Updated March 22, 2019
A Message from Mr. Mitchell
Part I - ERB’s
It’s that time of year again for our 2nd through 8th-grade students where they have a full week of standardized testing with the CTP-5 produced by the ERB. It is a stressful week for the students and the teachers due to recess being delayed (even for the younger students) and schedules being thrown off. There can be an uptick in not-so-great decision making, and in general, testing just isn’t fun. It most definitely is not a week that we educators look forward to with eager anticipation. At least the mega-full moon is waning next week. I don’t care what people say, that full moon has an impact on students and their behavioral choices.
I am writing this in the hopes that you can help us alleviate some of the stress that invariably comes with testing. I want to emphasize to you that this is testing for 7, 8, and 9-year-olds. Colleges simply do not care about what these students do on this test next week, nor is it an indicator of how the students will do on the SAT and ACT in 8 or 9 years. We are not ranking students, forming gifted classes, or organizing class lists for next year based on the individual results of this testing. For each subject, this is one test, one day. On Monday, a student may not get a good night’s sleep for some reason or might be feeling a little under the weather. Is the result that day going to be indicative of what they know? Probably not. I understand that sometimes there are times when students need to be reprimanded on the way to school. That student also probably cares less about the test that day because of being hung up on the unfairness of it all. Now I’m not asking you not to reprimand your child if needed, I’m just saying that you should take these results as a very small piece of the academic puzzle.
I can’t emphasize enough that these tests really can’t be studied for. I still have haunting memories of working Saturday school where students and teachers would come in on the weekend simply to practice testing skills. I don’t know if there is research out there to back up the practice, but I would think the negatives of such a practice far outweigh any gains that could be made. I don’t know about you but “cramming” didn’t really work for me in college even when I knew what material would be covered. Cramming for something where the form of the question to be asked is unknown seems like it would be even more unproductive.
Well then, you may ask, why even take the CTP-5? As a school, we look at the collective results of a particular grade level. We use them to analyze our curriculum and see where we may want to make adjustments. You have seen the result of this analysis with the change in our math programming this year. Over the course of several years, we were seeing that our students were doing well in the areas of number concepts and problem-solving but it was not where we thought it could be. I am excited to see over the next few years how the students continue to grow in their deeper understanding of mathematics and how this will affect the overall results in this subject. I was excited to hear today about a first-grade student who wowed a relative when he was asked what the answer was to 345+345 and quickly responded 690. He was asked how he knew that and he answered that he knew that 300+300 was 600, 40+40 was 80, and 5+5 was 10. 680+10 is 690. That is what tells me we are on the right track.
In the sections below, look for some tips to help your child have as successful a week as possible. If I can make one request of you, though, I ask that you emphasize and re-emphasize that while you want your children to try their best as they should in all they do, these results will have no impact on whether or not they “pass” their grade and move onto 3rd or 4th grade. 3rd grade is traditionally a big benchmark grade in the state of Georgia. Your child may have neighborhood friends or maybe cousins that are taking this benchmark testing and it will have a definite impact on whether those kids go on to 4th grade. I am so happy that we are not one of these schools and I want your kids to know that we are proud of them for who they are as students and people, not just proud of what they can do on a test. Please tell them that. Please just tell them you are proud of them, you love them, and to go in and do their best in everything they do, not just on tests. Do this not just next week, but every day of the year.
Part II - Parent Programming
You may or may not have seen the signs for the upcoming Parent Community Parent Programming event. It is this Monday, March 25 in Gresham Chapel from 8:30-10:00. The focus is on cyber safety, digital citizenship, and cyberbullying, which is something we should all be majorly concerned about as parents.
“My child is in the Primary School so I don’t have to worry about that yet.” “My child doesn’t even have a phone.” To those types of comments, I will say that if your child is playing online games in which there is “conversation” between players, there is a good chance your child could be exposed to this behavior. If your child is playing games like Roblox, Minecraft, or even the latest craze, Fortnite, your child is at risk. I may offend some people right now, but from what I have read, Fortnite is a hotbed for “colorful”, inappropriate language that then makes its way into school. I will just say that I believe this game is rated ages 13+ for a reason. More on this at a later date.
Fortnite aside, please consider coming to this event if at all possible. It is just never too soon to become prepared for all of these things that will come faster than you think. I am going to do my best to attend because, for me personally, social media and online communication is my single biggest concern as a parent right now. It was even described to me as part of my child’s “social life” the other day. That is scary to me. The internet is a positive thing, but it comes with dangers that we were not exposed to as children ourselves. I thank the Parent Community for their efforts in organizing events such as this. I hope to see you there.
ERB Testing Tips for Parents
PARENTS: Here are some tips to help your 2nd or 3rd grader have a great testing week:
- Make sure your child gets a good night’s rest each night of the week.
- Provide a balanced breakfast each morning with lots of protein. Tantalizing foods to tingle your child’s brain: bacon, eggs, pancakes, fruit, and orange juice.
