Friday, January 27, 2017

Missed it on Channel 2? Tune in to Channel 7!

This morning Ms. McNamara and her students were highlighted on Channel 7, and a full report will air tonight on Eyewitness News at 5:00.  Check out this morning's clip here http://www.wkbw.com/news/national-educator-of-the-year-in-alexander?autoplay=true, and tune in later today to see more!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Educator of the Year!

Ms. McNamara was recently named as the recipient of the 2016 Educator of the Year Award by Educators USA, beating out teachers from across the country for the honor.  She is very deserving of this award, which recognizes her creativity and passion for her work and her students.  As part of the award, the school will receive a mobile computer lab!  We are all very proud of her and the work she does with and for our students.  In case you missed it, here is a link to the segment that WGRZ channel 2 in Buffalo ran about her and her classroom.  Great job, Ms. McNamara--we're very proud of you!

http://www.wgrz.com/news/local/wny-teacher-wins-educator-of-the-year/386991220

Thursday, December 15, 2016

From the Elementary Principal’s Office


                As usual at this time of year, it seems that there are far more happenings and exciting events in the elementary school than I could ever hope to cover in a single setting, but I will try my best.  The school year is definitely in full swing, and with that comes a host of wonderful opportunities for our kids, with many more peeking at us from the horizon.
                This week we were able to enjoy a wonderful concert with performances from our band and chorus students.  They all did an outstanding job, and I am very proud of each of them for their efforts.  Before the concert, I was talking with both Mr. Klinczar and Mrs. Boughton, and they were both very excited about what they are seeing from our students.  For many students in both ensembles it was their first concert, and both Mrs. Boughton and Mr. Klinczar shared with me how excited the students were and how infectious that excitement was for them as teachers.  It was a great reminder to all of us that while we may get used to certain things that we have done many times, or that seem to be “old hat” to us, we should never forget that for our students, many of these opportunities are firsts, and the excitement they have is real and it is important that we recognize that and encourage them to never lose it. 
                Another first for elementary students this year was the opportunity that some of our students had to represent us at a FIRST LEGO LEAGUE robotics competition.  Mr. Dolph and his team, consisting of Sofia Pellegrino, Kendyll Kohlhagen, Dominic Kwiatek, Clayton Bezon, Oscar Staba, Owan Buxton, Owen Dunbar, Allionna Christie, Riley Henning and Carley Shepard worked hard and prepared for a few months, and the team represented the school very well.  So well, in fact, that they were honored with the Lego League Spirit Award, given in memory of a former Lego League coach to the team that “best exemplifies the spirit of Lego League.”  We’re very proud of them and all of their hard work, and we are excited about future opportunities for the FLL team and robotics in elementary classrooms!
                Typically in this space I keep my thoughts limited to items that involve only the elementary school, but this month I feel I would be remiss if I did not take a moment to say thank you and wish a happy retirement to Mrs. Maerten, who, by the time this newsletter comes out, may well be enjoying the sunshine in Florida or some other warm locale while the rest of us deal with the blowing snow.  Mrs. Maerten has been a very big supporter of the work we are doing here in the elementary school, and it is because of her vision and leadership that we are fortunate enough to be able to pursue several new opportunities for our students.  She will be missed, and we all wish her great happiness in her retirement.  On a personal level, I would like to thank her for the support and encouragement she has given me over the years since I started here as a brand new principal.  Her thoughtfulness and her insights have been a tremendous help to me.  Thank you, Mrs. Maerten, and enjoy a long and happy retirement!

                As always, thank you all for sharing your children with us; for your overwhelming support of the elementary school and the work that is being done here.  I am looking forward to seeing what the rest of this year’s journey in education brings us as we work together to provide our students with the skills and knowledge they need for success in and out of the classroom!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Elementary Updates

It continues to be a very busy year here at the Elementary School, and the next several weeks promise more of the same as we move into the holidays.  Our students have been working hard on several different exciting projects and we're looking forward to many more.

Our fifth grade students just completed a pie sale fundraiser to help earn money toward a trip to Boston in the spring (along with current 6th graders).  It was a resounding success with over 1300 pies sold!  The Fifth Grade Academy continues to grow and the students and teachers are very excited and proud of the work that is being done in the classrooms as they continue to follow the 55 Essentials.  The annual 5th graders vs. Mr. Stroud States and Capitals challenge is underway, and students are in the early stages, preparing for the speed rounds in each homeroom that will determine which students will have the opportunity to compete against me for the crown.

