Polaris Charter School

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Monthly Archives: November 2016

Week Ending 11/18/16

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From the Board of Trustees

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Polaris Charter School has joined #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities and organizations to encourage philanthropy and to celebrate generosity worldwide.  This effort will kick off the Board’s annual appeal for funds to enhance the educational offerings at our public charter school, located in the heart of Manchester, NH.

Occurring this year on November 29, #GivingTuesday is held annually on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving (in the U.S.) and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday to kick-off the holiday giving season and inspire people to collaborate in improving their local communities and to give back in impactful ways to the charities and causes they support.

Members of our Board of Trustees and Polaris Community are helping extend your generous donations by matching contributions.  If the Polaris community can raise $1,000 that will amount to over $5,000 donated to our students. Many employers also have matching funds available to current and retired employees who donate to a non-profit organization.  (Polaris Charter School is a designated 501c3 tax-exempt charity.)  To see if an employer participates in doubling donations, check out this link:  https://doublethedonation.com/giving-tuesday/

Please help spread the word about our school’s participation in #Giving Tuesday.  Ask your family and friends to visit our polarischarterschool.org/givingtuesday  page and to give generously for our students and staff to fully engage in our school’s mission.

Results of the Open Forum on Facilities

Over thirty people were able to attend the Board’s first Open Forum on November 10th, which focused on the topic of Facilities from our Strategic Plan.  Participants included members of the Board of Trustees, the Co-Directors, teachers, parents, and members of the public.

After a short presentation to explain the history and development of the Strategic Plan, small groups were formed to discuss the most important aspects of the school’s facility.  It was explained that our current lease continues through 2020, so discussions should focus on both short-term and long-term considerations, and recognize that we receive limited funding, on a per pupil basis, from the State.

The results from the small group discussions indicated that the Board should consider the following priorities for the facility:

  • Safety First
  • Classroom Space (More storage, shelving needs to be added to current classrooms)
  • Additional Interior Space (Larger Library, Suitable Physical Education and Indoor Activity Space,
  •  Large Group Function Area would all improve our facility)

It was also clear that participants placed a high value on the current teaching staff and would not want to spend so much money on facility needs that the budget might jeopardize the continuation of a high quality faculty, nor jeopardize the existing intimate community of staff, students, and parents.

The small group discussions were shared with the entire group and followed by each participant completing a Feedback Form to indicate individual assessment of the efficiency and effectiveness of this first Open Forum, interest in attending and/or recommending future Open Forums, and the topics of greatest interest for future Open Forums.  There was strong consensus to hold additional Open Forums with the Board of Trustees, with the topics of Education and Curriculum, Outreach and Public Relations, and Finances being of greatest interest.

The Board of Trustees will decide on the next Open Forum topic at their December 20th regularly scheduled meeting.  Members of the public are always welcome to attend meetings of the Board of Trustees and to share any comments at the beginning of the meeting, which are held at the school, starting at 6 PM.

During the week after Thanksgiving, the Facility Sub-Committee of the Board, (including Trustee Jim Aguiar, Trustee Camila Miranda, and Administrator Liz Putnam,) will be meeting to discuss replacing the residential grade fence surrounding the playground. The fence has needed continual repair and the discussion will focus on the optimal size, permitting requirements, and the expected cost to replace the current fence with something more durable.  The exact date and time of the sub-committee will be posted, as this meeting is also open to the public.  If you are interested in joining this sub-committee, please contact Jill Cane, Board Chair, at j.cane@polarischarterschool.org.

Bollards!

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After two years and many hours of effort from Camila Miranda and Liz Putnam the bollards are in! Thank you Camila and Liz and thank you parents who donated to the cause so we can keep students as safe as we can!

Core Value – Citizenship

Since last Friday was Veteran’s Day, we talked about that this week. We read “What a Veteran Knows” by Joe Carter that shared the true meaning of service so we can really think about what we mean when we thank a veteran for their service. We also talked about rights versus responsibilities. We have the right to a good quality education however we also have the responsibility to do our work and try our best.