- Remind your child to be relaxed during the testing process. Testing is no cause for worry or stress.
- Enjoy the evenings of “No Homework” during the week---great time for family fun and games. This will be a very tiring week for your child.
- Be sure your child is on time and present each day---in homeroom by 8:15, if possible. Please do not schedule dentist or doctor appointments during the mornings of this week. (afternoons are fine)
- Talk to your child about the test. Ask what it is like, what kinds of questions are asked, etc. Your interest actually can help your child’s performance and confidence.
- Encourage your child to listen carefully to the test-taking directions and to ask questions if he/she is unclear about anything.
- As always, keep your child at home if they are ill. There will be times to make up the missed testing.
Woodward Adult Choir & Primary Singers
The 3rd grade Primary Singers, along with our Adult Choir, will be in concert on Thursday, March 28, at 4 p.m. in Gresham Chapel. We hope you will join us for what is always a wonderful performance. If you are a Woodward parent and are interested in joining the Adult Choir, please email email@example.com. All are welcome!
Primary School Big Night Out - Friday, April 12
5:00-7:00 p.m. - Upper School Dobbs Gym
The Parent Community is hosting our annual Big Night Out party! Join your fellow Primary School friends for dinner, dancing, crafts, games, and prizes. This is an adventure-packed event with fantastic food and fun! Please click here to purchase tickets via Eventbrite by April 8.
Woodward Academy is partnering with World Challenge and other organizations to present an Atlanta Forum on our campus on Wednesday, April 3 from 5 to 7 p.m. During the event, we will have different experts who will be discussing how ethical issues are shaping the way students and schools engage with overseas trips.
Please look at the flyer attached for more information about the program and the presenters.
If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to Stéphane Allagnon or Ronda Zents.
No Community Meeting - Friday, March 29!
Due to 2nd and 3rd grade ERB testing, we will not have community meeting on Friday, March 29.
Host Families Needed
Have you considered becoming a host family for a Middle or Upper School international student during the 2019-2020 school year? Our program has grown over the last three years from hosting fewer than 10 students on campus to next year when we will welcome 30 new and returning international students to Woodward Academy.
These students live with host families who provide them with a “home-away-from-home,” and in turn the host families are enriched by the cultural exchange and the relationships developed in sharing their homes with our international students. As more and more international families seek out Woodward’s exemplary education, we have an increased need for host families.
If you are interested in hosting a student, please attend one of the informational sessions below to learn more:
Wednesday, April 24 - 10-11 a.m.
Thursday, April 25 - 3:30-4:30 p.m.
Tuesday, April 30 - 8-9 a.m.
Tuesday, April 30 - 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Topics will include host family requirements, expectations, benefits, and stipends. Additionally, current and former host families will be in attendance to share more about their experiences firsthand. All of the informational sessions will be held in the Global Connections Center, in Brand Hall (B104), on Main Campus (No. 12 on the Campus Map).
Please register here to attend a host family informational session.
If you have additional questions before the meetings, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your thoughtful consideration of hosting a student next year.
Severe Weather Alerts
As we head into warmer weather and the inevitable alerts that happen in the spring, please understand that per Woodward Academy's policy, if we are under a lighting alert, our faculty are not allowed to load/unload students from cars. There will be a sign in front of the school letting you know when we are under a severe weather alert. If you want to escort your child/children to and from the building during the alerts, you may make that choice.
Important Medical Update
As part of a continuing effort to ensure the safety of our students, all additions or changes to your child’s medication must be entered in student medical records via the parent portal, followed by an email to Nurse Edens (email@example.com). Please be sure that all medications are in the actual prescription bottle showing your child’s name; we cannot accept medicines in plastic bags or unmarked bottles.
If you are dropping your child off on Fridays and want to get the day before the weekend off to a great start, feel free to stay and join us at Community Meeting. Even if your child is not performing, these meetings are a great affirmation of our mission to enhance the social/emotional learning of our students and develop that path to a deep respect of difference that is part of the mission of Woodward Academy. Meetings are generally over by 9:10 a.m. and coffee is waiting in the foyer if you need some for the road. Parents are a part of the community, even when their children are not performing. We'd love to see you there.
Find the Parent Community Online!
Whether you’re looking to volunteer or wondering when the next Parent Community event will be held, you can now find it all on the Parent Community website. Please be sure to check it regularly for upcoming Parent Community events and opportunities to volunteer. You can also follow us on Facebook @WAParentCommunity.
Greetings Woodward Academy Community,
March is an exciting month for religious life at Woodward Academy. Students of various traditions will be celebrating special holidays or participating in times of quiet spiritual reflection. As we share about these holy times, Chaplain’s Council student leaders will be hosting assemblies and announcements throughout campus on Ash Wednesday, Lent, and Holi. Many Upper School students will also travel on the Interfaith Immersion trip as we visit 6 religious sites throughout Atlanta.
