Elk Grove Unified School District
Excellence by Design
 EGUSD News and NotesOctober 29, 2012 
In This Issue
Rutter's principal takes to the roof for 24 hours
Kindergarten Attendance Program
UC Davis/Leimbach connection
Helpful Links
Internet Safety Tips
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TIP: Have children use child-friendly search engines when completing homework.


Honoring Our Volunteers 


Kira Hayes of Las Flores High School  



Kira Hayes was recognized as an Education Partner at the October 16, 2012, meeting of the Elk Grove Unified School District Board of Education.


Whether she is transporting one of her sons, checking and reporting their progress or attending and volunteering at a campus event, she is never too far away. Hayes is married to Matt Hayes. They have two sons: Logan, a sophomore at Las Flores and Luke - a first grade student at Las Flores. Kira and Matt play an integral part in the education of their sons, having chosen to home school them. They have provided direct instruction for them at home, participated in field trips and on-campus events at Las Flores and attended regular school appointments with Las Flores teachers to report progress.


Kira and Matt derive great pride in watching their boys learn and grow as the progress academically. They truly believe and understand that parental support and involvement in their sons' education are imperative to their achievement and academic success. Kira and Matt regularly attend field trips, workshops and special events at school so their children will have opportunities for hands-on learning and socializing with other Las Flores students.


EGUSD asks students, staff and parents to participate in National Speak Up Survey

The Elk Grove Unified School District is seeking input from students, staff and parents about technology use and education through the national "Speak Up" survey administered by Project Tomorrow, a non-profit education organization.

EGUSD stakeholders are asked to take the survey online at http://www.speakup4schools.or
g/speakup2012 and select whether you fall under the category of parents, students or teachers & administrators.  The website asks for the user to enter the state and name of the school.  Survey takers will then need to enter the "secret word" elkgrove to access the survey.

Individual responses are anonymous.  They are associated with a school but are not tied to the individual.  The survey is open now and will close on December 14, 2012.

The survey results will inform EGUSD about how participants feel about their education and the use of technology.  Survey results may be used for planning and community discussion.  Project Tomorrow releases national findings through a variety of venues, including: Congressional Briefing in Washington, DC, national and regional conferences, email distribution, Project Tomorrow website and through Speak Up partners.  According to Project Tomorrow, local, state and national stakeholders report using Speak Up data to inform their new programs and policies.

Sample questions on the surveys can be found online at: http://www.speakup4schools.org/speakup2012/.

The survey and subsequent results are free of charge to both the people taking the survey and EGUSD.

"Peace Signs" comes to Union House Elementary School



The Peace Signs program, sponsored by Kaiser Permanente's Educational Theater Programs, visited Union House Elementary School during the week of October 15 to encourage students to prevent violence through the power of theatre.


The program consists of multiple elements. Peace Signs begins its weeklong program with a one-hour assembly to teach intermediate elementary students and adults multiple intervention techniques to increase the peace in their home, school, and community.  During the show, performers use audience interaction, comedy, music and dance to promote violence prevention.


During the week, performers then meet with each individual classroom (grades 3-6) for a 45 minute workshop to discuss the performance and teach additional interventions. Peace Signs week ends with a Parent Night Assembly in which parents watch the Peace Signs assembly with their children and enjoy dinner together with their families.  Students also learn a three-step conflict resolution model that can help them when confronted with a conflict. 


Click here for more information about the Peace Signs program.

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Improved test scores means rooftop living for James Rutter Middle School principal



After gaining 27 points on California's Academic Performance Index, James Rutter Middle School Principal Yuri Penermon fulfilled a promise he made to his students last year by spending 24 hours on the roof of his school starting at 8 a.m. on Monday, October 15. He descended from the roof at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, October 16.


Rutter students also made gains in several subgroup categories, including African-Americans, Asians, Hispanic or Latino, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, White, students of two or more races, socioeconomically disadvantaged, English Learners and students with disabilities.


"The students and families in our community have so many struggles and challenges, despite all of that, our students have proven they care about their education - their future - and are willing to put the time and effort in to prove that," Penermon said. "Spending a little of my own time up on the roof of James Rutter Middle School is a small token of my appreciation of the efforts and work of my students, their families and my staff for the time and efforts in helping our school be successful."


Penermon thoroughly appreciated the support he received in both the planning and execution of his time spent on the roof.


It was challenging and took a lot of planning to spend 24 hours on the roof of Rutter," Penermon said.  "However, it was well worth the look of pride and confidence I saw in the eyes of my students, staff, and community. I felt the support of the entire James Rutter community, Florin region, and Elk Grove Unified School District with me during those 24 hours so I never felt alone."

