• May 19th, 2023

    Posted by Kevin Scheiwe on 5/19/2023

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  • March 1st, 2023

    Posted by Graves Elementary on 11/2/2022

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  • November 2nd, 2022

    Posted by Graves Elementary on 11/1/2022

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    NOVEMBER 1, 2022




    Welcome to our Graves parent communication newsletter that will be issued three times a year. The next issue will be published in February and the last issue will be published at the end of the school year. This will not be a repeat of the SchoolMessenger information you receive, but the purpose of this correspondence is to provide you with how our school is focusing on topics that assist us with improving our school environment academically, behaviorally, and social and emotionally.


    Academic Corner – Graves Administration

    Ms. Ball, Principal, Mr. Burke, Dr. Chapman, and Ms. Henderson, Assistant Principals


    Each of our focus topics can interfere with student achievement in a positive or negative way. It is imperative that our school partners with you to address concerns that you may have and/or concerns that have been brought to your attention. In doing so, ongoing interactive communication is the key to creating a plan to assist our students to become successful contributors in our society by knowing how to read, write, compute, and communicate effectively.  We ask for your support with having your students read nightly for 15 or 20 minutes in their home language or English, practice basic addition, subtraction, and/or multiplication facts depending on the grade level, and have the students respond to their reading by answering questions about what they have read and responding by writing this information in complete sentences. In Kindergarten, this response could begin with a drawing with the students being able to explain what was asked. These basic things can have a huge impact on improving the confidence of student learning and it begins with our student attending schools regularly.


    Counselors’ Corner

    Ms. Stallings (K, 2nd, and 4th) and Mr. Mazumder (1st, 3rd, and 5th)



    Graves Elementary School Attendance Information/Overview

    Consistent and daily attendance play a crucial role in students social/emotional and academic success. Students who come to school regularly are shown to have higher academic scores in math and reading as well as higher test scores. Attendance also impacts students’ social skills and ability to collaborate and work in group settings. Chronic absenteeism has been linked to higher high school dropout rates and lower financial attainment compared to students who attend school regularly and miss an average of five days or less a school year. At the elementary level, parent collaboration plays a large role in student attendance. In late middle and high school levels, it becomes student habits, routines, and motivation for coming to school and missing school.

    Here are the facts! Students attend 180 days of school a year. That is less than half the year. Tardy, coming to school late, can also impact student achievement. Tardiness at a quick glance and thought might not seem like an issue but chronic tardiness can significantly impact student learning and routine/habit building. Arriving late to school 10 minutes a day can equal to missing 50 minutes a day each week, nearly 1 ½ weeks a year, and nearly ½ a year of school from Kindergarten to 12th grade. Missing 1 hour each day can mean missing a day of school a week, 8 weeks per year (nearly half a semester) a year and missing 2 ½ years of learning from Kindergarten to 12th grade. With breaks available for students every month, we ask parents to please plan accordingly when planning doctor’s/dentist appointments. Let us all work together in making sure our younger generation attends school every day during the school year!


    Attendance Interventions/Things Being Implemented at GES

    • Classroom wide attendance is encouraged through class parties and rewards. When a class spells out M U S T A N G S, they can earn a class reward such as pizza party, extra recess, cookie party, etc. by the school counselors. The only way to earn a letter is when the whole class comes to class in that given day.


    • Classroom lessons are also provided to students at the beginning of the school year teaching the students the importance of attendance.


    • Unexcused absence letters are accurately and promptly delivered to students or mailed to parents, so parents are aware of any unexcused absences. It is highly encouraged for parents to adhere to these letters and communicate (verbal or written through a letter or Class Dojo) with teachers or counselors to excuse any unexcused absences.


    • Parent meetings are held to discuss the importance of attendance and collaborating with parents to meet student and parent needs to increase student attendance.


    • Small group student attendance check-ins are where students who have missed a certain number of days will be invited to sign-in on a daily basis. If students are present for a week, they can earn a prize or reward of their choosing. If students are present for the whole month without missing a day of school, they can earn a greater prize/reward. Parents can also earn gift cards monthly for their child’s perfect attendance if this intervention is being used to increase student attendance.


    • Counselors collaborate with the Parent Center to discuss the importance of attendance with parents during events such as Chat and Chew or Parent Center Information Sessions.


    • Counselors also provide teacher professional development and guidance on attendance protocols and procedures, so teachers are better prepared to monitor and encourage consistent attendance.


    Should you have questions about the attendance protocols, please reach out to your child’s grade level counselor.


    PBIS Behavior Corner

    Ms. Valentine, PBIS Coach


    PBIS is Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports that is used in some schools. Graves Elementary School has been a PBIS school for over 6 years. It focuses on promoting positive behavior in students by teaching them to show PRIDE. The acronym PRIDE stands for Positive Attitude, Respect, Integrity, Dedication and Excellence. Students can earn rewards of Mustang Bucks by showing PRIDE in the areas of the classroom, hallway, restroom, playground, cafeteria, bus and beyond. With their Mustang Bucks, the students are able to shop at the Mustang Store weekly to spend their earnings on items such as: toys, snacks, stickers, erasers, decorative pencils and pens, books and so much more! PBIS also focuses on interventions and supports for our students that may struggle with their behavior in the aforementioned areas. As a school, we implement interventions for individual students to assist them with their behaviors. We support our students by daily/weekly check-ins, and one on one and group lessons. The PBIS Team believes in building relationships between staff and students in order to better understand any struggles or obstacles getting in their way that prevents them from learning. 


