May Principal Message
Hello Morning Creek Families,
We have good news to welcome spring: Morning Creek Elementary has been recognized as a “Scholar Award” school by California Business for Education Excellence. Schools receiving this distinction from the California business community have demonstrated consistent high levels of student academic achievement, improvement in achievement levels over time and reduction in achievement gaps among student populations.
During the spring we begin planning for next school year. Parents begin asking about next year and new grade level/classroom assignments. I would like to explain the process we use for placing students into classes. We follow the Poway Unified School District’s value “Equitable Access to Learning” and to achieve the best result for the maximum number of students, our school district subscribes to the practice of heterogeneously grouping students. Research into students’ learning supports the practice of creating classes that are relatively balanced with high, average, and low achievers, boys and girls, etc. Our goal is to create classes that are as equal as possible. The following criteria will be used to create “balanced” or heterogeneous classes:
- Balanced boy/girl ratios
- Balanced distribution of student abilities
- Balanced distributions of students with identified learning problems or special needs
- The clustering of identified GATE, Resource students, and ELL students into workable groups for support
- Equal class sizes
- Separation of students that have a history of not working well together
- The nature of the teacher, i.e., their specialized training, skills, interests, or presentation style.
The teachers and I dedicate much time and effort toward achieving a “balance” in each classroom. Each student’s current teacher completes a profile describing the student’s academic performance data, on-task behavior, ability to work independently, special program participation, class conduct, and other students that should not be in the same class. In August, I meet with each grade level team to build the classes for the new school year. Your child’s current teacher and I will build the classes and focus on balanced classes and matching the learning needs of your child to the best learning environment. We are fortunate to have an outstanding teaching staff that works closely with parents to meet the unique needs of each and every child. We find that most students can perform well with any number of teachers.
If you have specific concerns regarding your child’s health or learning needs, you may provide me with a written note regarding the type of teacher you feel would enhance your child’s learning. Please do NOT make a request for a specific teacher. Due to the extreme difficulty of balancing classes, we cannot honor parent requests for specific teachers.
The topic for the May 17th Principal Coffee will be supporting your child’s transition to new grade levels. I will talk about all transitions but pay special attention to the transition from 3rd grade to 4th grade. I hope you will join me for this meeting.
Thank you for your support!
Together, we create a better tomorrow,
Principal Message - April 2013
Spring break arrived early this year and the next ten weeks will go quickly. This time of year is important learning time even though we have STAR testing in April and MAP testing in May. These assessments typically take about an hour of the day; the remainder of the day is devoted to learning. During the spring, students are learning increasingly complex math concepts, doing research and writing informational reports, even in kindergarteners will be writing informational text! Spring is also a time when we need to review behavior expectations in order to have consistent character. Please talk to your child about making character count, making the right choices for themselves even if their friends are not doing the right thing and respecting the adults.
Our students are learning to use technology for research, keyboarding and for learning. As we continue to increase our interactions with technology, just a few reminders:
- While screen time can be interactive, it does not take the place of human interaction. We see many students lacking social skills and basic communication skills. It is important to disconnect and connect with face-time. Helping your child know how to ask questions, how to respond to questions using complete sentences, and how to really listen are life skills.
- Fine motor skills and eye-hand coordination are supported with technology, however, so do playing with Legos and coloring.
- Sometimes children become overly excited or stimulated by video games, loud sounds, bold colors, flashing lights, and endless action. If you observe this, consider scaling back screen time.
- Children begin surfing the web with ease at early ages. Be sure you monitor your child’s computer use and where they can access. YouTube offers many positive video but the sidebars may show links you don’t want your child to see.
Our teachers have engaged many hours of professional development focused on writing this year. As I visit classrooms, I continue to be impressed with the improved writing skills of our students. We are implementing the new Common Core State Standards (CCSS) which focus on deeper thinking and demonstrating understanding. The CCSS are focused on college readiness which is aligned with our No Excuses University. Writing is a critical skill and our goal is to have 100% of all students proficient or advanced in their writing.
