Parent Tips to Best Support Your Student with Standardized Testing
March 21, 2019
This is a friendly reminder our 3rd-5th grade students will begin the season of State Standardized testing when we return from spring break. Please see the attached CMAS schedule for when your student’s grade level will be testing. In addition, we encourage you to talk to your student about positive thinking and strategies for test taking. Please read the following article for resources. Thank you in advance for your continued collaboration and support. The PRA staff looks forward to an excellent testing season!
It is our favorite math holiday of the year, it’s Pi Day! This annual celebration, held every March 14, is our chance to pay tribute to the most famous constant in math and physics: the number you get when you divide the circumference of a circle by its diameter. It’s represented by the Greek letter “π” — in English, “pi.”
Even though the weather has thrown off our plans to celebrate today, students in grades K-12 will have the opportunity to show their pi spirit tomorrow (or student council spirit).
Click on the link below to learn fun facts about pi that you can share around the dinner table tonight! For instance, did you know that Albert Einstein was born on pi day? www.piday.org/pi-facts/
Positive Reinforcement is Key!
March 7, 2019
As many of you know, we’ve really raised the bar this year on earning positive office referrals. We are looking for students who are showing the PRA all of the time, or have gone above and beyond to help someone in need. As a result, you may be wondering if positive reinforcement is taking place for the entirety of the student body. We want to assure you that it is! Our teachers hold weekly class meetings with their students and one of the components of these meetings includes exchanging meaningful compliments. This is an important ritual, as it teaches students to be on the lookout for what is going well and what others are doing correctly, which is further reinforcing positive choices as a desired behavior.
At PRA each class is like a family, and they work had to take care of each other. Teachers consistently provide verbal positive reinforcement to students all throughout the day. In some cases, students also have the opportunity to provide physical compliments to each other. We’ve had a wildly successfully kindness month in February with many grades finding creative ways to show kindness to each other and staff and students all throughout the school. Kindness month has ushered in a very positive overall attitude as we head into the last quarter of school!
February 21, 2019
This month we are focusing on treating each other kindly. February is officially Kindness Month and February 17th was National Random Acts of Kindness Day, which has grown in popularity each year. It is celebrated by individuals, groups and organizations nationwide to encourage acts of kindness.
Kindness is a favorite trait for us at PRA, as students and staff all around the building are enjoying doing these acts of kindness for each other and hopefully for you at home as well! We encourage you to complete a kindness challenge at home; sharing compliments with each other at dinner, thinking about ways to help others, and/or planning a service activity as a family. We know that our PRA community is very KIND!
Thank You & Lunchroom Visitor Expectations
February 14, 2019
We want to send out a big thank you to the community for the love and support provided at last week’s Staff Appreciation. The Back to the 80’s theme was super awesome and we definitely felt the love and support provided by our parent community. Thank you for your collaboration and dedication this school year!
Lunchroom and Visitor Expectations
We realize parents and guardians might wish to eat lunch with their children on special occasions, which we welcome. Lunch visitors will need to go to the front office and follow all check-in procedures prior to visiting the lunchroom. If you do not wish to eat with your child’s classmates at their designated lunchroom tables, you and your child may sit at the designated family lunch tables along the west wall of the cafeteria. To minimize disruption, we ask that your child invite only one friend to join you at designated family tables.
Food Allergy Awareness Reminder
February 7, 2019
As we approach the middle of the year and winter weather has kept us indoors for recess, we thought this would be a good time to remind everyone about our snack policy. We are not a nut-free or allergen-free school, but we are allergy aware and want to keep our kids safe! Due to the severity of food allergies of a number of our students, we are asking you please not send food with the allergens from your child’s homeroom class for snacks. Please know they can pack food of their choice for their lunch. In addition, we are asking for you to please review the allergy awareness document for your student’s homeroom class to see what allergens are not allowed for snacks in their classroom.
Thank you for helping keep our classrooms safe for all students!
Student Led Parent/Teacher Conferences
January 24, 2019
We look forward to discussing your child’s progress in 3 weeks at conference time. In order to make the best use of the short time we have together we’d appreciate your help with the following tips for success:
Students are leading their conference this time around, so please bring them. There will be time for you to meet separately with the teacher if you’d like to discuss any questions or concerns without your child present.
