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Principal's corner

Suzanne Guntlow
Principal Suzanne M. Guntlow

En español

 

May 2017

Dear Friends and Families,

I hope everyone enjoyed a relaxing spring break. We are in the home stretch with only eight weeks left in the school year! May and June are busy months as we continue to focus on each child’s growth while also planning ahead for next year.

We are especially excited to welcome spring to the Primary School this year with the arrival of our new garden. We are fortunate to have won six new garden beds in a contest sponsored by Hannaford, TerraCycle and Tom’s of Maine. Thanks to the efforts of our very own Katy Nichols and all of you for your daily votes, the Primary School was selected as the recipient of a new garden. Plans are currently underway for planting which will begin later this month. The new beds have been placed between the cafeteria and new third grade wing. We are very excited to not only have a new gardening area, but also to have a new learning environment for our children. Designs for the area include space for classes to continue daily instruction while outside also enjoying a beautiful day!

As the end of the school year approaches, staff will soon begin meeting to determine students’ placement for the next school year. Determining class lists is an intense process that we take very seriously. It is important as parents that you have an opportunity to share your perspective regarding your child’s needs and strengths; however this does not include requests for specific teachers. It is extremely difficult to honor specific assignment requests without disturbing the balance amongst all classrooms that we continually seek. Student placement is an essential part of developing a classroom environment that supports learning opportunities for every child. Many factors are taken into account to create balanced classes, such as:

  • Educational Experience To Date
  • Physical, Social, and Emotional Characteristics/Needs
  • Academic Needs/Issues
  • Classroom Balance of Gender, Ability and Personality
  • Current Teacher(s) Input and Recommendations
  • Parental Input (strengths, areas of concerns, conflicts)
  • Learning Style/Teaching Style
  • Peer Interactions/Behavior
  • Equitable Class Sizes

It would be impossible to accept requests while maintaining our goals of balance and effectiveness. Therefore, parent requests (verbal or written) for a specific teacher cannot be honored. Please trust in us to place your child in the classroom that will benefit him/her the most. If you have a unique situation, please feel free to contact me directly. My door is always open for questions and concerns. It continues to be my priority to provide the best educational setting possible for all children.

Thank you for both your support and understanding,
Suzanne Guntlow


April 2017

Dear Friends and Family,

Happy spring! Hopefully we have now seen the last of our winter weather and school snow days. Unfortunately, the last storm resulted in two additional snow days and the need for a school make up day over the April break. School will now be in session for a full day on Friday, April 21st. The April vacation will begin on Friday, April 14th and run through Thursday, April 20th.

March was another busy month at the Primary School. Congratulations to all of the children who participated during February and March in the read for Ronald McDonald House program. Together the children raised $3000 using their reading skills to make a difference in their community. Great job! On March 10th, we held our second annual ELL Family Literacy Fiesta and on March 16th, we hosted another fun-filled Math Night. March and April are also exciting months as we begin to meet and greet our incoming kindergarten class through parent orientation and our registration process.

Hopefully, we will all be able to enjoy warm weather over the upcoming April recess. However if you find yourself looking for something to do with the children on a rainy day, I wanted to share some fun and affordable options to keep the children engaged. MiSci (Museum of Innovation and Science) located in Schenectady offers wonderful programs for children of all ages. A full listing of activities can be found on their website at http://www.misci.org. For our budding artists, the Albany Institute of History & Art also offers drop in classes on Saturdays from 10 am to 4:30 pm in art making. We are also very fortunate to have the NYS Museum close by which offers several programs over the spring break for children. You can check out their website at http://www.nysm.nysed.gov/programs for additional information. Finally, don’t forget about the Steamer 10 Theatre which lists a different performer every day of the vacation week, with two shows daily. They have a great selection of family-oriented live entertainment.

As always, feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns. I look forward to continuing to work together throughout the duration of the school year to make each day successful for all of our children.

