HUNTERS CREEK ELEMENTARY
COUGAR EXPRESS 

News from the Principal and the PTA
 
January 6, 2017
                                  VISIT OUR SCHOOL WEBSITE                       VISIT OUR PTA WEBSITE 
CLICK HERE for our full calendar of events  

Jan 9 9:30-10:15
Parent Education Meeting  Math Facts With Your Child:  Learn how to help your child master the basic facts (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division) with some easy games you can play at home. 
Room 7       
Presenters: Tracey McCall & Joan Salamanchuk (thanks to PTA!!)
Jan 10 6:00 pm 3rd Grade (and new to Texas public school 4th and 5th grade) Parent Meeting:
A STAAR-Y, STAAR-Y NIGHT.  
All 3rd grade parents and any 4th & 5th grade parents new to the STAAR test will want to attend.  
Jan 12 7:00 pm HCE Dad's Kick Off Spring Meeting at Buffalo Wild Wings on I-10
Jan 12 9:00 am PTA Executive Board - Room 7
Jan 16
School HOLIDAY for students and staff
Jan 17 7:30-7:50 am
School Store Open 7:30am-7:50am for 3rd, 4th and 5th graders, near the library
Jan 19 9:30 am PTA General Meeting - place TBD

Happy New Year! 
SPELLING BEE NEWS

Correction to our article last week.   Both the champion, Natalie Jones (4th)  and the 2nd place winner, Kylee Pham (5th)  will represent HCE at the District Spelling 
Bee on February 22, 2017.  
COLD WEATHER AND RECESS OR OUTSIDE HEALTH FITNESS

We will follow the district guidelines to decide if we will take students outside for recess or for Health Fitness.  

Guidelines for Cold Weather
1. When properly clothed , elementary aged children can participate in safe, vigorous play in an outdoor environment. Increased caution should be practiced when temperatures reach below 41 degrees, including the wind chill. On cold, windy days, please dress your child to play outside as we will go out unless - See #2. If we determine that a student is not properly clothed for cold outside play, s/he will not go out in the cold.  

2. Children should be kept inside when temperatures are below 40 degrees with the wind chill.

3. Schools should honor reasonable parent requests that a student be allowed to stay indoors. Requests based on health matters shall be honored. Be mindful of students with asthmatic conditions. These students may need special accommodations during the cold weather season. The parent and the school should work together to determine a system for when their child should not participate in outdoor activities due to health. 
MESSAGE FROM DR. MURI ABOUT STATE GRADING SYSTEM FOR SCHOOLS

Dr. Muri's message went to all of SBISD this morning but I thought I'd capture it here in case you didn't see it.  

Dear SBISD Families and Community Members,

Happy New Year! I hope you had a restful break and are enjoying a great start to the second semester.

In the days ahead, the "mock" or pilot A-F Accountability Ratings for Texas public schools and districts will be released. These ratings, based heavily on the STAAR test, are mandated by House Bill 2804 which was passed by the 84th Texas Legislature. HB 2804 significantly changes the state public school accountability system.
The mock or pilot ratings provide legislators with an advance snapshot of "provisional" grades before the official rating system goes into effect in August 2018. They do not count. I want to make you aware of some important information and the SBISD position on this rating system.

We do not believe the state's A-F rating system is the highest and best way to hold SBISD accountable, and we do not believe a single letter grade provides a true reflection of who we are.  Rather, SBISD believes in multiple measures to assess how our students, schools and district are faring.
Our Board is now finalizing the measures under  The Learner's Journey our new strategic plan. These measures will all point to our single-focused T-2-4 goal. We aim for each of our graduates to complete a technical certification or military training, or a 2- or 4-year degree.

Key Things to Know About A-F Ratings:
  • A-F ratings are based largely on a single, once-a-year, multiple choice bubble test. (STAAR)
  • A-F ratings are not transparent, relying on complicated formulas to create a single grade.
  • A-F ratings appear to be simple and easy to understand, but in fact provide no insights as to what best practices distinguish an "A" school from a "D" or "F" school.
  • A-F ratings fail to account for socio-economic differences and tend to punish schools with significant student populations living in poverty.
  • A-F ratings do not account for improvement efforts.
  • A-F ratings may create a false impression about an entire community of children. Reducing a school to a single letter grade unfairly attaches that same grade to every student, educator and the neighborhood as a whole.
  • A-F ratings have not worked in other states.
As an administrator in Florida when a similar rating system was adopted more than a decade ago, I can tell you first-hand the rating system narrowed the school's focus to student performance on a one-time test. This is not what we are about in SBISD.
I believe a school should not be defined by a "simple" letter grade, in the same way we should not define a child by the letter grade they earn on a single test. The ultimate measure of a school's success lies in the totality of the school experience that fosters the success of the whole child.

I believe in our students, our staff and our school leaders, and I am proud of the continual improvement efforts underway in Spring Branch ISD.

