Polaris Charter School

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Monthly Archives: September 2014

The Week Ending 9/26/14

Polaris Star

Special Visitors 

On Friday September 26th, Gubernatorial candidate Walt Havenstein and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal visited Polaris Charter School.  They toured several classrooms led by tour guides Alex and Alanna.  Students were very welcoming and were excited to meet them and ask questions.  Following the tour, we held a round table discussion. Two students from each classroom had the opportunity to meet Mr. Havenstein and Governor Jindal and ask them questions.  The questions raised ranged from what sort of problems do they think need fixing to what their favorite food was – Governor Jindal’s is chocolate chip cookies and candidate Haventein’s is hot dogs!

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On Tuesday we discussed the meaning of community and tied that in with our peanut butter and jelly drive.  I think students were quite surprised to learn that there are some kids in New Hampshire that would go hungry over the weekends if the program End 68 Hours of Hunger didn’t supply them with food to take home with them on Fridays.  On Wednesday, I asked students to share what they have observed about the Polaris community.  There was a lot of talk about the friendships that have been made. On Thursday, we watched a short video about the ingredients necessary to create a positive classroom community.  You can view it here.

This Friday, it was Ms. Vlasich’s class turn to share with the school.  They read a poem about their class:

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Many people are good at talking about what they are doing, but in fact do little.  Others do a lot but don’t talk about it; they are the ones who make a community live.  -Jean Vanier

Star Students

Our Star Students were announced on Monday.  These students were recognized for their actions toward cultivating a sense of community.  Nice job: Colton, Courtney, Dominick, Ephrim, Madison, Sebastian, and Tyler.

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 Art Class News

This week, students worked on their renditions of Starry Nights.


Mrs. Rose

Mandarin Chinese Corner

Hello Parents!  Thank you for having the kids bring in family pictures to my class.  This week, we learned a few new words like:  I have and family member names such as Dad and Mom. We also reviewed all the words that we have learned so far.  Next week, we will continue learning some more family member’s names and use the picture to do a project.

Please kindly have your child bring the following for next week: two folders with pockets and some art papers.  I am also looking for donations of some decks of cars and dice.  Thank you!

Ms. Wong

 Music Notes

It has been an exciting start to the school year in “Ms. Dan’s” music class! I am enjoying getting to know every student and discovering their knowledge and enthusiasm of music.

In keeping with the theme of “Who am I”, we’ve used several songs and chants to explore our origins. In the primary classes, we’ve been singing “This Little Light of Mine.” Because it is a zipper song (meaning you can change the lyrics to fit the theme), the students have sung of how they let their light shine individually, how they care for their pets, and how they help others. In the intermediate classes, we’ve been learning a chant that asks, “Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?” Student sing (in rhythm) of where they were born, what is their passion, and where they want to go in life.

All of the classes have participated in creating their own “names” by using the musical alphabet of the letters A through G. Each student wrote their entire names, identified how many of the letters of the music alphabet were contained in their names, notated those letters on a musical staff, and then played those letters on the Orff instruments. This tradition comes from West Africa, where each person has a “song” that is as important as their given name. The community sings a person’s song at rites of passage, and holds him or her accountable in their life within the community. We have had lots of fun being creative in this process.

We also have honored the 200th anniversary of the poem, “The Star Spangled Banner”. Penned in September, 1814, we studied the origin of the song, when it is used, and the proper respect given when hearing or singing the song. One of the fun exercises we did was to form a circle, and pass the stick in the 3/4 rhythm while singing the song. It was a challenge!

I am grateful to have so many varied rhythm instruments available in the classroom, as well as the wonderful Orff instruments (xylophones and glockenspiels). My “wish list” would be to have each student have their own recorders, a set of Boomwackers, and a music staff notebook for each child. Some students have studied music outside of the classroom, and we’ve had a few mini”concerts” on the piano and guitar. It is our plan to have some additional instruments from the Manchester Music Store in our classroom for a sort of “petting zoo”, whereby the students can hold and play a variety of instruments.

