Express Newsletter

OES Lower School Express Newsletter

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A Message from the Division Head

by David Lowell
A Message From David Lowell 2-23-24

As Michael Spencer explained in his letter last week, during parent teacher conferences we had to lockdown the campus due to a called in threat.  Since then we have offered support to any students in need, solicited feedback from all the Lower School faculty about the incident and debriefed the event with the Administrative Team. While all the basic safety systems worked in the crisis, we also know we can always improve. We are focusing on three areas for improvement - technical issues, communications and planning and preparation. Jon von Behren and his team are working on prioritizing action items in these three areas based on the feedback they received and then will share recommendations with the Administrative Team in the near future.

Last Wednesday night we held our first evening Lower School Parent Partnership meeting featuring Dr. Mary Duden, Lower School Math Specialist, and Rachel Van Wickle, Math Department Chair and US Math Teacher. They shared common themes of mathematics PreK -12, explained, demonstrated and had parents work with math meaning making. Mary will be posting the slide deck from the presentation on her Math Specialist Site

Yesterday we welcomed the 4th graders back from the three day, two night overnight trip to the Oregon Coast. Tired smiles and excited tales were shared as parents and students reunited. A huge thanks to the fourth grade team, all the chaperones and Tom Handle, Director of Experiential Education for making this memorable trip possible.

Mindset Mathematics Summer Camp 

We want to assess interest in a math summer camp. The Mindset Mathematics Summer Camp is a 2-week mathematical experience designed by Stanford University professors and facilitated by our own Dr. Mary Duden (and possibly other teachers depending on the # of students). The purpose of the camp is two-fold; deepen understanding of mathematical concepts appropriate to the grade-levels the students are going into and beyond, and help students develop important mindset messages that will increase students mathematical agency and identity. There will be two different camps; one for students entering 2nd and 3rd grade and one for students entering 4th and 5th grades. Please complete the linked math summer camp survey if you are interested in your child attending the math camp this summer.

PreK Parking Help

Prekindergarten families are reporting difficulty accessing their reserved parking during drop-off and pick-up. Prek families are required to sign their children into and out of school each day so we have reserved parking spots for them. Only PreK families should be using those parking spots during the following hours:

  • 7:30 - 8:15 am M-F
  • 2:45 - 3:15 pm M-F
  • 1:45 - 2:15 pm W

PreK families, be sure to display your pick-up signs in your windshield. Cars without a PreK carsign will be asked to park elsewhere.

Keep personal electronic devices and smart devices out of school

The All School Family Handbook clearly states, “Students should not bring personal electronics such as cell phones, smart watches, or handheld electronic devices to school.” 

Lower School Recommendations regarding screen and social media use

We have been made aware of social issues related to screen and social media use by Intermediate Years students outside of school. We recommend families:

  • Support your child to engage with peers in person
    • Encourage your children to seek out in-person connections. Positive shared in-person experiences have been shown to increase wellness, decrease mental health challenges, and improve academic performance and social dynamics. 
  • Monitor your child’s use of electronic devices 
    • These devices were not designed for young children’s use. Nor are they designed for the health and wellbeing of children. 
    • Adult supervision and guidance is needed. 
  • Know the emerging research. Follow the recommendations.
  • Limit your child's use of electronic devices. Delay their access to smart devices and social media 
    • Wait until 8th Grade is a national movement to delay your child’s access to smart devices until 8th Grade.