Elysian Charter School
A Positively Different Public School
October 26, 2015 Vol. 11 Issue 7
Please note that the school newsletter is sent out on Mondays. When there is a holiday, the newsletter is sent the following day. Please send news to firstname.lastname@example.org by 1:00 PM on Mondays.
The weekly newsletter is archived on Elysian's website, www.ecsnj.org, so that you can always access both the most recent newsletter as well as all previous ones.
A huge thank you to the PTSO, and all of the volunteers who planned, set up, ran and cleaned up the absolutely wonderful Halloween Party. Everyone had a great time, the booths and events were great, with a highlight when Derek and all of the children danced to “Thirller.”
Don't Crush Reading Motivation
By Barbara Wheatley
From Education Week, October 6, 2015
It is a scene that too often plays out in elementary schools.
John leaves the library with a book he selected himself, one on crocodiles and alligators. As he sees his teacher, he says excitedly, "Look Mrs. Mills, I have a book on alligators!" She glances at the book, takes it from his hands, and looks through it. "I don't know, John, this seems like it's going to be a bit hard for you. I want you to return it and get one that is easier for you to read." John's face falls as he takes the book back and heads to the library.
Helping children find a book that is right for them is a tricky proposition. John, for example, was excited about his book, and this excitement might have motivated him to read it whether it was "too hard" for him or not. Mrs. Mills, on the other hand, was concerned about the book's difficulty level, because she wanted John to be a successful independent reader. But while she may have had the best intentions, this teacher doused some of the fire and excitement John had about reading, and perhaps books in general.
To become proficient and passionate readers, children need to engage in many different types of reading. One type is guided reading with a teacher. This begins with assessment of the child's reading abilities, often considered to be the instructional level of reading. Then the teacher supplies a leveled text that is not too easy and not too difficult for the child, with controlled vocabulary that allows him or her to easily read about three-fourths of the words. The teacher then supplies the support needed for the child to be successful in reading the text, helping him or her build skills that produce accurate, fluent, and meaning-making reading. Working directly with a teacher, students can be assessed immediately on their ability to comprehend the text and receive help, if needed, in the form of mini-lessons or a change of text.
Another type of student reading is self-selected reading. In its truest form, this involves the student's choosing, with little or no intervention from adults, his or her own reading material. The texts can be chosen from a home, class, school, or public-library collection, with selections based on the student's interests and purpose for reading. If a boy is interested in car racing and recently watched a race on TV with his family, for example, he might pick a book on Dale Earnhardt when he visits the library. Often, students will browse the books to decide if the pictures are interesting, if the text is overwhelming or just right, and whether the book piques their overall interest.
These self-selected books are just as important to children's learning to read as guided or leveled reading. Through self-selected reading, students gain both a sense of independence and greater self-confidence. When their choices are validated—when the book is interesting and they enjoy it—they learn that they can make good decisions on their own. What's more, knowing that they can make wise reading choices can increase their motivation, a key component of independent reading. When a child is motivated to read a book, for whatever reason, this often compensates for any reading difficulties.
"Through self-selected reading, students gain both a sense of independence and greater self-confidence."
Not only can motivation help a reader decipher a challenging text, but it can also increase engagement with the text. And this is one of the most difficult tasks for struggling readers to master: becoming engaged in what they are reading. When a child reads more, he or she becomes a more able reader. So our goal must be to help children find texts that will motivate them to read and keep them engaged, so that they will in turn read more.
It is a continuous circle: If children are motivated to read, they will spend more time reading and become more engaged in reading, which then motivates them to read more. Motivation is vital.
How do we help struggling readers with their motivation and self-selection of reading materials? Let's return to John and his alligator book. If the book was too hard for him, adults could have helped him read it, offered to read it to him, or arranged for someone else to read it with him. One of the easiest things to do is to model good reading and read aloud to the child. Reading aloud is especially important for children in the years before entering school. When an adult reads aloud, a child hears the correct intonation and phrasing, and is exposed to vocabulary that may be difficult to read alone. The website ReadWriteThink.org provides a podcast of parents giving suggestions for quality picture-book read-alouds.
Adults also can show children that reading is important by spending some of their own free time in independent reading. This isn't easy, with today's busy schedules, but when the TV is turned off and others are reading, a child learns that reading is valued. Adults likewise can make sure that children's schedules have enough downtime, when reading can be a selected activity. Reading with a child and listening to him or her read can give that child needed encouragement and assistance.
