Letter from the Principal

Letter from the PrincipalComments Off on Letter from the Principal

Dear Janney Families,

This is the last newsletter of 2018!  I hope you enjoy a relaxing break and have a wonderful New Year.  We look forward to seeing you in 2019!

This is a reminder that beginning in January, we will return to indoor Jamboree for the months of January and February.  Please read the schedule below carefully and communicate the winter drop-off procedures with your child’s caregivers.

Also included in tonight’s newsletter is information about classroom planning for the 2019-2020 school year, and the weekly student support services column from Ms. Toni Wills.

Finally, we have one electronic THT announcement about the 2019 Janney Auction: Disco Inferno!

Planning for the 2019-2020 School Year
As we look to the 2019-2020 school year, we are projected to only increase our enrollment by four students to 739 total students.  We have seen relatively stable enrollment since the 2015-2016 school year when we first enrolled over 700 students, but we currently have two grade levels that are experiencing large class sizes.  Our current fourth grade has 24-25 students per classroom and our current first grade has an average class size of over 26 students.  This fall, the LSAT and I began a discussion of how best to support the current first grade in future years as they are our largest grade level.  We discussed a variety of possibilities for next school year, including reducing the number of pre-kindergarten classes in order to make space for six, second grade classes.  Ultimately, we have decided to maintain three, pre-kindergarten classrooms and five, kindergarten through fifth grade classrooms.

The decision to maintain five classrooms per grade level was a decision that was made after careful consideration of many options.  We can currently accommodate all pre-kindergarten siblings with three classes; if we were to reduce the number of classrooms by one, not all siblings would be guaranteed a spot in future years.  Beyond the impact on pre-kindergarten, a sixth classroom at any grade level would impact teacher common planning time as we could not schedule six specials classes at the same time due to staffing constraints.  Most importantly, the reduction of a pre-kindergarten classroom would see our overall enrollment reduced by twenty students which would ultimately mean a reduction in budget dollars and would impact our larger staffing model.

I have engaged the first grade teachers throughout this decision-making process.  We have discussed what they and future teachers will need to be successful in supporting a large cohort of students.  Therefore, we are committing to providing extra staff to the second grade team for the 2019-2020 school year.  We also recognize that not all classroom spaces are the same size and will therefore ensure that the second grade classes will be in the largest classrooms.

There will inevitably be some discussion about this decision among our community members.  LSAT members and I are available to answer any questions you might have, and I will host an open discussion for current first grade parents after the new year.  As always, please reach out with any questions or concerns, and thanks for all that you do to support our students and the Janney community.

Reminder: Indoor Jamboree: January and February
We will move Jamboree indoors beginning in January.  Each grade level will be assigned a day to host a grade-wide Morning Meeting in the gym beginning at 8:35am.  Please note that drop-off procedures will not change for students in grades PK-K.  If you have a student in grades 1-5, please drop-off your child off directly at the gym on their assigned grade-level day.  If it is not your child’s assigned grade-level day, students may transition to their classrooms beginning at 8:35am.  The turf field doors will be open for arrival between 8:30-8:45am.  Students may also continue to use the Albemarle doors for arrival.  We ask that parents in grades 1-5 drop their students off on the first floor and that they do not travel to the classroom with students. 
Schedule for indoor Jamboree 
Mondays – all students in homerooms
Tuesdays – PK and K
Wednesdays – 1st and 2nd grades
Thursdays – 3rd and 4th grades
Fridays – 5th grade

Student Support Services Column
In search of the perfect holiday gift for the special child in your life? Books are always a good idea, but do you know the Value of a Picture Book (aka Wordless Picture books)? Picture books are a great way to expand oral communication in younger and older children alike. Picture books tell a narrative mainly through a series of pictures, with words used only to share information not contained in the pictures.  Wordless Picture Books even tell stories without using any words at all! A couple of weeks ago, I discussed the value of using photographs to help increase oral language skills. That same principal can be applied to picture books. Picture books can be a useful tool for developing reading skills-but you may ask, “how can that be, if there aren’t any words?”  In addition to using colorful illustrations to engage and motivate readers to read, picture books can help the youngest readers and non-readers learn foundational reading skills such as:
Concepts of Print: How to hold a book, when to turn the page, reading from top to bottom and left to right, and understanding that printed words have meaning
Letter Knowledge:  Recognizing the letters of the alphabet, knowing the difference between upper case and lower case letters, and associating sounds to corresponding letters.
Phonemic Awareness: Understanding that sentences are made of words, words are made up of syllables, and syllables are made up of sounds.
Picture books can also be helpful in building social-emotional skills, including improving a child’s ability to listen, explore emotions and identifying feelings via recognition of facial expressions. Picture books also promote answering Wh-questions (Who, What, Where, When, Why) and storytelling and retelling, which are both essential in a child’s school life. My biggest draw to picture books, are the great ways that they can help improve vocabulary.  Authors of these types of books often use vocabulary that is specific and focused. It also encourages children to use the pictures to help with understanding the context or describing an event or concept of which they may not be able to identify a word for, but are able to describe due to the detailed or simplistic nature of the picture in the book. The possibilities are endless…Need a good list of picture books and wordless picture books? Look here for a great list I found. Now, you can check one more person off of your holiday shopping list!
Have a happy, restful, and safe Winter Break!

See you in 2019!

Warm regards,
Ms. Toni aka The Speech Lady
Toni Carroll-Wills, MS CCC-SLP


Warmly,
Alysia Lutz, Principal

  • Janney Calendar

    April 2021

    Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
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    • End of Term / Half-Day PD & Half-Day Records Day / No School for Students
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    • No School
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    • No School
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    • No School
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    • No School
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    • Janney Meeting re New Ward 3 Schools
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    • Dining Out at Potomac Pizza
    • DCPS Office of School Planning Meeting with Janney re New Ward 3 Schools
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