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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!

 

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