Providing opportunities to experience books in varied settings can build motivation. This might mean going to a local story time at a library or bookstore, or scheduling visits to the library to check out books. Giving books as gifts can also encourage struggling readers. The International Literacy Association provides excellent book lists with suggestions for readers at all levels and ages.
Helping students become thoughtful and independent readers is one of schools' and society's biggest challenges. One strategy that might help is called the "five finger" or "Goldilocks" strategy. This simple approach helps the child independently determine whether a book is too difficult, or "just right." The student opens a book, and reads one or two pages. As the child reaches an unfamiliar word, he or she holds up a finger. If four or five fingers are up at the end of the selection, the book may be too difficult. If there are only two to three fingers up, the book is likely to be a good fit.
Once children learn this strategy, they can use it any time they are seeking a book to read. With luck, it will help them find texts that engage their imagination and feed a desire to become lifelong independent readers.
Barbara Wheatley is an educator with 25 years' experience as a classroom teacher in grades K-4, a reading specialist in grades K-5, and now as a library media specialist for grades pre-K-7. She is working on her Ed.D. degree at the University of Virginia.
Vol. 35, Issue 07, Pages 19,21
We hope you all had as much fun at Thriller Throwdown as we did! You outdid yourselves with the costumes and job well done on the flash mob!
Thanks to all those who donated items for the event and those who took the time to volunteer at the event – we wish we could list you all but the list is too long!
Special thanks to the haunted house team of Claire & Colin Cook and Rebecca & Peter Jennings AND our potion table experts Paul Jung and Alex Williams who spent many hours to setup those special attractions as well as manning them during the party.
An extra special thanks to the chairs for the Halloween party – Cecilia Bejar, Jenn Napolitani and Jen Weiss Vassallo.
And a big thanks to our Thriller flash mob coordinator, Derrick Ladson, for his choreography and hard work getting the dancers ready for the big event!! With so much going on, we always need extra hands to help set up, man the games and clean up!
Start thinking now about new games and come help champion next year’s party!
Picture Day - Thanks to Carrie Campbell and all the volunteers who helped with picture day. Retake day TBD.
Book Fair – Thanks to all of your generosity and our children's love of reading, this year's Scholastic Book fair was another huge success - bringing in a total of $3,500 in cash for the PTSO for scholarships and books to fulfill all of the teachers' classroom wish lists. What a wonderful way to enrich our school! Thank you again to all the volunteers and a special thanks to Anne Marie Schreiber for all of her hard work and dedication that made the book fair possible!
Coupon Books - If you have not returned your coupon book or payment(s), you will be receiving an email and/or phone call. Please bring payment or the book to the main office. A sticker placed on each book will let us know that it was returned by your student.
PTSO Dues - This is our LAST PUSH for PTSO dues. $25 per child. We are at 57% participation and we need a higher participation rate. Every dollar counts! Please consider donating. If you are not sure if you have paid your PTSO dues yet, please email email@example.com and we can let you know.
No Brainer Moneymakers
Easy Ways To Raise Money for Our School At No Extra Cost To You.
Shop through our storefront for Shutterfly and sign up for Amazon Smile, iGive and Target and just shop as usual!! It just takes two minutes!! Pass along to your friends and family too!
- Shutterfly, TinyPrints and more - Go to http://elysiancharter.shutterflystorefront.com. Shop as usual. No need to sign up, just use this link.
- Amazon Smile - http://smile.amazon.com/ Click on ‘change your charity’. Select Elysian Charter. Bookmark this address. Shop as usual.
- iGive -Go to www.iGive.com/ElysianCharter . Fill out name, Password and email. Click ‘Register Now’ button, install iGive button. Shop! You might have to click on a pop-up screen to verify at certain online stores.
- Target - Go to www.target.com , click on REDcard and then ‘Learn about REDcard’. Page down to ‘Take Charge of Education’ and click on ‘Learn More’. Enter information under ‘Sign me up’ and click ‘Enroll’.
What is the Art Salon?
Tuesday, November 3
Andrew Castlen's "Sci-Fi"
Come discuss ideas, make creative contributions, and gain knowledge on subjects you may never have explored before! Our goal is to create an intimate setting for dynamic conversation. Light refreshments will be served! Come hang out with friends and observe artwork made by your peers! Come join the discussion!