Star Students

Great job: Cole, Christian, Ephrim, Maryam, Sydney, Temperance, Toby and Torrey!

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Smarter Balanced Results

If your child was a Polaris student in Grade 3 – 6 and participated in the Smarter Balanced Assessment last spring, their results were sent home in their backpack on Friday. A breakdown of our school’s overall results compared to the state is below:

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Hydra Class Share

Miss Haynes’s class recently finished reading the young reader’s edition of “Pay it Forward” by Catherine Ryan Hyde. On Friday they shared a short play that they put together summarizing the book and the main concept of paying it forward. To pay it forward you do a big act of kindness for three people without asking for anything in return, other than that each of them does the same for three people. This chain continues on and on until everyone in the world has been touched with an act of kindness, and everyone in the world adopts kindness as a main principle to live by.

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STEM

For the past two weeks students have been learning how to build towers with Knex. The first week kids were learning more of how the pieces connected. In the second week they were able to take their basic knowledge of connecting pieces to build towers. 

The goals for this week were:

1. Build a tower three stick tall.
2. The tower needs to hold a water bottle.

If the tower met goal 1 and 2 then they could add extra features.

Some students found out that shorter can be stronger. There were creative uses of some of the shapes in ways I had not considered using them. One group was able to make their foundation circle. Most groups build bases that were square.

It was great to see the students communicating with each other as they determined how they were going to build. They also demonstrated their ability to share as there is a limit to how many pieces they had to work with. 16 kids with one kit was a good learning experience for them.  

Next week we will be talking about some different designs and analyzing what is good about them and what could be improved.  The K’NEX® will be used heavily next trimester as we look into different Physical Science principals such as levers, pulleys, incline plane.

The STEM class has 1 K’NEX® Roller Coaster Physics Set at the moment.  

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Reminders

  • No School November 23rd, 24th and 25th
  • #Giving Tuesday November 29th
  • If there is a delayed opening for the Manchester School District on a Wednesday, Polaris Charter School will be closed.
  • Wednesday, Dec 7th:  6-7pm  Primary Learning Celebration
  • Thursday, Dec 8th: 5:30-7pm Intermediate Learning Celebration. We moved the time up 1/2 hour so that parents who have siblings can hopefully enjoy both celebrations.

PEF News

After School Enrichments

Parents, please take the Enrichment survey below. It only takes a few minutes and will help us to plan the Winter and Spring terms!

Enrichment Survey

We are actively looking for parent volunteers to run enrichment courses. If you have a skill you’d like to share with the students at Polaris please email us at pefenrichment@gmail.com. Some ideas that have been suggested in the past are sewing, astronomy, and programming, but all ideas are welcome!

The Sustainable Artist: Making Art From Trash Registration   4 week class (11/21, 11/28, 12/5, 12/12) $68

This course of study will encourage students to see art in everything around them and to procure supplies from the family’s recycling and trash bins. Upon completing this course, students will understand how to experiment with a variety of materials and how to prepare those materials for glue and paint. They will begin to understand why sustainability as an artist is important. At the end of each day, they will produce an art piece, usually a sculpture, that reacts what materials they studied. All supplies are covered in this course, however if the student has additional trash they would like to integrate in their pieces, they are welcome to bring them, if they are well labeled with the student’s information.

School Spirit Wear– School Spirit Wear is now available on line. Choose sizes from toddler to 5X. This year’s selection includes great customization options as well as new options such as coffee mugs and winter hats. There is no deadline to order. The school store is here year round. However, each order is customized and can take up to 14 days to process and complete.  We recommend you make all holiday orders at least 20 days in advance.  The store has available special custom options including shirts that say Polaris Mom, Grandma, Uncle or Dad will make a great gift for the holidays! Order any time:

https://ssastores.com/polarischarterschool

Pizza Ordering Reminder– Please use the order forms.  If for some reason you are not able to use the form, it is very important that you include your child’s NAME, CLASS, and # of pizza slices with the money that you turn in.  Otherwise, your order may not be placed correctly and your child is likely to be disappointed. Thank you!

