This afternoon at 2:45 PM your child's progress report for the second trimester of the 2016-2017 school year will be accessible on the Parent Portal. Today's upDATER provides updated information including FAQ's to help you interpret your child's progress report, instructions for accessing your child's report, and links to information that had been shared previously with you. To reiterate my message at the end of the first trimester, it is important to note that we view the entire year as an ongoing process of learning and offer these progress reports as a "snapshot" of a student's current level and not a definitive label of their abilities as a learner. It is, of course, our goal to have all students demonstrate growth throughout the year and maximize their potential as a learner.
The goals, vision and mission of the Ramsey Public Schools remains committed to equipping our students with the necessary skills and strategies to be successful throughout their K-12 experience and beyond. Our focus continues to be on nurturing lifelong learners who are not only college and career ready, but able to think critically and solve real-world problems in our quickly changing complex, global society. If you have any further questions regarding our academic programs, curriculum or the upcoming PARCC assessments, you are welcome to contact me.
Taking advantage of the recent internet trend, Dater School recently held a school wide contest that challenged each homeroom to create a Mannequin Challenge that represents Ramsey School District's shared vision of 21st century learning. At the January 24th Board of Education meeting, fourth grade teacher Ms. Amanda Cilli and two of her students, Chloe Yi and Joseph Mazzilli, presented their homeroom's winning submission.
We value your input as we continue to make enhancements to the educational experience for benefit of the students. In that spirit, please take a few minutes to complete this survey about one of these recent enhancements - standards-based report cards. The survey will be available until March 10.
This year at Dater, to support the Ramsey School District's Wellness Initiative, we are excited to be using RULER, an evidence-based approach to social and emotional learning that helps school communities integrate the practice of emotional intelligence into daily life. RULER teaches five key skills of emotional intelligence: Recognizing emotions in one's self and others. Understanding the causes and consequences of emotions. Labeling emotions accurately. Expressing emotions appropriately. Regulating emotions effectively.
Today was the 92nd day of the school year, which is significant because it marks the exact halfway point of the academic year. This edition of the upDATER will highlight key dates for the second half of the school year. These dates are also included on our online calendar and I encourage you to add them to your calendars so you are up to date on all of the exciting things happenings at Dater.
As we head into the long Thanksgiving weekend, I thought it the perfect time to update our school community on our kindness initiative. While we have been stressing the importance of kindness at Dater for the past few years, it seems like the topic is becoming more relevant in our culture at large. In fact, the iconic children's television show Sesame Street will be dedicating its entire upcoming 47th season to the issue of kindness. This is in response to a national survey the show conducted on kindness and children that revealed almost 75% of parents and almost 80% of teachers admitted to often worrying that the world is an unkind place for children. I encourage you to take the survey yourself. You can access it here.
This afternoon at 2:45 PM you will be able to access your child's progress report (AKA report card) on the Parent Portal for the first trimester of the 2016-2017 school year. As we have communicated throughout the fall (PTO Meeting presentation, September upDATER, new section of website, and parent-teacher conferences) this progress report will look much different than previous report cards. Today's upDATER provides links to the previous information that had been shared, give you directions for accessing your child's report, and provide some updated information in the form of FAQ's to help you "read" the report.
Dear Parents and Guardians: I hope this edition of the upDATER finds you well. The purpose of this Nuts and Bolts is to provide information about this month's Holiday Sing, a fundraiser being held at Ramsey High School, and an learning opportunity occurring next week at Dater. It is hard to believe that we are already beginning the final month of the calendar year and will soon be finishing the first trimester of the academic year. As always, I appreciate all of your support in helping make Dater a great place for students to learn and grow. Warm Regards, Andrew Matteo
The purpose of this Nuts and Bolts is to remind our school community of important safety procedures at Dater and to make sure everyone is informed about several important events going on at the school during the month of November. It is hard to believe that we are already well into our third month of the school year. As always, I appreciate all of your support in helping make Dater a great place to learn and grow.