Who can attend the art salon?
All students in grades 6 - 8 are invited to attend! The salon will take place in the Elysian 3rd Floor Lobby.
What do I need to Do to Become a Participating Artist?
You must complete a body of work consisting of 6 to 10 pieces. Complete a submission form with your information. if you are a participating artist, all artwork must be mounted. (See Nikki if you need tips on how to do this!) Speak with Nikki or Lynne Shapiro if you have 3-D pieces or sculpture or poetry that you would like to submit.
Form is on Elysian's art room website, firstname.lastname@example.org. If you haven't checked out the website, please do so.
The Rewards of Donating Time and Talent to Elysian
In these busy days filled with more and more demands from work and family life, the thought of offering more of your time as a volunteer seems almost impossible. However, when you volunteer at Elysian, something magical happens — you get back so much more than you give. There are countless examples at Elysian that prove how the donation of personal time and talent strengthens our community, supports families, improves our school and sets an example for our children. Having the chance to give back is truly a gift that you can give yourself and your family because you create strong bonds and connections with other committed volunteers while supporting public school education and its progress in Hoboken.
With a collective 25 years of volunteer service between the four of us as Elysian volunteers, we have forged connections with so many wonderful people including our friends on the Board of Trustees, teachers, staff, community members and of course, our fellow hardworking volunteers on the PTSO. Our volunteer fundraising work has been fueled by our deep pride in Elysian which in turned helped us work even harder to make a difference for our positively different public school.
As we step down from our leadership positions we can confidently say that we received more from the Elysian community than we gave. Every time we see a computer on a desk, feel the air conditioning in the classrooms or take the elevator up to our new state-of-the-art school building, we take pride in knowing we made a difference at Elysian. Volunteering makes Elysian a special place and we are grateful to all the members of the Elysian community who gave us the opportunity to serve and showcase our unwavering commitment for the Elysian Charter School of Hoboken.
Kim Demopolous, Grace Leong, Brian Neville and Eileen O’Brien
Friends of Elysian/Campaign For Elysian Update!
One of the great things that happened this year was the way we all came together to make our new building a reality. The Friends of Elysian, PTSO and ECS’s Board of Trustees all teamed up at this pivotal time. There were new people, new ideas and thankfully lots of new energy! And now we’d like to announce a transition for the Friends of Elysian. The Friends’ four officers are passing the torch to carry on their work as we head into Year 2 of the Campaign. We thank them for all their hard work and dedication over the years. We appreciate everything you’ve done!
NEW OFFICERS/MEMBERS: We are also pleased to announce that Friends’ new officers are Joan Spiegel (Chair), Harriet Fitzpatrick (Vice Chair), Cathy Cruz-Levine (Treasurer) and Cynthia Ng-Villaluz (Secretary). Our board is rounded out by Danny Spiegel, Clare Cook and Colin Cook, all who will be pitching in on several committees. Friends’ new “voting” members are Carter Craft, Michele Gargiulo-McCue, Rebecca Jennings and Malin Kallberg-Shroff; and Eduardo Gonzalez and Harry Laub have joined as “non-voting”—but incredibly supportive and enthusiastic— members.
NEW IDEAS NEEDED! We want to continue this momentum, but we need your help! (Yes, you!) We want to hear *your* suggestions and ideas, whether they’re big, small or medium-sized. Keep in mind that there are a lot of different ways to be a part of Friends, with varying levels of time commitment *and* different types of roles. If, for instance, you’re comfortable approaching businesses, that’s awesome; but if you’re more of a behind-the-scenes player, that’s awesome too! Any and all help is appreciated. So if you’d like to join—as a board, voting or non-voting member—but missed the recent meeting, please email us at Friends@ecsnj.org.
COMING SOON! Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be gearing up for winter activities and of course Year 2 of the Campaign, so look for more announcements and specifics soon about ways that you can help!
AN INSPIRING GIFT: Thinking of “helping,” we’d like to extend a huge “Thank you!” to first-grader Spencer Farish who emptied his piggy bank to make a generous donation to the school! You rock, Spencer!
We’d also like to acknowledge the following company matches:
- Ericsson Employee Engagement Fund via Giles Alderson
- ADM Investor Services via Mitchell Levine and Catherine Cruz-Levine
AND FINALLY, THANK YOU TO EVERYONE FOR YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT!