 

Week Ending 11/04/16

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From the Board of Trustees

The Board of Trustees would like to thank all of the participants in Thursday evening’s Open Forum.  We heard many thoughtful suggestions for our facility in both the short-term and the long-term. In next week’s newsletter, we will provide readers with a summary of the discussion and our follow-up plans, which will be based on the notes from the small group exercise and the feedback forms.

The next meeting of the Board of Trustees is Tuesday, November 15th at 6PM.  On the agenda is an update on the Facility Goals, (including a report from the Open Forum,) and a beginning discussion of the Finance Goals from the Strategic Plan.  Meetings of the Board of Trustees are always open to the public.

Shire Sharing

Polaris is again teaming up with Shire Sharing to bring Thanksgiving dinners to families in our Community who may other wise go without.

Whether you can donate time, food or money, there are a lot of ways to help!

We will be holding a food drive at Polaris where kids can bring in items to donate through November 18th. This is a great way for kids to feel involved and have a sense of helping.

Students and families are invited to help out at the warehouse on South Willow assembling donation baskets. The address is 377 South Willow and it starts at 10am on Saturday Nov 19th. Information can be found at shiresharing.org/volunteer and at shiresharing.org/donate

Also, Shire Sharing is now an official 501c3 charity, which means that donations are tax-deductible!

Here is the list of desired items:

  • 1-pound bags of lentils, split green peas (dry)
  • 9-inch pie shells
  • Bread or cornbread mixes 
  • Small bottles of vegetable oil
  • Canned veggies – 15 oz size – green beans, peas, corn preferred
  • Small jars of turkey gravy
  • Boxed stuffing mixes
  • Jars or cans of cranberry sauce
  • French’s Fried Onions or equivalent
  • Cans of cream of mushroom soup
  • Libby’s Pumpkin Pie Filling or equivalent
  • Evaporated milk

Core Value – Citizenship

Here is a candidate that we can all get behind! View Kid President’s video about how we can change the world by clicking here.

Coding

This week, the intermediate classes were fortunate to have two visitors from SNHU come in and teach coding to our students. Students worked in teams to code a Star Wars game. Not only did students learn more about coding and computer science, but teamwork as well. 

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Archeology

Mrs.Rainey’s class has been learning all about archeology. Their classroom has become a dig site and students are working in teams and excavating Ancient Egyptian artifacts. After excavating, they are cataloging the artifacts and then they will be organizing and analyzing the artifacts to draw conclusions about what life was like for the people who lived at this site. 

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Star Students

Congratulations Ella S., Evan, Maru, Jamari, Mohammed, Ryenn, Sarah and Vivianna.

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Items Needed

We need donations of Cheerios for students who forget their snack/lunch.

Reminders

  • Board Meeting November 15th
  • No School November 23rd, 24th and 25th
  • #Giving Tuesday November 29th
  • If there is a delayed opening for the Manchester School District on a Wednesday, Polaris Charter School will be closed.
  • Wednesday, Dec 7th:  6-7pm  Primary Learning Celebration
  • Thursday, Dec 8th: 6-7pm Intermediate Learning Celebration. Note that this is a change we have made to our school calendar. 

PEF News

After School Enrichments

Parents, please take the Enrichment survey below. It only takes a few minutes and will help us to plan the Winter and Spring terms!

Enrichment Survey

We are actively looking for parent volunteers to run enrichment courses. If you have a skill you’d like to share with the students at Polaris please email us at pefenrichment@gmail.com. Some ideas that have been suggested in the past are sewing, astronomy, and programming, but all ideas are welcome!

The Sustainable Artist: Making Art From Trash Registration

As a reminder, all enrichments over $100 can be paid for in 2 installments. Additionally, Enrichment Scholarship is available upon request. Please contact The Enrichment Team at pefenrichment@gmail.com for questions or to enroll!

