As I mentioned last week, I will devote a portion of my weekly principal’s letters to sharing information about a DCPS or Janney school policy. We are in the process of updating our school website with important policies and the upcoming weekly newsletters will provide an overview of each of the policies. This week, I am sharing information about the volunteer clearance policy. This policy mandates that all field trip chaperones and recurring volunteers submit proof of a negative TB testing and submit to a background check. Please read on to learn more about the policy and what Janney is doing to make this process easier on parents and caregivers. Also included in the newsletter this week is information about our annual Halloween parade on October 31st. This week Ms. Lewis discusses part three of her problem-solving process: compromising two ways.
The remainder of the newsletter includes a letter from the PTA presidents with a friendly reminder about contributing to the Student Support Fund. School photos are now available and access information is included. Remaining content includes: information about Movie Night at Janney; reminder announcement about Janney Girls and Boys Basketball Tryouts; repeat information about the Janney Blood Drive on October 17th; and a repeat article about the Janney XC Team.
DCPS Volunteer Clearance Process
This year, we are working hard to ensure that we are in compliance with the DCPS volunteer clearance policy. All volunteers, including parents, must complete the DCPS Clearance Process if they wish to volunteer at Janney. This applies to all field trip chaperones and “ongoing volunteers” (i.e. class parties, and THT folder stuffers). Please note that it does not apply to one time, supervised volunteering (i.e. Mystery Reader, or a volunteer for a special event).
This process includes submitting a short application, presenting results of a negative TB test within the last twelve years, and completing the fingerprinting process. Please note that all volunteers can report to Central Office to complete fingerprinting, but that we will offer the opportunity for parents and caregivers to be fingerprinted at Janney.
I will include more information in next week’s newsletter, but we are hosting Nurse Heidi Johnson on Wednesday, November 6 and Friday, November 8 from 7:30am-10:00am to administer the TB tests. Nurse Heidi has been working with a number of schools this year and this service costs about $45 per person. The DCPS Fingerprinting Team will then be at Janney on Tuesday, November 12 through Thursday, November 14 from 9:00am-4:00pm for volunteers to complete the free-of-charge fingerprinting service at Janney. There will be sign-ups for these opportunities and the sign-ups will be included in next week’s newsletter.
The Halloween parade will begin at 1:30 pm on Thursday, 10/31. Children are expected to bring their costumes to school and will be allowed to change 15 minutes prior to the parade. A gentle reminder that students are not allowed to wear costumes that promote violence or bring materials that look like weapons. Classroom parties will follow the parade. As Thursday, 10/31 is a full school day, we intend to maintain a normal school day prior to 1:00 pm. Thank you for your support and cooperation.
Parade route: All classes will report to their Jamboree spots by 1:30 pm. PK and K teachers will communicate field spots to parents and familiy members via class newsletters. Homerooms will be called over the microphone to walk 2×2 down the middle of the field or “runway” from the Jamboree stage side to the opposite gate. Classes will then proceed out the back gate, circle around the blacktop, through the concrete on the atrium side, and back to their Jamboree spot. Classes are encouraged to do a brisk walk without stopping for pictures, and parents will be encouraged to take candid pictures on the field, reserving more posed pictures for classroom parties. After the parade, classes will be dismissed to the building (oldest first) for classroom parties.
Please note that costumes should not include anything that can be considered or used as a weapon. Any items that fit that description will be taken and returned after school hours. If you have any questions about your child’s costume, please reach out directly to me.
Student Support Services Column
Problem solving pt. 3- Compromise two ways
As we progress through our problem-solving toolbox, we come to see that most problems we encounter at school are classified as small problems.
At school (and home, too!) the small problems we encounter most frequently result in arguments. For example, deciding what to play, who goes first, whose idea to pursue, etc. are small problems that can often turn dramatic and head up the scale to big reactions.
Shouts of “no fair!” and “that’s mine!” often lead to blaming and reporting.
Q: Are there measures students can take to reduce the number of arguments on the playground and in the classroom?
Students learn the fine art of compromise starting in kindergarten, where they use a “cookie communication.” Picture an Oreo: chocolate on the outside, vanilla on the inside. You want chocolate, but I’m standing firmly in the vanilla camp. Is there a way forward?
If we use a cookie communication (compromise) we can each get a little bit of what we want. At school, this looks like splitting recess activities into swinging AND soccer. Or it could be we’ll try your idea first and then try my idea. The idea of compromise means we both get a bit of our desired outcome. In the classroom, we practice this repeatedly, using different scenarios that relate directly to students’ lives.
When we can’t decide or it’s not feasible for us each to win a little, we can use chance to settle an argument. At school we teach rock, paper scissors to be the deciding factor; we do this very specifically, so there’s no room for manipulated outcomes. The risky piece of leaving a decision to chance is that one person has to be content to forego their desired outcome. This disappointment can be tough to accept, especially for younger students, so we celebrate their tolerance of not getting what they want, even if they display some unhappiness. As with most things in elementary school we consider all of this a work in progress.
What about small problems that don’t lead to arguments? What if I just can’t compromise? Next week we’ll learn what do with other types of small problems…