1.23.15

airheadsValentine Candy Grams

Valentines Day is fast approaching. It has been a tradition at Valhalla for our Student Council to sell Candy Grams during the weeks before Valentines Day. Starting on Tuesday, January 27th and continuing through Thursday, February 12, students may buy a candy gram card for 50 cents each for any student in the school or family member. Airheads candies will be attached to each card and delivered to the classroom indicated on the card on Friday, February 13We advise that students buy no more than two cards per day so they have time to write out the To and From section and write a short note without impacting their class work time. Start sending your 50 cents on Tuesday, January 27th!

Access Night for Parents of 3rd, 4th, and 5th Graders

It is extremely important for you to attend our next ACCESS NIGHT on Tuesday, February 10th at 5:00 pm to be better informed about SMARTER BALANCED Test. Two representatives of the Federal Way School District will be here at Valhalla to inform you about this new computerized state test that will be taken by all 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students. You will also learn how to better support your child to prepare for the test. We hope you can be there!!

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1.21.15

Smarter Balanced Testing Coming to Our Schools

This spring, Federal Way students in grades 3-8, 10 and 11 will take new state assessments. They are referred to as the Smarter Balanced Assessment and all students across Washington state, and in many other states, will take them. The assessments measure student knowledge of the new state standards. This is the second year we have been teaching to these standards, which are often referred to as Common Core.

What does this mean for our students?

At our school, the Smarter Balanced Assessments will replace the math, reading and writing parts of the Measures of Student Progress (MSP) tests that students in grades 3–8 have been taking every year. Students in 5th grade and 8th grade will take the science portion of the MSP in addition to the new tests. Students in grades K, 1 and 2 will not be taking Smarter Balanced tests.

Getting students ready for online testing

Instead of a pencil and paper test, Smarter Balanced Assessments will be taken online at a computer during the school day. We know that not all students are comfortable using the computer. Teachers and staff are working with students to make sure every one of them has the computer skills necessary to successfully take the tests. Fifth-graders will take the science MSP using paper and pencil.

What else is different?

The tests are “adaptive,” which means the questions will adjust automatically depending on how a student answers earlier questions.

And, part of the assessment is called a performance activity. This means the class participates in a teacher-led activity and then students complete an assignment on their own.

When are the tests?

Students will take these tests over several days this spring. The testing period will be slightly longer than it has been in the past. You will receive information once the schedule is set.

What other assessments will students take?

At various points throughout the school year, students are assessed so that teachers and parents know where they are in their learning. We use the STAR tests for much of this, and also give assessments that are similar to the end-of-year state assessment.

Assessments are not just tests, though. Students are assessed in many ways, all through the learning continuum. An assessment could be as simple as a classroom conversation or a student presentation. These ongoing (or “formative”) assessments allow the teacher to determine if the student needs more instruction. If so, the teacher tries to teach the concept or skill using a different approach — what we call differentiated instruction.

Remember

Performance on any assessment shows only what a student knows and can do at that point in time. It does not show whether your child is capable or not, or how good his or her teacher is. There are many other gauges of a child’s capability and knowledge, and a teacher’s skill. This is especially important to keep in mind when new tests are being rolled out.

Smarter Balanced Assessments are challenging. And we know that anytime there is a new state assessment, there is always a temporary drop in test scores. We’ve been through this before with the WASL, the MSP and HSPE. It will take some time for students and staff to learn and adapt to a new assessment. Ultimately, FWPS students will be prepared for 21st century jobs and college.

Resources

There are many online resources where you can learn more about Smarter Balanced Testing at your child’s grade level. Here are just a few.

  • The FWPS Smarter Balanced Assessment webpage, fwps.org/teaching/washington-standards/student-smarter-balanced-testing/.
  • Short videos showing what students in grades K-5 should be able to do in their grade. http://milestones.greatkids.org/
  • Roadmaps to read about what your student (K-8) should be able to do in English Language Arts (http://www.cgcs.org/Page/328) by the end of the grade level. (Also in Spanish at http://www.cgcs.org/Page/261.)
  • Roadmaps to read about what your student (K-8) should be able to do in Math at http://www.cgcs.org/Page/244 by the end of the grade level. (Also in Spanish at http://www.cgcs.org/Page/263)
  • Your Child’s Progress, http://yourchildsprogress.com/, is an online publication about Washington’s learning standards and state testing (all grades) for 2014-15 school year. It has been translated into 9 languages.

