geared toward ensuring a safe and healthy environment for students and staff. Check out school handbooks or websites to be familiar with rules that you know will impact your family, such as:
- Pick-up and drop-off times and locations.
- Food for classroom parties/birthdays.
- Safety policies, such as propping doors open.
- Visitor and volunteer rules and policies.
Regular attendance builds the school-going habit and helps children develop relationships with teachers and school staff. But there are other reasons daily, on-time attendance is important.
- Teachers schedule their time in the classroom to the minute; late arrivals can disrupt learning and distract other students.
- Early grades lay the foundation for future learning, and regular attendance helps children develop the reading, writing and math skills they will need in the future.
- If your child says they don’t want to go to school, talk to your child’s teacher as soon as possible—you might be able to help address a small issue before it becomes a big problem.
Once you’ve made the decision to enroll your child in school, think of their teacher and school as a partner. You all have the same goal for your child: to be happy and successful.
Talk with your child about what’s happening in their world away from home and take advantage of the many ways schools share information with families.
- Parent-teacher conferences.
- Parent-teacher organizations or school community councils.
- Read through papers sent home.
- Check out teacher and/or school websites, if they have one.
- Find out how your child’s teacher prefers to communicate: email, phone, text message app.
Remember, you’re all in this together. If there is something happening at home or school that you think is, or could, negatively affect your child, let their teacher know. They can’t help if they aren’t aware. They can work with you and your child to find solutions or accommodations to make school a positive place were your child can learn and grow.
In an effort to empower children to make healthy food choices, develop an awareness of how fruits and vegetables are grown, and increase physical activity, Liberty Elementary School teacher Christy Green joined forces with our friend Bee Moser from Cornell Cooperative Extension to offer an exciting extra-curricular class for all second graders.
Fun, engaging and undoubtedly educational, the class featured a perfect mix of structure and informality. Students were happy to share their personal healthy pursuits, from making an apple pie with mom using fresh apples from the yard to trying – and enjoying – a chickpea from the school’s salad bar.
The goal of the 60 minute class was to teach students about the parts of a plant by focusing on the different parts that we commonly eat – root, stem, seed, flower, fruit, and leaf. Following a brief discussion, students put their knowledge to the test in a game that called for students to match a fruit or vegetable with the part of the plant it is known as. (For example, a carrot is a root, celery is a stem, corn is a seed, broccoli is a flower, etc.)
Together, Ms. Green and Ms. Moser hosted a healthy taste test. Students were asked to describe size, shape, color, smell and texture of the food before taking a bite. As an added charm school-esque bonus, students learned the importance of a “no thank you bite” and how to discreetly dispose of a food they don’t like using a napkin.
After planting kale seeds in an ice cream cone (because it’s compostable), students ended the class with a little exercise.
Mariely has been looking forward to fourth-grade so that she could join the Liberty Elementary School Safety Patrol. Safety Patrol is an ambassador program open to select fourth-grade students. Patrol officers serve on a rotating basis.
Earlier this week, Mariely was given the orange and yellow vest she’d been so excited to receive.
Before they begin, patrol officers receive training on how to be a role model for safe and respectful conduct in the halls. During their service, they participate in Safety Patrol meetings with district leaders and school resource officers.
Their signature orange and yellow vest represents a commitment to helping promote a safety learning environment for all students and staff at Liberty Elementary School.
What’s more, is that the patrol program promotes the development of leadership skills and citizenship qualities.
You might see Mariely or one of her peers at the school’s crosswalk, entrance or hallways. Don’t forget to say hi!
More about the program:
Students are nominated by their teachers to apply for the Safety Patrol Program. They fill out an application and have an interview with Assistant Principal England, Senior Typist Green and School Resource Officer Brust. Duties are assigned by Mrs. Green based on need. Officer duties may include monitoring tthe bus line, main lobby, “kiss and drop” parking area and stairways.
Officers also voluntarily eat lunch during the end of recess and “patrol” the cafeteria during fourth- grade lunch. They also help pick up and wash down the tables.
The district would like to extend its thanks to nutritionist Bee Moser of Cornell Cooperative Extension and Eat Smart New York for her work through the Catch Kids program.
The Catch Kids program is a new after school program for students who attend the Boys and Girls Club. Catch Kids that focuses on physical activity and healthy eating. Currently, elementary school members meet on Tuesdays and middle school members meet on Thursdays from 4-5 p.m.
“The CATCH after school program curriculum is an interactive way to get kids moving while giving them the ability to identify healthy foods. We focus on having fun,” Ms. Moser said. “[The students] play games while learning about the importance of exercise and healthy food.”
The goal of the program, she said, is to create behavior changes.
“It is beautiful to see how much kids are into learning about healthy lifestyles. It is heartwarming to me when I come back each week and have kids lining in up to tell me what healthy thing they’ve begun to incorporate in their life, from a healthy fruit or vegetable to a little bit of extra walking or playing,” she said.
A great way to help students learn something new is to start with something students are already familiar with, such as making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich!
When she entered the door of Mrs. Hand’s third-grade classroom, technology integration specialist Dana Gropper left behind all of her knowledge as a human being.
As she pulled out the ingredients for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, she introduced herself not as a teacher, but as a computer under the direction of the students.
As technology integration specialist, Ms. Gropper designs and delivers technology related instruction to students. In short, she breaks down concepts such as html and coding in age-appropriate ways.
In the video clip below, she teaches the fundamentals of computer programming using the simplicity of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
Programmers write detailed instructions for computers to follow, she explained. If the instructions lack detail, the program won’t work as expected.
On Thursday, Nov. 9 Liberty Elementary School students and staff gathered to honor and thank local community veterans.
Students greeted each veteran as they entered through an honorary arch of flags and made their way to the gymnasium.
Students at Liberty Elementary School always look forward to Veterans Day because it gives them a chance to say “thank you” to our local veterans through praise and introduction, songs, letters and donations, explained elementary school Principal Jackie Harris.
During the assembly, principal explained that it has been a school goal to demonstrate more patriotism and as such, every class sings patriotic songs such as this one after saying the Pledge of Allegiance at the start of each school day.
And that’s not all, she continued. Students apply the service that veterans have provided to their classroom responsibilities and expectations.
“Veterans are their role models.”
Students and teachers lined the gymnasium floor waving flags, singing songs, shaking hands and thanking the men and women for their service.
On Friday, Oct. 19, the staff and students in the Liberty Central School district participated in the Miles of Hope Breast Cancer Foundation fundraiser. Students and staff in Liberty’s three school were asked to wear pink and to donate $1 to Miles of Hope.
The official “final” counts are in:
The students and staff of the Liberty Central School District participate in several fundraisers each year supporting cancer research.
Powerful things are happening when Mrs. Treible and Mrs. Terry’s students can conceptualize something, build it, and then write about it, explaining what it is that they have made, and how it relates to their lessons.
Liberty Elementary second-graders Ayelene and Bristol worked together Thursday afternoon, determined to build the sturdiest house.
Using cardboard, scissors, tape and a ruler, they carefully determined where to place each cardboard piece to get it to a certain height. They strategized along the way.
“We can’t cut [the cardboard] yet because we have to plan before we build,” Ayeline said. “We’re Makers here. That means we figure out how to build things using what used to be junk.”
Ayelene and Bristol were just two of the 40 some second-graders who participated in their first “make-and-take” project using materials from one of the two school’s new MakerSpace labs.
Bristol said she likes the new MakerSpace because “….it feels like recess, but better.”
Press play on the video below to see highlights from Ayelene and Bristol’s MakerSpace class on Thursday, Sept. 27.