Students are working on new goals for Spring, don’t forget to check in ask about their progress. They have specific plans for achieving their goal which include homework and reading each night.
Thank you for your continued support to ensure each child is growing and achieving.
Together, we create a better tomorrow.
Principal Message - March 2013
As we begin to look forward to spring, we also prepare for state testing at Morning Creek. We focus on “Show What You Know” to support students approaching all testing with confidence. It is important to help children understand that their day-to-day learning is most important and tests provide an opportunity to demonstrate all they have learned. A focus on effort provides much great long-term results.
This spring, your child, along with all public school students in grades 2-8 throughout California, will participate in California’s Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) Program. Students at our school will take tests on the following dates: (Modify the table to represent your school’s schedule.)
Who Takes It
Writing (CST & CMA)
Grade 4 and 7 students
April 18 – May 3
California Alternative Performance Assessment (CAPA)
Grade 2 - 8 students with CAPA specified on IEP
April 18 – May 3
California Modified Assessment (CMA)
Grade 3 - 8 students with CMA specified on IEP
April 18 – May 3
Standards-based Test in Spanish (STS)
Spanish speaking students not yet fluent in English enrolled in California public school less than 12 months – Grades 2-8
April 18 – May 3
Most students will take the California Standards Tests (CST). Students may take alternative assessments other than CST if it is stated in their Individual Education Plan (IEP). Spanish-speaking English Learners, who are enrolled in California public schools less than 12 months, will also take the Standards-based Test in Spanish (STS) in grades 2-8.
Test results will be sent to the student’s home in a STAR Student Report in late August. Individual results are confidential and will be shared only with parents/guardians, the students, and the student’s teacher.
STAR Program reports provide valuable information about your child’s academic achievement. The results are also used to compute our school’s Academic Performance Index (API) and Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) status and rankings. We expect all students to participate. Non-participation requires a written request from the student’s parent/guardian.
At Morning Creek, we roll out the red carpet on April 22 for our STAR testing. The red carpet symbolizes that our students are the stars as they “Show What They Know”. All students are invited to walk in on the red carpet even if they are not participating in testing. We want to celebrate learning.
On March 8, 2013 your child’s second trimester report card will be sent home. I encourage you to review the report card and MAP reports with your child. Focus on effort and day-to-day participation, completion of work on time, completion of homework which is valuable practice of learning and encourage trying hard even when something is hard. When students can persevere and work hard, they are successful. If we tell students they are “smart” this can be viewed as finite. Either I am or I am not smart. Effort is something we can control. Keep the focus positive to glean positive results.
If you have any questions about STAR testing or report cards, please contact your child’s teacher. Thank you for your support!
Together, we create a better tomorrow.
Principal Message - December 2012
The holiday season is upon us and I would like to take this time to express my appreciation to the Morning Creek community. We are so fortunate to have such an active parent community working hand-in-hand with school staff for the success of each child. I am grateful for the parents that are able to volunteer on campus each week. I am also grateful for parents that listen to the weekly message, check the website and regularly communicate with their child's teacher in order to be involved at Morning Creek. Thank you for all you do.
I will be hosting a Principal Coffee in January to explain the district communication regarding Program Improvement. I will share Morning Creek's goals for student achievement as well. Watch for more details after winter break.
Teachers have been working with the San Diego Area Writing Project this year to support the implementation of the Common Core State Standards. These new standards are rigorous and include a greater focus on critical thinking and college readiness. A new writing style for students in all grades is Opinion/Argument. This is the current focus in classrooms for the 2nd Trimester. Students learn to include reasons for opinions and organize their writing for the reader. Writing is a foundational skill that we expect all students to be successful in as they exit elementary school.
This month as you continue to "Take Five", ask your child about their writing. Ask them what topic they are writing about and how they are improving as writers. Ask your child what their goals in writing are and how they are working to achieve these goals.
