Fairfax Campus

 

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September 7, 2019:
Weekly Blast #3
 

WHAT'S INSIDE

• Important Dates/Events • From Your School Leader  From the Executive Director • 
 
• Parent Coffee • Site Council • Birthday Books• ASP Enrichment Classes • Ice Skating Party • Mark Peel Dinner • Registration & Volunteer Info • Lunch Menu • Volunteer Info  

Student artists in grades TK-4 have created their own "dot art" inspired by the character "Vashti" in the book The Dot
What a great LOOP meeting yesterday!  If you missed it, stay tuned for more information about how to get involved at Larchmont Fairfax!
A brand new menu item this month...tostada with freshly made pico de gallo! What a treat!
 

IMPORTANT DATES

mark your calendar
 
REMINDER:  OUR CAR LINE CLOSES EVERY MORNING AT 8:25 AM SHARP. Staff must be in their respective classrooms at 8:30 am. And remember, Morning Meeting begins at 8:30 am for our students so it's important for all of our scholars to be on time. Thank you!

September 9 - After School Enrichment Classes Begin!
September 9 - Academy/Intervention Classes Begin!

September 9 - LCS Finance Committee Mtg: 7pm-9pm, 1265 N Fairfax Ave, 90046
September 10 - LCS Board of Director's Meeting: 6:30pm-9:30pm, 1265 N Fairfax Ave, 90046
September 15 - All School Ice Skating Party
September 19 - Fairfax Principal's Coffee: 8:30am, Auditorium  
September 25 - CLASS PHOTOS - Grades TK-4 (THIS EXTRA DATE JUST ADDED FOR GROUP PHOTOS!!)
September 26 - INDIVIDUAL PICTURE DAY - Grades K-2 (more details in next week's Friday Folder)
September 26 - Fairfax Site Council: 3:00 pm, Room 4 
September 27 - INDIVIDUAL PICTURE DAY - Grades 3-4 (more details in next week's Friday Folder)
September 30 - NON SCHOOL DAY
October 5 - Mark Peel Dinner

 
You can also subscribe to iCal HERE and have dates imported to your iCal. 

ALL DATES are available on our online calendar
 

FROM YOUR SCHOOL LEADER


Dear Larchmont Families,  

What a pleasure it was to see everyone at Back to School Night. We hope you found the evening informative and helpful in better understanding your child's classroom as well as larger school issues. As you saw on Thursday evening, our students collectively created a set of Community Agreements to set the tone for a positive, safe, and productive school year, so we thought it appropriate to center this week's message around one aspect of what we know of children's socio-emotional development and what we all can do as parents and educators to foster the "whole child" development that we know is so important. Coincidentally, Amy writes more about this in her message below as well!

My own background prior to entering the field of education is in psychology and public health, so this message resonates very strongly with me. Of course, as parents and educators we grapple with these issues all the time - - how to teach and nurture empathy in children — the foundation for perspective taking, moral character, moral courage, kindness, healthy relationships, and resilience.  So much of what we do at Larchmont already such as the ESLRs, Cool Tools, Council, Community Groups, Mindfulness, Improv, Kinder/4th grade Buddies, Second Step, Anti-Bias Curriculum, Student Council, and Social Justice/Advocacy Signature Projects strives to lay the foundation for all of those things, but we know that this is so important to us as a school that we want to do even more and we want to share with parents what they can do, too.  

While it's hard to summarize it all with a collection of bullets points, here are the key takeaways from what we know from research...
  • What's the bad news?  There is a big empathy dip right now (statistics show a 40% drop in empathy and a 58% increase in narcissism); there is more peer mistreatment happing than before and there is weaker moral reasoning than before.
  • What's the good news?  Empathy can be cultivated and it is teachable - it's not innate!  It's not locked into someone's DNA.  It's not enough to just help students develop empathy by teaching them the skills listed below, it must be continually practiced and lived and modeled around them ALL THE TIME!  We must nurture the empathy or it will remain dormant.
  • There are 9 skills that must be taught for children to develop empathy: (1) emotional literacy (understanding how other people feel), (2) moral identity (children need to know what they stand for and parents/schools must explicitly talk about this), (3) perspective taking (getting into the shoes of someone else), (4) moral imagination (read books and see movies that are rich and elevating), (5) self regulation (mindfulness), (6) practice kindness (it's like a muscle and must be practiced just like math facts are), (7) collaboration (working often with peers), (8) moral courage (see something, say something), and (9) altruistic leadership (making the world a better place).
  • It can't just be taught in a one-time anti-bullying assembly or with a fear based approach!  Empathy must be woven into the fabric of the home and the school through all of the things it does in a real and authentic way.  We must teach emotional literacy in a hands-on way (like we do with academic subjects) using meaningful and teachable moments.  
 
