Picture Day is Thursday, September 9th. See flyer for details: 2021 Fall Portrait Day
By Dan Olberg, Principal, Park Elementary
I think I can speak for all of us that getting children to stop watching TV or streaming content can be a struggle sometimes. With all the research about screen time, parents are very aware of the damage too much TV and video time has on children. Most of the research I have read suggests that children who have more than 10 hours a week in screen time had lower achievement than those who watch less than 10 hours a week. It is surprising how quickly the minutes add up. Children in the United States are ranked number 1 in the world for the amount of time they watch TV. So how can we use this technology that children love to benefit their learning? Activate the closed captioning button! It seems so easy, but parents around the world are seeing incredible benefits from this simple act.
Parents are finding that when children watch/stream shows with the closed captioning on, their children are learning to read at an earlier age. Some parents are noticing quick results just after a few weeks of having the closed captioning activated on the TV/streaming devices in their house. When adults watch shows, our brains can tune out the closed captioning on the screen if we choose not to read it. In children, their brain is still like a sponge, picking up all that is on the screen. Their mind will see the words, hear them pronounced, and comprehend what is going on through the show without discretion. Closed captioning can help with fluency in young readers. Children have motivation to read the words quickly knowing that the words will soon disappear. It can help with word recognition for those children who have a stronger speaking vocabulary than reading vocabulary. Captioning can build the vocabulary words and definitions through quality programs. The presence of the words on the screen can help familiarize the child with print, sounds and meaning at a very young age. In essence, the characters are reading aloud the story to the child.
Having words running across the screen at times is a nuisance to many adults. Remember the days of accidentally hitting the closed captioning button only to spend the next three days trying to figure out how to change it back? The new TV’s/devices seem to make this easier for us. Most models or streaming sites have the button labeled “CC”. It seems as though all devices and streaming services have this option thanks to legislation many years ago. The children in some countries watch many reruns from the United States through closed captioning because English is not their first language. The children of Finland are some of the heaviest users of closed captioning and you should see their reading scores! Quality shows with the closed captioning activated may be the best electronic gift we could give our children – and least expensive!
Click here to view a video tour for incoming 2nd graders
The Annual Online Enrollment for the 2020-2021 school year is now open for returning students.
To begin, log into your Parent Portal and click “More” on the bottom left side. Then select the option that reads “Online Registration” in the middle of the screen.
Then click, “Click here to go to Existing Student Registration”.
Please complete the enrollment process through the Parent Portal by Wednesday, July 15, 2020. Completing this process ensures that your student(s) will be enrolled for the 2020-2021 school year.
Please note that if this isn’t completed, your student will not be able to get their teacher assignment or schedule.
If you have questions or need to set up a Parent Portal account, call 320-587-2860.
By Anne Broderius, West Elementary Principal
COVID19 has changed the way we live, work, and learn. Many parents/guardians are now required to juggle the demands of several new and very important roles for children. All of us are in the position to possibly make major adjustments to our daily routines and for many families this includes creating the conditions for children to continue their education in the home. It’s our goal to continue to cultivate a love for learning even if we aren’t inside the traditional school walls.
Here are some strategies and key practices for a successful distance learning experience:
- Distance learning will be very different from being at school full time. It’s important to establish similar types of routines and schedules used in the traditional classroom.
- Set up a quiet, dedicated work space for your child away from TV and other distractions. Ensure all of the necessary materials are accessible, organized and ready for the day. During work time, eliminate access to phones, social media and video games.
- Students should continue with morning and bedtime routines including getting up and going to bed at regular school day times. Encourage them to complete the same daily personal hygiene routines (i.e.showering, brushing teeth, getting dressed, etc.) as if they were going to school.
- With your child’s input, create a schedule for the day. Include time for breakfast, lunch, snack breaks, outside time to get fresh air, exercise, acts of kindness and even include household chores. You should not expect your child to be in front of a computer for extended periods of time. Having a schedule for your child’s day from the start of the distance learning time will be critical.
