A newsletter from Washington Elementary and Washington PTA
March 20th, 2017
I wanted to share with you two exciting accomplishments that recognize the critical things we are doing at Washington GT in order to build and enhance an inclusive and dynamic learning environment for our students.
We are a Magnet School of Excellence! Magnet Schools of America established the National Merit Awards program to recognize the top magnet schools in the United States. To be eligible, schools submit a detailed application that is scored by a panel of educators. Schools are judged on their demonstrated ability to raise student academic achievement, promote racial and socioeconomic diversity, provide integrated curricula and instruction, and create community partnerships that enhance the school’s theme. Washington was awarded the Magnet School of Excellence Award, which is only given to a select group of magnet schools that have demonstrated the highest level of excellence in all facets of the merit award application. We focused on our integration of reading, writing, and math into our electives, community partnerships and outreach, cultural proficiency and family events, and the growth our students have made on end of grade tests and mClass assessments.
Washington was awarded an Active Learning Spaces Grant! We are excited to announce that out of over 70 applications submitted, Washington GT Magnet Elementary was one of forty-four schools in WCPSS that was awarded a $50,000 Active Learning Spaces grant. As new schools are built from the ground up and older schools in Wake County are undergoing complete rebuilds, we came to the realization that although our instructional strategies have adapted, the learning spaces in our school that facilitate critical problem solving, collaboration, communication, and creativity are lacking. We realized that we were trying to serve students of tomorrow in a building built for yesterday! With this money, we will be transforming our media center into a collaborative workspace, continuing to develop flexible learning spaces around the building and purchase additional technology to help facilitate learning in all grade levels!
Monday, March 27th: 4th Quarter Electives Start!
Wednesday, April 5th, 9:30 a.m.: PTA Board Meeting
April 10-14: Spring Break- No School
DID YOU FORGET TO ORDER YOUR YEARBOOK?
That's OK! Yearbook order deadline extended to
Thursday, April 20th, 2017
You can order online at http://www.strawbridge.net and put in our school code: 110963
Dance, Storytelling, Greek Steppers, Food, and much more...ALL = FUN!!!
Congratulations to 2nd grader Anvi Joshi who won FIRST PLACE in the North Carolina PTA State Reflections competition!
Her entry in the Primary (K-2) Visual Arts category will now move on to the National PTA competition! WOW! Congratulations, Anvi! Your Washington family is proud of you!
WAKE PTA COUNCIL in WASHINGTON D.C.
Washington parent and WES PTA Past President, Julie von Haefen proudly represented Wake County PTAs at this important 3 day advocacy workshop with leaders from across the country! Julie is currently serving as the Wake County PTA Council Vice President of Leadership and is pictured here with National PTA President Laura Bay and North Carolina PTA President Kelly Langston at the National PTA Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C.
Thank you for all you do to represent students, parents, and teachers, Julie!
CAMP INVENTION at WASHINGTON!
In partnership with the National Inventors Hall of Fame, Washington Elementary School is pleased to offer the nationally-acclaimed Camp Invention program to children entering grades K-6th. It’s an exciting, week-long summer adventure with lessons that explore connections between science, technology, engineering and innovation. Children will work together to seek solutions to real-world problems and sharpen critical 21st century learning skills while rotating through several fascinating modules. The week begins on July 10, 2017 with Nathalie Ludwig serving as Director of the Launch program!
Here is how young innovators will be spending their time:
- Engaging creative thinking to design and build their own duct tape creations
- Experiencing the power of rocket science by building and launching rubber band rockets
- Exploring aerodynamicsto blast water rockets made from plastic bottles more than 50 feet in the air
- Taking apart nonworking machines and devices to investigate their inner operations
All activities give participants the opportunity to explore, discover and achieve while having fun!
Local educators will facilitate program modules and enthusiastic high school students will serve as Leadership Interns ensuring that one program team member is in place for every eight children.
Register on or before March 20, 2017 using promo code Discover25 to receive $25 OFF the
base price of $225. Every registration includes a complimentary Camp Invention t-shirt. Availability is limited, so visit www.campinvention.org or call 800.968.4332 to secure your child’s spot today
Thank you Washington!
Washington families donated almost 200 books to the WAKE Up and Read book drive! Thank you for helping this community effort reach their goal of collecting 110,000 books to be distributed at 10 local elementary schools. Interested in helping with distribution? Go to http://wakeupandread.org/ to sign up to help!
An important piece of legislation is being considered in the NC Senate called HB13.
Last year, the General Assembly passed its budget with a section that limited class sizes for grades K-3 starting with the 2017-18 school year. Unfortunately, the unintended consequences resulted in an un-funded mandate that would require thousands of new K-3 teachers in public schools across the state, and more than 400 teachers in the Wake County Public School System alone. WCPSS does not have the actual classrooms for these 400 new elementary classes, nor do the certified teachers for these classes exist.
HB13, a bill introduced to fix this problem, was approved by the NC House last week which adds language giving school districts the ability to exceed those limits by six students per class. Unfortunately, the bill is now stalled in a Senate committee and has not been voted upon. If signed into law, the changes will basically bring the class size limits in grades K-3 back to where they have been traditionally.
If this law is not passed by the Senate, WCPSS would have to add more than 400 new teachers in grades K-3 next school year, according to school system estimates. Paying for that would mean eliminating other classes like art, music, PE, media, technology, and more. Few of these specialist teachers are certified to teach outside of their specialty even though they are elementary school teachers. So, this law would put experienced teachers out of work while requiring the hiring of hundreds of new, and possibly inexperienced, elementary school teachers.
Two other problems exist in this situation. For starters, there just aren’t 400 elementary-certified teachers clamoring to find work. WCPSS started the 2016-17 school year with certified teaching vacancies at all levels under current conditions. Filling an additional 400 new elementary-only slots is impossible.
The second problem is space. WCPSS Superintendent James Merrill estimates the school system would need to build more than 20 new elementary schools to house all of these K-3 classes.
The NCPTA encourages its members to contact their State Senator to urge them to vote soon and to vote yes on HB13. Time is of the essence in the passage of the law, as WCPSS is currently planning its budget for next year. Without a clear path forward, the school system will have to plan for cuts to programming, a severe teacher shortage and somehow find new facilities to house new classrooms.
Go to www.ncleg.net to find email addresses, phone numbers and names of your representative in the North Carolina Senate.
(adopted from Wake Ed Partnership "In Context", 2/13/17. Read more at http://www.wakeed.org/in-context/k-3-class-size-limits/)