Robotics continues to be a major opportunity for students here in the elementary school, with classes at second and third grade currently working on building and programming robots using Lego WeDo and NXT kits, and our first ever FIRST LEGO League Robotics team just performed at our first ever competition over the weekend, where they were honored with the Spirit Award and put forth a very fine effort in the competition.  We are continually looking for opportunities to give our students to work with technologies.  A few weeks ago, one of our Kindergarten classes used an ipad and an app to design a 3D action figure, which was then printed using a 3D printer, and the kids were able to "meet" their very own action figure!  See the pictures below--planning the figure, the completed figure, and meeting him for the first time!



Our Elementary Pageturners teams recently competed in round one of the regional competition, and one of our teams came in first place, placing them in the lead heading into round two, which will take place in the spring.  We're very proud of the reading and the teamwork that these kids put forth!

We are always proud of our kids once they leave the elementary school and do great things, so congratulations to the football team and their first ever sectional championship!  Great job to all of the boys (and girl) on the team!





We also enjoyed a wonderful production of Shrek the Musical, and we were thrilled to have the cast come to the elementary building to share some songs from the show with us.  Lots of elementary students and their families attended the show and it received rave reviews!







As we head into the holidays, we're very grateful for the successes and the opportunities that our kids have had, and we're reminded of the fact that there are many needy families in our district.  To help with that, the Elementary Student Council has once again led a collection to provide complete Thanksgiving meals to needy families in our district, and we were able to provide meals to many
different families.  Thank you all for your generosity!  The annual PTA -sponsored food drive begins on December 1, and once again we will be trying to fill my office with food that will be donated to the food pantry at the Alexander United Methodist Church.  Please continue to be generous and help our kids see the value in giving!

As always, thank you for entrusting you students to us, and thank you for the support you give them and us as we continue to seek out opportunities to help them succeed not only in their academics, but in every aspect of their life!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Coming Events

Looking ahead, there are a few dates to keep in mind.  Please mark your calendars!

Oct. 31--1/2 Day; Early Dismissal at 11:30

November 11--No school; Veteran's Day

November 21-22--Early dismissal at 11:45; Parent/Teacher Conferences in the afternoon

November 23-25--No School; Thanksgiving Break

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Lots of Families, Lots of Math, Lots of Fun!

The Math and Movement Fun Night was held last night, and we had a great time learning through play and watching parents interact with kids and teachers as they hopped, jumped, shouted and counted.  There were over 40 different activities for kids and parents to try, and everyone had a lot of fun.  Thanks to everyone that came out, and we're looking forward to doing something like this again soon!

http://www.thebatavian.com/howard-b-owens/alexander-brings-families-together-for-math-movement-night/169465

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Math and Movement Night is Tonight!

The Alexander Elementary School is hosting our first ever Family Fun Night featuring math games and activities from Math and Movement.  You can read a little more about it in the Daily News HERE.  In addition, you can learn more about the benefits of learning through movement by visiting http://www.mathandmovement.com/. The event is from 6:00-7:30 tonight in the Elementary building.  Hope to see you there!

Friday, September 23, 2016

IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR PARENTS

IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR PARENTS

Coming Events: 

                September 28: Evacuation drill during school
    September 28: Family Fun Night from 6:00-7:30
                October 7: No School (Supt. Conference Day)
                October 10: No School (Columbus Day)
                October 13: Fire Prevention Day

