White Pine Charter School  Newsletter
Cougars are Willing, Positive, Connected, and Significant
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Success for Every Student 

 

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December 2017                                                                               Vol. 02
 
Administrative Update
 

In our charter it states, "The curriculum of White Pine Charter School will contain both traditional academic subjects and an additional language that make the Charter unique... Core Knowledge curriculum areas include reading, writing, math, science, and social studies. They are enhanced with a foreign language, art, music, health and physical education." (WPCS Charter, Tab 3, pg. 1)

So what exactly is Core Knowledge? According to the Core Knowledge website:
The Core Knowledge approach puts knowledge at the heart of schooling.

Specific and Sequenced:  Most curriculum standards provide general goals and objectives but offer teachers little guidance about the specific knowledge students should learn in each grade. In contrast, the Core Knowledge approach is to specify, in a clear grade-by-grade sequence, what students need to know.
Excellence and Equity:  Only by specifying the knowledge and skills that all children should share can we guarantee equal access to that knowledge. Educational excellence and equity require that every child in a democracy have access to important shared knowledge and language.
Starting Early:  It's important to begin building strong foundations of knowledge in the early years. The Core Knowledge approach focuses on preschool through grade eight. In these early years, especially the preschool and elementary grades, schools can do the most to help children lay the groundwork for language development and future success.  ( https://www.coreknowledge.org/our-approach/ )
 
Our fidelity to Core Knowledge makes us unique.  It provides an amazing amount of knowledge to our students to prepare them to make a difference both in our local community and potentially throughout the world.
 
There are ways that you can help your children in their quest for knowledge.  Please make sure to set aside time every night for your child to read.  Ask them about their day at school and invite them to teach you about the subjects that they learned that day.  
If you want to find out more about the foundational knowledge that your child is receiving, please consider purchasing the appropriate book from the Core Knowledge Series, What Your ___ Grader Needs to Know.

We would like to wish everyone a Happy Holiday season and Happy New Year.  



Parent Connection 

We have wonderful parent volunteers at White Pine

Parents were asked the following question: Why is school choice important?

"Children are not one size fits all and parents should have the ability to find the school structure that helps develop their children to meet their potential."
- Murissa Morgan

"Because when schools compete, kids win. What motivation does the assigned school zone we live in have to be the absolute best? That is school choice. Choosing the absolute best fit for my child by having a choice in the first place."
- Barbra  Summerhill

White Pine is a public charter school that helps give parents a choice in the education of their child. Most charter schools have something that sets them apart from the others. White Pine Charter School prides itself on high academic expectations and the Core Knowledge philosophy of education.

National School Choice Week is January 21-26.




Exciting News from our Board of Directors

As you may recall, in last month's newsletter we briefly discussed the board established goals for this school year.  On a continuing basis, we believe it's important to update all of you on the progress toward achieving each of those goals.
  1. Integrate parents into the academic equation.
    • There has been a great deal of progress toward this goal.  This newsletter is one example of the additional communication paths that the WPCS board and the administration are using to ensure parental engagement and awareness.  You should also be seeing increased communication from your children's teachers regarding classroom activities and student performance.  We are also actively working on the new website for the school.  A few weeks ago a photoshoot with many of our students and staff was completed to provide the visuals for that website.  We anticipate finalizing the content and layout of the site over the next couple of months, if not sooner.
  2. Improve academic performance by providing teachers and students all of the resources they need to succeed.
    • At the beginning of the school year, the administration recommended, and board approved, the purchase of additional IT resources (Chromebooks) for use in the middle school.  This resulted in a Chromebook available for each of our middle school students.  The administration is also evaluating the purchase and use of additional educational software to improve the reading skills of all of our students.
  3. Improve our school's facilities.
    • The goal is effectively complete.  The new cafeteria continues to serve fresh, high quality meals to our students.  Repairs and beautification of the infrastructure and grounds were completed earlier this year resulting in a more appealing and safer environment for our kids.
  4. Create and maintain a thriving, vibrant middle school with meaningful before and after-school activities.
    • The administration has been hard at work establishing a cadre of programs available for students to both assist in academic performance and broaden the exposure to STEM, the arts, and athletics.  A list of available programs are available at whitepinecharterschool.org or in the school office. 
  5. Reinforce White Pine's longstanding reputation as the top school in southeast Idaho.
    • The administration and board believe that the road to student success includes both strong academics and appropriate behavior.  The administration has been working hard to communicate the WPCS expectations for appropriate behavior while at school.
  6. Chart the course for White Pine's expansion to high school.
    • Work on future high school expansion has consumed the majority of the focus for the board. Administration and board members, along with Idaho State legislators, toured a STEM based high school in Washington state.  This provided valuable insight regarding school structure, curriculum and enrollment.  The board is also actively engaged in conversations with local colleges/universities, the INL and private business for potential partnering opportunities.  The administration and board are very optimistic that we can bring a STEM-based high school to fruition.
Over that past couple of months the administration and board have received feedback regarding how the political views and actions of individual members of the administration or board may impact WPCS.  White Pine Charter School as well as the board of directors and administration, when acting in their official WPCS capacities, are apolitical entities.  While we support an individual's rights to political activism, we do not endorse or represent the individual political views of any of our members.
Thank you all for your continued efforts and support.  

Happy Holidays to you and your families, and be safe this holiday season.