All siblings need to plan to wait in the hallway during the conference so that a private, focused discussion can take place about your child’s progress.
Plan to be here for conferences. We will not hold makeup conferences, but the teacher will send home any information that he/she had planned to review.
Review the data that is sent home ahead of time and if you have questions or need clarification ask at the conference.
Thank you for helping us to ensure that you get useful and specific information during the conference about your child’s progress. We enjoy getting to share in your child’s journey and talking about their successes and areas for growth!
Elementary Monthly Character Trait is Courage
January 17, 2019
This week our K-5 students attended our monthly elementary assembly. It was an exciting time to come together as a student body and recognize any students who had earned a Positive Office Referral for demonstrating the PRA way over the last month. In addition, we had the opportunity to introduce this month’s character trait which is courage. Our students did an excellent job sharing their thoughts and ideas on how they can demonstrate courage during the school day and beyond! We encourage you as parents to also discuss ways your child(ren) can demonstrate courage and bravery. Here is a quick article discussing nine ways we can support our students in demonstrating positive character!
We enjoyed spending the last two days completing our assessments with students and welcoming them back into the building. We hope you had time to connect as a family, review routines, and prepare for a great year ahead. If you haven’t spoken with your kids about their hopes for this new year, we encourage you to do so. It is never to early to set goals and think about how to reach them! Thank you for establishing schedules and routines at home that support students ability to solve their own problems and celebrate their successes. We look forward to a great semester together!
Cozy Day & Adams 12 Contract Renewal
December 13, 2018
Elementary is going COZY
We are having our own elementary “spirit day” on Thursday, December 20th and students are invited to wear pajamas, even holiday or winter themed if they’d like. We are hosting an all school sing-a-long at 9:45 am in the K-8 gym. You are welcome to join us and sing along!
Adams 12 Contract Renewed
On Wednesday, December 5th the Adams 12 Board voted unanimously to approve PRA’s contract with the Adams 12 School District for another five years. As you may or may not know, as a charter we are reviewed every five years as part of the terms of our contract with the district. PRA has met and exceeded the expectations outlined for our performance. We will be reviewed again in 2024. Thank you for all your support in helping make our school a success!
Elementary Assessment Reminder/Calendar Change & PRA PRIDE
December 6, 2018
Elementary Assessment Reminder/Calendar Change
Elementary School will be in session as normal on December 13th and December 14th. Elementary Assessments will take place on January 8th and 9th to fit the allotted assessment window for PALS. Please make sure and sign-up your student(s) for their appropriate assessment grade level time.
It is never too early to prepare our 3rd-5th grade students and the community for state standardized assessments. Our main focus is to collaborate as a community to make this experience meaningful and purposeful for each and every student at PRA. The state defined CMAS administration window is scheduled March 18th-April 26th. Our team will be finalizing a schedule over the next few weeks and will be providing parents and the community a more detailed schedule when we return from winter break. PRA PRIDE! Our test scores are a direct reflection of Prospect Ridge Academy and our students– the higher the scores, the higher our standing in the community. High-test scores bring with them recognition, funding, and affirmation of our commitment to academic success. We want our students to feel that success and take PRIDE in being a PRA Minder! In addition, performing well on CMAS helps us attract families who share our value of creating academic leaders. We look forward to partnering with you to make this year’s assessments a success for our students and community. Please feel free to review information regarding CMAS at the following link: https://www.cde.state.co.us/assessment/cmas
November 29, 2018
RACES is a writing rubric and tool that our elementary teachers and students utilize to help practice and create constructed responses to questions. Each letter represents an outline of how to effectively construct a whole response to any question within any content being taught. This is an excellent tool you can discuss and use with your child at home as they work on becoming strong readers and writers! Each grade level is focusing on different letters, for example the younger grades focus on the R and the A, while the older grades have students using all 5 letters of the acronym. We wanted to share this with you so that we can be consistent at home and at school!