School Spirit Wear– School Spirit Wear is now available on line. Choose sizes from toddler to 5X. This year’s selection includes great customization options as well as new options such as coffee mugs and winter hats. There is no deadline to order. The school store is here year round. However, each order is customized and can take up to 14 days to process and complete.  We recommend you make all holiday orders at least 20 days in advance.  The store has available special custom options including shirts that say Polaris Mom, Grandma, Uncle or Dad will make a great gift for the holidays! Order any time:

https://ssastores.com/polarischarterschool

Pizza Ordering Reminder– Please use the order forms.  If for some reason you are not able to use the form, it is very important that you include your child’s NAME, CLASS, and # of pizza slices with the money that you turn in.  Otherwise, your order may not be placed correctly and your child is likely to be disappointed. Thank you!

Below, you can find some important dates for your School Calendar:

  • PEF Meeting– December 5th 7pm at Polaris
  • Game Night– January 14th
  • Polaris Auction!!! – March 11th

Week Ending 11/04/16

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From the Board of Trustees

The Board of Trustees for Polaris Charter School has recently undergone a few changes in membership and we are eager to broaden our perspectives even further. This letter is written to introduce ourselves to you, and to initiate you to participate in an ongoing dialogue between the Board of Trustees and the community we serve.

Our amended Charter enables the Board of Trustees to have a maximum of nine members, on which parents must be less than a majority and hold a minimum of two Board seats.  The Board currently includes seven members.  The three parent representatives are Sharon Klardie, Elizabeth Levy, and Ali Nakip (Vice Chair.)  The four non-parent members are Jim Aguiar (Treasurer,) Jill Cane (Chair,) Susan Hartford (Secretary,) and Camila Miranda.  The two Co-Directors at Polaris, Elizabeth Putnam and Jennifer Murdock-Smith, serve as Ex-Officio members of the Board, offering information and guidance from their unique roles as the Business, Admissions, and Operations Director and Student Services Director, but neither School Administrator may vote on issues before the Board of Trustees.  For more information on the background of each Board Member, please refer to the Board link on the Polaris Charter School website. 

The Polaris Board of Trustees is inviting our adult community of parents, staff, and friends to a series of Open Forums, beginning on November 10th, from 7-8:30 PM. Our initial Open Forum will focus on the first section of the Board’s Strategic Plan, which was created following a broad survey of parents, staff, and Board members last year, and designed to set goals for the entire community to work on over the following 12 to 18 months.  At the first Open Forum on November 10th, we will start by sharing and asking for your input on the goals we are considering for the school Facility.  The goals drafted for the facility are:

1.      Develop a plan that is consistent with the mission of the school to investigate options for a location that better meets our needs.

2.      Improve the safety of the current playground by installing a higher fence or netting and solving the barrier issues.           

The Board of Trustees is very interested in hearing your ideas and suggestions related to the Strategic Plan, which includes many important issues facing Polaris Charter School.  To make the best decisions for Polaris current and future students, the Board of Trustees recognizes the importance of gathering ideas, suggestions, and feedback from the public.  By law, the Board of Trustees is held accountable for the legal and fiduciary responsibilities related to the school.  By choice, we want our decisions to be the most effective means to advance the mission of the school.  As parents, teachers and other adult friends of Polaris, you have some unique knowledge, different perspectives, and a wide range of skills we encourage you to share with the Board of Trustees. At each Open Forum, participants will have an opportunity to learn more about the issues and tasks the Board is considering and to have input, which will affect the Board’s decision-making.

Please join us for our first Open Forum on November 10th, from 7-8:30 PM, in the Gathering Room of Polaris Charter School, located on 100 Coolidge Avenue in Manchester.  We look forward to seeing you there and hearing your voices!

#Giving Tuesday

The Polaris Board of Trustees is pleased and excited to announce our participation in the #Giving Tuesday movement.  Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving and the widely celebrated shopping events of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable giving season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving.

#GivingTuesday is a global day of giving, fueled by the power of social media and collaboration. It is not an organization and does not accept or distribute donations. However, last year #GivingTuesday brought together over 45,000 partners in 71 countries and helped raise nearly $117 Million online in the US alone.

