Cultivating minds and hearts through the pursuit of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty
September 16, 2019

Table of Contents:  
  • HM Letter
  • Spalding Night for Parents
  • Rain Poncho
  • Morning Tutoring
  • Freedom Week
  • Hot Lunch Note
  • P/T Conference
  • Walk-Up Pick-Up
  • Living the GH Curriculum
  • PSO Luncheon
  • PSO Spirit Night
  • PSO Spirit Shirts
  • Important Dates
  • Important Links
  • School Contact Info

Dear Spartan families,

So, I have two boys attending GHWH… a first grader and a fourth grader. They’ve always helped bring groceries in from the car, pull sheets off the bed, etc., but now we’re really thinking through giving them consistent chores. Chores are a terrific way for the boys to feel like they are meaningfully contributing to the family. Chores help them develop self-worth, learn to take pride in doing a job well, grow in perseverance, etc. There is even some evidence that kids who complete chores develop skills that later help them plan and complete academic assignments. So we’ve started giving them chores and I’m coming to the realization that they just aren’t very good at these tasks…. At least not yet.

And this is difficult, because it’s probably time for the boys to help me wash the car. Washing my car, for years, has been a therapeutic exercise for me. I’m super weird about it… I have a “way” that I wash the car… it’s ceremonial, like planning a royal wedding.

There’s the pre-rinse, the water-to-soap ratio, the rinsing of the sponge, the moisturizing of the chamois, waxing on and waxing off… all quirky little things that I’ve grown accustomed to doing for the past 20 something years.

I learned how to wash a car, because my parents let me wash their cars. For years, my poor mom and dad drove around in streaky, smeary cars, washed by their young son. And that’s how I learned. Over time, the practice made me better.

If we do everything for our kids, or expect things to be perfect the first attempt, they’ll never learn how to do it for themselves. My wife and I are entering the years of partially washed dogs, half-swept patios, and mostly-clean bathrooms. And I need to be okay with this, because this is when they learn to do the job well.

Don’t worry… if you ever come over, we’ll make sure your coffee cup is clean, but otherwise, just know that things will be a little less perfect than usual, because we’re training our kids.

Matthew Vlahovich
Spalding Night for Parents

All GHWH parents & guardians are invited to come learn all about Spalding Phonics and how to assist your child in their Spalding homework to make them successful students with phonics!

Thursday, September 19
5:30-7:00 PM
Check the Weather
Rain may be headed our way again this week. Check the weather report and if your child has a poncho, pack it in his/her backpack.
Morning Tutoring - Cut off Time

Morning tutoring begins at 7:10 AM for those who have been asked to attend tutoring. Please arrive on time. If you arrive at 7:30 AM or later, you cannot attend tutoring on that given day as it is disruptive to the tutoring environment. Please proceed to the school car drop-line with your scholar(s). Thank you for your courteous.
Celebrating Freedom Week
September 15-21, 2019
Each year, during the week that includes September 17, Texas schools honor Celebrate Freedom Week  (TEC § 29.907)  to highlight the values and ideals on which the United States was founded as well as the sacrifices that were made for freedom in the founding of the country. Students learn about the intent, meaning, and importance of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, including the Bill of Rights. Students also examine the relationship between the ideas in these documents and subsequent American history. 
Celebrate Freedom Week coincides with Constitution Week, established by the U.S. Congress to encourage all Americans to learn about the Constitution. Both Celebrate Freedom Week and Constitution Week focus on September 17, the date in 1787 when delegates to the Constitutional Convention signed the Constitution. Congress has also designated September 17 of each year as Constitution Day.  

Hot Lunch Counts - Important Information

Parents please talk to your child/children each morning and coach them about whether or not they will be eating the school's hot lunch or if they brought their own lunch each morning . We are trying our best to have accurate counts. There seems to be a higher than normal amount of children utilizing the hot lunch program that do not let the teacher know in the morning when the teacher is taking hot lunch counts in each classroom. If your child is getting a hot lunch, tell them to listen for when the teacher asks in the morning and make sure the child communicates properly to the teacher they are getting a hot lunch. Teachers ask the classroom every morning . If your child is bringing a lunch to school, make sure your child understands they need to eat the lunch that they brought in their lunchbox . Thank you!
Parent/Teacher Conferences
Save the Date!
October 14-15, 2019

Mark your calendar and plan to attend your child/children's Parent-Teacher Conference! Keep an eye out for specifics from your teachers when the date gets closer. First Quarter P/T Conferences are when parents will be handed their child's report card and have time to go over any needed in person communication.

Please note: we receive daily funding for   all students who are in their classrooms at 10:00 AM   . Therefore,   we encourage parents to schedule doctor appointments before or after that time so that students can be in their seats at 9:55 AM   . Please bring a doctor's note for all doctor appointments or they can fax it directly to us at 210-888-9484. (Please specify GHWH on all faxes.) With a doctor's note, we are able to mark your student as "present" and not lose much-needed funding!

