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Teaching and Learning News

Why is attendance important?

posted Sep 22, 2017, 11:14 AM by Patty Gelbrich

Bringing Attendance Home

  Since we are still in ATTENDANCE AWARENESS MONTH, I am linking a short video to this news article today.  In the video, Attendance Works talks to parents about the importance of school attendance and making certain absences do not add up.   This video offers practical, every day steps parents can take to help their children attend school.

Happy Friday and we will see everyone back at school Monday morning!

Welcome Back Luncheon & Benefits Fair

posted Aug 31, 2017, 5:03 PM by Patty Gelbrich   [ updated Aug 31, 2017, 5:03 PM ]

We had a welcome back event today!  We acknowledged employees, heard remarks from our Superintendent, Mayor of Castle Rock, and a message from the Mayor of Vader.  We welcomed all of our new staff today as well.  It is good to be back!     


posted Aug 30, 2017, 11:27 AM by Patty Gelbrich   [ updated Aug 30, 2017, 11:43 AM ]

  We are having an amazing day together...  Thank you teachers for all you do to help our Castle Rock students.  Welcome Back!  


posted Aug 29, 2017, 6:53 AM by Patty Gelbrich   [ updated Aug 29, 2017, 6:54 AM ]

Monday was the day we welcomed new teachers to Castle Rock School District.  You will see some new faces at each of our four schools.  I was so impressed yesterday with their knowledge, excitement, willingness to learn and creative new ideas!  This is going to be a fantastic year....  WELCOME NEW TEACHERS!

Prepare for the Start of School!

posted Aug 21, 2017, 2:13 PM by Patty Gelbrich   [ updated Aug 21, 2017, 2:17 PM ]

Oh my goodness...  can you believe it is already time to start school?  I know I can't!  I was researching tips to help in the transition process and found a short and sweet article to help.  Starting school can be a difficult time for children. Every child is hesitant to go somewhere new and see people she's never met before. Here are some helpful ways to prepare your child for her first day of school:

1. Let your child know what his schedule will be like. Tell him what time school begins and ends each day.

2. Ask your child about her feelings -- both the excitement and the concerns -- about starting school.

3. Visit the school with your child to see his new classroom and meet his new teacher before school officially starts.

4. Point out the positive aspects of starting school. It will be fun and she can make new friends.

5. Let your child know that all kids are nervous about the first day of school.

6. Leave a note in your child's lunchbox that will remind him you're thinking of him while he's at school.

7. Reassure your child that if any problems arise at school, you will be there to help resolve them.

8. Try to have your child meet a classmate before the first day of school so she will already have a friend when school starts.

9. Arrange for your child to walk to school or ride together on the bus with another kid in the neighborhood.

10. Find out about after-school activities that your child can join. Will there be a back-to-school party? Can she join a sports team?

Sources: Parent Magazine; American Academy of Pediatrics; Caring for Your School-Age Child: Ages 5-12, by Edward L. Schor (Bantam, 1999)

Summer Fun!

posted Jul 10, 2017, 1:19 PM by Patty Gelbrich   [ updated Jul 10, 2017, 2:53 PM ]

START WITH A BOOK!    Trying to find things to do with your little ones?  Well, have we got a great resource for you!  Reading Rockets has a treasure trove of theme-based summer ideas to get you started, and keep everyone busy, happy and having fun!  Check out all of the summer fun...


posted May 30, 2017, 5:45 PM by Patty Gelbrich   [ updated May 30, 2017, 5:54 PM ]

We are excited to announce A.V.I.D. (Advancement Via Individual Determination) is coming to Castle Rock School District!  We will begin next year (2017-2018) with students in grades 3,4 and 5 will benefit from AVID strategies throughout the day in their own classroom.  At the middle school level, an AVID elective class helps support students in rigorous curriculum while they have fun, engaging activities, field trips and motivational speakers.  

Want to learn more?  Visit avid.org for more information.

How You Can Help Your Child - Test Taking Tips!

posted May 5, 2017, 11:33 AM by Patty Gelbrich   [ updated May 5, 2017, 11:34 AM ]

 It's testing season!  Smarter Balanced Assessments are occurring for our students in grades 3 and up.  Can you help - you bet!  Encourage your children to always do their best on the test.  Remind them that doing well in school will allow them more options for their future.  Here are some do's and don'ts...

Do's and Don'ts....

  • Make sure your children have eaten well on test days.  Studies show good nutrition is related to improved attention and concentration.
  • Help your children by encouraging a good night's sleep.  Tired children have difficulty focusing.
  • Make the morning of a testing day pleasant.  Stress will impair your child's ability to do their best.
  • Ensure your child makes it to school on time so they do not miss instructions.

  • Don't schedule doctor or dentist appointments on a testing day.
  • Don't underestimate your influence on your children.  Taking an interest in what they do at school has a positive impact.
  • Don't be too anxious about your child's test scores.  It is important to let them know that the tests should be taken seriously, and to do their best.  It is also important not to increase test-taking anxiety.

