4401 N. Henderson Rd.
Arlington, VA 22203
703-228-6288
Fax: 703-228-8544
Sunday, May 24, 2015

Principal's Message

  • May Updates - Grab N Go Breakfasts, SOL Testing, End of Year Plans!

    Posted by Dan Redding at 5/17/2015
    This week we begin the end-of-year SOL testing for grades 3-5 and benchmark testing for grades K-2.  The SOL testing schedule is in my previous blog post here, and that will be followed by end-of-year testing for K-2 students in reading and math.  
     
    Fifth graders will also take the Sixth grade math placement test.  This exam covers sixth grade math objectives to see whether students are eligible for advanced math work in sixth grade.  The results, along with SOL test results and teacher recommendation are used to place students in math courses for sixth grade.
     
     
    Barrett is now offering "Grab N Go" breakfasts in the morning, from 7:30-8:10 every day.  Students can use their SchoolBucks accounts to pay the $1.55 charge for a breakfast, usually consisting of Orange Juice, yogurt, and banana bread or a bagel.  These meals may be taken to the homeroom and eaten there, with all waste sealed in the bag and thrown away.  Students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunch will receive the breakfast free of charge.  Check these out - they make a great breakfast alternative!
     
    As we wind the year down, you may have already received a calendar of end of year activities.  The PTA has sent a list out over email, and we will continue to provide these updates so you can be aware of activities.
     
    Today is the 75th anniversary of Kate Waller Barrett Elementary  celebration.  I want to sincerely thank our PTA members who have worked so hard to put the festival today together, and especially Jennifer Sauter-Price, who set up a beautiful display in the hallway using artifacts we have in the library and old yearbooks that were donated by Barrett alumni.  We hope to see you there!
     
     

    Esta semana comenzarán los exámenes de fin de año.  Los alumnos en 3ro-5to grado tomarán los Exámenes SOL, y los alumnos de Kínder-2do grado tomarán los exámenes de fin de año.  El horario para los Exámenes SOL lo encontrarán en mi blog anterior aquí, y luego comenzarán los exámenes de lectura y matemáticas de fin de año para los alumnos en Kínder-2do grado. 

    Alumnos en quinto grado también tomarán el examen de matemáticas de sexto grado.  Este examen cubre los objetivos de matemáticas de sexto grado para determinar si los alumnos son elegibles para tomar la clase avanzada de matemáticas en sexto grado.  Los resultados de este examen, junto con los resultados del Examen SOL de matemáticas y la recomendación del maestro/a, se usarán para determinar qué curso de matemáticas los alumnos tomarán en sexto grado.

    La Escuela Barrett ahora está ofreciendo desayuno Grab-N-Go todas las mañanas, de 7:30-8:10am.  Los alumnos pueden usar sus cuentas de almuerzo para pagar su desayuno ($1.55).  Normalmente el desayuno incluye jugo de naranja, yogur, y pan de plátano o un bagel.  Los alumnos podrán llevar su desayuno a clase y, después de comer, podrán usar la misma bolsa para poner todo en la basura.  Aquellos alumnos que califican para el almuerzo gratis o a precio reducido recibirán el desayuno gratis.  ¡Este programa es una excelente alternativa para el desayuno!

    Al finalizar el año escolar, probablemente ya recibieron el calendario para las actividades de fin de año.  La PTA envió una lista de las fechas y actividades por correo electrónico, y continuaremos mandando actualizaciones para que ustedes estén informados sobre estas actividades.

    Hoy celebraremos el Aniversario de 75 Años de la Escuela Kate Waller Barrett.  Quiero agradecer a los miembros de la PTA quienes trabajaron durísimo para realizar este festival, y especialmente a Jennifer Sauter-Price, que armó una bella exhibición en el pasillo principal usando artefactos de la biblioteca y antiguos anuarios donados por ex-alumnos de Barrett.  ¡Espero verlos ahí!

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  • SOL Testing Schedule for Grades 3-5

    Posted by Dan Redding at 4/8/2015

    As Barrett enters the fourth quarter, we are looking ahead to the end of year SOL testing. Students in 3rd through 5th grades will participate in the state-mandated SOL tests to assess their knowledge of skills and information taught this year. We appreciate your attention to these dates when considering when to schedule appointments or go out of town. (Note that there will be no testing on the Friday and Tuesday on either side of Memorial Day weekend.)