In closing, I wish all of you a wonderful holiday season. Thank you for your support to Morning Creek. Together, we create a better tomorrow.
Principal Message-October 2012
Parent conferences are schedule for the week of November 5th. Do you have your appointment? Parent conferences are a critical meeting time for parents and teacher. This is your check to ensure your child is on track for meeting (or exceeding) grade level standards. Teachers will review your child’s report card, areas to work on and for grades 1-5, MAP reports. Please be sure you have scheduled your time and set a reminder so you don’t miss your appointment.
For many parents, the MAP graph you receive with report cards is like a foreign language. Important data points but you need the interpretation of that data. We have the perfect opportunity for you on November 15th. Several teachers will be presenting a parent education class on “Understanding Your Child’s MAP Report.” Hope you can make it!
Take 5 Questions—Here are a few questions to support your conversation with your child after school.
- What story did your teacher read to your class today?
- What type of math problems were you working on today?
- How were you able to work toward achieving your goal today?
- Did you notice good character in action at school today?
Keep on talking, keep connecting to your child’s learning day.
School Safety—please take time to talk to your child about safety practices and stranger danger. Our campus is a closed campus and we have many safety practices in place. Here is a brief list:
- Teachers are on duty before and after school supervising the playground and the traffic circle
- A parent volunteer supervises the back gate from the time we unlock it until a teacher reports for supervision
- Teachers supervising the back gate area have a walkie-talkie and are in direct communication with the front office
- During recess we have 5-8 adults on the playground during all recesses
- We practice fire drills monthly
- We have earthquake drills, disaster drills and lock-down drills each semester to ensure we are prepared for emergencies
We also depend on our Neighborhood Watch Program which includes all of our parents that are on campus each day. Thank you for keeping your eyes open and reporting issues proactively.
Thank you for your support! Together, we create a better tomorrow,
September Principal's Message
The calendar says September but our weather still feels like summer! September brings our first round of MAP testing for the school year. MAP stands for Measure of Academic Progress. All students in grades 1-5 take MAP tests three times each year. We also have one kindergarten class participating in the Primary MAP Pilot. The MAP assessments measure students’ progress in reading, mathematics and language usage. This is an online assessment that students take in the computer lab. Teachers use the results to organize and differentiate student learning. You will receive a copy of your child’s assessment results with the first report card in November.
Every year it seems our schedules get busier and busier, not only for adults but for our children as well. In this fast-paced world, the art of dialogue seems to be getting lost. Dialogue is an important aspect of learning. When children engage in meaningful dialogue, they learn to listen, think, reason and communicate ideas. With the advancements in technology, children are plugged into iPhones, iPads, DS games and watching videos. It is important that every child engages in meaningful dialogue with family daily. For some families, this is a natural occurrence and it is evident in their child’s learning. I am requesting that every parent engages in meaningful dialogue, every day. TAKE FIVE is designed to support busy families with the goal of meaningful dialogue. It is intended to take five minutes. Here are tips to help you get started:
- What did you work on in math today?
- How did you do on the problems?
- How did you make character count at school today?
- What can you do tomorrow to make character count?
- Encourage your child in a very specific and genuine way.
Here is another great way to help your child be successful in school—ATTENDANCE! Students with perfect attendance are recognized at the end of the year. They also benefit from every learning opportunity in the classroom. Please work with me to improve student attendance this year. If your child arrives late to school 1-2 times each month, is checked out early for family outings, vacations or parents trying to avoid traffic, or is allowed to stay home when a sibling is sick…all of these behaviors are called “Soft Truancy”. Soft Truancy is a negative attendance pattern that often leads to violations of the Education Code. Please make school attendance a priority in your home.
Thank you to all of our volunteers and to everyone that attended Back to School Night.
Together, we create a better tomorrow.
August Principal's Message
Welcome to Morning Creek Elementary School! We are excited to welcome all of our students on the first day of school! Morning Creek Colts are on the road to college!
