From the Desk of Principal Franks
Monday, September 16, 2019 8:00 AM

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  "At the end of the day, the most overwhelming key to a child's success is the positive involvement of parents."

-Jane D. Hull

Dear Armatage Families,

I hope the beginning of the school year has been fabulous for you.  I can say with total confidence, this has been the smoothest beginning I can ever remember; your children are amazing!

Curriculum Night

Thank you to everyone who attended Curriculum Night last Thursday evening.  The purpose of this event was to give parents/guardians an opportunity to hear from the classroom teachers about the road map they have in place for the school year.  Many parents stopped by the office following the presentations to say how informative the sessions were and that it helped them better understand what is to come over the next 8 ½ months of school.

If you were unable to attend, please feel free to contact your child’s teacher with questions you may have about the curriculum, behavior expectations or anything else of concern.

 

Arms Around Armatage Peace Walk

Next Friday, September 20th, the Armatage staff and students will be participating in our annual Armatage Peace Walk.  The intent is to have the staff and students walk around the school in silence and reflect on ways they can make Armatage a welcoming & peaceful school for everyone.  This will be our third year of walking together in a time of quiet reflection.

Parents are certainly welcome to walk with your child’s classroom if you are interested in doing so.  It takes approximately 15 – 20 minutes to walk around the building.  In order to help with the flow of traffic, we are asking that you meet your child’s classroom at the following locations at 1:10 pm:

Kindergarten, 1st & 2nd – Sheridan Avenue

3rd grade – Door #2 parking lot

Pre – K, 4th & 5th – Under the awning by door #5

I have been watching the weather conditions for next Friday and it looks like a 50-50 chance of rain.  If the weather does not cooperate, we will postpone the walk to another time.

If you choose to take your child home with you, please let Mary, school secretary know before leaving. 

Safety & Security

The safety of your children is without question, the most important job I have as a school principal.  I take the responsibility of ensuring the Armatage staff & students are in a building where children can learn, and staff can teach in an environment that feels respectful and safe for everyone.

If you are new to Armatage, you may have heard that we have systems in place that support having a calm environment not only in the instructional areas but also in the hallways.  There are several reasons why we have quiet and respectful hallways.

#1.  When children are walking through the school especially in the hallways outside classrooms, it is respectful to the learners in the room as well as those who are working in the hallways to have a quiet place where they can focus and learn.  We have discovered our hallways are a great auxiliary space for children to learn because they are not interrupted by excess noise.

#2.   There are times when we need the students to be silent i.e. Lock down and fire drills as required by the state of MN.  If we do not give the kids an opportunity to practice being silent for a sustained amount of time, then it is unlikely they will be able to do it in the event of a real emergency.

#3.    After implementing the decision to have quiet and respectful hallways, we discovered two unintended results; the behavior referrals decreased and our achievement increased. 

Obviously, we want out students to be children and experience the joy of childhood.  There are countless times throughout the day where they have the opportunity to express themselves, run, play and even exuberantly scream (on the playground).  Giving students a safe and respectful environment coupled with the freedom to be a child is a balancing act. 

I had the opportunity to speak with a kindergarten parent last week who wanted to know how I keep the building safe on a larger scope.  I appreciated the question as it allowed me to review some of our policies and practices.  They are:

#1.      We have 22 cameras that are strategically located around the interior and exterior of the building.  At any given time, I have access to the cameras (as does our districts safety and security department).  The cameras function on real time as well as the capability of going back to review activity if necessary.

#2.      All 24 exterior doors are locked during the school day.  Anyone wanting access to the building must come to door #5; ring the bell and wait for a staff member to buzz open the door.   The guset will be asked to sign –in and provide an I.D. that will be returned upon departure.

#3.      We have a SET team (Safety Emergency Team) that meets several times during the year to review our safety practices and make necessary refinements to ensure the building is safe.  In the event of an emergency, we have systems in place to address the issue and seek any support necessary.

As you can see, we have many strategies in place to keep your children learning in an environment that is safe and respectful.  The good news is, with all of these safety measures in place, we have never had an emergency. 

Conferences

Conferences are quickly approaching.  This is a time for you to meet with your child/rens teacher to discuss his/ her progress and ask questions.  On Tuesday, October 1st, Sign-up Genius will go live and you may sign-up for a 20-minute conference.  Conferences this year will be on:

                                    Tuesday, October 15 – 2:40 – 7:00 p.m.

                                    Wednesday, October 16 – 7:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

If you have any questions about conferences, please feel free to contact your child’s teacher.

Parent Teacher Association

This Thursday, September 19th at 6:30 p.m., our PTA will have its first meeting of the year.  We are so fortunate to have an incredible Executive Board that leads our PTA in many activities and functions that support our school. 

Amongst the many things they do, the PTA raises money to support field trips, curriculum needs, programs and materials to support running the school. We could not provide the opportunities that we do for the students without the support of our PTA. 

I encourage you to come this Thursday, be a part of our PTA, and help support our students and school.

Staffing

I am thrilled to share that we are fully staffed!  This means that every position we budgeted for has been filled.  The even better news is the folks hired are phenomenal! Please help me welcome the newest members to the Armatage staff, they are:

Mercedes Hysten, Janitor

Baqi Salahud-Din, Janitor

Alyssa Frost, Special ed. asst.

Laurie Kocanda, Associate educator

Debra Wanduragala, Associate educator

Anne White, Reading Corp

Nancy Gerber, Differentiation Specialist

Alison Kaylor, Tutor

Anna Keyport, Science Specialist

Paul Sisson, Psychologist

Emily Walz, Special ed. teacher

Kimberly Poncek, Intervener

Kiera Ziegler, MPLS. Kids program coordinator

I am excited about the staff working with your children and am looking forward to the year ahead.  Please let me know if I can be of service to you.

Sincerely,

Joan S. Franks, Principal