So, what can we do as parents and teachers?  I sure wanted to know the answer to this as a parent of a teen.  Here is what we can and should do....
  • Teachers and parents must prioritize for kids that kindness does matter!  It has to be explicitly stated and taught at school and at home all the time.  
  • When adults with lots of moral courage were asked how they got moral courage (like those who helped in the holocaust), the number one answer was...."It was how I was raised!!"  Parents AND teachers have to raise children to have moral courage to help others and be kind.   
  • Talk about kindness all the time!  Top child development experts advise that when kids get home from school, don't just ask about how the test went or what they have for homework, but do ask if they were kind in school.
  • Teachers should do lots of pair-share activities where kids share their thinking with a partner!  This doesn't just help academically, it also teaches children they have a voice if they need to be an Upstander.
  • Teach children about the "helpful or hurtful" concept!  If it's helpful, great!  If it's hurtful, you must do some restitution/repair to make the situation better.
  • Use character ideals in your language all the time!
  • Expose kids to diversity early on. 
  • Parents and school must set rules about being kind and make them strong!  
  • Show children "good" news articles about good things people are doing (and not just bad). Children need an image to copy!  
  • School staff should identify marginalized students!  (ex. asking kids to write down who they will play with at recess and then checking to see which name was not written down)   
  • What's the number one spot where students feel excluded according to the data?  The Dining Room!  That's one reason we've used assigned seating in our Dining Room for quite a while now.
  • Children and teens should stay off of technology as much as possible with a digital diet!  Kids need face-to-face interactions and playdates to develop empathy.  
I could go on and on, but you get the idea.  There are tons of simple and authentic ways to support the development of these critical emotional literacy skills at Larchmont and at home. I know one of the reasons many of you have chosen Larchmont is because of the emphasis on social-emotional development so I wanted to share more about this. We'll continue to delve more into this and other topics throughout the year in our messages. I hope these pointers are helpful in your life at home, too.  

On a separate note, our
 first Larchmont Board meeting of the year will take place on Tuesday, Sept 10th evening at 6:30 pm at our campus. Our elementary, middle, and high school campuses will be sharing our most recent assessment data from the CAASPP (CA Assessment of Student Performance and Progress).  We invite you to join us to learn more about how this data has impacted our work with teachers; our key takeaways regarding student performance; and our next steps for this school year. 

Have a wonderful weekend!
Mersedeh and Andi 
 

FROM YOUR EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

updates from Amy Held

You’ve heard that our school-wide focus for the year is on the whole child/whole person.  I wanted to share a couple of articles and links to read more about the importance of this. 

This article about Harvard’s 75-year study on longevity and happiness basically says that more than monetary success or genes, it’s the quality of our relationships and our coping skills – knowing how to process emotions and stress in healthy ways – that drive our overall happiness and health. 

This next article describes the brain basis – for the whole child approach, noting that  “In addition to basic physiological needs like nutrition and sleep, brain development requires social relationships, emotional experiences, and cognitive resources, which ready the brain to take advantage of learning opportunities.”  And that “Educating the whole child, and engaging families and communities in this process, is not just a luxury for those with the opportunity and the means, or a remediation strategy for the underprivileged or underperforming. It is a necessity for all children.” 
 
Please help us continue to fund this whole child approach and the amazing work of our teachers.  Give early and give with gratitude to the Annual Giving Campaign – it’s our biggest fundraiser of the year and we’re so fortunate to have nearly 100% of families stretch to give meaningfully every year.  This funds 10-15% of our annual budget and ensures we can maintain small class sizes and an enriched curriculum.  Thank you if you’ve already given!  If you haven’t yet had a chance, click here to donate now http://www.larchmontcharter.org/lcs_pledge_drive.

Thank you so much for all you do to make Larchmont great!

Warmly,

Amy Held 
 
 

SITE COUNCIL


We've had several more applications submitted for Site Council since Back to School Night! 

Click on the attachment for the sign up form for Site Council.  Site Council reps meet with Andi and I once per month (Thursday after school for just one hour) and they help give input on a whole range of school issues including budget, facilities, events, achievement data, and much more.  

Please consider this great opportunity to lend your voice to some really important topics!
 
ACADEMY CLASSES

Larchmont made a commitment beginning a few years ago to offer FREE after school Academy/Intervention classes to help support students with academic skills. Students are selected for Academy based on academic data in the subjects of Reading and Math.  

This year, we're kicking off Academy earlier than we ever have before.  Early intervention was one of our goals for the 2019/20 school year -  to provide the highest levels of support as early as possible for maximum impact.  

Families of students who qualified for intervention were contacted last week.

If you received notification, please don't forget that classes begin on September 9th. Classes meet every MON,TUE,TH,&FRI. Please remind your child each day that they should head to Academy as soon as the regular school day ends. 

ANY QUESTIONS?  Please contact our Intervention Coordinator, Cassandra Brink, atcassandra.brink@larchmontcharter.org. 

 
 

BIRTHDAY BOOK PROCESS


Birthday Books are a tradition we've had here at the Larchmont campus for many years!  Birthday Books are a way we celebrate birthdays at our campus, but they are also the primary way we continue to grow our library collection. Every child who purchases a birthday book gets to be the first person to take it home and read it, but ultimately the books are returned to our library to add to our collection. There is a special nameplate inside every book so we know for many years to come who it was that donated it to our school! There are tens of dozens of books in the library now with nameplates from a decade ago! 

If you're 
wondering what the process is for obtaining a book, look no further!

Typically we send a birthday book form home in the Friday Folder in the middle of each child's birth month. If you are interested in purchasing a book for your child for their birthday  you would then fill out the form and submit it in the Friday Folder. Note: Birthday Books are available at reduced cost for families who qualify for the Free and Reduced Lunch program. 


At the end of the month, I have all of the kids who've requested a book come to my office to pick from my Birthday Book selection. We pick out popular books from a variety of genres each month. We typically pass out the books on the last Friday of each month (unless that falls on a holiday). If you purchased a summer birthday book or a September book, I'll be giving them to the children at the School Sing on SEPTEMBER 27th!