Bear Paws March Newsletter

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

Principal's Note

Report cards
This is a year of many changes and one of them involves the way we look at and report student progress.  Richfield is aligning the elementary school assessments and report cards to ensure it is the same at all elementary schools. For this school year, we are using the current report card format, but have identified both the common assessments and grading rubrics used to determine the grade that is put on the report card.  

One of our biggest areas of difficulty has been in the area of writing. It is difficult to teach writing in distance learning and as we look at assessing writing, we are trying to determine what students can do independently. We know that with coaching support our students create great writing pieces. The grade on the report card has to show what they do independently, without support. This second trimester was especially difficult because we were in distance learning for much of it. We are looking forward to this final trimester when teachers will have more opportunities to assess our student’s writing skills, as well as providing coaching support to improve their skills.

MCA testing
When we come back from spring break, we will begin MCA testing. This affects students in grades 3, 4 and 5. Our message to students is to do their best. To me the most important thing about spring testing is that students give their best effort that they not rush through a test just to finish it, but that they take their time and do their best. As a parent you can help to build their confidence, let them know that the most important thing is to try to do their best, let them know that you believe in them, and help them to be relaxed by not putting pressure on them about the results of the test. Due to COVID, we had so many changes both this school year and last spring. The MCA tests this spring will simply let us know what we need to work on as we look to next year.   

MCA testing at Sheridan will go from April 7 through May 11.  Your child’s teacher will share the specific dates that their grade level will be testing and it can be found on the Sheridan Hills website. All in-person 3–5 grade students will take a Reading and Math test and Grade 5 students take a Science test. If your child is in a distance learning class, they will need to come into school to test. We realize families may not be comfortable with this and the State is allowing students to not test if families have concerns about COVID. Distance learning families will be contacted about the specific testing plans for their child.

In addition to encouraging and supporting your child during testing, please be sure that your child gets a good night of sleep before testing and that they are able to have a good breakfast either here at school or at home. Consider writing them a positive note to read before they take their test, those words of encouragement make a difference.  

Nancy Stachel, Principal

A Note From Our Health Assistant, Allisha Mazurkiewicz

Happy Spring! 

Spring is the time when allergies start to ramp up. Please contact me if you are wanting your child to start using their inhaler before recess or PE on a regular basis (if they aren’t already).

If your child does not currently have an inhaler at school and will need it for spring time, please remember that a signed physician note/medication consent form must accompany those inhalers. If you need a form to fill out, you can find it on the website. I can also send a form home with your child, or you can get a form from your doctor. It must be signed by a parent/guardian AND a physician. 

As always, feel free to call me with any questions. I’m in my office every day, but not always able to answer the phone, so make sure to leave a message so I can call you back.

Allisha Mazurkiewicz
Health Assistant

A Note from Chelsey Hauer, School Social Worker

Hello Parents and Families!

Let’s talk about stress. Do you ever wonder, “What is going on with my child’s behavior?” Is it the pandemic? Is it spring fever? Is it the changes in the school setting or the fact that he/she is at home while others are going back to school? Is this NORMAL, or is it a problem that I need help with? 

The answer is YES it is normal. This has been a really stressful year for most kids and adults. It is normal and natural that the signs of stress are going to show up in the behaviors. Kids DO their feelings. Common signs of stress may include your child being increasingly clingy, uncharacteristically defiant, moody, frequent outbursts, changes in sleep patterns, eating patterns and even school refusal. Some kids show signs of stress by developing a nervous habit such as nail biting, others withdraw and seem to only want to interact with their tablet or phone. Let’s be clear—these are signs that parents should pay attention to, and YES they are normal signs of stress.  

As a parallel, you can think of these signs of stress as similar to your child saying “I’m hungry.” Being hungry sometimes is normal. When your child is hungry, it isn’t advised that you ignore it and hope it goes away. We also don’t advise that you spend too much time and energy diagnosing exactly WHY your child is hungry. Whether it is because they didn’t eat a good breakfast, or they’re having a growth spurt, or they are saying they’re hungry because they’re bored and want your attention, there are lots of reasons for hunger and some pretty basic and do-able “solutions” to this problem.  