- Distance learning is new for your child’s teacher too. Each day you should expect to connect with your child’s teacher. This might include completing an activity and sharing the work, a phone call, an email, responding to a daily question. Attendance will be taken each school day and your child’s participation each day is expected.
- Read-Read-Read. Some of our best learning is done through reading and conversation about what we read.
- Set up motivators and rewards for completing educational tasks each day. Include breaks or time to connect with friends over the phone or social media for getting some of the learning tasks completed. Children like to set and accomplish personal goals.
- Come up with ways to share back with your teacher what your child is learning and new things they are trying. This will be fun and help to inspire others who are on the same journey.
During the distance learning period, it will be important to stay connected with school staff such as the building principal, counselor or nurse. Don’t hesitate to ask questions or share concerns you have about your child. We are all in this together and ready to support your child along the way.
If you are also expected to work from home this may feel overwhelming. We all care deeply about being the best parent and employee we can be, and know this will feel stressful at times. Lean on your support network of adults, give yourself and others grace, and trust that we’re all doing the best that we can.
Finally, remember children are like mirrors and they reflect our attitudes about life. Be patient and know this will take time for both home and school to master well. Consider approaching this with the spirit of a learner and adventurer, and be open to doing things differently.
By Dan Olberg, Principal, Park Elementary
Leave a message, send a fax, write an email, jot down a post-it, make a list, meeting at 6:00, basketball at 7:00, hockey at 8:00, balance the checkbook, read a book, clean the house, wash the dog, fix the faucet, and if we are lucky – find time to fish. Sounds familiar doesn’t it. Today, we seem to put more on our plate than ever – for many good reasons. Children, too! How does this impact them? Will they continue with this trend? What can we do to help them acquire the ability to keep everything balanced?
For some children, it seems like they have it all together and that they need very little support from adults. They are the type that naturally keep their rooms in order and lay out their clothes for the next day. They even help keep the adults in their family on schedule with helpful reminders such as, “Dad, we need to get going or we will be late!” For others it is our job as parents to help put more emphasis on time management and have more discussions about how the after school activities throughout the week can cause a chain reaction to daily studying habits and personal free time. We know that in school, the connection between success and the ability to organize becomes very clear as children get older.
So what can we do as adults to help instill this very important skill? Should we let them learn the hard way? Do we structure their day for them? There is no answer that is the right answer for every child. In fact, within a family, siblings have different skills for handling time management and the ability to complete important tasks. One thing is for sure: all students do need direction and support from their parents regarding how to organize and balance their time for success at school and out of school activities.
The following suggestions may help you and your child manage their time and busy schedules.
- A study routine. Help your child decide when and where they will study. They should study every day, preferably at the same time. Their study spot should be quiet, neat and comfortable.
- Assignments. Have your child use an assignment app and calendar to keep track of due dates. Show them how to make daily “to do” lists. 7-8 year olds are totally capable of doing this for themselves.
- We just need to teach them and encourage them to do this on a daily basis until it becomes a habit.
- Belongings. Make sure your child has specific places to put things. For example, they might leave their book bag by the door each night or give their favorite jeans a special place in the closet.
- Screen time. Children should not be on their screens for more than 10 hours per week (outside of homework time). To limit viewing, ask your child to plan when they will be on their device each day and try to limit them to that time.
- Other activities. Encourage your child to write commitments, such as basketball practices and social events on a calendar. Use job charts to organize family chores that need to be done during the week and let them decide on when that will occur.
As in all experiences in life, some children acquire organization skills more naturally while others need constant support from kindergarten until 12th grade. When children start off with good time management, they’re more likely to stay that way throughout their life. As adults, being organized leads to less stress and better success. Remember that organizing saves time, and more time means more opportunities for fishing!
The school district greatly appreciates the community support that was evident based on the positive outcome of the bond referendum election, with 1630 “yes” votes to 1512 “no” votes. This is a great day for the children of our community and the future of our school district. Our school district is committed to building school facilities that will serve our community and students into the future and will be a source of community pride.