EGUSD launches Kindergarten/TK Attendance Program




On November 1, the Elk Grove Unified School District will launch the Kindergarten/Transitional Kindergarten (TK) Attendance Program, a supplemental program to the K-12 No Excuses - Go to School Attendance Campaign.  This new program was created to educate parents and students about the importance of consistent school attendance at the kindergarten level.  Recent studies have shown that poor attendance at the kindergarten and first grade levels can predict poor academic performance by fifth grade. 


Overall, EGUSD obtained a high attendance rate at 96.27 percent for the 2011/2012 school year. However, there is room for improvement at the kindergarten level.  In EGUSD, nearly a third of kindergarten students miss 10 or more days of school each year and about 13 percent of kindergarten students miss 18 or more days of school. 


Building a solid educational foundation is the cornerstone to a child's future educational development and that foundation begins in kindergarten. Studies have shown that students who attend school on a regular basis have shown improved academic skills as well as greater social and emotional growth. Each day of kindergarten adds another building block to a child's educational foundation. Missing just one day of kindergarten can mean:

  • Missing key concepts - such as the letter "w" or the number "1."
  • Missing opportunities for social and emotional growth.
  • Falling behind on assignments, making it harder for your student to catch up.
  • Poor academic performance in the future. For example, excessive absences in kindergarten and first grade can predict poor academic performance in fifth grade.

For the first time, the Kindergarten/TK Attendance Program will offer incentives for both students AND their parents. 


Student incentives can include special classroom duties, such as being the class helper for a day (holding the door open, passing out/collecting papers, assisting in hand washing duties, etc.), special classroom rewards (sitting next to the teacher, having their own solo special show n tell, etc.) and incentive certificates (John's Incredible Pizza and Chuck E Cheese's rewards coupons). 


Parent incentives can include certificate recognition (give out certificates to parents when students reach certain milestones with attendance - i.e. month, trimester, year), teacher weekly/monthly recognition (list parents and students with perfect attendance in weekly/monthly newsletters) and "crown a parent" (crown parents each month of trimester at a ceremony for perfect attendance). 


Herman Leimbach Elementary School students discover the world of renewable energy with UC Davis student




For two days a week, Kevin Ohama's fifth grade classroom at Herman Leimbach Elementary School becomes a haven for renewable energy ideas through the RESOUCE Program from the University of California, Davis.


Ohama applied for the program through the Math Engineering Science Achievement (MESA) program last year and was selected as a participating teacher last summer. Leimbach is currently the only school participating in the RESOURCE Program at EGUSD.


Ohama's classroom is partnering with UC Davis PhD candidate Ian Jacobs to learn more about renewable energy through the program. Jacobs will work with Ohama's class all year on lessons spanning the topics of energy, heat, electricity, scientific method, conservation and renewable energy technologies such as wind, solar and biomass.


"Ian brings so much to our classroom," Ohama said. "He has a wealth of knowledge and is able to share that information in a meaningful way with our students. The students really look forward to Ian's visits every week because they're not just reading about and watching science - they're interested because they actually get to be scientists."


In addition to teaching students, Jacobs will work with Ohama to create innovative curriculum and educational tools that promote interest in renewable energy technologies and associated science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines.


"Our students are receiving an excellent opportunity to be exposed to the STEM disciplines in this program because the RESOURCE program pairs well with our fifth grade science standards in earth and physical science," Ohama said. "The students also enjoy it when Ian brings in other things from his lab and leads experiments that support our book lessons."


Click here for more information about the RESOURCE program.


KidTribe "Hoop-it-Up" assemblies delight EGUSD elementary school students    





EGUSD elementary school students throughout the district had a chance to "Hoop It Up" with the members of KidTribe at assemblies featuring hula hooping at elementary schools throughout October.


The assemblies, presented by the Elk Grove Unified School District's Food and Nutrition Services Department through funding from the Network for a Healthy California, are energetic "community-fitness concerts" that activate heart rates and inspire children to exercise. Students at Robert J. Fite, Florin, Franklin, Roy Herburger, Isabelle Jackson, Samuel Kennedy, Prairie, Sierra Enterprise, Mary Tsukamoto and Irene B. West elementary schools had the opportunity to participate in the KidTribe assemblies.


"Hoop-A-Pa-Loo-Za is a great activity for the students and coincides well with our district wellness policy," said Anne Gaffney, a nutrition specialist for the district. "This event is the perfect opportunity to reinforce healthy eating and exercise habits. The students love KidTribe. They have a great time at the assemblies and many of them hula hoop at recess for weeks afterward."


During the assembly, KidTribe engaged students in Taste Bud's nutrition reinforcement raps and Stretch-A-Rama's tools for a flexible body which engaged students in making healthy food and physical activity choices. Nicknamed "the X-Games of hula hooping," Miss Kellee and the KidTribe Crew transformed students into Hooper-Stars as they pumped the audience up, taught gravity defying hip-hop-hoop moves and led everyone in a free-style hooptastic party while integrating positive messages of self-esteem, empowering choices, peer acceptance and non-violence.