Director's Note for August 27th: Introduction to Toolbox, Science and Engineering Update, Volunteer Orientations, and more!

Home Communication: What to Expect from Us
We like to keep you in the loop on everything that is happening at Bridges so that you don't leave yourself out so that you find many opportunities to be involved! That said, we understand that sometimes emails and texts can become overwhelming. Here's what you can generally expect from us throughout the year:

1) A weekly message from your child's teacher through Parentsquare with updates about the classroom.

2) A bi-weekly Director's Note with updates about our school.

3) A bi-weekly PAC Report with information about events and activities sponsored by our PAC.

Each of these messages will have a different purpose and important information will be found in each. Your teacher will likely  also send out parent square updates throughout the week with photos, requests for volunteers, field trip information and other sign-ups. You can elect to receive your parent square messages in digest form if that is your preference. You can also access our calendar and other important information on our school website: www.bridgescharter.org

Toolbox -- our new Social Emotional Learning Curriculum
Our students are starting to learn the first of the twelve tools in our new “Toolbox” Social Emotional Learning curriculum. The first tool they are learning is the Breathing Tool. If you wish to practice this at home, you might model taking three deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth together with your child. The mantra to accompany the Breathing Tool is: “I calm myself and check in.” More information about how you can build on these tools at home will be forthcoming! Our hope is that our students become such experts at using the tools in their toolboxes, that they start bringing these tools home to teach you!

Deepening our Practices around Science and Engineering
This summer, our teachers were focusing not only on connecting with their own families but also on their own professional learning. Seven of our teachers attended our local STEMPosium at CSU Channel Islands, and teachers are eager to try new inquiry-driven projects in the classroom. You’ll notice that we have added more staff development days on our calendar this year; designing and effectively implementing interdisciplinary, project-driven units requires a lot of collaboration and planning to successfully execute, and we wanted to make space on our calendar for teachers to collaborate and bring more exciting units to your children! Further, our Makerspace, Naturalist, and Garden programs have been expanded to allow for more hands-on inquiry and engaging opportunities for our students to become Scientists and Engineers.

How Do we Know What our Students Know?
Another focus this year as a teaching staff is to deepen some of our practices around the question “How do we know what students know?” Our teachers’ lessons and units will be not only driven by their own instructional learning objectives, but they will also be driven by a Learning Target during which students learn to articulate what they are learning and why. You will see these learning targets posted in all of our classrooms. We will also be refining our practices around impromptu or formative assessments in order to drive learning and instruction in our classrooms. Knowing where our students are at in their learning, what their gaps are, and where their strengths are is the first step toward successful differentiation in classrooms.

Family Donation Program
Our PAC funds so many opportunities for our students here at Bridges. Our PAC funds many of the classroom purchases teachers make, they fund our Naturalist program, part of our Garden program, they help fund field trips, and our Makerspace. They work very hard to bring enriching experiences to our school, and their main fundraising happens through our Family Donation program. Their goal is for every family to participate! You can leave your donation in the box in the front office.

Address/Phone Updates
Please ensure that we have your most up to date address and phone number on file in the front office.

Required Volunteer Orientations -- ONLY 2 LEFT!
Please make sure to sign up for a required parent volunteer orientation with Cindy, Kelly, and Shoshanna Wheeler, an expert in parenting and compassionate communication.
The remaining options are:

Thursday, August 30th 1:30-2:30
Thursday, September 13th 4:30-5:30

Return your Forms!
Parents, please don’t forget to return your forms to the front office for each of your children attending Bridges. We hope to have them all in by the end of the week.

Important Upcoming Dates
  • Volunteer Orientation Option #2: Thursday, August 30 1:30-2:30
  • Welcome Back Luau Friday (parents welcome, feel free to wear Hawaiian attire), August 31 11:20-12:20
  • Monday, September 3rd: No School
  • Tuesday, September 4th: PAC Meeting 6:30pm
  • Wednesday and Thursday, September 5th and 6th: School Pictures
  • Monday, September 10th: No School
  • Wednesday, September 12th: Musical Information Meeting at 2:45
  • Thursday, September 13th: 3rd and Final Volunteer Orientation 4:30
  • Thursday, September 14th: Back to School Night 5:30-6:30
  • Saturday, September 15th: New Family Welcome Picnic 3-5pm

Make it a great week!
Dr. Kelly and Ms. Cindy
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