Throughout the month of March, students in our community will observe the following:
- March 5 (Christianity) - Shrove Tuesday ends the season of Epiphany and is the vigil for the starting of Lent.
- March 6 (Christianity) - Ash Wednesday is the beginning of Lent, the 40-day period of prayer and repentance that precedes Easter.
- March 14 (Sikhism) - Sikh New Year’s Day marks the beginning of the year 550 of the Nanakshahi Era.
- March 21 (Hinduism) - Holi welcomes Spring with this special festival of colors.
- March 21 (Judaism) - Purim celebrates victory over an oppressive ruler, as related in the Book of Esther.
Please feel free to visit our Interfaith Initiatives page to see the times of all interfaith prayer opportunities or to share a prayer request.
Rev. Katie O. Kilpatrick, Academy Chaplain
Use voucher code "WAlive1819" here to activate your account so you can watch live Woodward sporting events, performances, and more throughout the school year.
- Thursday, March 21: Conference Day - No School for Students
- March 26-29: ERB Testing for 2nd & 3rd grade
- Friday, April 12: Big Night Out 5-7 p.m. - more details soon!
- Friday, April 19: School Closed - Good Friday
- Monday, April 22: School Closed - Spring Holiday
- Tuesday, April 23: Earth Day
- Sunday, April 26: Dance Concerts - Richardson Hall - 2 & 4 p.m.
- Wednesday, May 1: PK-3rd Field Day/Spring Fling - NO ASC
- Thursday, May 23: End-of-the-Year Concerts - Gresham Chapel
PreK/K/2nd @ 12:00 1st/3rd@2:00
Ways to Help Primary School Students!
- Box Tops and eBoxTops through the Box Tops website.
- The Publix Partners program - new tags are available in the office.
- Kroger Rewards program.
What’s Happening in Classroom Guidance:
Over the last few weeks in classroom guidance we have been covering diversity and identity. We have been discussing what makes us who we are as well what distinguishes us as individuals. It has been a wonderful experience learning from each other and students celebrating their unique qualities. Below are a few highlights from lessons by grade level.
Pre-Kindergarten: During our lesson, we read the book What I Like About Me! by Allia Nolan. We discussed the many ways that make us different and each of these differences make us awesome! Students then created drawings of their favorite food, the way they look, and their favorite things to do.
Kindergarten: We read It’s Okay To Be Different by Todd Parr. The book covers the many ways we are different. We then created a picture map of ways we can be different (food, the way we look, sports, games, families, friends, and more!). Students then picked four things they love about themselves that makes them different and drew bright pictures similar to the book.
Grade 1: We read The Judgemental Flower by Julia Cook. The book discusses why it is important respect each others differences and celebrate what we can learn from each other. We discussed how asking questions and listening can allow us to make new friends and practiced in a flower activity. Students then were paired with a partner to create a flower to represent the things they have in common but also celebrate what makes them different.
Grade 2: We read Where Oliver Fits by Cal Atkinson. The book is a story about a puzzle piece trying to find his fit in a puzzle. When others tell him he does not fit in, he attempts to change his shape, color, and personality to fit in with others. Oliver soon learns that being himself makes him feel his best and decides to be who he was made to be. At the end of the book, Oliver is part of a large puzzle that would not be complete without him in it. After reading the book, we discussed how each student makes up our giant puzzle and each of us is unique and exciting. We then created a word map for what makes us who we are. Students used the word map to create their own puzzle piece drawings.
Grade 3: We read Why Am I Me? by Paige Britt. The book has beautiful illustrations that represent all of the wonderful things that make us different. We discussed how each one of us is unique and our unique qualities make the world an exciting place to be. We then created a word map for the word “Identity”. Students then found a partner to create a Venn Diagram of commonalities and differences with a partner. It was wonderful to see the students share about their families, culture, language, religion, and more.
Beginning, Tuesday February 19th, Ms. Diana Bondy will be my cover for the next few months while I am away on maternity leave. Diana has a background primarily in School Psychology. She graduated from Wheaton College in Massachusetts with a psychology degree minoring in education. From there she went on to receive her Masters Degree from Teachers College at Columbia University in Cognitive Studies in Education with a concentration in Cognition and Learning. Not done there, she went on to the Fordham University Graduate School of Education where she earned her Professional Diploma in school psychology along with a Master of Science in Education degree focusing on preschool psychology. Upon earning those degrees, Diana then worked at Success Academy Harlem 2, a K-4 charter school, working as a psychologist administering psychoeducation evaluations, completed the reports, was involved in student support meetings, developed behavior plans, conducted individual and group counseling, and consulted with families and teachers regarding student strengths, weaknesses and social-emotional development.
I know Ms. Bondy will take excellent care of our students while I am away. Please feel free to reach out to her via phone or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any questions or need any support for your child.