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NEWSLETTER | January/February 2017 | Vol. 17 No. 2

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WE ARE ALL ONE TEAM



As the new year begins, Kingfisher is going to be emphasizing two parts of our mission: peaceful resolution to conflict and building community.  Many students here have fallen into the (very typical) habit for elementary students of teasing or excluding other kids.  Sometimes it is part of joking around. Many kids do not “hear themselves” and they are surprised when a teacher corrects or comments.  It seems that the teachers are constantly reminding everyone to be kind and to stop teasing, etc. We believe that our students are naturally pretty nice kids and that no one wants to actually hurt someone’s feelings, but since they are young, often snarky comments get taken to heart and cause resentment that builds over time. Reminding everyone that we are all on the same team is important to ensure that all children feel part of the group.  

Most of our students work very well in classrooms with a small overall size, but that doesn’t mean that they couldn’t manage a larger group. We rarely have a child going into kindergarten that doesn’t already sound out a few key words and we rarely have a student in 3rd grade that isn’t pretty much done with the multiplication facts by this time of year.  Our kids are bright, talented students—many with outside interests that they can keep up with away from school.  We have swimmers, football and soccer players.  We have some dancers and some Scouts.  Many of our kids go on to high school and join the chorus or the debate club.  Some write for their school newspapers and we expect many of the Kingfisher grads to go to Governor’s Honors in the summer in Valdosta.   

We have a few students that came to us a bit behind in school and the teachers work hard on lesson plans for those students, trying to help them “catch up” and “keep up” and most of the time, that works.  This means that students may need to study more at home, perhaps invest in some tutoring classes; definitely students will need to do some schoolwork EVERY night so they can manage the classes.  Talk to the teachers via e-mail to see what your student needs to do his/her best work.  As I said in the last newsletter, the most important support from the parent is defining a standard time for homework every evening and setting up a standard place and system.  Consistency is important. 

We are offering a more structured homework time from 3:30 to 4:00 each day now and that is the time for kids to approach their teachers and find out stuff they need to know and to get started. This doesn’t mean homework doesn’t still go home—parents need to see what’s been accomplished so they know what their student is working on.  We do not want parents to “teach” the homework.  If that is what is needed, please let the teacher know.  Homework is for research, reading, and practice.
The 5 Pillars of Kingfisher ~ Open House Speechifying

While we are showing families around at Open Houses in the winter, we spend time reflecting on what we want them to know about us and about what we believe is important.  This year, we realized that some of the “packet material” that we hand out is a little dated.   We have changed and grown over the past few years and we are different than when we first started up, over at 575 Boulevard.  Now it is easy to talk about what we stand for and briefly, we want our current families to know what we’re thinking.  

First, we are a school that stands for Mother Earth—we believe in environmentally careful systems and that we can “live lightly” on the Earth and still have an excellent time.  We are constantly working on ways to lessen our trash, to lower our energy usage, to come up with walking distance trips.  Next year, we intend to use MARTA on some of our field trips and to network with them on some sort of student token card for that.

Second, we are a school that stands for Peace and Justice.  We don’t encourage or allow bullying and we believe that we can make a difference in how people in the world treat one another.  We believe in respect and in being kind and compassionate toward others and toward animals.

Third, we believe that our gifted children need a variety of ways to demonstrate their abilities—through test-taking, through projects and papers, through discussion, through computer demonstrations, through writing writing writing, through photos, etc.  Most of our children would be identified as gifted in the public arena and we expect them to work in unique ways to explore their knowledge and abilities.

Fourth, we believe in teaching independence and self-reliance—we encourage every student to be responsible for getting their Friday folders back in on Monday. We want the little guys to put on their own shoes and we want the big guys to put their own belongings away in their cubbies. Everyone is encouraged to handle their own belongings, take care of their own school materials, get the signatures they need in the planners, etc. 

Fifth, community is very important to us at Kingfisher—we eat in community lunch on Fridays, we hold community meetings each morning, we do service projects in the outside community, we encourage play dates with little kids and carpooling for everyone. 

Book Reports
~ What's up with that?

 
Kingfisher is first and foremost, a reading school. We not only expect the kids to enjoy reading, we support the local library by visiting once a week so kids can renew or check out new books. We have a silent reading period in every day that includes the entire school—even little people.

Along with all this, we are beginning to ask more of the Owls and Falcons.   We are asking them to expand their repertoires and read in areas that they do not normally choose. Everyone gets into a rut and some kids will read and re-read Wimpy Kid books (many funny cartoons) or Magic Tree House books (formula mysteries). Therefore, we want our bright kids to expand a little.

So assigned book reports will happen once a month, each time on a different genre of book—we have done fiction books and in January they are reading biographies. In March, we will try fantasy and in April, realistic fiction.

Each time, they are expected to write something about the book they read and present it to the group. Sometimes, we want them to “sell” the book to their friends and sometimes we just want them to tell what they liked and didn’t like about the book.