     

    The window for SOL testing is May 18 – June 11. As we do every year, we are scheduling our testing towards the end of the window.  Each grade level will test on four different days, with the 3rd grade reading test and all math tests taking place over two days. Make-up sessions will be scheduled as needed during the testing window. The exact dates are:

     

    3rd Grade

    Wednesday, May 27 – Reading I

    Monday, June 1 – Reading II

    Wednesday, June 3 – Math I

    Monday, June 8 – Math II

     

    4th Grade

    Tuesday, May 19 – Reading

    Thursday, May 28 – Math I

    Tuesday, June 2 – Math II

    Tuesday, June 9 – Virginia Studies

     

    5th Grade

    Monday, May 18 – Science

    Friday, May 29 – Reading

    Thursday, June 4 – Math I

    Friday, June 5 – Math II

     

    In addition to the SOLs listed above, all 5th graders will take the math diagnostic test for middle school math placement in the afternoons of Monday, June 8 and Tuesday, June 9.

     

    All SOL tests will begin at 8:30 am, so please plan to have your children well-rested, well-fed, and at school on time on those days. We very much appreciate your help in ensuring that all of our students are present, ready, and focused on testing days.


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  • Cold Weather is Here! - January 2015 Message

    Posted by Dan Redding at 1/8/2015
    Dear Families -
     
    Cold weather has arrived!  I want to use this message as a time to remind families that students should come to school prepared for the weather with layers of clothing so they are ready for outdoor recess and activities.  Because we follow a philosophy of active learning, students were outside in the cold and snow on Tuesday (January 6th) during the snow, learning about measurement.
     
    On cold weather days, we use APS' Weather Guidelines and Operations During Air Quality Alerts to inform decisions regarding recess and outdoor activity.  A snapshot of the chart will help clarify procedures for recess decisions:
     
    Child Care Weather Watch  
     
    Temperature-Wind Chill Chart  
    In the green zone, children may play outside as long as they are appropriately dressed and adults and attending to their conditions and safety.  When the temperature plus wind speed puts us into the yellow zone, we shorten outdoor recess and are more vigilant to students' needs and whether they are appropriately dressed.  On days when the wind chill puts us into the red zone, we stay inside for the duration of recess and ask grade level staff to design appropriate activities for students so they have the brain break and movement opportunities they need to be ready for learning.
     
    I hope this information helps to clarify Barrett's procedures for determining the status of recess and outdoor learning opportunities.
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  • Announcement: New 2nd Grade Teacher!

    Posted by Dan Redding at 12/15/2014
    Dear Barrett Families,
     
    I am so pleased to announce that we are moving forward with a new hire at Barrett!  Ms. Maria-Cristina Santos-Torres will be joining our team as a second grade teacher, starting this week to overlap with Ms. Landgraf!  Ms. Torres is no stranger to the Barrett community, as she has had several long-term substitute positions with us over the years.  Her aunt is also one of our Kindergarten teachers!  Ms. Torres was originally slated to be Ms. Landgraf's long-term substitute during her leave.
     
    Ms. Torres has recently graduated from Marymount University with a Masters in Education and completed her student teaching in Fairfax County schools.  She has met the requirements to be fully licensed to teach elementary school in Virginia.  She is familiar with reading and writing workshop and with accelerated math curricula, and we have full confidence in her ability to hit the ground running with our second grade team.  
     
    Please join me in welcoming Ms. Torres to the Barrett team! 
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  • December 2014 Message

    Posted by Dan Redding at 12/9/2014 4:00:00 PM
    Dear Families -
     
    As I look back on my messages, I notice that I always start by noting how quickly time is passing.  
     
    I want to take a moment to express gratitude for our amazing Barrett Community.  The parent support here is unbelievable.  On behalf of the staff, I want to express appreciation for your support of our 5-year Literacy Initiative.  We see this as critical - the PTA funding to help us purchase large classroom libraries ensures that each child has a range of books at their independent level and that will motivate and excite them to read.  This allows the teachers to further individualize instruction.
     
    I am so grateful to work with such an amazing team here - this team strives to meet the needs of each child.   As we do every year, we seek staff input to nominate one teacher and one support staff member for the APS Employee of the Year recognition.  This year the Barrett staff has chosen to recognize Ms. Jennifer Flores as our nominee for Teacher of the Year, and Ms. Nancy Hensley as our nominee for Support Employee of the Year!  I am thrilled to send these two well-deserving colleagues' names forward for recognition at the County level.
     
    For families who wish to do so, we are accepting letters of support focusing on Ms Flores' and Ms. Hensley's qualifications for the county award.  Letters of support can focus on their contributions in the classroom to instruction, to the whole child, and to the Barrett community at large.  If you wish to provide a letter of support, I ask that you bring it to Ms. Stephanie Shoemaker no later than Tuesday, January 6, 2015.  We must turn the packets in at the end of that week and would like to have everything together.
     
    I also write with very sad news.  I sent a letter home with second grade students in Ms. Landgraf's class today regarding her upcoming leave.  Ms. Landgraf has made a difficult decision to spend the remainder of the school year at home with her child.  We certainly support her in this decision, and will miss her expert teaching and positive, can-do approach to everything.  We are working with the Human Resources office regarding a recommendation for a replacement and hope to have news to you soon.  We l keep the families in her class informed throughout this process.
     
    We also want to let families know that Ms. Betty Bravo, Clinic Aide at Barrett, will be retiring at the end of December.  We wish Betty well and thank her for her many years of service to School Health and Barrett families! 
     
    Arlington Public Schools is working through the budget process and the School Board has at this time discussed budget direction with the Superintendent (more information here).  There will be a number of community informational meetings and feedback opportunities.  More information is available here.  I encourage families to stay informed and involved in this process.
     
    As we head into wintery weather, please remember these important tips:
    1. Dress students in layers every day to ensure that they are warm at school during class and outside at recess.  We go outside every single day we can!
    2. Watch the APS website, the APS Twitter account, the Barrett PTA Twitter account, and my Twitter account for information about closings and delays.
     
    Thank you again for all you do to support the Barrett community.  We wish you a safe and warm holiday season with plenty of time with your loved ones! 
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  • October Notes

    Posted by Dan Redding at 10/30/2014
    Dear Families -
     
    Vamos a traducer in Espanol despues de Ingles.
     
    The year is moving by quickly! As we approach the end of the quarter, please take a moment to reflect with your child on new and interesting skills and content they have learned so far this year.  From where I stand, as I go between classes and visit with teachers and students about their learning, great routines are in place, students are hard at work focusing on grade-level material and appropriate extensions and practice of any needed skills, and everyone is excited and engaged!
     
     Halloween has come upon us!  Please remember your safety tips:
     
    Go in groups with friends and at least one adult
    Map a safe route out with your children
    Remind children about approaching people in cars  
    Wear reflective material on clothing and only cross at crosswalks (NOT between cars!)
    Only eat sealed candy from known sources - nothing opened!
     
    Many more safety tips can be found at that link.
     
    Daylight savings occurs on November 2nd!  Be sure to move your clocks back one hour so you will be at school on time on Monday the 3rd!
     
    There will be no school on November 4th for the teachers' grade preparation day.
     
    During October we practiced our earthquake drill.  Students learned to go under a desk or table and hold on to the legs - this is considered to be the safest response in a building like ours.  I tweeted a picture so families could see us practicing our response.  Over the course of the year, we practice other drills, including our monthly fire drills, two lockdown drills, a tornado drill, and a "secure the building" drill.  All of these drills help us know what to do in case of a real emergency.
     
     We look forward to a strong end to the quarter.  We hope to see you at a variety of events coming up soon:
     
    Tuesday, Nov. 4 - PTA Meeting
    Friday, Nov. 7 - PTA Pasta Dinner
    Saturday Nov. 8 - Barrett 5K! 
     
     
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  • October Reading Challenge Calendar

    Posted by Fred Delventhal at 10/3/2014
     
     
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  • A reminder about dismissal

    Posted by Dan Redding at 9/28/2014
    Dear Families -
     
    We recently had a frightening situation in which a student was supposed to go to extended day, but instead believed he was supposed to get on the bus to ride home.  Because this happened the previous day, the teacher allowed him to go with bus riders.  Unfortunately, this was not his parents' intent, and as a result, when extended day found that the child was not present, they called the parents, who were obviously very concerned.  It took a while to track the student down, and it turned out he was completely safe at a friend's house.
     
    As a result, Barrett staff have discussed the importance of sticking to the existing daily arrangements for dismissal unless we receive a note, e-mail, or direct contact (face-to-face or phone call) from the parent changing that plan.  For security and safety, we cannot take the word of another parent that changes the plan, we do need to hear from the child's parent or guardian if the plans change.
     
    I ask parents to please remember that an e-mail sent at lunchtime will most likely not be read by the teacher prior to dismissal, given that most of the staff has teaching responsibilities for that entire time.  It is best to send the e-mail and follow-up with a call to the school to inform the office.  Please understand that changes made after 2:00 p.m. are very difficult to relay from the office to the classroom, given all of the things happening as we approach dismissal. Unless it is an emergency change, we may not be able to get the message through in time. 
     
    Thank you for understanding.  
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  • Reading Challenge Calendar

    Posted by Fred Delventhal at 9/17/2014
    Principal's Reading Challenge Calendar
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  • Back in the Swing of Things!

    Posted by Dan Redding at 9/14/2014
    Dear Families,
     
    Vamos a traducer in Espanol despues de ingles.  Time is flying by and we are back in the swing of things!  The summer seems far behind us now as we have settled into our routines and everything in the school is up and running.  Thank you to the families who provided the welcome back breakfast for staff on the first day back in August - what a wonderful way to get back in the swing of things for the year!
     
    Thank you to all families for supporting our arrival and dismissal procedures!  As a general reminder, students who eat breakfast at Barrett are welcome to enter at 7:30 and go to the cafeteria.  Morning Extended Day students may enter and be signed into the program at 7:00 a.m. Students are not permitted to go anywhere else in the building at that time without a note from a staff member.  At 8:00 students who are not eating breakfast are permitted to enter and head to class, and students in the cafeteria are released to classrooms.  At this time, we will welcome those parents who wish to be with their students during breakfast into the cafeteria, but we need students to walk from the cafeteria to class by themselves.  As a reminder, since teachers are responsible for students starting at 8:00, parents will need to make an appointment if they wish to speak with a teacher.   
    Dismissal also seems to be very smooth, and we are extremely thankful to the Arlington Police Crossing Guard unit for assigning us an additional crossing guard on Park Drive.  I am very grateful to families who are using the playground to pick up students at dismissal who take a car ride home - this is extremely helpful in reducing congestion at the front of the building. 
     
    The Arlington Police observed our dismissal and advised me that they do intend to ticket any cars parking on yellow curbs at any time.  This includes Extended Day dropoff and pickup.  Outside of the school day, families that need to pick students up are welcome to park in any Barrett parking space while they come inside to pick up students.  The police do not frequently come to our lot, but they have advised me that they intend to ticket any vehicle parked along a yellow-painted curb. 
     
    We have launches our Principal's Reading Challenge for 2014-2015! This year, instead of a total number of books read, we are focused on the total number of minutes students spend reading outside of school!  My challenge to students, in order to win "Reading Fun Day" - Read at least 2,000,000 minutes outside of school between now and May 31!  We can achieve this goal if every student fulfills the nightly reading requirements at their respective grade level.  Last year the PTA Reading Fun Day team helped to plan an awesome day of activities that really celebrated all the different types of reading we do every day.  Soon you will receive a September calendar to record time students spend reading independently or that you read to/ with them.  Weekends count!  Return this calendar with the minutes read each day at the end of the month, and get the next one!  I will keep you up to date with the running totals!
    Finally, we are working through the technical issues related to the fourth grade iPad Personalized Learning Pilot - over the next week, we will attempt to generate the remaining IDs as parents register, provide permission for students to get an apple ID through APS, and then set up the individual iPads.  Stay tuned for exciting news from fourth grade as the iPads start getting used! 
     
    Be sure to follow me on twitter at @dredding_arlva, and follow the school at @BarrettAPS . The PTA addresses are @BPTAE (English) and @BPTASP (Spanish).  
     
    Again, thank you for a great start to the year, and for all of your support.   
     

    Estimadas Familias,

    ¡El tiempo ha ido volando y hemos vuelto a la rutina!  Se nos fue el verano mientras nos acostumbramos a las rutinas y ahora todo está en marcha en la escuela.  Quiero agradecer a las familias que ayudaron con el desayuno para el personal escolar nuestro primer día de trabajo en agosto - ¡Qué bonita manera de regresar y empezar el año escolar! 

    ¡También quiero agradecer a las familias por apoyar nuestro procedimiento de la hora de llegada/salida escolar!  Recuerden que los niños que desayunan en la escuela pueden ingresar a la escuela y registrarse a las 7:00 a.m.  Los alumnos no están permitidos ir a ningún otro lugar a esa hora, sin obtener una nota de permiso del personal escolar.  A las 8:00 a.m., los alumnos que no estén desayunando podrán ingresar a la escuela y dirigirse a sus clases, y los niños en la cafetería podrán irse a sus clases también.  Actualmente, los padres que deseen permanecer con sus hijos durante el desayuno podrán quedarse en la cafetería, pero necesitamos que los alumnos vayan caminando solos a sus clases.  Por favor recuerden que los maestros estarán encargados de sus alumnos desde las 8:00 a.m., y que los padres tendrán que programar una cita si desean hablar con ellos.   

    La hora de salida también está funcionando bien, y estamos muy agradecidos que la Policía de Arlington nos haya asignado un guardia de cruce adicional sobre la calle Park Drive.  Agradezco a las familias quienes recogen a sus hijos en auto y que, durante la hora de salida, están recogiendo a sus hijos en la zona del recreo – esto realmente ayuda a reducir la congestión en la entrada principal del edificio.    

    La Policía de Arlington ha estado observando la hora de salida escolar y me ha informado que sí multará a aquellos autos estacionados en cualquier momento a lo largo de los bordes amarillos de acera.  Esto incluye cuando vengan a dejar y recoger a sus hijos de Extended Day (servicio de guardería).  Después del horario escolar, aquellas familias que necesitan recoger a sus hijos pueden estacionar en cualquier espacio del estacionamiento de Barrett mientras ingresan a recoger a sus niños.  La policía normalmente no viene a nuestro estacionamiento, pero sí ha indicado que multará a cualquier vehículo estacionado a lo largo de los bordes amarillos de acera.  

    ¡Hemos iniciado el Desafío de Lectura del Director para el año escolar 2014-2015!  ¡Este año, en vez de leer un número específico de libros, nos enfocaremos en el número de minutos que los alumnos leen fuera de la escuela!  Mi desafío para los alumnos, para ganarse el “Día de Lectura y Diversión”, es – ¡Leer por lo menos 2.000.000 minutos fuera de la escuela entre ahora y el 31 de mayo!  Podemos lograr esta meta si cada alumno lee lo requerido todas las noches (de acuerdo al nivel de grado).  El año pasado, el equipo del Día de Lectura y Diversión de la PTA ayudó a planificar un día maravilloso de actividades donde realmente celebramos todos los diferentes tipos de lectura que hacemos a diario.  Pronto recibirán el calendario de septiembre para que puedan anotar los minutos que sus hijos hayan leído independientemente, o que ustedes hayan leído con ellos.  ¡Se incluye fines de semana también!  ¡Devuelvan este calendario a fin de mes con los minutos que hayan leído todos los días para recibir el calendario del siguiente mes!  ¡Los mantendré informados sobre el total de los minutos leídos! 

     Finalmente, estamos trabajando para solucionar algunos problemas técnicos respecto al Programa Piloto de Dispositivos Personalizados (tabletas iPad) – durante la próxima semana intentaremos crear los números de identificación que aún faltan crear mientras los padres se registran y entregan permisos para que los niños reciban un número de identificación a través de APS.  Luego se configurarán los iPad.  ¡Estén atentos a noticias interesantes del cuarto grado mientras se empiezan a usar los iPad!   

     No se olviden seguirnos en twitter.  Mi dirección en twitter es @dredding_arlva. y la dirección de la escuela es @BarrettAPS.  La PTA tiene dos direcciones, @BPTAE (en inglés) y @BPTASP (en español).  

     Nuevamente, muchas gracias por un excelente comienzo de clases y por su apoyo.   

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Last Modified on Monday at 10:28 AM