Ms. Dan

PEF News

School Newspaper:

The student-led school newspaper is kicking off again this year and Ms. Haynes needs a volunteer for Fridays from 11:55am – 12:20pm. The volunteer would help organize the kids, help them with computer and spelling questions, and overall just monitor them as they work on the newspaper. If you have any questions, please contact Daniela (danielareyes@comcast.net). Thank you!

Dietary Needs:

Our Event Chairperson is actively seeking donations from several companies for dairy free, nut free and gluten free foods so that families with special dietary concerns have a wider option of treats at school events. To best communicate how unique or school is to potential donors she is asking that anyone with special family diet or allergies send her a quick e-mail about those needs. No individual family information will be given to outside parties, just statistics that will bring us more free goodies.  Jayme25@aol.com

The Auction/Gala!

We are hoping to make our annual auction a much bigger, more exciting event this year.  We will need lots of help to do this.  There will be jobs that won’t require coming to meetings or coming in to school. If you’re looking for ways to help out from home, this is a great opportunity. Please let us know if you’re interested, and we’ll put you on the mailing list for the auction committee. The auction will take place in the spring. Email Daniela (lilredraver@rocketmail.com) or Kathy (kmburtram@gmail.com) for more information.

A note from the PEF Enrichment Committee:

Please remind your children that participating in Enrichment Activities is a privilege.  Many parents are volunteering their time and energy to provide and/or support these unique opportunities.  It is very important that your children understand:

– They should treat the program leaders and parent volunteers with the same respect they show their teachers during the school day.

– They should show respect for fellow students and school property.

Please review the Behavior Contract with your children to be sure they understand – see page 15 of the Enrichment Brochure (http://polariseducationalfoundation.org/enrichment). We want everyone to feel safe, comfortable and happy while experiencing something new. Thank you!

Mark your calendar for these upcoming events:

October 1: Parent Coffee at Bridge Street Café starting at 8:15.

October 18: North Star Dance, 6 to 8:30 PM. Details were sent via email earlier in the week, and paper invitations will go home soon. Here’s the sign-up list for volunteers for the North Star Dance:


November 15th, evening: Thanksgiving Pot Luck at Polaris. Details will be provided in a future newsletter!

Brianna Sargent Merrill

Buddy Time

Students in Miss Gilbert and Miss Hayne’s paired with a buddy to read in partners this week.

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The Week Ending 9/19/14

Polaris Star

Science in Ms. Vlasich’s Class 

Ms. Vlasich’s class is conducting a (Ms. V as she is affectionately known), Science activity examining growth and change in plants.  Plants develop just as we grow and change which is connected to our focus of Who Am I this trimester.   We are observing what is important for lima beans to grow, making daily observations in our plant journals, identifying the parts of the plant and their functions. Students are also identifying different leaves and their varied underlying structure.





We had more fun building our school community this week.  On Wednesday, we listened to the song Get Together by the Youngbloods.  On Thursday, Miss Arielle visited us to talk about Yoga Enrichment that will be running Oct. 22, 29, Nov. 5, 12.  Registration begins Saturday September 20th at noon.  We got to practice some yoga poses and we greeted each other by saying Namaste, which means the light in me sees the light in you. Thank you Miss Arielle!

This Friday, it was Mrs. Rainy’s class turn to share their learning.  Juju, D’caury and Hafsa shared their bio poems  and Charlotte read two chapters of a story she is writing.


What should young people do with their lives today? Many things, obiviously.  But the most daring thing is to create stable communities in which the terrible disease of loneliness can be cured. – Kurt Vonnegut

  Please Help 

We still need your donations of peanut butter and jelly!  As a reminder, Polaris is hosting a this drive to benefit the Somersworth branch of the program End 68 Hours of Hunger. This program supplies students, who would otherwise go hungry, with enough food to make it through the approximately 68 hours between when students receive their free lunch at school on Fridays and their free breakfast at school on Mondays.  The Somersworth branch alone feeds over 100 students every weekend that would otherwise go hungry. Please send in plastic containers, and the peanut butter should be the smaller sized containers.

