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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.

Parent Conference Time is Around the Corner!

posted Feb 25, 2017, 7:01 AM by Patty Gelbrich   [ updated Feb 25, 2017, 7:03 AM ]

It is hard to believe that our spring conferences could be right around the corner, but it is true!  Our spring conferences (March, before spring break)  will focus on students who need more time and support.  However, as always, if you would like to talk with your child's teacher, simply contact them and set up a time.  We are all here to support your child and happy to meet!

Here is a checklist of things to think about before a parent-teacher conference...
  • Review your child's work, grades and progress reports.  What are your child's struggles?
  • Talk with your child about his or her progress at school.
  • Talk with others - family, day care, mentors about your child's strengths and needs.
  • Make a list of questions to ask during the conference.
  • Think about ways you can be involved in your child's learning.  We know success comes from home and school working together to support students.

Eight Ways to Have the Perfect President's Day Weekend!

posted Feb 15, 2017, 10:35 AM by Patty Gelbrich   [ updated Feb 15, 2017, 10:49 AM ]

President's Day is Monday, 2/20/17.  You and your little patriots can enjoy all the fun of being a child for one extra day this weekend.  Let's look north of us - Seattle.  They have no shortage of ways to fill all three days of the weekend with fun for all!  Have a great long weekend...

1.  Test your knowledge of Presidential trivia and other history facts at a patriotic-themed day at the Seattle Children's Museum.

2.  Take advantage of free entrance to our state's national parks and go exploring or sledding.

3.  Uncover the rich cultural diversity of food in the Pacific Northwest with MOHAI and Festal.  (Cooking demo's, dance performances, crafts)

4.  Explore the word in miniature at the largest model show in the Northwest.  See hundreds of scaled models and build your own model to take home.

5.  Watch as divers swim with the gigantic octopus in Window on Washington Waters exhibit during Octopus Week at the Seattle Aquarium.

6.  Break a sweat with your little ones as you run, walk or job the President's Day Weekend Run.

7.  Kids of all ages love to watch the world-famous Globetrotters' ball-handling skills in their latest world tour.

8.  Get up close and personal with Northwest Trek's small animals, make arts/crafts and enjoy trailside encounters and tram tours.  Kids 12 and under free during this 3-day event.

Source:  Red Tricycle, redtri.com


posted Feb 5, 2017, 9:27 PM by Patty Gelbrich   [ updated Feb 5, 2017, 9:29 PM ]

1. DECORATE YOUR HOUSE.  You decorate for Thanksgiving, Christmas - why not Valentine's Day?  Head to the local dollar store for some inexpensive decorations like balloons and streamers, and let your children help hang them.  Your children can help by making some decorations as well.

2.  MAKE HANDMADE VALENTINE'S.  You can always buy cards, but if you have the time, kids enjoy making their own.  

3.  GET CRAFTY!  There are so many ideas out there now!  Visit Pinterest, Caboose and Family Fun to find pictures and ideas of great craft ideas.

4.  PLAY GAMES!  Many old favorite games can be modified to fit Valentine's Day.  For example, Bingo can become Valentine's Bingo.  What about a Valentine's Day Scavenger Hunt with clues written on hearts that lead to a gift or treat.  

5.  HEAD TO THE KITCHEN.  Let's get cooking in the kitchen - your children love to cook and experiment in the kitchen.  Make some heart shaped cookies and let your children decorate them.  What about some chocolate covered strawberries?  Yum!

6.  HOST A PARTY.  Once your house is decorated, and you have made those cookies, why not host a party.  Invite a few friends, or just have a party with your very own stuffed animals.  You can play some games, serve some treats, and share some Valentine's fun.

7.  START A TRADITION.  Family traditions are so important for children.  They provide a sense of security and belonging.  One tradition you could try is to have a Valentine's Day breakfast complete with heart shaped pancakes!

8.  LEARN SOMETHING.  Holidays provide many teachable moments.  Explore the history of Valentine's Day.  Read some books together - many great Valentine's Day books.

9.  TALK ABOUT HEARTS.  Did you know February is National Heart Month?  Take the opportunity and use Valentine's Day to teach your children about the human heart. , what it looks like, and how to take care of it.  

10.  TELL YOUR CHILDREN YOU LOVE THEM!  Seems like a no-brainer right?  But sometimes we get busy...  and it's easy to assume that our children know we love them.  Even if you tell them, tell them even  more - as they can't ever hear it enough.  


(Source:  ParentingSquad.com)


posted Jan 19, 2017, 11:03 AM by Patty Gelbrich   [ updated Jan 19, 2017, 11:04 AM ]

Flu is a very contagious respiratory illness caused by the flu virus.
 More than 200,000 people are hospitalized from seasonal flu complications, including 20,000 children.  Up to 36,000 people die from the flu every year.  Flu season starts in December and peaks in February or March.  Cowlitz County schools, like other schools, have seen an increase in the number of students and staff with flu.

What are the symptoms of influenza?
While many children with a cold or flu start to feel better within a week, the virus can last for up to 3 weeks.  Flu symptoms can begin suddenly and include fever (100.4 degrees or higher), fatigue (very tired), muscle or body aches, chills, sore throat, cough, and a stuffy or runny nose.  Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, but this is more common in children than adults.  People who have the flu may be able to infect others from 1 day before getting sick until 5 to 7 days after.  Surfaces and hands contaminated with nose, mouth, or throat secretions can also spread the virus.

How do you stop the spread of germs?
Practice and Teach Good Health Habits:  Wash hands a lot with soap and water.  Remind children to keep hands away from eyes, nose, and mouth.  Hand sanitizers are acceptable when soap and water are not available.  Cover nose and mouth with tissue when you cough or sneeze.  Put tissues in the trash.  

Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces in the home, at work or school, especially when someone is ill.

Stay home from school, day care and work while sick, until fever-free and feeling better.  People are contagious for up to 7 days or longer after they get sick.

Get plenty of sleep, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.

Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

Consult your help care provider for further recommendations, particularly if you or your child are not improving or getting worse. 

It's not too late to get the flu shot!  It can prevent or reduce the symptoms of flu.

Stay healthy this winter!

Attendance Matters! Let's Start the New Year Right...

posted Jan 3, 2017, 11:39 AM by Patty Gelbrich

We are building good attendance habits in our schools!  
Did you know... 
*Starting in kindergarten, too many absences can cause children to fall behind in school.
*Missing 10 percent (or about 18 days) can make it harder to learn to read.
*Students can fall behind if they miss just a day or two every few weeks.
*Being late to school may lead to poor attendance.
*Absences can affect the whole classroom if the teacher has to slow down learning to help children catch up.

Attending school regularly helps children feel better about school and themselves.  Let's start the new year by building this habit so they learn right away that going to school on time, every day is important!  Good attendance will help children do well in high school, college, and at work. 

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