Prepare for two-way conversation by thinking about your child's strengths and challenges beforehand. You will most likely hear positive feedback about your child and areas for improvement. It will also be beneficial for you to provide input about how you view your child as a student. Assume best intentions. Assume that teachers have your child's best interest at heart. We all want the students to learn and do well in school. Coming to the conference with this frame of mind will lead to a more positive and productive parent-teacher conference. Keep the emphasis on learning. The focus of the conference should be about how the child is doing academically in school and how they can continue to progress. Ask how you can support learning at home. Ask how you can help your child at home so they can continue to grow and progress while at school. Home-school collaboration is key for student success.
The first week of October is always designated the Week of Respect for all schools in New Jersey. As schools are closed on Monday for Rosh Hashanah, we will begin our Week of Respect tomorrow (Friday, September 30). The Week of Respect is a great opportunity to build upon our school's theme of Kindness, make connections to our Six Pillars of Character program, and highlight some of the social-emotional skills taught through our RULER curriculum. This newsletter contains some of the great things that will be going on at Dater throughout the week. I encourage you to talk about them with your child. As always, thank you for your support.
This September edition of the upDATER includes links to two recent presentations given at Dater School and a new section of our school webpage.
Some answers to Frequently Asked Questions about the first day of school
I hope this message finds everyone well and enjoying these long, relaxing days of summer. Around this time I always send out the Summer edition of my monthly newsletter, the upDATER to say hello to our returning fifth grade families and warmly welcome our incoming fourth grade families.
This month's upDATER is the text of my Moving Up Address to the fifth graders. I wish you all a wonderful summer. Dear Graduating Fifth Graders, As I write this letter to you, I immediately think back to your first official trip to Dater School in June of 2013. If you remember, you came over on a bus from either Tisdale or Hubbard with your third grade homeroom and teacher. What I remember most about that day is the way that each and every one of your third grade teachers spoke about you as a group. "You're going to LOVE them!" said one. Another said sadly, "I don't want to let them go. They are a special group." And how right they all were.
This month's Big Ideas upDATER is written by Mrs. Erica Lakind, the district's Instructional Coach for K-5 Literacy. Mrs. Annitti, fourth grade Humanities teacher, and Mrs. Aujero, fifth grade Humanities teacher, delivered a presentation with Mrs. Lakind at the May PTO meeting about summer reading.
This month's Big Ideas upDATER is written by Mrs. Christina Mains, the district's Instructional Coach for K-6 Mathematics. Mrs. Mains and Mrs. Groenveld, fourth grade mathematics teacher, delivered a presentation at the March PTO meeting about the changes to mathematics instruction.
May is an EXTREMELY busy month at Dater School. Please read carefully to make sure you have all of most up-to-date information, including dates and times.
It is hard to believe but today is the first day of the final marking period of the 2015-2016 school year. Over these last 50 school days there are many important events that deserve highlighting. The purpose of this newsletter is to make the school community aware of some of these events and provide some more information about them. This list is not exhaustive as there are too many exciting events happening at Dater School to mention in this space.
This month's upDATER about Digital Citizenship was written by Mrs. Schinski (Informational Technology Center Specialist) and Mrs. Fishman (Guidance Counselor).
Dater School and the Dater School PTO are excited to announce the launch of our on-line Spiritwear Store ! Our students, staff, and families love Dater School - and now we have a more convenient and efficient way to purchase items so you can show off your school spirit. There will also be a link on our Dater homepage.
The school motto at Dater is "Work Hard and Be Kinder Than is Necessary." While a motto can be meaningless, we would argue that our motto has become part of our school and can be seen daily in the interactions and habits of both teachers and students. One example of this kindness culminated at last Tuesday night's Board of Education meeting hosted by Dater School. At this meeting, with guidance from our faculty advisor Mrs. Jezequel, we presented our service project called "Bagels for Juan Bernardo."
This newsletter will focus on the "Nuts and Bolts." While these topics do not concern teaching and learning, they are important enough to warrant attention so that our school runs smoothly and safety. As John Wooden said, "It's the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen." For this month, we will focus on three "little details" that will help our school run smoothly.