Your Friends of Elysian
Hoboken Homeless Shelter Paper Drive
Daniel Henson and Henry Plotka from the eighth grade are conducting a paper goods drive for the local homeless shelter. We are asking for paper goods such as paper cups, towels, plates, bowls, plastic forks, knives and spoons. In the downstairs lobby/entrance of the school, there is a box with a sign that says “middle school food drive". The shelter is in need of these items so we encourage you all to donate. Thanks!
Elysian Track Team
Information and Registration
Coach Jason Morales
The track team is open to all students from grades Kindergarten through 8.
- All students must have a completed physical form (physical completed within the last 365 day) on file in the nurse's office. These forms were sent home during the summer. They are also available on our website--www.ecsnj.org, click on Parent Resources, then Forms. It is the second form, entitled "Preparticipation Physical Evaluation," and begins on the second page. It is four pages long
- All parents must sign the "Concussion Information and Sign-off" form, also found at www.ecsnj.org. Click on Parent Resources, then Forms. The last page of this form must be signed and given to the coach at the first practice.
- Also on the Forms page, please read the the brochure entitled "Sudden Cardiac Death in Young Athletes."
- Track practices will all take place at the Soccer field, located at 1600 Park Ave. from 3:30 - 4: 30 on the following Wednesday:
- (October 21--at 1;00 p.m., Oct. 28, Nov. 11th)
(Students can be walked over by Coach/Aftercare staff) Students who self dismiss may walk there on their own. Dismissal procedures will be based upon the instructions below.
- Track meets will all take place at Lincoln Park in Jersey City (blue track) on the following Saturday & Sunday mornings at 10:30a.m. Please arrive by 10:15 for warm-ups
- October 24-25, Nov. 1st, Nov. 14th
- Parents are responsible for bringing and picking up the children from track meets.
___Parent will pick child up/ ___Name and phone number of person who will pick up ______________ ______________________________________________
___ Child may self-dismiss
___Preparticipation Physical Examination Form is on file with the nurse (please note, no child without this form on file, may participate).
Telephone number where you may be reached during practice/meets__________________________
Elysian Collects Box Tops and LABELS for Education: Look for the container near Deb's desk in the office! Thank you!
Monday, October 26
- High School Night 5:30 p.m.
- Enrichment Clubs begin
- Board of Trustees Meeting, 7:00 PM
Tuesday, October 27
- LOTS - bring a lunch for the Hoboken Shelter!
Wednesday, October 28
- New Victory Workshop for 8th Grade
- Track Practice, 1600 Park, 3:00 - 4:30
Thursday, October 29
- 8th grade trip
- Rugby Club practice, 3:00 - 4:00 PM
Friday, October 30
- Community Meeting, 8:40 AM. All families welcome.
- New Victory Workshop for 8th Grade
Sunday, November 1
- Track Meet, Lincoln Park, JC, 10:15 AM - Blue Track
Tuesday, November 3
- 1st grade class trip
- "Sci-Fi" Art Salon with Community Artist, Andrew Castlen (6th Grade), for 6th - 8th graders, 3:00 - 4:00 PM. Refreshments will be served.
Thursday, November 5
- 4th Grade in-school Field Trip, Lenape Workshop
Friday, November 6
- Amanda's first grade has a class trip.
Tuesday, November 10
- Open House for prospective parents, 8:45 AM
Wednesday, November 11
- 6th grade overnight trip
- Joanna's 1st grade has a class trip
Thursday, November 12
- Melissa's 2nd grade class trip.
Friday, November 13
- Joanna's 1st grade class trip
- 6th grade returns from overnight trip.
Saturday, November 14
- Track Meet, Lincoln Park, JC, 10:150 AM - Blue Track
Wednesday, November 18
- Angela's kindergarten class has a trip.
- Half Day of School for Parent Conferences, 12:30 dismissal. After School Program available as ususal.
Thursday, November 19
- Josie's kindergarten class has a trip
- Parent Conferences continue
Wednesday, November 25
- Half Day of School for Thanksgiving holiday, 12:30 dismissal, After School Program available until 4:00 PM ONLY.
Thursday, November 15 and Friday, November 16
- School closed for Thanksgiving
Monday, November 23
- 4th/5th grade day long trip. Evening ETA, 6:00 PM
- Open House for prospective parents, 6:00 PM\
- Board of Trustees Meeting, 7:00 PM
1460 Garden Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030
Harry Laub, Ph.D., Director