Amanda C. Rowe Elementary School Newsletter December Edition

Message from Dawn and Sarah

Hello Amanda C. Rowe Families and Friends,

As we wrap up the calendar year, we reflect on all the changes we have undergone as a school in the past five months since our opening. We could not have done all of it without an incredible staff, amazing students, involved community and fantastic PTO. Many things have not gone as planned. Many parts of construction are still in process, the playground will be opening later than planned, and we continue our journey to grow as professionals to realize our vision. We are so lucky to have such strong support for our work and we are ever grateful for your patience with us through our growing pains.

We wish you a safe, restful and happy winter break and a happy new year,

Dawn and Sarah

Big Thank You!

Our Ghost of Paul Revere Benefit Concert was a huge success! We raised $10,850 to support our playground and learning garden. Thank you so much to our planning committee, Sandy Sherry, Susan Mercier, Julie Linthicum, Beth Becker, and Karen Gadbois. A special thank you to Laura Newman for her continued support to make our playground a reality. Thank you to the BPO Elks Club for donating the space and to the Ghost of Paul Revere for donating their time, allowing all ticket sales to go directly to support our playground!

Thank you PATHS!

An incredibly heartfelt thank you to Mark Hannibal and the culinary students from Portland Arts and Technology High School (PATHS) for the incredible food!

PATHS students made amazing food for our event!


We had so much fun with our Assistant Principals and Principals of the Day! We visited all the classrooms, used the walkie talkies, tried out the elevator, invited our friends for lunch on the stage and did the announcements for the day. Students will have another opportunity to win this at Winterfest.

A huge thank you to Kayla Theriault for all the long hours and hard work to make our book fair such a huge success!

Save the Dates!

  • Monday December 17th - PTO Meeting 6:30-7:30pm
  • Monday December 24th - No School - Winter Break
  • Wednesday January 2nd - School Resumes
  • Wednesday January 16th - PTO Meeting 6:30-7:30pm
  • Saturday January 26th - Winterfest 11am

Playground Update

You may have noticed that some of the construction fencing has moved and the basketball courts are now open. We are using that space during recess for soccer. The remainder of the playground remains closed and will open in April. This year was unusual with weather and the early snow cover impacted installation of the logs and wood features but also created a more fragile environment for the plants. Therefore, the team that installed the plants and grasses strongly recommend that we allow them take root over the winter before opening the playground for use.

Staffing Update

We are sad to tell you that Ms. Butcher and Ms. Churchill have decided to pursue other endeavors and have resigned from their positions effective at the close of December break. We are actively seeking replacements for them; with interviews on Tuesday, December 18th and will keep you fully updated on our plan. We wish Ms. Butcher and Ms. Churchill well and we will miss them enormously. During the transition, Ms. Carbone and Ms. Winship, our Title 1 Teachers will be taking over the classes. They will also continue to support the new staff members after hire to ensure continuity of curriculum.

Title 1 Literacy Update

Literacy Instruction has been supported via a push in model that supports classroom teachers during reading workshop. Students in grades 3-5 have been reflecting on themselves as readers and setting goals for themselves. Title I staff has supported teachers and students to reinforce these good reading habits. Classroom instruction has focused on inferring about characters and learning about character traits, how characters change and lessons they learn. As students leave the world of fiction, they are embarking on learning how to get their brain ready to read non-fiction. Students are learning strategies to approach, read and comprehend non-fiction books. Many teachers and students are coming down to visit the book room to select books that support where they are in their reading.

In January, winter assessments will be implemented. This includes NWEA (math/reading), CPAA (math/reading) and Fountas and Pinnell informal reading assessment. We use this assessment data to identify students and their needs for Title I support.

Title 1 Math Update

Math Instruction has been supported via a push in model that supports classroom teachers in co-planning, co-teaching and small group math instruction. Portland has adopted two math routines, which consist of Number Talks and Counting Collections. These Math Routines allow students to practice flexibility, accuracy and efficiency in problem solving and arithmetic. These routines bring engagement and a deeper conceptualization of math concepts to the Math Workshop.

Teachers have also been immersed in aligning their math instruction to the Common Core Math Standards based on the district moving to a standards-based reporting system. EveryDay Math is used as a framework to structure the course of the year’s curriculum, but other resources are being pulled to support evidence-based quality instruction. There will be a parent night in January to share the district and school-based changes to math instruction.

