From the Principal
January 31, 2018
Dear Abbott Parents:
This week officially marks the beginning of the second half of the school year at Abbott. At this point in the school year, most of our 6th graders are no longer feeling like the new, small kids on campus and our big, mature 8th graders are beginning to think about what life will be like as they transition to high school (and become the new, small kids on campus once again). There is lots going on at Abbott, and below you’ll find my notes on some recent and upcoming events.
Abbott Spelling Bee
On December 14th, Abbott hosted our second annual school-wide Spelling Bee with more than 30 participants from across all grade levels and many friends and families filling our library and cheering on the Bee participants. Special thanks to Ms. Ujcic for coordinating the Bee, and to our PTA for providing snacks and certificates for all participants. Good luck to our school winner, Sannie Wan, as she represents Abbott at the regional competition.
· The winners were: 1st Place: Sannie Wan; 2nd Place: Giuliana Sapienza; 3rd Place: Karen Barrios.
· The top spellers in each grade level were: 6th grade: Karen Barrios; 7th grade: Sannie Wan; 8th grade: Jaret Altamirano.
Abbott will host our first school dance of the year on Fri., Feb. 9th from 3:00-4:45 in the gym. Special thanks to our Student Leadership class, to our PTA, and to Ms. Bollbach for helping to coordinate the details of the dance. If your student plans to attend and needs a ride home, please make sure that you have a plan to pick up your student at 4:45.
8th grade Promotion Ceremony
On the afternoon of Thursday, June 21st, our 8th graders will participate in Abbott’s promotion ceremony at the San Mateo Performing Arts Center. We hope to have every 8th grader participate in this year’s promotion ceremony, but we need your help. Mr. Campbell and I visited all 8th grade classes last week to review Abbott’s academic and behavioral expectations, and students will need to meet these expectations to earn their spot in the promotion ceremony. You can view the 8th grade contract on SchooLoop and on our school home page. Our goal is to have 100% of our 8th graders participate in the promotion ceremony, and we will be working with students who are struggling to maintain appropriate grades and behavior, but we also need support from parents to make sure that you are monitoring grades in SchooLoop.
Congratulations to our 7th and 8th grade basketball teams for successful seasons, with special recognition to our 7A boys’ team and Coach Carson, who finished with a 9-1 league record, and advanced to the championship game. Our 6th grade season is underway, and we will field two boys’ teams and two girls’ teams this season. Abbott athletes and parents have demonstrated good sportsmanship this year, and we hope that our community continues to represent us well in the upcoming seasons.
This year, our staff has been implementing a Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (PBIS). PBIS is an approach to assisting school staff in adopting evidence-based behavioral interventions that enhance academic and social behavior outcomes for all students. In recent months, many teachers have been using our Falcon Ticket system to recognize students for exemplary behavior in the areas of being safe, being responsible, and being respectful. Over the course of the past quarter, more than 500 Falcon Tickets have been distributed to students by teachers, and many of our teachers have been holding weekly lotteries where students who have received tickets can win no- or low-cost prizes in class, such as preferred seating. Special thanks to parent Julie Kaprielian who has been delivering Jamba Juices on Fridays to the winners of our weekly school-wide lotteries.
Our staff has also been rolling out an academic program called AVID this year. The AVID program focuses on what’s known as the WICOR model, with WICOR being an acronym for Writing, Inquiry, Collaboration, Organization, and Reading. Over the past few months, we have made AVID strategies a focus of our professional learning, with particular focus on inquiry strategies like Socratic Seminar. We are currently working on the organizational strand, and reaching consensus by department and grade level over how students should organize their work and how we can support students when they are not organized. Seven of our teachers attended an AVID training last summer, and we plan to send as many or more teachers to AVID trainings this coming summer.
At the PTA meeting on Feb. 21st, parents will have an opportunity to learn about Abbott’s school improvement plan, and to provide feedback on the programs and supports that Abbott currently has in place. Abbott’s LCAP plan is part of the district-wide LCAP plan, and parent can review the details of the district LCAP plan at the district’s web page: http://www.smfcsd.net/en/superintendent/local-control-accountability-plan-lcap.html In the coming weeks, the district will also be sending out an LCAP survey on which parents can provide input.
School Site Council
Abbott recently hosted a School Site Council (SSC) meeting on the topic of math, and the students, parents, and teachers present for the meeting brainstormed a variety of ideas for improving math outcomes for our students, including ideas related to supporting the language needs of our students (the new math curriculum is very language dense), using data strategically to provide individualized math supports and interventions for students, challenging students who are finding the curriculum easy, and researching different schedule models to provide more minutes of math instruction for students. We will continue this discussion at our next SSC meeting on Feb. 22, and parents are invited to attend our SSC meetings.
Thank you to PTA and to parent donors
Many thanks to our dedicated PTA parents for their ongoing support of a number of student programs. Last spring, the PTA and their dedicated fundraising chair, Lori Heizman, raised more than $10,000 from the Abbott community toward the purchase on new technology for Abbott students. Thanks to those generous donations, Abbott classrooms now have 3 new sets of Chromebook carts with 36 new Chromebooks, and Abbott students are making good use of the new technology. Also, thank you to our PTA for supporting this week’s book fair, for providing ongoing support and snacks to our homework club, and for their ongoing support of staff celebrations luncheons, one of which will be coming up on February 14th.
Joe Hadley, Abbott Principal