Monday, September 17, 2012

Join us for Open House

Dear Durham Families,

Last week, we were joined by dozens of grandparents for the annual Grandparents’ Day Luncheon.  It was indeed a great day for the entire campus.  The students’ faces simply lit up when they walked into the cafeteria and saw their loved ones waiting for them.  We would like to have another great turn out for this week’s Open House.

Now that we've kicked off the football season, please be sure to join us for this week's Open House to kick off the school year.  You’ll get the game plan for the year, along with some coaching from our teaching team.

Although the information is geared toward parents, if you find yourself without an evening sitter, bring your child. They will need to stay with you during the meeting.  Attending sends a powerful message to your kids.  They know you have 1st-hand information about how they spend seven hours of every day – you will hear about what they will be studying, learn a few instructional strategies and receive an overview of classroom procedures.

The evening also allows you to make a personal connection
with teachers and learn how you can support learning at home.  When kids know that you are involved, their education takes on a new significance.  They come home knowing that you will be there to ask them about their day and ooohh and aaahh over the work they share.  There is always a refrigerator that needs to proudly display schoolwork or a grandparent that would love to hear about what your child has learned.

Of course they always give you the typical response to, “What did you do today?”….”Nothing!”  Practice asking questions that require them to share more… “Tell me about a problem you worked in math today?  What book did your teacher read today?  Who was the main character?  Talk to me about what happened in the story.   How did that make the character feel?”  Don’t let them get by with the “Nothing” response! One of the other ways you can support your child is by helping them set up a routine for studying and completing homework. 

Homework is a way to review what has been learned.  Our brain requires us to practice new knowledge over a period of time so that the knowledge moves to long term memory. Homework also helps our kids to learn how to be responsible and organized.  Practice routines at home that help your child’s morning (and your mornings) to be calm and pleasant.  It always helps when they arrive at school with a positive attitude.  Research tells us that our brains cannot learn when we are angry, fearful or upset.  By starting the day positively, we can increase learning.  You do make a difference.  See you Thursday night! Score one for the Durham home team!

Warmest regards,

Onica L. Mayers
Ready to Serve

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Extra Degree

Dear Durham Family,

It’s hard to believe that we only returned to campus one week ago.  It certainly feels like our students and staff are settled and never left.  Each morning, as I greet students and families by Circle Drive, I am reminded of why I chose this profession. The smiling faces of our students propel me to do the best job possible each day.  As I watch parents drop their children off and wish them a great day, I think of my own children, and my expectations for them, and know that the work we have to do is of great importance for generations to come.  This week as I walked the campus, I was so proud of our faculty and staff.  This year, our theme is moving Durham from good to great by stepping up the extra degree. 

Each of them has committed to stepping up the extra degree to ensure that our students’ needs are met emotionally, socially, and academically.  They have begun their conversations about setting personal and academic goals, and I encourage you to ask your youngsters what their goals are, so that you can be a part of the steps taken to accomplish them.

How will you step up the extra degree to support your children this year?  Can you commit to volunteering one day each semester?  Have you joined the PTA?  How often do you communicate with your child’s teacher?  Do you read to your children nightly, or have them do mental math to estimate the cost of groceries while waiting to check out?  This year, I employ you to go the extra degree and commit to being a partner in your child’s academic life. 

This week I am looking forward to seeing our grade 5 Top Dogs as they step up the extra degree and demonstrate their ability to be leaders on campus, as they help our youngest Dalmatians get to class each morning. Together, we can and do make a difference; every degree counts.

Warmest regards,

Onica L. Mayers
Ready to Serve