Sincerely,
Suzanne Guntlow


March 2017

Dear Friends and Families,
Happy spring! It has certainly been another crazy winter with temperatures bouncing up and down. Hopefully the warmer days are now here to stay. So far we have used four of our allotted five snow days this school year. It is still a mystery as to what March has in store for us. Should there be no need for another snow day; the fifth day will be added back as a vacation day. Keep an eye on the school calendar for more information as we navigate through the rest of the winter.

On March 10th, the children’s second progress report will be sent home. Keep an eye out for your child’s report card and don’t hesitate to reach out to schedule a conference if you have any concerns. It is our goal to partner with each Ichabod Crane family to ensure the success of all of our children. Please also note that the Grade 3-8 NYS Assessment in English Language Arts will be administered from March 28-March 30. This is a change from the State Education Department scheduling as in prior years both the ELA & Math assessments were administered during the month of April. The Grade 3-8 Math Assessment will be administered this year from May 2-May 4.

Finally, it is with mixed emotions that I announce my move from the Primary School Principal to District Principal of APPR, Curriculum, and Instruction. While I am very excited about this new opportunity to collaborate more closely with the Ichabod Crane staff in all three school buildings, it is also difficult to leave the Primary School as building principal. It has been a pleasure getting to know the community, children and staff over the past three years and I look forward to continuing to support the Primary School as well as the other buildings in my new position. The process of a principal search for the Primary School is now underway. My support to the incoming principal will be available as much as needed to ensure a smooth transition occurs once the change takes effect this July. Until that time I remain building principal, and as always, if you need anything or have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out.

Happy March,
Suzanne Guntlow



February 2017

Dear Friends and Families,

As always, the weeks are flying by and already February is upon us. As you may recall, last year the Primary School participated in a community service project designed to boost reading habits while also supporting our local Ronald McDonald House. Starting February 13 and running through March 12, students at the Primary School will again have the chance to take part in this service learning project.

On February 3rd, we will be having an in-school assembly to kick-off the Read for Ronald McDonald House program. More information will be distributed and sent home with your child at that time. Last year the children who participated raised over $2400! In order to take part, the children seek out family and friends to sponsor their reading for the month with pledges of either a flat amount for the reading completed, or any amount they decide per minute read during the month. This is strictly voluntary, but I hope that many children will participate and take an active role in helping others while also enjoying the benefits of daily reading!

Also beginning February 13th, we will be joined by our newest staff member, our service puppy! We are excited about all the benefits that our new labradoodle will bring to the Primary School. Next week additional information will be coming home about our service dog program and will include details for parents who wish to opt out of the program. Be sure to check your child’s backpack each day for all of this information coming home this month.

Finally, I hope everyone has a healthy and fun-filled winter vacation beginning February 20th. Stay warm and keep reading!

Sincerely,
Suzanne Guntlow



January 2016

Happy New Year, Ichabod Friends and Families! I hope you enjoyed your holidays and the winter break with many opportunities to celebrate with family and friends. I would like to extend a warm welcome back to our students, families and staff members. The month of December was an exciting one at the Primary School as we officially moved into our new addition. Last month, three of our third grade classrooms relocated into new rooms. This also shuffled two second grade classrooms, the English Language Learner classroom and Academic Support classroom. I am thrilled to also announce that our art teacher, Miss Addison, and our music teacher, Miss Jacque, now have their own rooms and no longer will be teaching on a cart! The new addition provided us with the much needed space to accommodate special area teachers and support teachers.

January represents the mid-year point for the academic school year and is an opportunity for staff to take another look our children’s progress. There are many types of data considered when reviewing student progress that support student learning, including those that do not involve test scores. The right data, in the right format, used the right way, empowers everyone with the information needed to make decisions and take actions to support achievement. Teachers and support staff will be meeting to review student growth to ensure the right level of support is in place for all students. This means there will be adjustments made to reading and math lab groups as some students move out of services while others may hit a bump in the road and require support services. Our goal is to ensure that the type, duration and intensity of all interventions are appropriately matched to the needs of our children. Parents and guardians will be notified, as usual, if their child requires intervention beyond that provided in the classroom or if an intervention will be ending. These services are intended to be fluid with students entering and exiting as needed based on their individual progress. If you have concerns about your child’s progress, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the classroom teacher. As always, we continue to focus on building strong parent partnerships in order to maximize each child’s individual learning and development.

