A Letter to Parents about Changes for Next Year…

From the Desk of Mrs. Ritchotte:

As we approach the last months of school, I’d like to share the vision that the Jewell staff has developed for our kids and our work: 

Jewell Elementary is a diverse and collaborative community that engages all members in life-long learning and builds lasting relationships. Jewell strives to create a caring environment where all members are valued and supported; a place where all students are encouraged to strive for excellence academically, socially and emotionally. Jewell encourages responsibility, creativity and risk-taking; inspiring confident learners who are prepared for the 21st century and are ready to change the world.

We created this vision by discussing the current reality at Jewell and where we’d like to be in five years in terms of our kids’ success.  We talked about what it would take to get to those goals. We spent this year making some small changes and creating a new culture. Now, it’s time to start making plans for next year and beyond. I’m so excited to share the changes that we planning as we move forward in reaching our vision!

There are four big changes planned as we move into next year.  All of these decisions have been based on research and with your child’s success in mind.

#1: Changes in programming:  Kinder and first grades will retain the same format as in the past.  There will be three kindergarten classrooms and three first grade classrooms and students will be with one teacher throughout their day.

Second through fifth grade classrooms will be adopting a new model called platooning or departmentalizing.  While kids will have the same classmates throughout the day, they will now have two teachers, one who teaches reading and writing for two and a half hours and one teacher who teaches math and science for one and a half hours a day.  The reasons for this are many, but the biggest reason is that this gives teachers the time to become experts in one content area which is what’s best for our kids. Teachers are allowed to dig deep into what they are teaching and to make sure that your students understand what they need to know at their grade level and beyond. 

#2: Changes in Curriculum:  We are adopting new reading, writing, math and science curriculums.  When materials come in, we’ll invite you all in to see what we are doing.

#3: Changes in School Hours: Because of district budget and research that shows that an earlier start time for elementary school students is more productive, our school hours will change next year.  The school day will begin at 7:45 am and end at 2:15 pm.

#4: To help support in this transition, we have contracted with the YMCA to run before and after school care next year. The Y is dedicated to the community that they serve and are looking forward to being a part of the Jewell family.  Tanise Dixon, the new director, will be providing information for us about registration and cost shortly.  The YMCA will accept CCAP and will also work with families to meet your needs.  We’re really excited to team with them!

We understand that these are big changes for families and their children and are here to support you in any way necessary throughout these transitions.  Please reach out with questions, comments and concerns…your opinion and ideas are very important to us!

Thank you!