R-Restate the question
A-Answer the question
C-Cite evidence in the text
E- Explain, expand and give examples
S- Sum it all up, and restate the question as a conclusion
Midterm Grade & Miner Mania
November 15, 2018
Midterm Grades Posted in IC
Your child’s midterm progress grades for Quarter 1 are viewable in your IC student portal. Please remember students are progressing towards mastery of each standard, so partial-proficiency is common at this point in the year. Please reach out to your child’s teacher with any questions or concerns. Please reach out to helpdesk@prospectridgeacademy if you are having difficulty logging in to Infinite Campus. We are excited to see how our students will continue to grow and achieve throughout the year!
Miner Mania = success = thanks!
In just one hour, 1400 students managed to create 1500 hygiene kits, learn about the efforts of the organization, A Precious Child, and become bonded with other Miners. None of this would have been possible without your support of our mission to provide service-learning opportunities and our vision to create leaders. Thank you for sending in over 7,000 hygiene items. Your kids are learning how their efforts have an impact outside of the four walls at PRA!
Character Trait of the Month
November 8, 2018
The Elementary School Assembly was on Wednesday, November 7th and the new monthly character trait of WONDER was introduced. Students had many opportunities to stop, say “Wow”, and wonder at things they saw in the assembly. They were also encouraged to WONDER by looking beyond that first “wow” moment and allow it to be a step towards deepening their learning about something or someone. We showed students this short PIXAR clip and asked them to think about “wow” moments and what we learned about the character when we looked beyond the “wow”. We welcome you to view and discuss the video with your student regarding their discoveries.
Math … in Focus
November 1, 2018
In alignment with our school-wide initiative around improving mathematical achievement, I have listed below several links and apps which can be used at home to practice math skills. While math facts are worked on at school, it is also important for students to practice them at home in order to develop automaticity. Mastering basic math facts will better equip students to handle more in-depth math skills.
Congratulations to our students after completing another successful fire drill on Monday afternoon. While visiting, our North Metro Fire liaison noticed that we have quite a few cars that are parking in the fire lane on the west side of the K-8 building and blocking access to the fire hydrant. She wanted to kindly remind PRA parents that it is illegal to park in a fire lane. Per her recommendation, we will be working to paint the curb red to more clearly indicate the fire lane and discourage parking on this side of the building.
We know that parking at times can be tough due to the lack of spaces available, especially on days when there are multiple events taking place at once. Our advice is to come a bit early to your event so that if the parking lot at the K-8 is full, you are able to park at the high school and still make it to check-in in time for your event. Thank you for not parking illegally or unsafely in the parking lot. Please also refrain from parking in the reserved parking spaces that parents purchased at last year's gala. If you’ve brainstormed a solution to this challenge that you’d like to share with us, please reach out!
October 18, 2018
Last Friday, October 12th our K-3rd grade staff spent time in professional development collaborating in a IMSE: Orton-Gillingham refresher training. Orton-Gillingham also known as OG combines multi-sensory techniques along with the structure of the English language. Those items taught include: phonemes and morphemes, such as prefixes, suffixes, and roots. Common spelling rules are introduced as well. Multi-sensory education incorporates the three learning pathways, which are: auditory, kinesthetic, and visual. Please take a look at the following link https://www.orton-gillingham.com/ for an in depth explanation of the theory and strategies behind the OG approach and how you can educate yourself to support the learning of your child. In addition, please feel free to contact our Literacy Specialist Tamara Zieschang at email@example.com with any questions you have around the OG approach. Thank you for your collaboration and support in growing great READERS and WRITERS!