School Begins on Wednesday, August 22, 2012
The following information should answer many of your questions regarding the start of school.
August 22-September 28th, 8:30 am-12:30 pm M-F (transition days)
October 1, Full Days Begin: 8:30 am-2:50 pm M/T/W/F
8:30 am-1:10 pm Thursday
Grades 1-5 Schedule
8:30 am-2:50 pm Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday
8:30 am-1:10 pm Thursday
All students should be on campus at 8:25, first bell. Students line up to meet their teacher at this time.
Classroom assignments will be posted in the front of the school at 4:00 P.M. on Tuesday, August 21st. It is possible that these assignments may change due to changes in enrollment. At this time, we will also have the new lunch Point of Sale system available so students can log-in and be ready for lunch service. The lunch registration will be available from 4-6.
Before School Supervision
The playground will be open to students in the morning beginning at 8:05 A.M. No supervision will be provided before 8:05 A.M. so students should not arrive at school before this time. Once students arrive, they may not leave unless a parent or other authorized person comes to the office to sign them out. To ensure the safety of our children, you will be required to show identification when you pick up your child.
School Lunch – Prices
Students have the option of buying lunch at school. Please prepay if possible. Lunch is served daily in the cafeteria for $2.50 and includes milk. Free and reduced prices are available for those who qualify. Please fill out the application online at http://www.powayusd.com/nutrition/freeReduced.shtml
Medication at School
If your child is on medication, a "Physician's Recommendation for Medication" form must be obtained from the school, completed by the physician, and returned to the school. No medication may be given at school without this form. An adult must bring the medication to the school office in the original container medication is dispensed. Children may never have medication in their possession at school. This includes aspirin, inhalers, cough drops, homeopathic, etc.
The absence reporting phone number is 858-748-1396. State law requires that attendance be verified. Please call the absence line if your child will be absent from school. In addition, if they will be tardy more than 30 minutes you must call school.
Only students in grades 3, 4, and 5 may ride a bicycle to school. Children must wear a helmet, provide a lock for the bicycle, and follow safety rules/laws. A permission form, obtained from the office, must be completed and on file with the office for students who wish to ride their bikes to school. Bikes must be walked once on school grounds. No rollerblades, razors, scooters, or skateboards are allowed on campus.
Parking Lot Drop Off & Pick Up
With your cooperation, we hope to be able to keep the parking lot open and the traffic flow moving to allow for student drop off and pick up. In the morning we ask parents to drop off their children in the traffic loop (yellow curb) that is supervised by both staff and parents. In order for traffic to move smoothly, continue to move up along the yellow curb as far as possible before stopping to drop your child where adults will assist your child out of the car. Please have your child sit on the right side of the car with their material ready to go. For all 5th grade students on their band day, please have their instrument in the car with the student. Traffic must move in a single lane in order to flow smoothly. Most importantly, please be patient.
Double parking is not allowed for drop off or pick up. DO NOT leave your car unattended in any curb area or yellow zone at anytime. Park only in unmarked parking stalls AND parking is very limited. Since many of our families are located very close to Morning Creek, we are hopeful that children will walk to school. Parents should walk with students and cross in designated crosswalks only with an adult. A gate is located at the back of the playground to provide easy access from the park located at Evening Creek Drive South.
The curb in the front of ESS and the Administration building is painted red, for bus loading and unloading only. There is no pick up or drop off at the red curb at anytime and there is no parking at anytime at the red curb.
Extended Student Services
Morning Creek provides an ESS program, which is a fee based before and after school childcare program. ESS is open from 6:30 A.M. to 6:00 P.M. All students planning to participate in ESS must be registered at our ESS building. Please call our coordinator, Lynette Hamilton at 858-748-1497, for information regarding registration and fees.
We look forward to seeing you on the first day of school and having a great year together!
Together, we create a better tomorrow,