For more information about the program End 68 Hours of Hunger you can visit end68hoursofhunger.org or go to the Facebook page “End 68 Hours of Hunger Somersworth.”


Star Students

Last week’s Star Students were recognized on Monday for their contribution toward creating their classroom community.  Way to go: Alanna, Andrew, Devansh, Frank, Hafsa, Maru, Mohammed and Peter.

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Volunteer Hours

We want to thank all of the volunteers who have been working so hard to provide experiences, support and materials to our staff and families.  You are all doing a great job! We want to be sure we keep track of all the time you are putting in, at school and at home, so we can credit you towards the 10-hour family volunteering quota.  We have a Volunteer Service Time log in the front office where you can fill in a sheet with your information and keep track of the time you are spending. If you are doing work at home, feel free to take a log home with you so you can track that time as well. We would love estimates of time spent over the summer in addition to time since school started.  We use our records of volunteer time to support requests for grants and to show the strong support we have as a community to make our “school of choice” strong. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Michelle Mathieu in the front office at 634-0034 or at m.mathieu@polarischarterschool.org.

 Art Class News

The featured artist of the month for September is Vincent Van Gogh. This week students were inspired by both his famous painting, “Sunflowers” painted in 1889 as well as some real sunflowers! His “Sunflowers” painting fetched over 39 million dollars at auction a few years ago!

Mrs. Rose


Message From Mandarin Chinese

Welcome to our Mandarin Chinese Corner!  Parents, thank you for letting me introduce Chinese culture and language to your children this year.  They have been doing great for the last three weeks!  So far, we have been learning basic greetings like hello, good-bye, my Chinese teacher’s name and my name is ________ and how about you?  We also learned about the Autumn Moon Festival and we watched a video on how to make moon cake.

Next week, we are learning about immediate family members so please have your child bring in a picture to do show and tell.  Thank you!

Ms. Wong

A Glimpse Into Music 

Primary students have learned the song This Little Light of Mine and each child has shared a way they let their light shine. They also came up with an example of how they have shined their light by helping others.  Intermediate students found the music notes in their name, made a song and then played it on the xylophone. The activities tied in well with this Trimester’s theme of Who am I?

Ms. Dan

PEF News

The PEF is meeting on Friday, September 19th at 7 PM at the school.

Prior to the PEF meeting, at 6:15 PM on Friday, there will be a Destination Imagination information session for parents. If you are interested in DI, an enrichment offered from November through March, please attend this information session.

School picture day is Wednesday, September 24th. Send no money now! The order form was sent home last week for your information. Additional order forms will be available if you have misplaced yours. Orders will be placed once you have seen the photo proofs – a week or more after picture day.

Ric Dumais has volunteered to run a Ham Radio club. Polaris has received a grant and donations of equipment to make this possible. An information session will be held next week; stay tuned for details!


Buddy Time

Students in Miss Brown’s and Mrs. Rainey’s paired with a buddy and made bookmarks. It was a great opportunity for primary and intermediate to get to know each other.

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The Week Ending 9/12/14

Polaris Star

Special Visitor 

On Monday, Jim Rubens, candidate for U.S. Senate visited our school once again. Although it was the day before the primary, he took the time to greet some students as well as answer some questions (and they had good ones!).  Mr. Ruben was previously a New Hampshire state senator and he authored the legislation that has allowed charter schools to exist here and we are grateful for that.

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Core Value – Community

At this week’s morning gathering, we discussed more about community.  On Tuesday, we listened to the song Lets Work Together by Canned Heat.  You can play it here.  On Wednesday, we did an activity aimed at getting to know each other better.  I asked questions and students stood up if the answer was ‘yes.’  One thing we learned is that there are quite a few students who speak more than one language!  We also acknowledged students who had summer birthdays.  On Thursday, we watched a short video on what a school community is that you can view here.  One new thing that we have added this year is that every Friday, one classroom will share something about their week.  This Friday, several students in Mrs. Post’s shared their bio poems with us and they were wonderful!