We are continually working to create a culture of kindness at Dater School. Every day we strive to “Be Kinder than is Necessary.” This year, as another way to build this culture, our school will be participating in the 2016 Great Kindness Challenge. During the week of January 25-29, each Dater School student is challenged to complete up to 40 acts of kindness. Please encourage your child to complete as many acts of kindness as they can this week - and every week, of course. On Friday they can hand their list into their homeroom teacher.
The communication and cooperation that exists between home and school has always been one of the greatest strengths of the Ramsey school system. This communication continues to be key in our common quest to make Dater School the premiere upper elementary school in the country. It is important that this communication is two-way. To that end, we currently have two fairly simple and efficient avenues to foster communication. One will allow you to receive information and the other will allow you to share your opinion.
Woody Allen once famously said, "90% of life is showing up." With that in mind, this month's Nuts and Bolts newsletter focuses on our school's goal of ensuring that every student attends school regularly. Showing up for school has a huge impact on a student's academic success starting in kindergarten and continuing through high school. Even as children grow older, families play a key role in making sure students get to school safely every day and understand why attendance is so important for success in school and in life.
We have some very exciting events going on at Dater this month.
Report cards are one of the best tools we have for reporting actual student progress to help assist students in the process of learning. This first report card will communicate the grades and marks your child has earned over the first two months of the school year. Please review the categories that will appear on your child's report card.
Schools and families share the same goal: the success of the student. The students have a greater chance of being successful when both parents and teachers communicate with each other. As a parent, you are your child's first teacher. You know them better than the school ever will. Teachers are professionals who have a different perspective to offer and can offer greater insight into a student's academic strengths and areas for growth. Parent-teacher conferences are one of the most effective methods we have to foster on-going home-school communication.
We have some exciting upcoming Halloween events.
This is the second of the two September upDaters. While the previous upDATER focused on “Big Ideas,” this newsletter will focus on the “Nuts and Bolts.” While some of these topics may seem mundane or trivial, I feel that they are important enough to warrant attention. As John Wooden said, “It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.” For this month, I have focused on the following seven “little details” that will help our school run smoothly.
One of the “Big Ideas” you hear in education is the importance of educating the whole child (mind, body, heart, spirit). While often this phrase amounts to little more than educational jargon, I would like to share how Dater School is educating the whole child through four powerful initiatives: The Six Pillars of Character, Embrace Civility Initiative, Building Emotional Intelligence, and the Choose Kind Classroom Challenge.
I hope this message finds everyone well and enjoying these long, relaxing days of summer. I hope this newsletter doesn't provoke too much back-to-school anxiety for you! I just wanted to reach out to say hello to our returning fifth grade families and warmly welcome our incoming fourth grade families. For those of you new to Dater, this newsletter, the upDATER, is sent out monthly and includes information about some of the exciting programs and changes happening at Dater School.
I hope this message finds you well. It has been a great learning journey this year at Dater and now we are all looking forward to the wonderful summer months that lie ahead. In this month's newsletter I have included some of my beliefs about summer work and some suggestions to make summer learning both effective and fun. Click on the above link for the full text of the June 2015 upDATER.
This week you will graduate from Dater. For most of you this represents the culmination of two years at this school. To mark this important event, I have a two-part message for you. The first part is a congratulatory note. The second part is a challenge. Click on the link above to read the full text of Mr. Matteo's message to the graduates.
Teacher Appreciation Week This week is National Teacher Appreciation Week. We have delayed the Teacher Appreciation Luncheon from the Dater PTO until May 27 to coincide with Exhibit Night. This is always a wonderful event and very much appreciated. Due to the delay of the luncheon, I was wondering if I might also ask the students and parents to extend the faculty at Dater a "note of appreciation" during this upcoming week. If you find a minute and have the inclination, please consider sending either an email or quick handwritten note to one or more of the special professionals at Dater telling them how much you appreciate their talents and hard work. Nothing means more than a short, heartfelt note from a grateful student and parent. Click on the above link to read the full upDATER.