Las Pruebas Más Inteligentes Equilibradas Vienen a Nuestra Escuela

Esta primavera los alumnos grados 3-8, 10 y 11 de Federal Way presentarán nuevas pruebas del estado. Se refieren a las pruebas como las Pruebas Más Inteligentes Equilibradas y todo alumno del Estado de Washington, y en muchos otros estados las presentarán. Estas pruebas evaluarán el conocimiento del alumno de los estándares del estado. Este es el segundo año que hemos enseñado a estos estándares, que con frecuencia se llaman el Núcleo Común.

¿Qué significa para nuestros alumnos?

En nuestra escuela, las Pruebas Más Inteligentes Equilibradas tomarán el lugar de las secciones de matemáticas, lectura y composición de la Medida del Progreso del Alumno (MSP, por sus siglas en inglés) que los alumnos han presentado cada año. Los alumnos del grado 5 (y del grado 8) presentarán la porción científica de la MSP además de las nuevas pruebas. Los alumnos de los grados K, 1, 2 no presentarán las Pruebas Más Inteligentes Equilibradas.

Preparación del alumno para las pruebas en línea.

En lugar de pruebas con papel y lápiz, se presentarán las Pruebas Más Equilibradas en línea en la escuela durante las horas de clase. Sabemos que no todo alumno está cómodo al usar la computadora. Los profesores y el personal están trabajando con los alumnos para asegurar que cada uno tenga las habilidades necesarias para presentar las pruebas con éxito. Los del grado 5 presentarán la MSP de ciencias con papel y lápiz.

¿Qué más hay de diferente?

Las pruebas son “adaptables” es decir que las preguntas se adaptan automáticamente según las respuestas anteriores del alumno.

Y una porción de la tarea se llama una actividad de rendimiento. Esto significa que la clase participa en una actividad dirigida por el maestro y luego el alumno termina una tarea solo.

¿Cuándo son las pruebas?

Los alumnos presentarán estas pruebes en varios días esta primavera. El período de las pruebas será un poco más largo que en el pasado. Ud. recibirá más información una vez establecido el horario.

¿Cuáles otras pruebas presentará el alumno?

En varios puntos en el año escolar, el alumno presentará evaluaciones para que el maestro y los padres sepan dónde estén en su aprendizaje. Usamos evaluaciones STAR para mucho de esto, y también damos tarea que es similar a la prueba de fin de año del estado.

No todas las evaluaciones son pruebas. Se le evalúa al alumno de varias maneras, por todo el curso de aprendizaje. Una evaluación puede ser tan sencilla como una conversación en el salón de clase o una presentación del alumno. Estas evaluaciones continuas (o “formativas”) permiten al maestro saber si el alumno necesita más enseñanza. De ser que sí, el maestro intenta a enseñar el concepto o la habilidad de otro modo—lo que llamamos la instrucción diferenciada.

A recordar

El rendimiento en cualquier prueba sólo muestra lo que el alumno sabe y puede hacer en aquel momento, y los profesores utilizan muchos métodos para ayudar al éxito del alumno. Las pruebas no muestran si su alumno es capaz o no, ni si el maestro es bueno o no. Esto es especialmente importante recordar al introducir nuevas pruebas.

Las Pruebas Más Inteligentes Equilibradas son desafiantes. Y sabemos que cuando hay una prueba nueva del estado, habrá una baja provisional de los resultados de la prueba.  Lo hemos visto anteriormente con la WASL, la MSP y la HSPE. Tarda algo para que el alumno y el personal aprendan y se adapten a las pruebas. Luego los alumnos de FWPS estarán preparados para los trabajos y las universidades del siglo 21.