Scott Muri, Ed.D.
SBISD Superintendent of Schools

From Ms. Snyder: 
The reports should go public on the TEA website today. I'll have an article with a bit of detail about our grades at HCE next week.  Just so you know we our DRAFT, not real, grades were:  Domain 1: A, Domain 2: B, Domain 3: B, Domain 4: B, Domain 5: not scored.  In relation to other SBISD Elementary schools - we did very well!  
SCHOOL STORE  

We are opening to 3rd, 4th and 5th graders!   So, 3rd graders can also come now. 

Everything in the store will sell for $1, some things are 2 or 3 for a $1. 

Available: pencils, pencil sharpeners, fun erasers, backpack ornaments, pencil grips, and supply zipper bags. 

Here are the next few school store dates: 
Jan 17 and 31, Feb 21

If you have suggestions for things you'd like the 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students to be able to purchase, email  robalyn.snyder@springbranchisd.com.

Love Your School.... Write a review!
 
Parents often go on and on about how much they love HCE, and we constantly hear what a truly unique and very special school we have!

However, most of us never take the time to tell those outside of our HCE community.  We often wonder how they even come up with the numerous rankings and lists that are published or who they poll.  

Please take a few minutes to write a review, and share your love of HCE and our incredible staff and students!

https://k12.niche.com/survey/
Counselor's Corner
By Andrea Chvatal

Happy New Year!  Many parents are relieved when school starts again.  Why?   Can't you hear it?  It's the sound of sibling rivalry.... If you have more than one child, you know all about this.  Teachers in classrooms know about this as the classroom becomes a type of "family unit" throughout the year.  Kids argue, kids don't share, kids want what they want when they want it, no matter where they may be.  It's inevitable that when there is more than one child, those children will end up disagreeing at some point as they spend more and more time together. 
 
There are actually benefits to sibling rivalry. Yes, really!  To pull from the article linked below, some of those benefits are learning the life skills of dealing with power struggles, managing conflicts and learning to resolve differences.  Children also learn how to be assertive and stand up for what they believe in, as well as negotiation and compromise.
 
Well, if that's the case, then those arguments and fights can be seen as building skills your child can use now and in the future. As parents, we can let go of the notion our children should  never fight.  We can embrace the arguing as an opportunity for learning, as long as the disagreement is handled in a healthy, loving way.  We must help our children learn how to speak respectfully and assertively when in these situations.  Depending on our child's age, we can let them think about the choices they want to present as solutions (for younger children, offer choices), and keep an ear out for how our children negotiate those choices with each other.  We can also help our children learn empathy and justice as they think about how the other child might be feeling and work to rectify the situation.
The sound of sibling rivalry may take on a more pleasant tune after spending a few minutes reading this informative article from The Center for Parenting Education. Click  here.
 
 
On Another Note...

Holiday Angels was an overall success!  
HCE was able to help every family that requested adoption. 

Thank you, Hunters Creek Community, for your generous spirit! 
 
Join Our Team!
We are so excited to bring Girls on the Run to Hunters Creek Elementary! It is a wonderful program that inspires girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running. 
The program's vision is to help every girl know and activate her limitless potential and feel free to boldly pursue her dreams. We are so excited to implement this program at our campus. The lessons are fun and engaging for the girls. We have lots of fun team bonding exercises that include silly dances and chants. This will give girls a chance to talk with mentors about obstacles they may be encountering in their everyday life. 
This is NOT a competitive running program! We will be setting goals for ourselves and our team so we can complete a 5K at the end of the program! We are so excited to go through this experience with our HCE team!
Who : 15 girls in 3rd-5th grade (chosen by lottery if more than 15 apply, if one sibling is chosen the other will get in)
When: Tuesday/Thursday 3:15-4:45
          January 30th - April 29th(Race day!)
Where: HCE 
Coaches: Ms. Giese, 2nd Grade Teacher
                 Ms. Breaux (Howard), 2nd Grade Teacher
                 Ms. Clark, 1st Grade Teacher
Cost: $150 - Includes Shirts, Lap bracelets, 5K registration fee
Go to www.gotrgreaterhouston.org   click on the link REGISTER NOW and follow the steps  to apply to Hunters Creek Elementary group. 
ONLINE REGISTRATION APPLICATIONS DUE BY JANUARY 20TH
Questions, Comments, Concerns e-mail Sarah Giese:   sarah.giese@springbranchisd.com
Westchester Academy for International Studies
 
Open House for Prospective Students and Parents
 
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
6:00 pm- 8:00 pm
 
Visit Westchester Academy for International Studies and discover the classes, projects, and organizations that make us an exciting and unique choice for your child's education in grades 6-12.
 
The General Introduction and Welcome will begin in the auditorium at 6:00 pm followed by grade level presentations. Computers will be available in the Dining Hall for those who wish to have assistance completing the online application.
Applications may be found online: www.springbranchisd.com/choice
 
To be included in the lottery, Online Applications must be completed by 4 pm February 10, 2017.  Applications received after this time will be placed at the end of the waiting list. WAIS Main Office hours, during the application period, are Monday-Friday 7:30am-4:00pm.