Try taking the same attitude with your child when he or she is showing signs of stress. Don’t ignore it and hope it goes away, but also, not every child who is showing signs of stress is in need of a therapist. Instead try some basic and scientifically proven strategies for supporting your child during times of stress. For example:

  • Three times per week, find 10-20 mins of 1:1 time with your child and let them direct the activity. This can help them feel in control of their schedules and provide opportunities for them to to talk about what is on their mind.
  • Ask your child what was the hardest part of their day today and what was a part that felt successful. Really listen to the answer and empathize with their hurts and joys.
  • Make sure your child moves! Sitting at the computer and being inside all the time takes a real toll on mental health. Being outside and 30-60 mins of movement/play per day is essential for health and wellness.
  • Don’t let your child over age 6 take a nap after school. Many students feel tired and want to nap when they get home from school. But this may interfere with their ability to get the recommended 9-11 hours of continuous uninterrupted sleep their brains really need to feel good and handle the stresses of the day.
  • Limit your child’s media use. I get that all they may want is the computer/iPad/phone. And, the American Association of Pediatrics states that media use can affect how a child feels, learns, thinks and behaves. Review what your children are doing on the computer and iPad, how it makes them feel, and how it may or may not interfere with other healthy behaviors (such as going outside or working on homework!). 

If you see sudden and dramatic changes in your child, or if the stressed out behaviors are causing serious problems for your child or for your family, it is time to look for more support. You can call or email your school social worker (me!), you can talk to your child’s pediatrician, or you can call the number on the back of your insurance card to ask about mental health providers in your area. You don’t have to do it all on your own! 

Chelsey Hauer

Sheridan Hills Spirit Days! 

  • Book Character Day was on February 26
  • Cozy Day was on March 26
  • Hat Day is on April 30
  • Mismatched Day is on May 28
  • Sports Day is on June 4

Sheridan Hills PTO News

Announcements: This year’s campaign launched with a lot of cheers (and impromptu “Crab Rave” dancing) as Sheridan Hills’ 2021 Reading Olympians geared up for the 12-days of reading, reading, and more reading. Our annual read-a-thon fundraiser supports the essential components that enriches learning for all students at Sheridan Hills while promoting the love of literacy. We are counting on every student to be a Reading Olympian this year! Completed and signed reading logs are due by Thursday, March 18.

PTO Happenings: Many thanks to all the teachers, staff, parents, sponsors and community partners who energetically made this year’s Reading Olympics possible even during these unprecedented times. Some activities were a little different than past years, but everyone made it fun to work towards our two school goals of POPCORN DAY (if we reach a combined total of 100,000 reading minutes) and a DANCE PARTY (if we reach our $10,000 fundraiser goal).

Reading logs are due to the classroom teachers by Thursday, March 18. The Closing Ceremonies to celebrate this year’s achievements will be Friday, March 26. Visit our Reading Olympics page often for links to videos, updates and results. 

Teacher & Staff Appreciation Week: We are starting to make plans for the week of May 3-7. If you have ideas and are interested in helping to make this year’s Appreciation Week special, please reach out to the PTO to get involved.

Box Tops for Education: Bit by bit, box tops are adding up to support Sheridan Hills Elementary! Visit their website for the full list of eligible products. 

Community Events: We’d like to hear more creative ways to keep our community engaged. Please email fun ideas to the PTO.

Adopt-a-Park 2021: Do you love keeping our parks safe for kids? Then we need you to lead the charge of inviting our school community to help spruce up Sheridan Park this spring!

PTO Contact Information:

A Message from the Sheridan Hills PTO President: 

Happy Spring time to out Sheridan Hills families! We look forward to more PTO events coming next year!

Best wishes,

Becca Kelm-Good

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Christina Gonzalez

Director of Student Support Services, Christina Gonzalez, has been awarded the Park Nicollet Foundation 2022 Community Service Award for her leadership, dedication and commitment to supporting students and families.

Quick Update

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