    Social Emotional Learning Corner

    Dr. Whyte Russell, SEL Leader


    Students participate in an SEL activity each morning at the start of the school day from 8:45-9:00 A.M. This is a way to address some of the concerns a student may have, or this is a way for teachers to introduce skills such as conflict resolution, problem-solving, and collaboration. Below is a graphic of what the competencies include for SEL.



    Interventions/Enrichment Corner

    Ms. Baker, MTSS Coordinator (Multi-Tiered System of Support)


    Students in grades K-5 were screened in August. Over 600 students needed an additional screening due to them falling below the 25th percentile for learning in Language Arts. Ms. Baker will be helping students improve their academic performance, by frequently monitoring their progress and using data-based decisions as she provides more individualized instruction for each student. 





    What is MTSS?

    MTSS is a way of doing things within the school that impacts every student enrolled. It is designed to make sure no one “falls through the cracks.” There are three tiers of instruction, and your child is in (at least) one of them.


    Tier 1: The General Curriculum (100% of students): Every single student receives the core, or Tier 1 instruction. Schools use various curriculums as a means for presenting that core instruction. It is expected that at least 75-80% of our students will make adequate progress with this core instruction. 


    Tier 2: Students Who Struggle Get More Support (15%-20% of students): If 75-80% of our students are making adequate progress with the core instruction, then 20-25% are not gaining enough. Therefore, Tier 2 exists to support these students. Many schools provide Tier 2 support in groups of four or five students working with a teacher each day using a program in a given subject in addition to the core Tier 1 instruction. Graves Elementary provides Tier 2 computer programs in our lab. Regardless of the method, it is expected that the majority of those students getting Tier 2 support will make adequate progress.


    Tier 3: Intensive Instruction (5% of students): Students who get the core instruction (Tier 1), frequent instruction beyond that (Tier 2), and are still NOT making gains, MTSS calls for an individualized, intense level of instruction (Tier 3); there should be no more that 5% of the general student population needing this level of support. Diagnostic assessments are given to pinpoint why students are not learning and create a plan for how to intervene. This support, when provided appropriately, must be in a setting that is no larger than a one-to-three teacher to student ratio; one-to-one instruction is ideal when possible.

    It is vital that in Tier 3, the teaching be specific to the student's need. For instance, if a child is weak in reading and the diagnostic shows that he has excellent phonics skills but has a poor vocabulary, vocabulary should be the focus of this level of instruction.


    The turnout for our Saturday School Program was low for our students to receive academic support. Now that parent-teacher conferences are over, information about the upcoming after school intervention program, with transportation, will be shared in the upcoming weeks.


    Based on student feedback about our programs, we were encouraged to include enrichment programs this year. We are proud to announce that 30 students were invited to participate in our pilot program where learning is language arts and math activities are extended to enhance the learning of these students.


    Parent Communication: Negative interactions are never the answer to getting issues resolved. Should you have an issue or concern that cannot be resolved by your child’s classroom teacher, feel free to contact the school and ask to speak with or email the Grade Level Administrator who will be happy to assist you once the details are shared. When there are inquiries that you’d like to discuss with the principal, the same process can be followed. There is also a form that can be completed in the front office should contact need to be made when an administrator is not available. In addition, our Parent Center personnel is available to assist you if you are uncertain about who you need to speak with. Lastly, you are encouraged to participated in the Town Hall meetings scheduled which is an open forum and it does not have a prescribed agenda to ask questions that you are wondering about. A virtual meeting will take place on Friday, November 4th, from 10:00-11:00 A.M.


    School Safety: We take the safety of our students seriously from the time they arrive at school until they return to you safely. This safety also includes dropping students off early and leaving them outside alone before 7:45, not parking in a parking space in the parking lot and allowing students to walk across the bus lanes by themselves. The car rider lane is open from 7:45-8:08 each morning for student drop-off. Should you come to the front of the school to drop off your student, please park in a space and walk your student across the bus lanes. In addition, there are continuous drills that we participate in to ensure everyone knows what to do should we have an emergency. We will have a practice Lockdown Drill on Monday, November 7th at 9:30 A.M. During this drill, no one will be allowed to enter the school until the drill is over.


    Parent Center Corner

    Mr. Timaran (Parent Instructional Coordinator) and Ms. Reavis (Parent Outreach Liaison)


    The Parent Center is in the main level of our school, and it is open Monday through Friday from 8:45 to 3:00 P.M. Parents can find materials and resources such as books and games. Ms. Reavis (POL) and Mr. Timaran (PIC) also provide interpretation services to help families communicate with teachers. They also help parents completing the free lunch application or setting up the accounts for my Payment Plus and Class Dojo. In addition, the Parent Center will offer different workshops throughout the year to help new families learn more about our curriculum.




    Important Reminders


    Arrival: 7:45-8:15 A.M.

    School Begins: 8:15-2:45 P.M.

    Check-Out Ends: 2:15 P.M.

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