I hope you and your family is enjoying all the pleasures of summer. I am writing to inform you of the most recent news at Arcola and to give you some important dates to note.
Let me first begin with staffing changes for the 2012-13 school year. Mrs. Fry (Media Specialist) will be enjoying her new life in retirement. Ms. Ager (Special Education Resource Teacher), Ms. Bryant (Special Education Resource Teacher), Ms. Eichler (Instrumental Music Teacher), Ms. Hahn (Grade 2), Ms. Jones (Grade 3), Ms. Lopez (Instructional Data Assistant), Ms. Manning (Grade 3), Ms. Massey (Staff Development Teacher), Ms. Ruane (ESOL), Ms. Taylor (Focus Teacher/Gifted and Talented Teacher), Ms. Teeter (Grade 2), Ms. Tolan (Grade 4), Mr. Chase (Grade 5), have moved on to other positions within Montgomery County in an attempt to move closer to home or pursue other opportunities at different grade levels and outside of the classroom. We wish all our former Arcola staff members well in their new endeavors. Internally, Mr. Odulio is moving from fifth grade to third grade, Ms. Kuhn is moving from third grade to fifth grade, Ms. Perry is moving from special education School Community-Based (SCB) teacher to Special Education Resource Teacher, Ms. Parizer-Velez is moving from fourth grade to GT/Focus Teacher, and Ms. Rosenblum is moving from fourth grade to Media Specialist.
Please join me in a hearty welcome to our new staff members: In second grade, we were able to officially promote Ms. Cloher from a paraeducator to a full-time teacher. We are so lucky she was able to do her teacher preparation program with us over the years and join the ranks of our professional teaching staff. Also new to second grade is Ms. Kimberly Davison. New to third grade is Ms. Melissa Smith. New to fourth grade are Ms. Stephanie Komerek, Ms. Danielle Bedlion, Ms. Kylie Jameson and Ms. Amy Barnard. New to fifth grade is Ms. Brandi Williams. We are so happy to welcome back Ms. Jessica Blasic as our new Staff Development Teacher. Mr. Tanner Nelson is our new part-time Physical Education teacher. Ms. Britt Olsen is our new part-time Art Teacher who did her student teaching here last year. Ms. Tonya Fellrath, a lunch and recess aide at Arcola will be our new Instructional Data Assistant. Welcome again to Dr. Carole Rawlison. She will be the Principal Intern at Arcola for the 2012-2013 school year. She has already met many of you this summer who attended our ELO summer school program. Many of the teachers come with prior teaching experience in Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS), and we know they will all do an outstanding job as part of the Arcola family.
Unfortunately, we did not meet all state performance targets, or Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), on the 2012 Maryland School Assessment (MSA). We were below standard in the area of Reading for our Special Education students. Obviously, we are very disappointed as a total staff, but we know we will do everything that is necessary to increase our student performance in not only these student sub-groups, but for all our students. Arcola Elementary has established a climate of quality teaching, learning and commitment to high expectations over the past four years, and this will not change. We know that we need to fine tune some of processes for monitoring the ongoing performance of our students more closely to ensure maximum success on high-stakes state testing requirements. Much more information will be shared about our state and local school assessment performance during our data presentation in mid-September.
As a result of our continued student population growth, we will have three (3) more relocatable classrooms on the grounds of Arcola for next year. Due to the limited space options for placement of relocatables, these new units will be installed in the front of the school. We know this is not an ideal placement for relocatables for many reasons, but we hope this will be temporary for the 2012-2013 school year. Our fifth graders will be in these portables and will be able to handle some of the specialized procedures for entering the building in a safe and orderly manner. Due to the expanding numbers in second grade, three (3) of our seven second grade classes will be in the relocatables located on the blacktop area behind the school. Please contact me if you have any questions about our relocatable classroom plan for the upcoming school year.
Beginning the first day of school, ALL STUDENTS will receive a free breakfast as part of the Maryland Meals for Achievement (MMFA) grant from the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE).
Open House will be held Friday, August 24th, from 1:30 until 3:00 P.M. We will post class lists on the front windows of the school on Thursday, August 23, at 4:00 P.M. We are happy that many of the children will want to see their teachers that day, but as there is little time for teachers to prepare classrooms, we are asking that there be no visitors in the building until 1:30 P.M., Friday, August 24th.
Back-to-School Night will be held Thursday, September 6th for all students from 6:30 P.M. until 8:00 P.M. Mark your calendars for this important night of introductions and explanations of the academic programs.
Bus schedules are included in your packet. Please be sure your child knows where and when to meet the bus every day. We will also post the bus schedules on our website. Please call 301-929-8860 with specific transportation questions. Refer to the section of this packet about arrival and dismissal procedures so that you know exactly where to drop-off your child in the morning and pick him/her up in the afternoon. I also wanted to remind parents that STUDENT DROP-OFF DOES NOT BEGIN UNTIL 8:55 A.M. There is no official supervision for your child until this time, and we will be enforcing this policy much more closely this year.
As we work together during the 2012-13 school year, I know we will continue to develop our culture of academic excellence and climate of mutual respect that have become the hallmarks of Arcola Elementary School. I hope you will stay very involved with us during the year. We need everybody’s help to be the best we can be.
Enjoy the rest of the summer. I look forward to coming together when the school year resumes.
Eric A. Wilson