Next, I wanted to include a quick reminder about our outside recess policy and appropriate dress during these chilly winter months. The children will be headed outside for daily recess if the temperature is above 20 degrees. Outside play is important as it benefits physical, social and academic development. Please help us provide this valuable time outdoors by making sure your child is equipped with the proper attire including a warm winter coat, snow pants, boots and mittens.

Finally, I want to wish you all a happy, healthy 2017 with the hope that you will have many blessings in the year to come.

Sincerely,
Suzanne Guntlow


November 2016

Dear Friends and Families,

Last month was National Bullying Awareness month. This movement began in 2006 and has continued to grow with schools joining in all over the world including Ichabod Crane. Last month, all the children in district attended an assembly titled, Sweethearts & Heroes. At the Primary School, children attended a 45 minute presentation aimed at teaching them how to identify bullying and emphasizing an action-based approach to stopping it, going beyond just awareness to providing strategies to stop it. The children learned all about the “ABC’s of Bullying” (A-Get Away, B- Be a Buddy, C-Call for help). We are continuing to reinforce the message all throughout the school. Next time you visit the building, you may notice posters displayed that reinforce these simple strategies. By providing visual reminders and a catchy phrase (ABC’S of Bullying), we hope children will remember these tips if ever needed.

This month we will be wrapping up the first marking period on Thursday, November 10th. Report cards will be distributed during parent-teacher conferences, which are scheduled for November 17th & 18th. If you haven’t already, please be sure to schedule a time to meet with your child’s teacher. Conferences are a great opportunity to start or continue ongoing conversation with your child's teacher and to learn more about how to help your child succeed. One of our primary goals is to create a partnership with each family to ensure every child’s success!

Finally, the State Education Department is offering a monthly eNewsletter for parents. You can subscribe by sending an email to listserv@listserv.nysed.gov with the message SUBSCRIBE PARENTS [then your name here]. You will receive an email confirming the subscription. This is a convenient way to stay current with the latest education updates directly from the NY State Education Department.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with warmth and happiness!
Sincerely,
Suzanne Guntlow


October 2016

Dear Primary School Friends & Families,

September has been a month filled with new beginnings for staff and students as all settled in with their new class. We have had a very successful opening at the Primary School. There was a great turn out at the Welcome Back Picnic and at our Open House nights. Parental involvement is a key element in children’s success at school and these events are a great way to begin forming a partnership with your child’s new teacher. We also started off the year by showing off our school spirit! On September 9th we held our second annual Unity Parade bring our whole school community together to celebrate our first week back. This week we also showed our Ichabod Pride with the elementary, middle and high school as we all participated together in School Spirit Week! Research tells us students with school spirit do more than just show support for their school. They perform better academically, are more socially and civically engaged, and are happier in general than their less-spirited peers. Go Riders!

Lots of exciting events will be taking place this October for the children. To start, school banking will begin again October 6th with the Bank of Green County. Banking will take place every Thursday thereafter in the lobby from 8:30-9:00 am. This is great opportunity for the children to learn about banking and saving money. Next, Fire Prevention Week is scheduled for the week of October 14th and special visitors from our local fire department will be joining us with fire trucks and special presentations for each classroom. Please consider using this time to also discuss fire safety in your home including reviewing a fire escape plan. On October 10th there is no school in honor of Columbus Day. October 20th will be our annual School Picture Day. Please watch your child’s take home folder for more information. And finally, October 31st is Harvest Day at the Primary School. We are asking all children to wear plaid to celebrate. Once again, renowned artists and storytellers, The Story Crafters, will be joining us that day to entertain the children with suspenseful, engaging and age-appropriate stories. This is also a scheduled half-day for the children with professional development for staff in the afternoon.

I hope the children have enjoyed the first month back and all are off to a positive and productive new school year. Feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns. As always, my goal is to work together to make each day successful for every child.

Sincerely,

Suzanne Guntlow
Principal