Debbie, Dwayne, and Shad will be reviewing their book choices in February to be sure they aren’t picking a book that is too easy or way too hard. With the biographies, we’ll want a written piece, a short presentation to the group and a prop that symbolizes the person they read about. Someone reading about Sally Ride might bring a small model rocket, for example. The secondary goal for the book reports is upgrading their writing—more descriptive language, better grammar, etc. So the report will receive two grades—spelling counts. 

SCIENCE FAIR 

Everyone is the school is buzzing with ideas about the science fair. This year it will be bigger than ever, with actual outside judges coming to look and that means that everyone needs to get started planning and carrying out their project.

The kids will do flats that display the science question that they are investigating. There will be a short paper on what they did and to explain their research.  A log book will probably need to be set up to show the timeline on their projects. All of this is a step by step project and it should begin immediately.

The fair date is still a bit fuzzy—probably the last week in February. Everything on the flat needs to be typed out on the computer keyboard and printed. They’ll have the use of the computers here, if they need them. We have seen some pretty fancy science projects over the years and we can’t wait to see this year’s crop.

WHAT'S HAPPENING THIS WINTER


February Nature Notes: (from Charles Seabrook) Male cardinals begin singing territorial songs.  Bluebirds check out nesting sites.  Purple martins start arriving.  Wild turkeys start mating.  The Great Backyard Bird Count takes place Feb. 12-15.  Ospreys are nesting.  First litters of gray squirrels are born.  Black bear cubs are born in dens.
                                   
SCHOOL CLOSED: We’ll be closed on President’s Day this year because we’re betting that the Farmer’s Almanac is right and we won’t have any snow days this year. 

Lots of birthdays this month—Josh Rich, Mr. Smith, Alicia Hughes, Jade Dickson, Alex Salazar, Alexis Adcock—Happy Birthday to all of you!

PIONEERS: Since the Owls are studying pioneers, we’ve got the entire first season of Daniel Boone to watch for a few weeks. It was strange to see the first one for me—even the filming seems strange. TV is different now and the old camera work is so much less complex. 

SOCK DRIVE: The sock drive is over and we’ll be turning over the socks to a shelter this week. Thank you everyone who brought socks.  Look for a picture of us in the AJC on the school Brag page. 

TOUR DAYS: Tour days are extremely busy and classes are filling up for next year, already. I am hoping to have enough elementary kids to have a pre-k/k group, a 1st/2nd group, a 3rd/4th group, and an upper elementary group. We’ll have to reconfigure one of the rooms, but that will give us more flexibility in placing the students. 

SCHOOL NEEDS: We can use more pink erasers, more white glue, more whiteboard markers, and always, toilet paper. 

We are putting in a new bookshelf in the lobby for books on parenting for families to checkout. There will be a tablet to write down which books you are borrowing.  We’ve collected quite a few books and hope everyone finds something useful. 

Remember to send less and less lunch trash—please invest in reusable containers. We do not have recycling bins after this week and will have to pay to haul this stuff away. Also, it’s part of our environmental stance. 

We’re thinking about Valentine’s Day parties on the 14th—Debbie is bringing strawberries and chocolate fondue!

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For More Information about Kingfisher Academy, check out our website at http://www.kingfisheracademy.org or email us at director@kingfisheracademy.org. We love to tour people by appointment on Wednesdays. Our phone number is 678-615-2313

Call us and tell us about your child and about your current school and maybe we can make a difference for your family. Our mission is to work with bright kids who are not being challenged enough in their current school and we often work with children who are in different grade levels in different subjects. Sometimes advanced students may be great at math, but not great readers or great at history and reading but not interested in math. This is normal for all of us—we love what we love and we have to really work at the things we don’t love. Learning to motivate ourselves is one of the tasks of a bright student—it’s hard to be always thought of as the super student and then to run into a subject where the student is “just average”. These are the students we work with most successfully.

We do rolling enrollment throughout the fall and in January. Because we pro-rate, it may be possible that our low tuition rate will work with your budget. NO one has to pay for the full year if their child is starting later in the school year with us. Our tuition becomes even more affordable when factoring in our added values of free early dropoff and very affordable afterschool rates plus bus service within our immediate area.

We do not do fundraising events as we believe parents are paying tuition and that should be enough, along with field trip fees and paying for Friday lunches. Some schools run expensive fundraisers every quarter, but we depend on grantwriting to make up the difference in buying school equipment.
  


QUICKIE REMINDERS:


Don't forget the easy ways to contribute to our school!
  1. Connect your Kroger card to us. We get $ for our art program that way. PLEASE RECONNECT IT EVERY YEAR IN AUG.
  2. Remember to use smile.amazon.com and we'll get a percentage of the purchase!
  3. Show your Publix Partners in Eduction card when shopping there (pick up one at the school).
  4. Use our Kingfisher magnets on your car.
  5. Many more ideas listed on our site!
  6. Don't forget to LIKE us on FACEBOOK! SHARE OUR PAGE with your friends to help us with exposure. Post your pictures and comments!
  7. Check our website often! Lot's of good info there and we try to update weekly. 
THANK YOU!
Kingfisher Academy does not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, religion, national origin, or gender. We do not discriminate in our scholarship practices, our enrichment programs, our hiring practices, or our enrollment procedures. 
Copyright © 2017 Kingfisher Academy, All rights reserved.


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