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NEWSLETTER 
January/February 2016                                                                  
Vol. 16 No. 3                                                                                              View this content in your browser

Raising the Bar at Kingfisher

Well, the second grading period is over and the grades are in. Some students did very well and we’ll have a principal’s list of students with A’s and B’s on display on the school bulletin board in the lobby.  Students that didn't do so well have the opportunity to improve their scores in the next quarter.  We are stepping it up with the upper elementary students.  We expect homework to come in finished.  We expect studying before tests and quizzes.  We expect questions during the day if someone doesn’t understand something. 

Kingfisher has been awarded a quality accreditation and part of that includes carefully defining our targeted student.  Our school works best for the student that can work independently at home as well as in the classroom.  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”.  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. All our staff's email addresses are listed on our website under their indivdual classes. Please check the site often for announcements, school calendar, and assignment/project info. The Piranha's class has their weekly lesson plan posted most weeks.

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. 
 

Calendar

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.

We were closed on President’s Day this year because we’re betting that the groundhog was right and we won’t have any snow days this year. 

Miss Brigit has the little kids creating self-portraits and it was interesting how many of the girls had very long, curly eyelashes and how the boys had stick-up hair!

Testing and Curriculum Plans:

 
Sometime in the middle of March, we are taking two days to offer the ITBS to the 3rd and 5th graders.  The results will not be very meaningful since this is the first time we’ve offered it in a while and the results are set up for comparison with earlier testing events.  Still, we want to try this out and then re-test next year and see what the comparisons look like. 
 
The test scores can be compared individually with other students at the same age across the U.S. and we don’t know yet how that will be handled—whether we’ll have access to the normative charts to do that or whether we’ll have to send them off.  This testing serves an internal purpose for us to look at our curriculum in those grades and see if we need to do some “tweaking”.  We have done a lot of that in the past two years—formalized our social studies program, added some physics and chemistry to the science program, bought new English/grammar books for the Piranhas and Dragons.  We are a reading school and we want the kids to know it.  



$25 off your Fees for Referrals 


Parents earn $25 off for referring families to Kingfisher if they enroll. NO LIMIT to number of different referrals!


Lunches for the Next Month

Fridays are hot lunch days this year and generally most kids try them around twice a month. Lunches are generally $4/plate. 

Friday lunch is being catered by various restaurants around town for now. This is because DeKalb County is working on lessening the Fats, Oils, and Grease that go down the drains and into our sewer lines. As we get some more knowledge on how to handle this, we will go back to cooking on Fridays. Our cleaning may still take place in my dishwasher at Debbie's house.

Science Projects with the Piranhas

 

The Piranhas have been working on the 5 Kingdoms and on complex Food Webs. We’ve seen how energy from the sun flows right down the food chain to the lowliest worm. We’ve played a card game that shows how predators and prey work together in a cycle and how omnivores and carnivores all have a place in the cycle.

Naturally, since we are reading Julie of the Wolves, we are also studying wolves a little bit—and learning about how packs of wolves communicate with each other. Miss Debbie found a book in the library about how every dog has an “inner wolf” and so some instincts that dogs exhibit come from those ancient ancestors. Science is so intricate!

Piranhas visit DaVinci and Come Away Inspired

 

Debbie, Brigit and Susie didn’t know how the kids in the Piranhas’ class would respond to the DaVinci Exhibit—maybe it would be too high level and not so interesting . . . were we ever wrong! All the wooden creations were based on DaVinci’s original inventions and were created using the same tools he used in the 1500’s by a group of Italian woodworkers. Everyone got to hear about some of the highlights and then everyone got to wander around the exhibit, drawing their favorite ones. Isaac spent almost 20 minutes drawing and examining the massive ship that DaVinci designed. Alex liked the pendulum invention and spent time both making it work and drawing it. Abraham drew three of the inventions—he couldn’t pick a favorite. That DaVinci was quite a guy. 

 

 

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. 
  


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 IF YOU HAVEN'T ALREADY FOR THIS SCHOOL YEAR. (HINT: you can see if it's connected at the bottom of your receipt. It should say Kingfisher.)
  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! Your pictures and comments welcome!
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 © 2016 Kingfisher Academy, All rights reserved.


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