As you probably know, the first annual "Sprint For Our Schools" was held last year. It was a new fundraiser held by the Ramsey Public Education Foundation. This organization provides grant money to the district to help sustain programs and finance new opportunities for the district's students. This school year, the foundation provided funds were used to run Ramsey Alive, our school's television studio, and our Dater School Musical. Without the generous support of the Foundation, these two wonderful and unique opportunities would not be available to Dater students. Click on the above link for the complete newsletter.
Since I can remember being a student in Mrs. Bell's fifth grade class at Dater School in 1991, standardized tests have been one of the methods used to assess students in New Jersey. Back then we used to take something called the California Achievement Test (CAT). From 1997-2002, the Elementary School Proficiency Assessment (ESPA) was used as the standardized assessment across the state. Click on the above link for the entire message.
In my opinion, Dater School is a great school. My goal is to make it the premier upper elementary school in the country. To that end, I am very interested in your opinion, your feedback. Click on the above link to access the full newsletter.
I’m sure you are all familiar with the IXL program that we have been using at Dater School for the past three years. We have found IXL to be a good complement to our enVisions math program. It has also allowed students to take ownership over their own learning by having the ability to extend their learning outside of the classroom. We are pleased to announce another online learning platform for our students called GET Waggle. Click on the link above to access the entire newsletter.
To build off of my message prior to Thanksgiving, we have so much to be grateful for during the holiday season at the Dater School. Our history as a school and community of helping each other at times of need has always been so extraordinary. As a school community, the compassion we have always shown to each other is really quite remarkable.
As you know, report cards will be posted on the Parent Portal today at 2:45 PM. I thought this would be a good time to reach out with some more information about the report cards and their purpose at Dater School. The purpose of the report card is to assist students in the process of learning by reporting actual student progress to students and parents. Your upcoming conference with your child's homeroom teacher will also be a great chance to get updated on your child's progress. Click on the link above to access the entire newsletter.
We had a very successful and well-attended Back to School Night. Thank you to everyone who was able to make it out that night. I know some of you had other commitments or had to arrive late. With this reality in mind, I have created a podcast of my address and posted it on our new Dater School Parents’ YouTube channel for you to view. I have also posted the two videos from my presentation. I hope you enjoy watching them as much as I enjoyed making them.
I like to wait until after the first Spirit Day to send the September upDATER to get a sense of what lies ahead. WelI, I have never had a group of students so quickly become “one school” and be so proud to be Dater students! The enthusiasm of the fifth graders and the excitement of the fourth graders made the assembly very special. It was great to see all of the students in their Dater shirts (a big THANK YOU to the PTO for providing these shirts).
I hope this message finds everyone well and enjoying these long, relaxing days of summer. I hope this newsletter doesn’t provoke too much back-to-school anxiety for you! I just wanted to reach out to say a hello to our returning fifth grade families and warmly welcome our incoming fourth grade families. For those of you new to Dater, this newsletter, the upDATER, is sent out monthly and includes information about some of the exciting programs and changes happening at Dater School. You can find past issues of the upDATER on our school’s website. Around this time of the summer I usually send out the August edition to provide all our Dater families with some information about the work happening at Dater and the upcoming school year.
It has been my great honor and privilege to serve as your principal during your two years at Dater School. As I sit down to write you this message, I cannot help but think how far we have come since our first day together in September of 2012. Most of you probably experienced a combination of feelings that day-- mostly nervousness and excitement I would think. Over these last two years, your teachers and I have watched you grow as students and individuals.
The Ramsey Public Education Foundation, an integral partner with the Ramsey Public Schools, provides grant funds to the district to help sustain programs and finance new opportunities for the district’s students. This school year, the foundation provided over $37,000 to the district’s schools. At Dater School these funds were used to fund Ramsey Alive, our school’s television school, and our Dater School Musical. Without the generous support of the Foundation, these two wonderful and unique opportunities would not be available to Dater students.
When we return from Spring Break, there will only be 48 days left of school! All of those 48 days will be action-packed. The goal of this month’s newsletter is to “upDATE” you on some of these exciting events, many of which you are invited to attend. This year we are continuing with many of our Dater traditions while introducing a few new ones that we hope will add to the student and family experience here at #JYD.
