Tiger Tales

A Message from the Principal - June 7th, 2017

Hello TBES families,

Wow, did this year just fly by!  That being said, lots of great and exciting things took place both academically and extracurricularly.  The year started off with a bang as we kicked off with the largest Harvest Festival we have ever had!  That was followed up later in the year with the biggest Fun Run we’ve ever had!  All year long, you have all turned out in support of our school and community, and we cannot emphasize enough how grateful we have been for that!  Please click here for a more detailed “Thank You” letter from our PTC which also helps to highlight how your contributions, both financially and in terms of your time, have positively impacted our school! Schools are commonly seen as the hub of a community, and we are proud of our role as a place that brings us all together!  The main purpose of a school, however, is to help educate our students and prepare them for life, both academically and interpersonally, and we feel we continue to do that at the highest level.

From an instructional standpoint, there are a lot of exciting things on the horizon!  First of all, we are very pleased to be moving into our first full year with the i-Ready program for reading and math (i-Ready will continue to be available over this summer, and its regular use is greatly encouraged).  As mentioned previously, i-Ready will take students through a diagnostic to determine their current level of proficiency in reading and math and then provide ongoing online skill builders which can be done at school and at home.  Where i-Ready really stands out is it provides us with more meaningful data for grouping students for both intervention and enrichment; it builds on ELA skills and standards beyond just reading mastery; and it also offers more instructional tools for meeting the varying needs of our students.  All students K-5th will complete the diagnostic assessments for both ELA and math at the beginning, middle, and end of the year so we can really get an accurate picture of their growth over time.  Students who we identify as being below grade level can also be tracked more closely through a shorter growth monitoring assessment which allows us to intervene more effectively and in a timelier manner.  In addition, we are building in grade-wide protected time where students can all be grouped by level using i-Ready and teacher classroom data.  This will allow students to be moved between grade-level teachers to develop skills at their current and most appropriate levels, including more meaningful enrichment for our high-achiever and GATE identified students.  These groups can and will be fluid over a 4-6 week period so students can continue to be re-grouped according to strengths and needs.  We are also happy to announce that after a half-year of piloting different options, our district has adopted new ELA (English-Language Arts) materials.  In grades Tk-3rd we will be using Benchmark Advance and in the 4th & 5th grades we will be using a combination of district adopted anchor texts, unit maps, and Ready Common Core reading and writing materials.  Both Benchmark and Ready Common Core link to i-Ready which again allows for access to more appropriate intervention tools.  This hybrid program was well-received by our teaching staff, and everyone is looking forward to implementing them this coming school year!

Technology is also a big part of our future, specifically the future of our kids.  To that end, we continue to build our technology infrastructure so more kids can have their hands on computers more often.  This past year we had one iPad cart and seven Chromebook carts (35 Chromebooks per cart) available for use, along with our computer lab and a handful of classroom computers.  In our ongoing effort to eventually be a 1-1 school (one computer per student), this coming year we are adding two more sets of Chromebook carts and updating the computer lab to Chromeboxes which will be faster, cheaper to support, and work better on our district-wide Google platform.  With more devices available, teachers and students will have more time to utilize Google classroom writing capabilities, video instruction, on-line i-Ready practice, computer coding, etc.  We are also planning to bring back Lego Robotics for our 4th and 5th grade students.

We continue to frame our day to day school culture and climate around our ROAR rules and award-winning PBIS program.  We are very proud to be a school that strives to recognize and reward our students for their positive efforts and contributions around campus.  This year we gave out over 2,000 ROAR cards that were used in our very popular Friday ROAR store.  Again, we couldn’t do this without you as your financial contributions help fill the store’s shelves and your volunteer hours help to keep it open!  When kids struggle behaviorally or interpersonally, we intervene with students and families to try and find the best possible way to support our students on an individual basis, and we continue to work with our district resources as well as outside groups like the Lighthouse to provide even more layers of intervention as needed.  From an overall character development perspective, we are pleased to continue to be able to offer Tiger Crew leadership and morning Traffic Tigers opportunities to our 4th & 5th graders and K-Kids service club for our 3rd-5th graders.  School-wide, we were able to provide a 3-Screens anti-bullying assembly called “Be More Awesome”; we brought back The NED Show and their yo-yo mania message of “Never Give Up, Encourage Others, & Do Your Best”; and we also were able to once again take our 4th graders through the Touch of Understanding program which helps them see what it’s like to live with various physical disabilities in order to gain more acceptance and understanding.  The cherry on top, however, was how hard our students and community worked together to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society through their “Pennies 4 Patients” fundraiser.  As a school, we raised a total of $8,216.19 which was the most we have ever raised! 

Our amazing music program, led by our dynamic duo of Mrs. Gale and Ms. Harp, also played a large part in helping foster good feelings within our school and local community.  We once again hosted an incredible Veteran’s Day Assembly which packed our Multi!  It was highlighted by wonderful musical tributes by all of our students and was capped off by the landing of a Blackhawk helicopter!  Special thanks to Mrs. Johnson and her husband Chief Warrant Officer Charles Johnson (Aviation and Safety) for setting that up for us.  In addition to the Veteran’s Day Assembly, our music teachers orchestrated another fantastic Winter Concert; put on a band and choir performance in January; they took part in District Band Day; performed the National Anthem at a River Cats game; and performed at our Open House.  Ms. Harp also introduced ukuleles this year with our 4th and 5th graders which were very popular!

We expanded our other enrichment offerings this year as well.   With Rachel Ludlow’s help, we were able to turn our popular spring Tiger Tracks Running Club into a fall running team as well which competed against other elementary cross country teams in the Placer County area.  Mrs. Vickner was also instrumental in offering free after school computer coding class to all interested TK-5th graders this past year as well.  As for paid enrichments, Vision Soccer continued to be offered as did Firefly Art and Early Engineers.  As always, we continue to look for more and varied ways to ignite a love of learning in our kids and tap into interests they may not have known they had – stay tuned!  If you have other ideas or suggestions, don’t hesitate to let us know.

As you can see, it has been a busy year, and our staff have now gone off to a well-deserved summer break!  I know they will come back energized and excited for another fantastic school year in 2017-18.  Our office will be closed as of Wednesday, June 14th, and will re-open on August 7th.  If you have questions in the meantime, please direct them to our district office: (916) 645-6350.  We reveal class lists in the Multi at 4:00 PM on Friday, August 11th, and Thursday, August 17th is the first day of school!  Please continue to follow us on Facebook, and if you have not already downloaded our School App, please do so by searching for “Twelve Bridges Elementary School” in your device’s App Store.  Thanks again for a fantastic 2016-17 school year, and we look forward to seeing you soon! 

                                                                                                                                Sincerely,

                                                                                                                                                Mr. Cubias