Message from our PFA

Family Movie Night - Cars 3
Thank you to all those who supported our Family Movie Night this past  month. We had a good turn out and hope you enjoyed the movie,  refreshments, and activities.  In December, we only had two PFA sponsored activities. We had  Spirit/Popcorn Friday on December 1st and a Family Night at Freddy's  Custard and Steakburgers on December 6th . We received 15% of all sales.   We thank you for  your support in these activities! They help us fund our future Family Nights.  While we do not have a lot of activities this month, January is going to be  busy. Here are the upcoming activities to plan for:

January 11: PFA Public Quarter Meeting 7:00 pm WPCS Cafeteria
January 16: 2nd Box Top Collection Begins
January 22: Family Night at Pizza Pie Café 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
January 22-February 2: "Wild About Reading" Read-a-thon

We will be putting out more information about all of these after the holiday  break, so please write down the dates now and watch for handouts to be  sent home in January.



Counseling Corner

WPCS Green Dot Team

Thank you to all that helped donate items and organize the turkey boxes for Thanksgiving.  Many classes adopted a family in need and provided the entire meal.  No additional items were needed, where in years past, the school had to buy items last minute to meet the needs.  Eleven families were served.  
For the angel tree, we currently have eleven families in need. Many staff members are helping to wrap and organize the gifts and are encouraging the students to get involved in the festivities. It is very exciting to see the generosity of our families and the excitement from the students.

East Idaho Credit Union has allowed us to participate in their Coins for Christmas.  This program allows us to have vouchers for students in need of shoes.  We are also working closely with the Idaho Food Basket to receive food for families in need.  It is our hope to start the ability to send bags of food home with students in dire need over the weekend.

Students in the Green Dot Club, which is in the middle school, is planning how to increase awareness of school violence and educate peers on how to respond.  Their meetings this month have included learning how to form a close knit community, increasing awareness in 5 th and 6 th grade, and planning for future Green Dot leaders.  It is great to see this grassroots movement led completely by the students.

After the winter break, 8 th grade will be working with Mrs. Elsbree to complete their 4 year plan. During this time she will encourage the 8 th graders to apply for the Mayor's Scholarship Fund, which provides financial assistance to Idaho Falls area students who plan on pursuing a post-high school education. The funds can be used for dual enrollment classes in high school.  This scholarship is usually geared towards those that are not as academically successful in order to encourage them to move forward after high school. Community involvement is usually highly considered when evaluating the applications.  We typically encourage all our students to apply.  We have had 2-3 students who have received awards in the past.

In the month of November, all of White Pine teachers and staff were trained on how to recognize and respond to students who may be homeless.  Teachers were encouraged to be aware of students needs and reach out to a school social worker if they are concerned.  If you find your family in need this year please don't hesitate to reach out to Michele Elsbree, our school social worker, at  counselor@wpcscougars.org or (208)522-4432.  Mrs. Elsbree has experience linking families to school and community resources in times of crisis.  If you find your family in crisis over the weekend, please call 211 and explain your situation.  It has a list of resources available and can easily direct you to what you need.



Positive Behavior Supports and Interventions

Cougar Coupon
The mission of the PBIS team at White Pine Charter School is  to create and maintain an effective learning environment by establishing behavioral supports and the social culture needed for all students in our school to achieve social, emotional, and academic success.

You may have seen these "Cougar Coupons" floating around the school. This simple token of appreciation reinforces our school wide expectations. We expect Cougars to be willing, positive, connected, and significant. 



When students get a "Cougar Coupon" they come up to the office to celebrate anything from reaching a reading goal to helping Michelle in the lunchroom. Of course they get excited about the piece of candy that accompanies the trip, but it is even more rewarding to have that positive moment with an adult. We save them all up in a big box and have a drawing every two weeks for bigger prizes. It is all about giving recognition for desired behaviors. 



Capturing Cougars in Action


6th grade water density lab


Using the lathe to make a custom plunge driver for a snowball launcher

   
D and D Club on Fridays after school 

Boogie Boards getting used in Ms. Croft's class

We all know who keeps the school going



Dissecting owl pellets in 3rd grade

Big thanks to our Drama Club for some great performances
3rd Grade Endangered Animal Zoo

4th Grade elements projects


5th Grade engaged with "Hour of Code" last week






A big thank you to Ms. Martindale for being the editor of the newsletter. 







 














 


  Monthly Events

Dec 12 -  Girls Basketball - Taylor's Crossing @ WPCS

Dec 14 - Girls Basketball - WPCS @ Connor Academy

Dec 22 - Early Release Day

Dec 22  -Cougar Coupon Drawing

Dec 25 - Jan 5 - Winter  Break

Jan 11 - Public PFA Meeting

Jan 12 - Spirit Friday 

Jan 15 -  No School - Civil Rights Day

Jan 16 - Feb 15 -  Box Top Collection

Jan 17 -  Last Spirit Wear Order Due

Jan 22 - Feb 2 -  Read-a-thon









Our funding is 
based on student attendance 

When you make appointments that could take your child away from school, please schedule them for after 1 p.m. We lose funding if students leave before 1 p.m. Also, please plan vacations when school is out of session. We want to secure as much funding as possible to invest in your children!

Office Info 

Please check in at the front office before heading to a classroom. F or the safety of your children, a ll adults must have a visitor badge. When bringing your students in late please make sure to sign them in before taking them to class. Otherwise they may be marked absent. 

Prepared for Winter Weather

Please make sure your students are prepared for the elements. We have recess unless there is excessive
precipitation or it is below zero degrees F.