One of the most exciting and noteworthy aspects of the Ramsey School District is our 21st Century Skills Initiative. As part of that initiative, this past year the Ramsey School District adopted Google Apps for Education. Over the last month at Dater School all teachers and students have been introduced to and immersed in this technology. Each student at Dater School has their own Google account, which gives them access to the full Google Apps for Education suite. This gives them access to Google Drive, Gmail, and several other Google Apps. So far, we have only been working with Google Drive and the effects on teaching and learning have been tremendous. Click on the link above to keep reading.
Email is a great tool for education. It allows teachers to collaborate with each other, communicate with parents, and for many of the transactional aspects of education to be done more efficiently and effectively than would be possible without it. In all honesty, I am not quite sure what we did before email. I try to imagine what the Dater School of my youth was like without email and I almost break out in hives. Click on the above link to access the full newsletter.
If you are reading this newsletter, then I am sure you are already aware of the emphasis we put on Character Education here at Dater. I have written about some of our initiatives previously. This month’s newsletter is not about a specific initiative, but rather a philosophy that teachers and parents can work on together. A few years back I was in a Barnes and Nobles and came across a book called Teach Like Your Hair’s On Fire by Rafe Esquith. The author is a fifth-grade teacher who has won numerous national teaching awards. While the entire book was interesting and I “borrowed” some ideas for my classrooms, the most interesting chapter for me was about his behavior management system and how he teaches character and ethical behavior to his students. Esquith has adapted a framework from psychologist Lawrence Kohlberg called the Six Levels of Moral Development. When translated to his classroom, the levels can be explained as: • Level 1 – I don’t want to get in trouble • Level 2 – I want a reward • Level 3 – I want to please someone • Level 4 – I follow the rules • Level 5 – I am considerate of other people • Level 6 – I have a personal code of behavior and I follow it. Click on the above link to access the full newsletter.
If you are looking for a great book to read, you might want to pick up the book Wonder by RJ Palacio. While its target audience is children ages 8-12, it is a great read for adults as well. In fact, this recent article from The Wall Street Journal is all about how the book and other similar books have found popularity amongst an adult audience due to the their overall quality and willingness to wrestle with serious themes. Click on the above link to keep reading.
As you know, report cards will be posted on the Parent Portal today at 2:45 PM. I thought this would be a good time to reach out with some more information about the report cards and their purpose at Dater School. The purpose of the report card is to assist students in the process of learning by reporting actual student progress to students and parents. Your upcoming conference with your child’s homeroom teacher will also be a great chance to get updated on your child’s progress.
This month’s upDATER is taken from my Back to School Night address. Click the link above to keep reading.
I am very excited to announce that Dater School now has its own Twitter feed! Our Twitter Feed has three purposes: 1. To make school announcements 2. To share work, events, and other successes 3. To share educational websites and articles
I hope everyone is enjoying these glorious long, relaxing days of summer. I hope this newsletter doesn’t provoke too much back-to-school anxiety for you! Please be assured that we still have several weeks of summer to enjoy. I just want to reach out to say hello and inform you of some of the personnel changes that have occurred at Dater this summer. Click the link above to keep reading.
To quote Sir Isaac Newton, “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” That is the way I feel every day that I enter the doors of John Y. Dater School. And on July 11th one of those giants came for a visit in the form of Mr. Warnaar – my Dater School principal!! He read that a Dater alumnus was appointed as principal, and he stopped by to offer his support. I was beyond excited and couldn’t wait to tell my parents and siblings about this surprise visitor. Mr. Warnaar was mildly surprised and very excited that I recognized and remembered him. Of course I did! More remarkable was that he remembered me. Not only did he remember me, but he was able to recite the names of my brothers and sisters. He also knew which teacher I had in second grade! I was amazed. Click the link above to keep reading.
The 2012-2013 school year is finally here and yesterday we took our first step in a yearlong journey together. The first few weeks of school are the foundation that the rest of the year is built upon. In these first few weeks, I invite everyone to focus on two goals: 1) establish good routines and 2) establish good relationships with the people who are working hard to education your children. First, I believe establishing routines is extremely important to ensure that the school year is successful. When I was a classroom teacher, I always wanted to make sure that norms, policies, and procedures were established and communicated to everyone within the first month of the school year. Paying extra attention to details during the first few weeks of school allows the rest of the year to run more smoothly. Click the above link to keep reading.