Calling all K-2 students!
 
 4 th annual  BookWorm Festival  
Saturday, January 21 st, at Spring Oaks Middle School 
9:30-11:30 (doors open at 9:00)

It's a fun morning that celebrates emerging readers and those who write for them. This free event, sponsored by Blue Willow Bookshop, the Barbara Bush Literacy Foundation and the SBISD Librarians, will feature five popular and award-winning authors and illustrators of books for young people: Adam Rex , Mary Sullivan , Heidi Schulz , Adam Lehrhaupt   ,and   Varsha Bajaj . We hope to see you there!

Need More Info?  Read HERE
PTA President's Perspective
 
Happy New Year and welcome to the second half of the school year!  We have a busy calendar for this spring, so be on the look out for many opportunities to volunteer - Talent Show, Family Fair, Book Fair and other campus favorites will be here before we know it!  Time flies!  Have a great weekend!  

Katrina Stephenson
HCE PTA President
PTA Nominations

It is time to submit your nominations for the 2017-2018 PTA Executive Board! 

Please click on the form below and turn in all nominations before January 31, 2017! All responses are confidential - if you have any questions, please contact:

            Katrina Stephenson                                          Jennifer Daly
            PTA President                                                   PTA First Vice President
            katrinastephenson@gmail.com                         jajdaly@gmail.com


SAVE THE DATE

HCE Family Fair
March 3, 2017
3-5pm


For questions please contact:  
Robyn Canterbury, Katie Clark, Alicia Kimmel or Carrye Krouse

IMPORTANT MESSAGE REGARDING YOUR TAX DOLLARS ... FROM YOUR PTA

Dr. Alma Allen, State Rep from Houston and Vice Chair of the House Education Committee, will  be meeting with parents regarding recapturing of taxes.  This is a very important meeting and we  encourage your attendance on 
December 14 at 10:00 am at 45 Saddlebrook Lane.

SBISD is writing a check for $68 million back to the state this year,  much of which will be going to the  General Fund,  and not education .

SPREAD THE WORD!  Please talk with your friends at other schools in  SBISD as well as  HISD.  
 
All are welcome and encouraged to come. Please reply to Denise Campbell ddcampbell45@aol.com  and let us know if you are able to attend.  We need to have at least 30-35 in attendance.  
  
The Texas Legislature will convene in 40 days on January 10, 2017. As of today,  there are NO legislative proposals to fix to the school finance crisis. SBISD faces a financial cliff that may  lead to drastic budget cuts. If the legislature does not act THIS session, SBISD will face a $17M budget  shortfall next fall (the 2017-18 fiscal year) as our recapture payment increases from $66M to over $93M.  To put this in perspective, $17M is approximately the total SBISD has budgeted for Student Transportation 
($7.4M), Health Services ($3.6M), and Co-Curricular / Extracurricular Activities ($6.1M).

Our children, our educators and our community need you to act now.  If you are unable to attend this meeting and want more information on recapture and the SBISD financial crisis including a helpful video  explanation, click "School Finance" on the SBISD web site or visit: http://springbranchspeaks.com/index.html  
 

Great way to help Hunters Creek Elementary when you are shopping                                             
Amazon Smile-  Direct link that will contribute to HCE school is:

Visit www.smile.amazon.com (same account as www.amazon.com ) and select   
HCE as charitable organization; this will donate 0.5% of your purchase!  

On your first visit, you select a charitable organization to receive donation before  
you begin shopping go to: "or pick your charitable organization" and type   
Hunters Creek Elementary and select Houston, Texas. It will come as PTA  
Texas congress 4932, or you can also look for the school with EIN number:  
EIN-74-6086197
 
Thank you to all the students, teachers for submitting your Box Tops coupons!!

IT'S NOT TOO LATE TO DONATE TO HCE ANNUAL FUND!!
Go online to www.hcepta.com or drop off a check to front office,
send through your child's backpack or mail to:
Ketti Collins, 851 Country Ln, Houston, TX 77024
Don't forget to complete your ANNUAL VOLUNTEER REGISTRATION. 

You need to do 2 things to complete your annual volunteer registration. 
1.  Register with SBISD at  https://volunteer.springbranchisd.com/
2.  View the HCE Volunteer Training video and sign the google form.  Or, attend a training at school the first day or first few weeks of school.  

Video of HCE Volunteer Training:   https://youtu.be/-mJQgpiulSw
iKids U After-School Program

iKids U registration is going on now for the 201 6 -201 7  School Year!  

Turn in registrations at the HCE front office, visit iKids online at www.ikidsinc.com, or register by phone at 713-665-5200.  iKids U offers a variety of onsite after-school opportunities at HCE including Stay & Play, Enrichment classes, and One on One services.  Customize your child's after-school schedule with part-time and full-time options available!  iKids U starts on the first day of school and classes are filling-up fast so enroll today!
 
Please CLICK HERE to download a registration form  
Hunters Creek Elementary | School & PTA | 713-251-6000| Email | Website

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