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  Peanut Butter and Jelly Drive

To demonstrate community, Polaris will be hosting a Peanut Butter and Jelly Drive to benefit the Somersworth branch of the program End 68 Hours of Hunger. This is a private, non-profit organization that helps feed local, food-insecure students. No one gets paid and 100% of all donations goes towards buying food. There are approximately 68 hours between when students receive their free lunch at school on Fridays and their free breakfast at school on Mondays. This program supplies students, who would otherwise go hungry, with enough food to make it through those 68 hours. The Somersworth branch alone feeds over 100 students every weekend.

To help support End 68 Hours of Hunger, Polaris will be hosting a Peanut Butter and Jelly Drive from September 15-26. Each classroom will have a box to collect peanut butter and jelly. It is very important that these items be in plastic containers, not glass, and the peanut butter should be the smaller sized containers. (Also, please be sure to check the expiration dates.)

For more information about the program End 68 Hours of Hunger you can visit end68hoursofhunger.org or go to the Facebook page “End 68 Hours of Hunger Somersworth.”

Star Students

Last week’s Star Students were recognized on Monday for their contribution toward creating their classroom community.  Congratulation to: D’caury, Ethan, Josie, Julian, Maya, Rosie and Talia.

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Reminders for Parents

  • If would like us to be able to give your children over the counter medication such as cough drops and Tylenol, we must have a signed permission form.  If you need another copy, please contact Michelle Mathieu.
  • Please remember to update your child’s information in our Student Information System ESPECIALLY if your child has any medical conditions or allergies.  Your family’s username and password was emailed to you.  This is also where you can access your child’s classroom directory. If you need it resent, please contact Jennifer Murdock-Smith.
  • If you are picking up your child(ren) by car, please have your name placard displayed on the right side of your dashboard or visor and leave it displayed until your child gets in the vehicle.  If you need extras please contact Michelle Mathieu.

School Picture Day

School Picture Day is on Wednesday, September 24th. Information forms went home this week. Please check you child’s backpack if you have not seen the form.

Additional information:

1) Parents will be able to select from a choice of several proofs.

2) Sibling photos are available. If you have more than one child attending Polaris, and would like sibling photos, please make arrangements with the Polaris office.

3) Photos will be taken outdoors, weather permitting.

4) Solid colors or clothing with small print are recommended by the photography company. Avoid overly bright colors.

Please Help

photo 1Our Mandarin Chinese Desiree Wong teacher needs some supplies. Can you please help?

  • Dry Erase markers
  • 3 packs – color pencils
  • 3 packs – crayons
  • Eraser tops
  • Manual pencil sharpeners
  • 18 – school scissors
  • Transparent tape refills
  • Tissue Paper
  • Blank CDs
  • Post its
  • Staples
  • Small Brown paper bags
  • Yarns: brown, gold, black, red


 Art This Week

This week in Mrs. Rose’s art class, the  students created color wheels using primary, secondary, and tertiary colors ( third order colors like yellowish green). They were also introduced to Roy G. Biv. In case you haven’t been introduced to Roy before, he is actually an Acronym to help us remember the colors of the rainbow. R for red, O for orange, Y for yellow, G for green, B for blue, I for indigo, and V for violet. Here’s a fun science fact: Rainbows are created by both reflection and refraction (bending) of light in water droplets in the atmosphere, which results in a spectrum of light appearing. 

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PEF News

Spirit Wear is back! Click here to view. Order forms  were sent home with students this week and can also be found here, and are due on Thursday, September 18th. New this year – custom paracord items made by Polaris parent Ric Dumais.

Pizza Fridays will begin next week! Orders for pizza should be sent to the school by Thursday each week. Pizza is $1.50 per slice, and water is $1 per bottle. The order form is here has four orders per page to save paper. If you don’t have an order form to send in, please send a note with the payment. Envelopes should be labeled “Pizza” so that they are easy to sort in the office. Monthly ordering is not yet available, so please order one week at a time.