October 11, 2018
Homework is part of our general academic expectations for our students. It prepares students in becoming independent, academic leaders. It also helps develop strong work ethics and personal organizational skills that will help support them as successful adults. Its immediate educational purpose is:
to reinforce skills and concepts learned in class
to develop study skills and habits
to inform parents of what is being taught in the classroom
Homework assignments may be expected Monday through Friday of each week. They may be modified to accommodate the needs of your child. If your child consistently is not getting homework assignments finished in the allotted time, please contact your child’s teacher. The goal is to reinforce, not to burden, the student. In addition to regular classroom assignments, we would like each child to read, or be read to, at least three times a week and preferably every day. We believe becoming a competent reader is critical to becoming a good student, and the first step to being able to explore the world. By making sure your child is reading at home, you are directly contributing to his/her education. When reading to your child and participating in this process as a parent, you encourage your child’s growth and strengthen family ties. Furthermore, when you read in front of your children, you model good habits and reinforce your expectations. And so, we request that you establish a “family reading time” at least three times a week. The expected homework time allotment for each grade is as follows:
Kindergarten (10-15 minutes per night)
Reading/Writing: Monthly reading log and writing practice
Math: Extra math practice
Grade 1 (15-25 minutes per night)
Reading/Writing: Read for 15 minutes 4 x a week, spelling words and patterns 5 minutes 4 x a week
Math: Math facts to 10 (addition and subtraction) 5 minutes 4 x a week
Grade 2 (30-40 minutes per night)
*Students can also work on fixing their mistakes on reading/math assignments that are sent home to fill up the 20 or 10 minute practice time.
Reading/Writing: Read for 20 minutes per night
Math: Math facts for 10 minutes per night
Grade 3 (30-45 minutes per night)
*Occasionally unfinished classwork and/or project research
Reading/Writing: Read 30 minutes per night
Math: Nightly work on multiplication math facts, math workbook pages 2-4 times per week
Grade 4 (45-60 minutes per night)
Reading/Writing: Read for 30 minutes per night and occasionally unfinished work.
Math: Nightly work on multiplication math facts (5-10 min 4 x a week) and occasionally workbook practice
Science and Social Studies: Studying for upcoming assessments (5-10 min) and occasionally unfinished work
Grade 5 (30-60 minutes per night)
Reading/Writing: Read for 30 minutes per night/half page free write each day
Math: 15-20 minutes per night
Science and Social Studies: Only if in-class assignments are not complete
These are general allotted times and are subject to change depending upon the nature of a given assignment and the student’s personal organizational and study skills. Some days may require less time while others require more.
In addition, here at PRA it is important to us that we help support a healthy balance of both personal time and work time. It is just as important for our students to develop appropriate social skills and be able to interact and communicate with their peers, as it is they build their academic knowledge. Our community strives to create academic, social and ethical leaders. Therefore please remember it is also equally important that your child be given the opportunity to PLAY!
Self Control & Playground Hours
October 4, 2018
Self-Control: Character Trait of the Month
Self-control is stopping to think about my actions before I enact them!
Self-discipline is giving the best of ourselves and saying “no” to our weaknesses.
On Wednesday at our elementary assembly we discussed how to demonstrate self-control all throughout the day. Thank you for reinforcing this same language at home!
We also talked about what a positive office referral will be given for, and this year it will only be used when students really demonstrate a “4”. This can be accomplished by showing the PRA way all the time or going above and beyond to help someone in need, even without being asked. Congratulations to those students who are already at a 4 for character!
With our new security fence we’d like to remind everyone that the playground opens at 7:45 AM and closes at 3:45 PM everyday based on our supervisory capacity and the needs of our after school care program. Thank you!
Parent Teacher Conferences & Security Fence
September 27, 2018
We look forward to discussing your child’s progress in 2 weeks at conference time. In order to make the best use of the short time we have together we’d appreciate your help with the following tips for success:
2nd-5th grade students are welcome to join their parents at the conference but not required to attend. K & 1 students should not plan to join the conference unless you feel you’d like them present. Please notify your student’s teacher if they will be attending.
All siblings need to plan to wait in the hallway during the conference so that a private, focused discussion can take place about the students progress.
Plan to be here for conferences. We will not hold makeup conferences, but the teacher will send home any information that he/she had planned to review.
Review the data that is sent home ahead of time and if you have questions or need clarification, bring them to the conference.
Thank you for helping us to ensure that you get useful and specific information during check-in about your child’s progress. We enjoy getting to share in your child’s journey and talking about their successes and areas for growth!
The fences are up! As you’ve noticed we have recently installed a perimeter fence to fully enclose the back of the K-8 building. This allows us to control the access to the back playground and ensures that visitors are not able to access either building except through the front doors. Students can now safely pass between buildings during passing periods. Gates are installed in the fences for quick exit as needed. We are excited about this new safety feature!