New Rules for Fire Drills

                It has been a fantastic opening to the school year, and we are very excited about what the year has in store for all of us.  I just want to take a few moments here to update you on some changes that have been made at the state level and how they will affect us, as well as to tell you about an exciting opportunity.  As you know, each year we are required to conduct fire drills.  In the past, we have been required to do 12 drills each year, eight of them before December 1.  This year, NYS has passed some changes in the law, and while we are still required to conduct 12 drills, we now need to hold four lockdown drills and eight evacuation drills (fire drills count as evacuation drills).  With these changes in mind, and looking back and realizing it has been quite a while since we evacuated the school and moved the students to a different location as a drill, we have decided to hold an evacuation drill on the morning of September 28.  On that morning, students will start the day as they normally do, but during the morning, an announcement will be made to first shelter-in-place (which simply means keeping everyone in the room they are currently in to make sure everyone is accounted for), followed by an announcement to evacuate the building.  At that time, students will exit the building and make their way to the firemen’s recreation hall.  Once everyone arrives there and is accounted for, students will be bussed back to the school and the day will continue as normal.  We will have help from the fire department as well as law enforcement to make sure that the walk to the recreation hall is safe and orderly. 
With the new requirements for lockdown drills, we are planning our first lockdown drill for October 17th.  On that day, students will hear an announcement that the school is in lockdown, and they will follow procedures that are in place based on where they are in the building.  Future dates for lockdown drills will not be announced, but I wanted to let everyone know of the changes in the law and how we are adjusting our procedures to be in compliance with the regulations.  If you have any questions about the drills, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Family Fun Night!

In addition to the drills, I wanted to let you all know about an exciting opportunity that we have in the elementary school.  Last spring, we received a grant that allows us to host a Family Fun Night, where parents and students can come into the school and enjoy a wide range of fun activities surrounding math and movement.  Families will be invited to try a variety of different engaging activities that incorporate movement and math skills.  Everyone that attends will receive access to some free online materials.  The fun night will be held in the gym and the cafeteria, and it runs from 6:00-7:30.  We would love to see everyone come out for this event.  While we have a couple of reading nights each year, we are very excited this year to have a night that focuses on math!  There is additional information about the night attached to this letter, and you can also see more at http://www.mathandmovement.com/familyfunnight/  We hope to see you here that night!

Weather Machine

The Alexander Elementary School is trying to win the opportunity to have WKBW meteorologist Andy Parker and his weather machine visit us!  Please help us by watching channel  7 at 6:15 or 7:15 AM to get the weather word of the day and then visiting http://www.wkbw.com/weather/weather-machine-voting-page and voting for Alexander.  Voting ends on October 4.  Thanks for your support!

Reminders

When dropping off or picking up students at the elementary school, please drop off and pick up Elementary students in the Rte. 98 parking lot. The parking lot in front of the building and near the bus garage is very crowded, and often all of the parking spaces are filled.  Please remember that it is illegal to park in a designated handicapped parking space.   Also, please help us by not parking in an area that is not a clearly marked parking space.  This includes the road near the Outdoor Classroom.  Lastly, no vehicle is to use the Elementary bus loop between the hours of 8:30am-9:00am and 3pm-3:30pm, and students should not be entering the building before 8:40 unless they have been given prior approval.  IT IS ILLEGAL TO PASS A SCHOOL BUS WITH ITS RED LIGHTS FLASHING EVEN ON SCHOOL PROPERTY. 

                Thank you again for sharing your children with us, and as always, if you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Alexander Central School District World Record Day!

On Friday, April 29, students and staff from both the elementary and the middle/high schools met on the football field to make attempts on three world records currently recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records.  This day actually began back in the beginning of the year, when students in three fifth grade Writer's Workshops conducted research and wrote a persuasive essay on a world record.  Students in each group then voted for the most persuasive, best-written essay.  Once those were chosen, the three groups of students made oral presentations to both Mr. Stroud and Mrs. Whitcombe, seeking approval to proceed with an attempt to break the records.  The final step was for the students to go before Mrs. Maerten and the entire Board of Education to seek their approval.  The students were impressive in all of their presentations, and they were told that they could proceed with the attempts.  The records chosen were for the most people simultaneously completing sit-ups (current record is 503), longest pop-n-lock arm wave (current record is 528) and the most high fives in one minute (current record is 277).  So, today, students and faculty came together on the football field, students read descriptions of the records, and attempts on all three records were made.  It will be some time before we hear from the people at Guinness, so stay tuned for the final results.  No matter what the outcome, we are very proud of our students and the work they did to research, write and present about the records, as well as the cooperation and positive atmosphere that surrounded today's event, even though the weather was colder than we would have liked!  Enjoy some pictures from the event, and be sure to ask students about the event.




















Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The ACES Elementary Student Council Invites You To A Pancake Breakfast!

Help support the Elementary Student Council raise funds toward a gift to the school.  Past gifts have included picnic tables, benches and educational games!