Recursos

Hay muchos recursos en línea donde puede aprender más acerca de las Pruebas Inteligentes Más Equilibradas al nivel académico de su hijo. Algunos se encuentran aquí:

  • La Página de Internet de FWPS sobre las Pruebas Más Inteligentes Equilibradas.
  • Videos breves que muestran lo que el alumno de grados K-5 debe ser capaz de hacer en su grado. http://noticias.univision.com/educacion/estandares-academicos-estatales/
  • Mapas con sugerencias para ayudar al alumno (K-8) lograr los estándares de Artes de la Lengua Inglesa para el fin de cada nivel escolar. También en español en http://bit.ly/1DLEPHf.
  • Mapas con sugerencias para ayudar al alumno (K-8) lograr los estándares de matemáticas para el fin de cada nivel escolar. También en español en http://www.cgcs.org/Page/263.
  • El Progreso de su hijo es una publicación en línea acerca de los estándares de aprendizaje y las pruebas del Estado de Washington (todo grado) para el año escolar 2014-2015. Se han traducido a 9 idiomas en http://yourchildsprogress.com/.

Smarter Balanced Information Flyer FWPS Smarter Balanced

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1.9.15

Highly Capable Program Accepting Applications

Click on the links below the image to connect with the online form or print a paper version.

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12.15.14

Winter Break

The staff of Valhalla Elementary would like to wish everyone a wonderful winter break. We will see you in the new year on Monday, January 5 when school is back in session.

Nominate Your Child

Nomination forms are now available for entrance into the Highly Capable classes. Click on the document link below to read about the nomination process. Within that document you will find a link to the nomination forms. Please note:  the nomination window begins on January 12 and ends on January 26.

Final Draft 1st grade to 12th grade Nominate your student hcp

Spirit Day

Friday, December 12 is Jersey or Blue Spirit Day. Students may wear sports jerseys or Seahawks blue shirts with their regular uniform pants.

BUG Awards

The Kiwanis Club sponsors our Bringing Up Grades awards. Representatives of the Kiwanis Club attended our awards assembly on December 17 to see two students from each classroom receive this award and celebrate their success!

kiwanas at BUG assembly

Important Information

Click on the following links to find out more about the new state test.

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FWPS Smarter Balanced FINAL with cor 2  FWPS CCSS Grading FINAL 2

 

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12.4.14

Family Access Night

If you are a parent of a Valhalla fifth grader, you will want to attend Access Night on Tuesday, December 9 from 5:00 to 6:00 in the Valhalla Commons. The principals from Totem Middle School, TAFA, and Kilo Middle School will be there to share information about their middle school programs and answer your questions. This is an important event to attend!

Superintendent Search

The Federal Way Public Schools Board of Directors has released the schedule of stakeholder meetings including two community forums, which will take place on December 10 at 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., in Room 104 of the Educational Service Center, 33330 8th Avenue South, Federal Way. The sessions are designed to give citizens the opportunity to provide feedback on the characteristics they believe are critical in the next Federal Way Public Schools Superintendent.

We invite you to attend Public Forums at 9 a.m., and 6 p.m. or any stakeholder group meeting that you affiliate with. All meetings will be held at the Educational Service Center, 3333 8th Ave. South, Federal Way, WA.

 

8:00 a.m. District Leadership Team Superintendent Conference Room
9:00 a.m. Public Forum Room 104
10:00 a.m. PTSA, Parent Advisory Team, Key Communicators, Early Education Room 226 A & B
11:00 a.m. Elected and Public Officials Superintendent Conference Room
1:00 p.m. Principals Room 104
2:00 p.m. Business and Civic Groups Room 226 A & B
3:30 p.m. High School Students Room 104
3:30 p.m. Union Leadership Room 226 A & B
4:30 p.m. Classified Staff Room 104
4:30 p.m. Certificated Staff Room 226 A & B
6:00 p.m. Public Forum Room 104

 

The Board of Directors has committed to gathering input from all key stakeholders such as parents, teacher and students. “The Board of Directors affirm the importance of gathering extensive community input in this search,” said Board Chair Carol Gregory. “We hope everyone interested will take advantage of this opportunity, and we pledge to provide full transparency during the process.”

An online survey is available on the district website to gather input from community members, using it as well as the input from the community sessions to develop a profile for the next Federal Way Public Schools Superintendent. You can also tell us the qualities you value most in our next superintendent at www.surveymonkey.com/r/7WJ6T5P.

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11.27.14

December Magic

The show begins at 6:45, but parents who are coming to help their fourth and fifth graders change clothes for the show should arrive at 6:00.

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11.23.14

December Magic!