Volunteers – don’t forget to complete your background check process and turn in all 3 forms to the school office before you are scheduled to begin volunteering. If you have not started the process, all the forms [http://polariseducationalfoundation.org/get-involved/volunteer/] are available on the PEF website.

The PEF monthly meeting will be held on Friday, September 19th at 7 PM.

The joint Event and Fundraising Committee meeting has been rescheduled for Wednesday, September 24th at 7:00.

Buddy Time

Students in Mrs. Dudley’s and Mrs. Post’s class joined and read International Dot Day by Peter H. Reynolds.  The book challenges students to “make their mark.” After they read the story, an Intermediate student and a Primary student were paired and they spent some time learning two things about each other. Following that, students used dots of paint and wax paper to make a beautiful stained glass project.

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The Week Ending 9/05/14

Polaris Star

Back to School Celebration

We kicked off our school year on Saturday August 23rd with a Back To School Celebration hosted by our Parent Education Foundation (PEF).  Thank you to the volunteers who devoted many hours to making this event such joyful time.  This was also when our first Parent/Teacher/Student conferences were held.  It was so wonderful to see the children and witness their excitement at being back at school.

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New Staff

It is a pleasure to introduce some wonderful new staff members who have joined our Polaris community. Mike Lawton is our Director of Curriculum and Instruction.  He will be at Polaris on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  Lisa Vlasich, who was our Primary Educational Assistant last year is now our fourth Intermediate teacher. We are also pleased to announce our new Specials teachers. Joining Ian Feller, who has returned to teach P.E., are Amy Rose teaching Art, Sarah Dan Jones teaching Music and Desiree Wong teaching Mandarin Chinese. Our Educational Assistants this year are Michael Solis and Mari Twitchell.  Michael works with our Primary teachers and students while Mari is with our Intermediate group.

Please take a moment to get to know them better by  clicking here.


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Monthly Core Value – Community

Each month a core value related to character education is discussed as a school as well as in the classroom.  During September, we will be focused on community.  In collaboration with their teacher, students have been establishing classroom rules as well as participating in some wonderful team building activities. Our year has gotten off to a great start!

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Reminders for Parents

  • If your child is going to be absent or if there is a change to drop off/pick up please email attendance@polarischarterschool.org. You are welcome to email their teacher as well but if you only email the teacher and they are absent we will not get the information.
  • Please make sure that if you are picking up your child(ren) by car, that you have your name placard displayed on the right side of your dashboard or visor.  If you need extras please contact Michelle Mathieu.

Pizza is Coming Soon!

photoLast year we offered pizza and water for sale at lunch time on Fridays.  The kids loved the pizza, parents loved a day without having to make a lunch and it is a great fundraiser for our school.  Many of you have asked if we planned to do this again and the answer is yes! Information will be sent once we have settled into our routine and have volunteers to help.

PEF News

photo 4The PEF welcomes all new and returning families to Polaris! Upcoming meetings are: a combined Events and Fundraising Committee meeting on Thursday, September 11 at 7 PM, and a PEF monthly meeting on Friday, September 19 at 7 PM. Both meetings will be held at the school.

Enrichment activities begin soon, and there will be sign-ups for additional programs over the next few weeks. A link for the 2014-2015 Enrichment Brochure can be found here: http://polariseducationalfoundation.org/enrichment/.

Check out our recently updated website polariseducationalfoundation.org. Most of what you want to know about the PEF can be found there. Also, feel free to contact PEF Co-President Brianna Sargent Merrill (briannaanddwayn@gmail.com) with questions or input. If you are not receiving emails from the PEF, please email Brianna to be added to the email group; this is our primary method of communication with parents.

The PEF has a Facebook group for information sharing and community building. If you would like to join, here’s the link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/384978324887378/. This is a closed group, so you will need to request to join. A tip: if your name on Facebook is not your actual name, you might want to email Brianna first identifying yourself as a Polaris parent or guardian.

We are looking forward to a wonderful year at Polaris!