Indoor Driveline Dismissal on Severe Weather Days
September 20, 2018
As we all know from time to time Colorado ends up with severe weather that quickly approaches the end of the school day during or prior to afternoon driveline. With this we want to take the opportunity to clarify what our process will look like for parents when severe weather occurs.
If time allows, PRA Administration will notify families of these procedures via Miner Message that Indoor Driveline dismissal will be taking place.
Numbers will be entered as normal and students will be kept inside until a designated staff escorts them to their car.
We encourage on severe weather days that parents do not walk-up to pick up their students, rather they use the driveline procedure. If you choose to walk-up, please note you will not be allowed in the front vestibule due to this being the main exit for students. By utilizing driveline this will help with less congestion in the front of the building.
If you choose to walk-up a staff or parent volunteer will be located at the front doors of the K-8 building to enter family driveline numbers. Once your number has been entered, students will be united with parents at the front doors of the K-8 building by a designated staff member.
If your student is a biker/walker, your student will be kept in their classroom until the grade-level teacher is able to call home to discuss pick-up plans for this day.
Driveline will run as normal and all K-5 students will enter through the front doors and walk to their grade level classroom.
Building the Habit of Good Attendance
September 13, 2018
PRA values your children being present and punctual to school. Students miss valuable instruction time if they are absent or tardy to class. Help us help your children succeed by getting them to school regularly and on time! (Of course, if your student is sick, please keep them home until they meet the guidelines to return to school.) Thank you in advance for your continued collaboration and support in effectively growing your student.
What an exciting year we have ahead of us! Our state testing data from last school year looks fantastic. However, there is always more we can do to improve our program. We decided it would be appropriate with all the construction taking place around the building, to capitalize on the theme of building success in the elementary. Based on our data we’ve identified a specific focus this year in the area of mathematics.
Our focus on data-driven instruction with our staff will guide us to help students achieve, especially in the area of math. DDI is a process our staff will undergo to analyze student data in an ongoing and meaningful way to drive their daily instruction. Our staff and students will have monitoring conversations about their progress in math specifically, and we will work to differentiate to meet all students individual needs. We will provide updates throughout the year on how things are going as we BUILD success!
Assessment Days - September 13th & 14th
August 30, 2018
Grades 1-5 will be attending assessment testing days in September. Kindergarten will not have assessments in September, as their testing window does not start until 2 weeks after these dates to give them time to acclimate to school and get accurate baseline data.
As reflected on the master calendar, this year we have 2 days for assessment testing in the fall, middle of the year, and in the spring. We are eager to utilize this time with students to gather baseline and progress monitoring data to best inform our instruction! We have 5 different blocks of assessment times to choose from. Please be sure to sign-up for one. Teachers count on this time to gather critical information about student performance!
We will be running a modified driveline schedule on these days. Please be prepared to drop-off or pick-up in driveline if you are using the colored lanes. If you intend to park and walk up we highly encourage you to consider parking at the high school! Staff will be on hand to help safely escort students to and from their cars to the building and to their classrooms for testing.
Students should report to assessments in dress code.
Morning Drop-off and Driveline Reminders
Do not leave large gaps between cars as you are dropping off or picking up students in driveline.
Utilize crosswalks for pedestrian safety.
Dogs are not permitted on the property during driveline for safety reason and for allergies.
Driveline does not begin until 7:45 a.m. and 3:05 p.m. Please do not arrive before the start time, as we need to keep our driveline area open for access to the K-8 building.
Drop-off and playground
As we begin to head into our 3rd week of school we ask parents to please remember we want to make the 'hug and go' drop-off process as quick as possible. Keeping our goodbyes quick helps our students with a smooth transition into the school day and it allows the drop-off process to be efficient for all PRA families. If you feel your student needs some assistance please let their homeroom teacher know so they can provide your child with the needed support. Thank you in advance for collaborating with us to make morning drop-off a successful transition for everyone.
August 23, 2018
Please enjoy this short video that Ms. Cutshall put together from the first day of school: