The New Year is Underway!

Our first school week of the new year has come to a close!

First and foremost, I hope you and your families have been keeping warm in the winter weather. For our students who walk to school and are waiting for buses, this can be an especially difficult time, so please make sure they are as bundled up as possible when they leave home. I just saw the current flu report, too, and it is widespread right now in our area, so please stay healthy!

This week has been one of planning for getting the ball rolling on all our great new initiatives for this semester. Starting on Monday, our after school study lab will resume for students in grades 3-5. If you think your child could benefit from having time after school to work on homework and get some assistance, please contact me, and I will help you get him or her registered!

In addition, we will be adding on homework labs during recess time during the week (optional) for grades 1-5 for students who would like the extra time to get their work done. Monday morning Brainstorm Reading will also resume, as will paired reading!

MAPS testing is now underway, and MTSS for grades K-2 has begun! It is an exciting time at Van Allen with so many opportunities to help supplement the learning and achievement of our students.

This week in guidance, we read the story “The Sneetches” by Dr. Seuss. The story discusses the idea of discrimination and leaving someone out just because they look different. Students in grades JK-5 all had wonderful thoughts to share, and many of them discussed their own experiences being left out in our writing activity. We will continue to talk about the importance of treating everyone with kindness and respect through next week. This will set the stage for me to talk about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., since January 19th is Martin Luther King Day.

I am consistently impressed by how thoughtful and compassionate our students are! It is a joy to work with them.

Have a wonderful weekend and stay warm!

Shameem Balakrishnan
School Counselor

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