Rowe-d to Success Update

Our Student Leadership Committee is about to start! Right now teachers are honoring students who demonstrate the Rowe-d To Success expectations with a nomination for Student Leadership. All the nominations will go into a jar and teachers will pick a name from each class on December 20th. On December 21st we will announce our first group of student leaders and will have a special breakfast with them in the conference room. The group will officially start solving the problem of choosing a mascot and planning for school spirit the week we return from break. If your learner isn’t chosen for this session, there will be another session in about six weeks with new learners chosen. Please stay tuned to hear more about the amazing work they are doing!

Here are some reminder details about the Learner Leadership Committee:

  • Learners in grades 3-5 will participate
  • Learners will serve a 4-6 week term to solve a specific problem or address a school issue then a new group of learners will be nominated
  • Learners will be nominated by teachers for the committee
  • One third grader and one fourth grader from each multiage partnership and one 5th grader from each homeroom will be nominated
  • Meetings will take place during the school day to allow all learners equal access to participation
  • Each problem or issue will connect back to one of the Rowe-d to Success expectations
Gael experienced his first snow!

Report Card Information

You may (or may not) notice the report card this year has different information in the math and ELA sections. We updated the learning standards in these content areas to reflect the current Maine Learning Results/Common Core Standards that are guiding our work with your child.

A learning standard describes what your child needs to know or be able to do to be on grade level and ready to progress to the next level. The standards build on each other through to high school. Standards do not tell us how to teach but rather, what students need to learn to be on track to graduate college and be career ready.

We hadn’t updated these for many years. Our district-wide work to become more “proficiency based” led us to look more closely at how our students’ learning progresses from one grade to the next. This work sparked more urgency to ensure our elementary reports reflect the learning standards that form the basis for what students go on to learn in middle and high school.

We are describing your child’s progress relative to where we’d expect them to be at this point in the year based on what we taught. The reason we are reporting this way is so that you and your child are really clear on how they are doing and where they might need more support or challenge. In some cases, our expectation for this reporting period is that your child has fully met the standard, in other cases, we expect some progress but not full mastery and in other cases, there may be standards we haven’t started working on yet and so we don’t report a progress grade on them at all.

  • Standard “in progress”: Taught some aspects of it, don’t yet expect full mastery because there are aspects of the standard or a degree of rigor in the standard that we have not yet covered. A “3” on these standards means they are making the progress we’d expect for this point in time.
  • Standard “final”: Standards we have covered fully and expect full mastery of at this point in the year. A “3” on these standards means they have met the expectation for the standard (or are fully proficient in the standard).
  • Standard “not yet covered”: Standards we have not explicitly taught yet. No grade.

We report on the ‘Rowe-d Way’ Expectations. The 4 ‘Rowe-d Way’ expectations are: I choose kindness; I am ready to learn; I keep trying; I am a collaborative problem solver. We believe that these skills are equally important in school and in life and so we share feedback on them. In addition, we want the content grades to reflect their true knowledge and skill and so we separate work habits feedback from content knowledge so that we are all more clear on where your child excels and where they need more support.

This is very aligned to the approach of grading and reporting at the middle school level and generally aligned to what the districts is doing in high schools as well. The big ideas are about separating the feedback on the academic content from the work habits, being precise in our feedback on each standard so we all are clear about where exactly a student needs more help or more challenge, using common standards across all schools so that every kid in the district is held to the same baseline expectation (while many will excel beyond that baseline), and reflecting on standards ongoing so that we can add more support or challenge as we go throughout the year.

Please don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions about the report cards.

This superfood was a super hit!

Last week, FoodCorps member Moriah held a cafeteria taste test during lunch. Students sampled baby kale with a lemon vinaigrette. Over 230 students tried it! Of those who tried it, 25 of them decided it wasn’t for them, 35 thought it was okay, and 172 loved it! We hope to see this recipe added to the salad bar rotation and encourage you to try serving baby kale at home!

Reminder: We would love to have you volunteer in our school! If you are a new volunteer, please know that our volunteer application process has transitioned to online. Please use the link below to apply to be a volunteer.

We are so excited to share our learners with you!

*All students pictured in the newsletter have a signed media release on file at the school.

Created By
Sarah Jane Sirois

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a copyright violation, please follow the DMCA section in the Terms of Use.