It's Fall Festival Time!!!
Info coming soon! Volunteer!
PTA Meetings-there will be four this school year
Come out and join your PTA for the first meeting of the year!
PTA Parent Workshop (JA/SA)
PTA Parent Workshop (EA)
Support the Performing Arts
Support Drew’s Performing Arts Program by selling and purchasing Florida Indian River Citrus Fruits. Navel Oranges, Grapefruit, Tangelos, or a Mixed Carton of Navels & Grapefruit when the sales comes back around this winter.
Getting Started or Clicking the Lids on the First Six Weeks of School
by Sara Crosby, Drew Kindergarten Teacher
Getting Started, or Clicking the Lids on the first Six Weeks of School
It is not accurate to say that teachers don’t teach any content in the first few weeks of school. We do. The standards are being addressed. More so than the teaching of the standards, there is a focus on the teaching of procedures. These days and weeks are perhaps the most important part of school. These first few weeks are when we are gathering data on students, getting to know the personalities of these little people assigned to our care, and establishing the rules and routines of a community. This is of supreme importance. It can make or break a school year for the student. This is when we mesh with our group. This is when the student learns what it means to be a student to that teacher in that class with that group of classmates.
There are a thousand methods for starting a school year and establishing routines. There is no one way to ensure success. Every teacher has a special style of introducing learning in a classroom.
Non-teachers, imagine a group of 22-30 children from many different backgrounds. You may have a majority who came from Ms. Q’s class last year. You may have half who are complete strangers to each other. You may have two that came from another local elementary school. In pre-k or K, you may even have a student or two who have never experienced institutionalized learning at all. You may have a young boy or girl who came from a classroom where they felt unloved or unsuccessful. You may have a student who is frightened of teachers. You may have a student who is so excited to be at the school that he cannot contain himself. You may have someone previously homeschooled. Some students may not have formed a relationship with a non-parent adult before.
You will have students with a variety of attitudes, learning styles, motivations and a variety of parents with different attitudes, cultural responses to school, and expectations.
There are 22-30 different levels of math competence and 22- 30 different reading levels.
There are physical factors, too. There are children who do not get enough sleep. There are children who eat too much sugar. There are children who lack transportation, haven’t eaten breakfast, or don’t have decent shoes. There are an infinite number of factors that make a group of students uniquely teachable.
The routine of learning and how we as teachers lay it down is everything. We are expected to get this group of infinitely different students on the same page. We have to teach them to be independent workers so they can have a few golden moments of small group instruction when it is their turn. It is fair to expect a good six weeks spent learning routines.
In Pre-K and Kindergarten, we may train students for days on the proper way to carry a pair of scissors or wind a glue stick down. There is a specific way to turn in papers, arrange pencils, and hang a backpack. There are procedures for borrowing a pencil, asking to use the restroom, and logging attendance. Students practice hallway walking. Teachers sound like drill sergeants. Students make sure marker lids are clicked. Students follow a certain order to put away materials and line up. Our days are a series of transitions that need to run smoothly. Some of this training may seem nitpicky. Your child’s teacher may seem like some kind of control freak. You may wonder why the teacher insists on all of this drilling or on certain color school supplies.
Let me let you in on a secret. This part is not fun. We do not like the tedious training. I would love to dive into content on day one. I love to teach phonics and addition and guided reading. I do not like practicing marker lid clicking and hall walking. We want to get to the meat. But students have to know how to use the utensils first. We learn after some years on the job that it has got to be this way. Some of the routines and procedures are simply for safety (scissor usage and playground equipment practice). Much of this is about the preservation of materials. We have to maintain all of the school supplies you send in and learn to use them properly. It is about safety and materials, but it is mostly about the endgame.
The endgame community of learners that knows what is expected and can easily follow group routines. Teachers strive for that very organized classroom that runs like a machine. It gets better. The classroom with well-oiled routines could almost run itself and the students are the ones responsible for learning. The reward is the learning.
Spotlight On A PTA Volunteer
I have been a parent at Drew for 7 years.
Right now, I have 1 child in Drew Charter Senior Academy. All 3 of my children have attended Drew EA and JA. My daughter Gloria is in the legacy class of SA. My oldest Sarah, graduated from North Atlanta High School this past year. My son attends Champion Theme School.
I have always enjoyed volunteering at Drew. When my children were in EA, I assisted my children's teachers with administrative work. I also volunteered with the PTA membership committee and with various events hosted by the PTA. With the new SA, I now give more of my time to being President of the Band Boosters for JA and SA and supporting the Athletic Boosters (Eaglenation) as much as possible. I still support the PTA as a member and volunteering at events when I can. The Band Boosters also do a lot of work in conjunction with the PTA. This year we worked alongside the PTA and Athletic Boosters, providing babysitting during monthly meetings and concessions at our first Summer Camp Expo. I really enjoyed seeing all the groups working together.
The Drew community has grown so much since my children started. It's pretty amazing. Sometimes I feel SA and JA are sooo small compared to the EA.
Yet, it still feels like a community with everyone working together. I like that so many parents are involved with the kids and supporting the school. I see great parent involvement in all the academies and that really excites me. I believe Drew's Board and Administration have an interest in the success of our children. Their partnership with the East Lake Foundation has been very positive for this community. My oldest daughter participated in Crew Teens which was very supportive in her high school career. In fact, she was just honored as the Thomas and Ann Cousins Scholar for 2015 and will receive a $12,000 scholarship for college.