Preparing Students for Success

posted Apr 11, 2017, 6:46 PM by Patty Gelbrich   [ updated Apr 11, 2017, 6:55 PM ]

In the next few months, our students will begin an assessment period.  To help parents, teachers, and school leaders know whether students are on the path to success, states have joined together to develop improved tests of student achievement.  Administered online, these assessments adapt to each student’s ability, giving teachers and parents better information to help students succeed and grow. 

Key Features

  • Measures critical thinking with questions that ask students to demonstrate their research, writing, and problem solving skills
  • Assessments are untimed and students can take breaks so that they can do their best
  • Accessibility resources for all students and accommodations – such as Braille – for those who need
  • them
  • Developed with input from K-12 teachers, higher education faculty, and other experts


Helping Kids Graduate Ready for College and Career

Smarter Balanced member states have worked with thousands of educators to design the assessments so that they meet the needs of teachers. Smarter Balanced is more than just a year-end test. Teachers have access to tools that help them check in on student progress throughout the year, including a Digital Library of teaching resources and optional interim assessments that help teachers plan and improve instruction. 

For more information about the Smarter Balanced Assessment, please visit:  http://www.smarterbalanced.org/parents/

5 Fun Things To Do Over Spring Break!

posted Mar 31, 2017, 10:35 AM by Patty Gelbrich   [ updated Mar 31, 2017, 10:35 AM ]

HAPPY SPRING!  Looking for some fun things to do with your children over spring break?  Here are some ideas from the Seattle Times...  Why not drive north and have some fun!

1. Seattle Center hosts Whirligig inflatable rides, activities and entertainment for kids ages 12 and younger including a Toddler Zone, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. daily, March 31 though April 16, indoors at Seattle Center Armory. Rides are $8 for an all-day pass, $4.50 for all-day toddler zone pass or $1.50 per single ride. All rides are free on Thursdays.

Other activities at Seattle Public Libraries include board games for all ages, 1-3 p.m. April 11 at New Holly Branch; Craft Extravaganza with Legos and more for kids of all ages and their grownups, 3:30-5:30 p.m. April 12, Lake City Branch; board games, 2:30-4:30 p.m. April 13, Magnolia Branch; STEM program about sand for school-age children, 2:30-3:30 p.m. April 13, Rainier Beach Branch; and a Spring Craft Extravaganza for children and their grown-ups, 2-3:30 p.m. April 14 at University Branch Library. All events at public libraries are free.2. Public libraries are always a great place for kids. In addition to book browsing and story times, special events include Kid Flix movie “Moana,” for kids of all ages accompanied by adult, 3 p.m. April 5 at Woodinville Library; movie night for teens, PG-13 rated movie “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” 6 p.m. April 6, Federal Way 320th Library; the movie “Up” for all ages, snacks provided, 1 p.m. April 10, Seattle Public Library Southwest Branch; animated movie “Trolls,” for all ages, 1 p.m. April 12, Seattle Public Library New Holly Branch; and “Moana,” for all ages, 2 p.m. April 13, Seattle Public Library Beach Hill Branch.

3. Visit with animals. From April 1 to 9, the Wild Week of Play at Northwest Trek in Eatonville features a nature-inspired Kids’ Trek play area, Trailside Encounters to meet small animals, and tram tours to see bison, mountain goats, bighorn sheep and more in the park’s 435-acre free-roaming area.

Spring Break Superstars from April 3 to 7 at Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium in Tacoma includes activities and treats for animals, focusing on red wolves (April 3), sharks (April 4), elephants (April 5), polar bears (April 6) and tigers (April 7).

Seattle Aquarium hosts Marine Mammal Mania events daily, April 7-16.  Woodland Park Zoo has keeper talks, animal encounters, a carousel, indoor and outdoor play spaces, baby gorilla Yola in the gorilla exhibit and Willawong Station bird feeding ($1/seed stick, cash only), along with animals of the world, 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. daily.

4. Spring is a perfect time to visit any of the wonderful public parks around our region, at the perfect price — free! Recent additions to local favorites include the recent opening of the first section of the new Arboretum Loop Trail for bicycles and pedestrians. With thousands of rhododendrons and azaleas coming into bloom, spring is one of the most beautiful times of the year at the Arboretum. On April 1, Seattle Art Museum’s Olympic Sculpture Park debuts a new art installation, “Spencer Finch: The Western Mystery, in its PACCAR Pavilion. It’s 90 glass panels suspended from the ceiling, an overlapping, constantly moving constellation of colors based on sunsets photographed from the sculpture park overlooking Puget Sound.

5. Go all out and play tourist in your hometown with a CityPass to visit five top Seattle attractions in nine days at your own pace: the Space Needle, Seattle Aquarium, Argosy Cruises Harbor Tour and your choice of Museum of Pop Culture or Woodland Park Zoo, and Chihuly Garden and Glass or Pacific Science Center. The pass is $59 for ages 4 to 12 and $79 for ages 13 and older, a 45 percent discount on regular admission for individual visits.

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