Fourth and Fifth Graders will entertain us with winter holiday songs in their December Magic concert. Friends and family of fourth and fifth graders are invited to attend the concert on Monday, December 1 at 6:45. Students who are participating will stay after school for rehearsal with lights and sound. I hear several teachers will be singing and dancing too!

Winterfest

Our honor choir and choir chimes students will be entertaining the crowds at Seattle Center’s Winterfest on Tuesday, December 2. Permission slips and money are due on Wednesday, November 26. We are proud of our performers!

Family Math Night

Thanks to all the family and staff who attended Math Night! Math Man and Math Woman came to share their excitement about math and cheer on the student mathematicians who competed in fact races and problem solving challenges.

CLIFFORD AT MATH NIGHT MAKE AND TAKE MATH MAN AND WOMANClifford visits Math Night to encourage families to visit the Book Fair in the library and get some hugs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Families work together to make math games they can take home and play.

 

Here they are! Math Man, a.k.a. Mr. Crawford and Math Woman, a.k.a. Ms. Barry visit with families during Math Night. Everyone who uses math is a superhero!

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11.10.14

Veterans Day Assembly

Thank you to all our veterans who joined us for our assembly today! We were honored to have you with us. Thanks also to our Student Council members who ran the assembly. Great job everyone!

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Family Math Night

Become a math super hero at Family Math Night, Thursday, November 20th from 5:30-7:00. There are games to play, games to make and take home, math fact races for students in each grade level, and problem solving competitions.

  • 5:30- Welcome
  • 5:40-6:00 Kindergarten, First, and Second Grades fact races and problem solving
  • 6:15-6:35 Third, Fourth and Fifth Grade fact races and problem solving
  • 6:40 Pull problem solving winners and award prizes
  • 6:45-7:00 Refreshments

Games will be in the gym and competitions will be held in the Commons. Look for Math Man and Math Woman at Family Math Night!

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11.3.14

FWappQuestions about School? There’s an App for That!

Parents and students today are busier than ever. Now, Federal Way Public Schools has an app to help you stay up-to-date and involved with school no matter where you are. All you need is a smart phone.

What can you do on the FWPS app?

Just for starters, you can check:

  • Calendars
  • Grades, thanks to direct links to ParentVUE, StudentVUE and TeacherVUE
  • Lunch menus
  • Lunch balances (and pay!)
  • Game scores
  • Facebook and Twitter

You’ll get the latest news right in the feed — and flyers too, if you choose to.

That’s right, you can customize it to get the information you want most, for just the schools your children attend. Select the calendars you want, and see them combined on your device.

Another way to get emergency notifications

Our new app gives you another way to get notifications you typically get through automated phone calls and email. Once you download the app, these will show up like a text message on your phone, as long as the app is open. You’ll be able to click through to read more.

Keep your eyes open for more capabilities on the app in the near future.

Stay in touch. Search for “Federal Way Public Schools” on the Apple App Store, and in Google Play.

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10.31.14

Coffee and Donuts

Join Mr. Crawford, our principal and Mrs. Bagnell, our family liaison for coffee and donuts on Wednesday, November 5 from 9:00 to 10:00 in the Commons. Share your ideas and hear about the what is happening at Valhalla.

Walk-a-Thon Celebration Assembly

We want to thank the PTA Walk-a-thon Committee members for organizing this successful fundraiser and to the families who went out and raised the money! We had fun as we walked to raise money for our special assemblies and programs.

The totals were revealed at our assembly on Friday, October 31.

totals
The teachers of the top fundraising classes shared some pies with our principal, Mr. Crawford.

pie throwingStudent Led Conferences

Our students are excited to share their learning with their parents. Please look for the invitations that confirm your conference time. They were sent home on Thursday, October 30 or earlier. There will be no regular classes on our conference days, November 6 and 7. Please be sure your child attends the conference with you. If you need to speak with your child’s teacher privately, please arrange another time for a separate conference.

Watch D.O.G.S.

Dads of Great Students attended the Watch D.O.G.S. meeting in Valhalla’s gym to kick off another successful year helping students by being present at school. Our Watch D.O.G.S. show our students that school is important as they help in classrooms, on the playground, and during lunch. Thanks for being amazing role models!

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