Bear Paws January Newsletter

Sheridan Hills Elementary students learn during a field trip to Wood Lake Nature Center

 Principal's Note

What a year this has been! As I reflect on 2020 and the start of 2021 there are so many events and crises that we as a country, a state, and community have endured and challenges that we continue to face. While some of our children are old enough to understand what is happening, others are not, but regardless of their age, they feel and they sense stress and tension. As we prepare for the students in our hybrid program to return to school, we know the importance of providing a space for students to express their feelings. We also know that each student has different levels of success in learning school-based curriculum within a distance-learning model. We must remember that while the schoolbased curriculum is important, there is so much more to learn. Things like learning how to persevere when it gets hard, learning how to self-regulate when things don’t go your way, learning to focus on making the best of what is in your control, learning what it means to be a positive member in your community and your family. We will catch children up on the academics that they may have missed, it may take time, but it will be done. The positive in the challenges we’ve faced is the other lessons our children have learned. I’ve read many different people write that “the children will be okay.” They will be if we provide the time and space for them to share what they’ve learned, to process what they feel in the world around them, and if we honor the lessons learned outside of school as much as we do the ones learned in school.

Sheridan Hills Kindergarten Information Night is on Wednesday, January 20th from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

This year we are holding a virtual Kindergarten Information Night. If you have an incoming kindergarten or PreK student, be sure to register at to get the link to join our virtual Information Night. Also, if you know of families with incoming kindergarten students please be sure to let them know to register. There will be opportunities for you to visit with Kindergarten teachers and the PreK teacher, current Sheridan Hills’ parents, school administration, and enrollment staff.

Nancy Stachel, Principal

A Note From Our Health Assistant, Allisha Mazurkiewicz

Happy 2021! January is the perfect month to set some new healthy goals for yourself and family. Here are some facts and tips about getting enough physical activity throughout the day from

From Our School Social Worker, Chelsey Hauer

Dear Families,

I am so happy to welcome our hybrid students back to school soon! Some families and students may have mixed feelings about returning to school. This is expected and normal during a totally abnormal time. Some of you might have their backpacks ready to go for January 25 eager to send them back to school and some of you may be feeling apprehensive and unsure about this. All of these feelings are valid during this unprecedented time!

Some children may be feeling anxious about returning. After being home for months, some kids might find it difficult to be separated from their families. This is true even for children who were previously well adjusted to school. And, some children (and adults!) fear that being around other people is not safe right now. You may be hearing things like “I don’t want to go back to school” or “I don’t want to be away from you.” If your child is showing signs of anxiety (clinginess, irritability, sleep troubles, constant worrying, outbursts, restlessness), you are not alone.

You are the expert on your child: if your child is prone to anxiety, she or he may be more likely to feel anxious about returning to school after this 2 month gap from in-person learning. Let’s tackle this together. Here are some pointers:

  • Validate their feelings: if your child is telling you they feel worried, honor their feelings by saying something like “It’s very normal to feel worried when something changes. What are you most worried about? Talking about our worries helps the worries get smaller.”
  • Set the tone for school readiness by remaining calm even if you have your own anxiety about resuming in-person learning. Try not to ask leading questions such as “Are you nervous about going back to school soon?” which can indicate to your child that there is something to feel really worried about.
  • It is OK not to have all the answers to your child’s questions. You can say “That’s a really good question. I am not sure, but we can find out.” Make a list of your child’s questions together. The list gives them another place besides their worried mind to store their concerns.
  • Practice separation before school resumes: encourage your child to play alone while you make dinner or leave your child with another caregiver in your “pod” to build tolerance for independence.
  • Have a predictable routine in place before school resumes: this helps children feel more secure. Consistent evening rituals such as a family dinnertime, organizing materials for the school day, family reading or game time, etc. reduces anxiety. Set a consistent bedtime and wake up time.

As always, we’re in this together. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if I can help your hybrid learner return to school. For families remaining in full distance learning, I am also here to support your children!


Chelsey Hauer

Sheridan Hills PTO News

Announcements: Don’t forget that all 2020 Reading Olympic participants who received a green “PRIZE TICKET” for turning in their reading logs last spring can claim their special prize. Ms. Karen in the school office is waiting to exchange your ticket for a baggie of goodies from the BIG PRIZE BOX. Misplaced your ticket? You can still come see Ms. Karen, and she’ll check your name off the list of last year’s participants.

PTO Happenings: Fundraisers: This unusual school year is putting extra demands on the resources of our teachers and staff, so they need our partnership more than ever. Your participation at any level is truly appreciated! Box Tops for Education You can support Sheridan Hills Elementary with Box Tops for Education products. Scan the QR code to download the app, and visit for the full list of eligible products. Unexpired, clipped box-tops can also be dropped off in the school office. Each Box Tops counts at least 10₵ to our school. Little by little it helps make an impact!

Scholastic Book Fair: Our virtual winter book fair will run Feb. 7-20. Thank you for supporting literacy at Sheridan Hills! Click here to shop!

Project: Ukeleles! Groth Music is joining the collaboration with the Optimist Club of Richfield and Broadway Pizza (Richfield location) to help us purchase 20 ukuleles for this school year (that’s two more than we had anticipated!). We just need to raise the remaining $400 to purchase an additional 8-10 ukuleles needed for when classroom-sizes eventually return to normal. If you or someone you know has a passion for supporting music in public schools, please make donations to Sheridan Hills PTO with Project: Ukuleles! on the memo line.

Community Events: We are looking for creative ways to keep our community engaged. Please email the PTO with you suggestions.

Teacher Winter Conference Dinners: Teacher Winter Conference Dinners: Stay tuned for updates on volunteer opportunities for teacher conference dinners on Feb. 10.

Family Move Night-In: Save the date for our next virtual movie night on Friday, March 19. We’d like your suggestions of movies available for FREE streaming. Please email recommendations to

PTO Contact Information:

A Message from the Sheridan Hills PTO President: Hello Sheridan Hills Families! Our PTO Board will meet during the month of January to determine how the events will look for the rest of the school year. Given the current situation with vaccine, case rates and numbers allowed to gather, it is likely we will continue to only do virtual activities for the remainder of the year. We are hopeful that we can resume many of our activities in the 2021-22 school year. Until then we appreciate the support we’ve had this year. Best wishes, Becca Kelm-Good

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Congratulations to Karen Madsen

After more than 16 years in the District, our incredible Administrative Assistant Karen Madsen is retiring. We will miss her smiling face greatly and wish her all the best!