I hope this letter finds you happy and relaxed at the end of a wonderful summer with your children. I know I’m looking forward to a few more long summer evenings and late risings. Please take the time to read through this letter with your child especially the last page detailing important reminders and upcoming events.
Our new school year begins on Wednesday, August 17, and is a half day of school beginning at 1 pm. We will start our activities in our homeroom then move into group activities later in the afternoon.
We have a kind, thoughtful and cheerful group of rising sixth graders eager to welcome and learn about our new fifth and sixth grade classmates. I love teaching this grade level, because your children are inquisitive, passionate, capable and truly engaged in critical and abstract thinking while still having one foot in the wonder and possibility of childhood.
Our teaching team has been working hard this summer to help your students have powerful, playful and relevant experiences. We are excited to work together across a variety of curricular areas, helping students know themselves as learners, understand the world around them, and forge strong relationships with peers and adults. Even though I am your child’s homeroom teacher, they will get to know Lynn, Lauren, and Rachel as the year unfolds. Also, Kateri Saeks, a mother of two Horizons graduates and longtime paraprofessional, will support me in the classroom in the mornings.
I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself, since there are many families that I don’t know yet. This will be my twenty first year teaching at Horizons, where I’ve taught ⅘ and 6/7/8 grades. Over the past 26 years, I have have taught all grades from K-12 in private and public schools and almost exclusively in multi-age settings. Decades ago, I studied architecture at Princeton University before moving to Boulder to run and to complete a Masters degree in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Colorado-Denver. This summer I spent a few weeks gazing at the Pacific Ocean in southern California and volunteering at the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in southern Utah with my daughters. To further my professional interests, I read up on creating cultures of thinking in preparation for a course Lynn, Rachel, and I will be taking through the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.
In the classroom, I try to encourage students’ natural curiosities, talents and interests while helping them explore new territories and become more competent communicators in all areas — as critical thinkers; compassionate leaders and group participants; developers of self awareness, courage, and resilience; and expressive artists. I work hard to embed engaging projects and explorations with strong skill sets. My intention is to create a kind and calm classroom in an environment with clear expectations and tools for high personal achievement.
Our first few weeks of school will focus upon easing into the school year and building a safe learning community, setting routines, rituals and expectations. Over the month, we will be settling into a more regular schedule and delving deeper into more academic content. Our fifth and sixth grade teams has a website and we post updates every two weeks. You can find programmatic information on the ⅚ team website as well. We’ll be sending information in the weeks to come regarding our daily schedule and content studies, volunteer opportunities, ways to support learning at home, as well as homework routines.
Fifth and sixth graders can bring snacks to class daily. Protein and a healthy, plentiful lunch (for rapidly growing bodies) really helps their days unfold smoothly! We’ll enjoy plenty of exercise and a few more hot days of summer, so please remember to send a labeled water bottle to school.
This grade level can feel academically and socially challenging for children, but they adapt well and quickly, and we do our best to support them. I value communication with families and students, so please don’t hesitate to contact me, or any other teacher, if you have any questions or concerns. The best way to communicate with me is via email, so that we can set up a time to meet, if necessary. The fifth and sixth grade team strongly requests that you attend the Back to School Night to learn about our philosophy, curriculum, as well as details about our outdoor education trip. It also provides us with a chance to meet one another and answer questions.
Finally, I kindly request that you fill out the attached questionnaire (if you have not done so already) and get it to me before the beginning of school.
Thanks for your support!
Important Reminders and Dates
All School Work day – 1-4 pm, please come if you are able. I have a list of tasks that I need help with . If I have not met you or your child, this afternoon provides an opportunity for us to get to know one another. Also, if one of you has carpentry skills, I could use your help and advice on a project I’m considering. Please contact me and let me know.
First Day of School – 1-3:30 pm. Please bring a water bottle that you can leave at school.
First full day of school doors open at 8:20 am. Bring the following:
In addition, the 5/6 team is looking for a couple of items to be used in class during the first two weeks of school:
Sunflowers for a special beginning of the year ceremony the kids participate in on Friday 8/26. Might you have an abundance growing in your yard or field? If so, please contact me. We're looking for 80 flowers in total and this message is going out to all 5/6 Homerooms. However, if you are only able to get 20 for the homeroom, let me know.
Back to School Night, 6:30 pm
No School – Labor Day
Outdoor Ed – 5 & 6 graders to 100 Elk, Buena Vista. Details and comprehensive packet will be distributed on Friday 8/19/16 - Please ask your child for the packet as there are a number of forms to complete.