I planned on sending this upDater earlier in the day and had a piece all written and ready to go. Then we had our Spirit Day assembly at 9 AM and I had to rewrite my message. The reason I had to rewrite this message is because in my ten years of being an educator, the enthusiasm and spirit displayed by the students at this morning’s assembly was one of the top 5 moments of my career. After the students and teachers settled into the gymnasium, we began the assembly with a discussion of the Week of Respect and the Pillar of Respect. I showed them two video clips (one from Babe and one from The Ant Bully) and we talked about the role respect played in both of the scenes we watched. The students were right on point with their analysis of the scenes and were able to provide insightful answers. Click the link above to keep reading.
I was looking for quotes about thankfulness and came upon this quote by William Arthur Ward (first page). I particularly liked this quote because it didn’t speak to the importance of gratitude, but rather about the importance of expressing that gratitude. I find that this is the more difficult part and I myself am definitely guilty of not expressing my gratitude enough. Not a day goes by when I am not thankful for the faculty, students, and parents of Dater School. However, I know that I probably have not communicated this gratitude enough. So, I decided with the coming of Thanksgiving next Thursday that this newsletter would be the appropriate forum to talk about thankfulness. Click the link above to keep reading.
The holidays are a special time at any elementary school. Here at Dater, we have several traditions and events that make this time of year extra special for our students. One of these holiday traditions is the Holiday Boutique that the PTO puts on every year. This year it was held on December 4th and 5th. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mrs. Leto and all of the volunteers for their hard work in putting this together. I can still remember visiting the Holiday Boutique at the old Dater when I was a fourth grader to buy a mug and pictures frame for my mom and dad. It was so much fun to see the children thoughtfully buying some of these same gifts for their family members. Click the link above to keep reading.
In a world that requires our students to be high-level thinkers and display 21st century skills, how much time in elementary school should be devoted to practicing basic, fundamental skills? This is a question that I have wrestled with as a teacher and as a principal. Is it worthwhile for students who know how to perform mathematical operations to continually practice their facts? Over the holiday break I picked up a book I had read during graduate school and began flipping through it. The book, “Why Don’t Students Like School: A Cognitive Scientist Answers Questions About How the Mind Works and What it Means for the Classroom” by Daniel T. Willingham includes a chapter entitled, “Is Drilling Worth It?” Click the link above to keep reading.
Adult Supervision of Students Before School Supervision begins at 8:15. Many students have been arriving at Dater before this time. Please know that adult supervision of students does not begin until 8:15. Please do not have your child arrive at school prior to this time unless he or she: • has a scheduled appointment with a teacher. • has Basic Skills instruction. These students will have to use the front doors and will need to use the buzzer system to gain entrance to the building. Click the link above to keep reading.
This spring our students will be taking the New Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge (NJ ASK). The Grade 5 Assessment will be given the week of May 6 and the Grade 4 Assessment will be given the week of May 13. The Language Arts section of the test will be administered on Monday and Tuesday; the Mathematics section will be given on Wednesday and Thursday. The Science section will be given on Friday (Grade 4 only). Your child will be coming home today with the “Parent, Student, and Teacher Information Guide.” This booklet will include more detailed information on the NJ ASK. Click the link above to keep reading.
Next week is National Teacher Appreciation Week. However, because it coincides with the NJ ASK 5, we have postponed our celebration at Dater until May 22. On this date, the PTO will generously provide a luncheon for the faculty at Dater School. To recognize our teachers next week, I have decided to dedicate this newsletter to the terrific group of educators that make Dater School the special place that it is. In my first year, I have been so impressed with the dedication of these professionals who put in long hours to make sure our students are receiving a first-rate education. Click the link above to keep reading.
I hope this message finds you well. It has been a great journey at Dater and now we are all looking forward to the wonderful summer months that lie ahead. In this letter I have included some of my beliefs about summer work and some suggestions to make summer learning both effective and fun. Click on the link above to keep reading.