Please remember to relay any planned absences to your student's teacher. For all other questions or concerns related to absences (that cannot be addressed by your teacher directly), send an email directly to:   . Additionally, please email all absence notifications as well to:   Attendance  

Please turn in all sick or doctor notes within 2 days of the absence   . Written documentation must be provided for ALL days your student is absent from school. Acceptable forms of written documentation include email, handwritten letter, or doctor's note. If a doctor's note is not applicable, please use this form when submitting a note for absence(s):  Absent Note
Walk-Up Pick Up
Pets (including but not limited to dogs) are not allowed in the walk up pick up line outside or in the school lobby (with the exception of dogs used for medical necessity by patrons).

Reminder to bring car placards at pick up. We will enforce the rule of no placard, no pick up . School faculty is not be allowed to "vouch" for a parent or guardian. If you do not have the yellow placard, you will be required to go to the school lobby and show a picture I.D. so that we can verify you in the computer system as being on the authorized pick up list.
Living the Great Hearts Curriculum
One of the key components to our Great Hearts lower school curriculum is our use of Spalding Phonics. The Spalding Method is accredited by IMSLEC and IDA. Here are a few facts about Spalding Phonics:
When teachers explain the purpose of each new task and how students will be able to use their new skills, attention and motivation are enhanced. Explicit instruction means that every new skill, procedure, or concept is modeled, i.e., explained and demonstrated.
Interactive instruction means that teachers continually engage students in dialogues and activities and ensure that all students participate. After providing explicit instruction, teachers ask questions that check not only students’ knowledge and understanding but also their ability to use higher-level thinking (e.g., applying, reasoning, analyzing, and evaluating).  Teachers guide and prompt (coach) as students attempt each task. Teachers continue to provide support (scaffold) as needed and withdraw support (fade) when students can independently perform the task.  As students articulate what they have learned, reflect on their performance, and then perform each task independently after achieving mastery, they develop habits of mind that serve them well throughout their education and their lives. Activities that are relevant to the objective and advance students’ learning develop mastery. 
Diagnostic instruction means that during this daily interaction, teachers carefully observe each student’s progress and differentiate instruction to meet individual needs. They identify children who understand the model, those who will need extra help in small groups, and those who will need challenge. Teachers do not stop teaching and then diagnose, because diagnosing is built into daily instruction just as asking higher-level questions is part of checking students’ understanding.
Romalda Spalding learned from Dr. Orton to divide each task into its component parts, teach them sequentially, and talk about each part. Sequential instruction is structured to proceed from the simple to the complex and is cumulative across all grade levels.
Multi-sensory instruction means that students see, hear, say, and write using all channels to the brain, the stronger channels reinforcing the weaker. Using all four sensory channels reduces the amount of practice required for mastery and helps prevent or overcome learning difficulties. The success of The Spalding Method , even with children who have severe language problems, is in large part due to the multisensory nature of the method.
Integrated instruction means that the connection between speaking, writing, and reading is constantly taught and reinforced. High-frequency words analyzed for pronunciation and spelling rules in the spelling lesson are studied for meaning, usage, morphology, and parts of speech in the writing lesson. Learning is enhanced when students apply language arts skills in other subjects. In short, the components of Spalding methodology are not taught as discrete entities. They are part of a cohesive whole, each part working in concert with the rest.

A Note from the PSO

Teacher Appreciation Committee

Teacher Appreciation Luncheon will be held on Friday, September 20th. We are still in need of a few items. Please sign-up below:

Spirit Shirts on sale again! Pre-Order deadline is September 27 !
  1. Fill out this order form.
  2. Click this link to pay online.
  3. Send form in with your child's homework folder with payment. (If you paid online, write "paid online" on the corner of the order form.)

***GHWH's September Spirit Shirt day is THIS Friday, September 20***
Scholars are allowed to wear their GHWH Spartan Spirit shirt with their regular uniform bottoms.

Spirit Night! Skip cooking dinner and come eat & enjoy building our GHWH community!
Halftime Pizza
(owned by fellow GHWH family)
7531 Bandera Road
San Antonio, Texas 78238

Tuesday, September 17
4:00-7:30 PM
Important Dates

  • Tuesday, September 17, 4:00-7:30 PM, PSO Spirit Night at Halftime Pizza
  • Thursday, September 19, 5:30-7:00 PM Spalding Night for Parents (adult only event)
  • Friday, September 20, Dismissal at 1:25 PM, R & R Weekend, Spirit Day
  • Friday, September 27, Dismissal at 1:25 PM
  • Monday, September 30, No School for students (Professional Development Day for Faculty)
  • Monday, October 28, - School (Individual) Picture Day

Don't forget to re-sync your digital calendars!
Important Links

Lunch Payment Website:
Lunch Menu Website: GHWH Lunch Menu
Background Check Form: click here
Media Release Form: click here
Archived Newsletters: click here
Faculty and Staff Phone/E-Mail Reference

To speak to anyone at Great Hearts Western Hills, please call the school at (210) 888-9488 and listen for the extension of the party you are wanting to reach.
SPED & Interventionists :
Parent Service Organization:
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