As 2016 marks the fifth year of the #GivingTuesday movement, and the fifth year of Polaris Charter School, we are choosing to launch our 5-Point Stars for Polaris Capital Fundraising Campaign on Tuesday, November 29, 2016.  We will be joining the #GivingTuesday social media effort to provide greater awareness of the five main points of Polaris, (a joyful learning experience, which promotes creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, and communication) and to provide people everywhere with an opportunity to support the continuing success of Polaris Charter School.

#GivingTuesday unifies charities, corporations, small businesses, and individuals from across the globe to show that the world gives as good as it gets. #GivingTuesday is about ordinary people coming together doing extraordinary things. Here is a link to share with family and friends.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DekeiZiTV7U&sns=em

Polaris Charter School is proud to be a part of the #GivingTuesday movement.

Core Value – Citizenship

Each month we focus on a different Core Value and during November we will be talking about Citizenship. We read the definitions of citizenship: 1. the state of being vested with the rights, privileges and duties of a citizen 2. the character of an individual viewed as a member by society. We then brainstormed our ideas of what good citizens do.

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On Wednesday we used a chocolate chip cookie to discuss the importance of following a recipe. What would the cookie be like without sugar, eggs, milk or chocolate chips? We agreed that it would not taste very good. A recipe is like our classroom and school rules. If we follow them, we will be safe, feel good and will be good citizens.

Thursday we discussed how our country used to be ruled by England and when we signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776 and then Continental Congress declared the name of our new nation the “United States” we in effect became U.S. citizens. Our first national flag was sewn by Betsy Ross and was approved on June, 14 1777. Every morning we recite the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag so we talked about the flag’s history. We looked at a picture of the original flag with the 13 stars and stripes that represented the 13 original colonies. As new states joined our country the flag design changed until 1960 when Hawaii became a state. Our current flag has 13 stripes that represent the 13 original colonies and 50 stars to represent our 50 states. The colors of the flag have meaning as well. Red symbolizes Hardiness and Valor, white symbolizes Purity and Innocence and Blue represents Vigilance, Perseverance and Justice. So when we recite the pledge it is not just words we say; there is much meaning behind them.

Book Buddies

Ms. Haynes and Ms. Gilbert’s class got together for buddy time this week. They worked with their partner to make acrostic poems using each other’s names to describe qualities about each other.

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Star Students

This week’s respectful students were: Emmy, Izzy, Lilly, Lucas, Max, Tania, Tori and Tristan.

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 Vela’s Class Share

Corresponding to our trimester theme of “Long Ago,” Mrs. Fesh’s taught us how before we had calendars and time pieces, constellations were used to help people navigate and even to know when to plant crops. Each of our classrooms at Polaris is named after a constellation. Vela happens to be the shape of a ship and it is located in the southern hemisphere. The north star (Polaris) is also our guide and Vela students shared ways that they shine as citizens.

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Items Needed

We need donations of Cheerios. Fruity, Honey-Nut and Multi-Grain are the fan favorites.

New Ed Assistant  

Loren Robidas is ecstatic to join the Polaris community.  Mrs. “R” has 14 Early Childhood Credits and is currently enrolled at Granite State College to continue her education. She has been working with children for two years. She  is familiar with Montessori Teachings and Reggio Emilila. She is most inspired by the Reggio Emilila Approach. Mrs. R is influenced by Mindfulness and the well being of children. She has been an LNA on the cardiac unit at the Elliot Hospital and an Office manager of a Real Estate office. When she is not at work you can find her with her husband and two daughters. In her spare time she loves to paint with an array of multimedia effects. She is pretty great at guessing band names and songs! She loves being at home and watching her favorite TV shows like the Goldberg’s and SuperStore.

Loren Robidas

Reminders

  • We DO have school, Tuesday November 8th
  • Please label your child’s outer wear
  • Open Forum November 10th
  • There is no school Friday November 11th
  • Board Meeting November 15th
  • No School November 23rd, 24th and 25th
  • If there is a delayed opening for the Manchester School District on a Wednesday, Polaris Charter School will be closed.
  • Wednesday, Dec 7th:  6-7pm  Primary Learning Celebration
  • Thursday, Dec 8th: 6-7pm Intermediate Learning Celebration. Note that this is a change we have made to our school calendar. 

PEF News

PEF Autumn Potluck- Bring a dish and join us for a special autumn pot luck!  This is a great way to connect with the Polaris community and for kids to try new foods.  Please sign up and let us know what you are bringing and let us know if you can volunteer to help.  Sign up at: https://wejoinin.com/sheets/owqsp

As always, anyone who you consider as part of the family during weekend dinners are welcome to join us!

PEF Meeting Change!! PEF Meeting will now be on Thursday, November 10th from 6:30 – 7:00pm to accommodate the Polaris Board of Trustee’s Community Forum (7-8:30pm) regarding The Strategic Plan and the goals for the Polaris Facility (the building).  Both the PEF and the Board of Trustees need to hear your voice and it is for this reason the PEF moved/shortened the PEF meeting.  We strongly encourage all parents to attend the meetings on this evening.

School Spirit Wear– School Spirit Wear is now available online. Choose sizes from toddler to 5X. This year’s selection includes great customization options as well as new options such as coffee mugs and winter hats. There is no deadline to order. The school store is here year round. Special custom options including shirts that say Polaris Mom, Grandma, Uncle or Dad will make a great gift for the holidays! Order any time:

https://ssastores.com/polarischarterschool

Pennies For Polaris:

Once again we are asking families to dig under their seats and collect change for Polaris. As we face delays in realizing the dream playground, the PEF has recognized that for many students the classroom is their playground. We are collecting funds to fit the following new In School Enrichment mission.  Funding will be given to both individual teachers and to school wide enrichments.  The Penny drive will continue until November 7th.

The PEF In School Enrichment Mission: To enhance the classroom experience with real world, hands on interactions by providing special resources to the classroom or to the school population at large. Enrichments are intended to broaden the scope of learning, engage children in ways that reach beyond the daily classroom routines.  In school enrichment might include visitors, field trips, enhancement of short term projects with extraordinary materials and resources(purchased or leased) to support a teacher led project. Projects, visitors and facilitators associated with the in school enrichment mission can support the current curriculum or offer an educational or team building diversion from the daily school routine. While there is no set time restrictions on how long an In-School enrichment program will last, Polaris in school enrichments are not intended to be long term capital expenditures or school supply drives.

After School Enrichments

There is still space available in some of our enrichments.

The Sustainable Artist: Making Art from Trash ($68)  (Starts 11/21): This class needs more participants in order to run. Registration will not be closed at this time in order to allow more students to sign up.

Please use the following link to sign up: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScIoIfhS2YHb3v8ALupDtCZCK_0hVmqTjIqCj_mOMB6zUEe3A/viewform?usp=send_form

Destination Imagination ($170) : Registration has re-opened for students in grades 3 – 5 as we will be running two teams.  The 17 week session begins on November 10th.  In addition to the overall challenge the team selects to work on for the end competition, full will be had weekly with instant challenges.  For example, the team might build a structure that is as tall as possible that will support a baseball – with only these materials.  12 toothpicks, 5 Mailing Labels, 6 Coffee Stirrers, 3 Pieces of Paper, 2 Pencils, 3 Paper Clips, 1 Glove, 1 Plastic Bag.

Registration is open on for students in 3rd to 5th grade. Only a few 3 student slots remain. Please use the following link: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSe2_PIflfu0xCB6oSYfL3aX0quSxQgFSasZqUVz61Npuihq2Q/viewform?usp=send_form

As a reminder, all enrichments over $100 can be paid for in 2 installments. Additionally, Enrichment Scholarship is available upon request. Please contact The Enrichment Team at pefenrichment@gmail.com for questions or to enroll!

Below, you can find some important dates for your School Calendar:

  • PEF Meeting– November 10th 6:30pm at Polaris
  • Board of Trustees Community Forum: Strategic Plan and the Polaris Facility: November 10th 7- 8:30pm at Polaris
  • Autumn Potluck– November 5th @ 3pm at Polaris. A wonderful shared meal Polaris Families
  • Polaris Auction!!! – March 11th