Panther Pause column: Where did the year go?

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As we come to the end of the school year, it is a good time to reflect on what we have achieved and look forward to; an even more successful 2018/2019!
Our students
Our children have actively learned how to learn, how to care, how to share, how to be more independent, learned value of our community, and how to identify one's self-worth. This is our ultimate goal.
New to our learning environments
We have opened our minds to allowing students to choose where and how they are seated during instruction and learning in the classroom. One of its principal objectives is to reduce the number/duration of sedentary periods of time, and allow students choice in their comfort. Students learn best when they are comfortable and have choice. We have also extended our wireless technology and invested in Ozmoz, one-to-one Chromebooks in fourth grade, and more technology opportunities to enhance learning. Over the summer months, we will be building an outdoor classroom that stems from ideas of the children and will provide them with an additional environment to learn in.
The curriculum
This year, there have been important changes in our curriculum that will continue to enhance the learning of our students. We have fully implemented a Workshop Model of learning for all students 4K-4 in the areas of reading, writing, and math. This allows each student to learn as part of a whole group, independently show one's learning, and also meet with the teacher in a small group or one-on-one to prove what's been learned. Staff has worked endlessly on identifying the essential standards for each grade, built rubrics and common assessments to align to these standards. Interventions have taken on a whole new look as we meet children where they are at and move them forward to mastering these essentials standards.
Extra events
It is important that our students have an enjoyable, enriching time at school. This year, we have held a number of music concerts including the brilliant musical play "The Emperor's New Clothes". Peter Brown, a well known author and illustrator came to our school. We also had several opportunities for children's wellness through Wellness Warriors, Jump Rope for Heart, The Glow Run and Zumba. The additional fun with book fairs, Dr. Seuss Nights, STEM Night, Math Night, PPG events such as Bingo, The Snowflake Dance and many many more.
Lastly, I would like to thank all the staff — both teaching and support staff — who make this school the terrific school it is and a wonderful place for work and learning. To the community, your support is invaluable. Congratulations to our students who so deserve to succeed.