Sep 112014
 

ABES Music and Science

tn_music_circle_largeThe Adobe Bluffs staff is excited about two new programs we will add this year and one that will have a new instructor. We are expanding our music education to include music instruction from certified music teacher Janet Weber. She will teach music once a week for grades TK, K, 1 and 3. We will continue to have our own Mrs. Belong teach 2nd grade music, and we also have Choir in 4th grade and 5th grade band. Mrs. Weber is a Master Teacher who delights in sharing her passion of creating aesthetic musical experiences with her students. Students will engage in a variety of activities appealing to multiple senses. They will use speech, singing, movement, listening, improvisation and instruments. Her lessons develop musical skills and appreciation in a spiral curriculum meeting California music standards. They draw on a variety of music genres such as classical, jazz, contemporary, and folk music from around the world. Her goal for classroom management is for each child and the staff to feel loved, respected and successful. We are very fortunate to have Mrs. Weber join our team.

scienceMy science goal for this year is to have our students participate in more hands on science activities designed to spark their interest and give them a deeper understanding of the subject matter. Our teachers will be assisted by former high school science teacher Mrs. Stephanie Gragg, who will help plan, prepare materials, and instruct lessons. Each activity is based on the state science standards and aimed at letting students learn by doing experiments. Mrs. Gragg has been around Adobe Bluffs for many years as a parent volunteer, and has taught lessons previously to our K/1 class. Welcome aboard Mrs. Gragg.

This year we have a new choir teacher as Jodie Johnson stepped down at the end of last year. I wanted to thank Mrs. Johnson for the outstanding job she did with our choir over the past three years and wish her the best in her business. Angie Serrano is our new choir teacher. She also teaches at another elementary in PUSD and is very familiar with the 4th grade Gold Rush and curriculum. She began last week, and she is already doing a wonderful job.

We are especially grateful for the PTA who is funding part of our new Music and Science programs. I want to encourage families to support our Foundation and PTA by joining, volunteering and donating. Our kids receive all the benefits from these hard working parent organizations. This promises to be a great year.

Thank you,
Mark Atkins, Principal

 September 11, 2014
Aug 132014
 

Hello Adobe Bluffs families and welcome to the 2014-2015 school year! I hope everyone had a great summer and is ready to begin another exciting school year.  I’d like to extend a special welcome all of our new families to Adobe Bluffs.  You have landed in a great place with a dedicated staff and supportive community.  I believe you will find that Adobe Bluffs is a small school with a big heart.  We have had a lot of facilities improvements over the summer and we are looking good.  We have a new shade cover on the playground, new plants and shrubs in the quad, new bulletin boards and benches and tables.

One of the important factors in our school’s success is our large group of parent volunteers.  However, this year we are in need of new volunteers to replace those who have moved on.  If you have an hour a week to volunteer in the classroom or on campus, it helps more than you can imagine.  If you have a little more time, consider working with our PTA to help organize one of the many events our kids love, such as Arts Attack, Mileage Club, Science Day, Fall Festival or AB Olympics/College Games. Please contact our PTA V.P. of Volunteers, Amie Butman and Jennifer Minter at: abesvolunteers@gmail.com.  We are also looking for people willing to help our AB Foundation.  They provide us an Impact Teacher, PE aide, Compass Learning and other things we need to help students achieve.  This year we have a goal to bring some much needed shade areas and structures to our campus. time_to_learn_stopwatch

I also want to remind everyone of the importance of arriving to school on time.  We will have the same bell schedule and will begin class at 7:45 am. We will have adult supervision on campus beginning at 7:25 am each morning. Children are not allowed on campus before 7:25 am.  If you need to morning childcare, please sign your child up for the ESS program, which now has programs for parents who only need morning childcare.  Their number is 858-538-2672.

We have many great things to look forward to this year.  We have awesome students, dedicated staff members and great volunteers.  Let’s have a great year!

Mark Atkins, Principal

 August 13, 2014
Aug 172013
 

Welcome-Back-to-SchoolHello Adobe Bluffs families and welcome to the 2013-2014 school year! I hope everyone had a great summer and is ready to begin another exciting school year.  I’d like to extend a special welcome all of our new families to Adobe Bluffs.  You have landed in a great place with a dedicated staff and supportive community.  I believe you will find that Adobe Bluffs is a small school with a big heart.  We have had a lot of facilities improvements over the summer and we are looking good.  We have fresh paint, new computers and a several safety upgrades.

We are fortunate to have two new faculty members this year.  Ms. Garrison is returning to PUSD and Adobe Bluffs and will be teaching first grade. Mrs. Cline our former Impact teacher is now teaching Kindergarten.  I am excited to have these two talented teachers join our staff.

One of the important factors in our school’s success is our large group of parent volunteers.  However, this year we are in need of new volunteers to replace those who have moved on.  If you have an hour a week to volunteer in the classroom or on campus, it helps more than you can imagine.  If you have a little more time, consider working with our PTA to help organize one of the many events our kids love, such as Arts Attack, Mileage Club, Science Day, Fall Festival or AB Olympics/College Games.  Please contact our PTA V.P. of Volunteers, Ami Lau at: ami_lau@yahoo.com.  We are also looking for people willing to help our AB Foundation.  They provide us an Impact Teacher, PE aide, Compass Learning and other things we need to help students achieve.  This year we have a goal to bring some much needed shade areas and structures to our campus.time_to_learn_stopwatch

I also want to remind everyone of the importance of arriving to school on time.  We will have the same bell schedule and will begin class at 7:45 am. We will have adult supervision on campus beginning at 7:25 each morning. Children are not allowed on campus before 7:25am.  If you need to morning childcare, please sign your child up for the ESS program, which now has programs for parents who only need morning childcare.  Their number is 858-538-2672.

We have many great things to look forward to this year.  We have awesome students, dedicated staff members and great volunteers.  Let’s have a great year!

Mark Atkins, Principal

 August 17, 2013
May 102013
 

Adobe Bluffs is a great school, but after you visit one of the new or refurbished PUSD schools you realize we do not have the best looking facility in the district.  Well, that is about to change.  I am excited to share the plans in place to update our facilities this summer.

As many of you know, we have some of the oldest computers in the district.  Our computer lab is 8 years old, which is prehistoric in computer years.  This summer we are finally scheduled for a computer refresh on campus.  This means all computers at our school will be replaced with new up-to-date computers.  I was also surprised and elated to learn that we may also receive enough extra computers to create a second lab or to give each classroom a few more.  The details are not clear at this time, but I have been informed we will have a choice in the types of computers we want, including the option of using laptops, iPads or other tablets.

promethean_board_student

Apple TV is currently being installed in each room and we are also scheduled to have Promethean/Smart Boards installed in all classrooms before school starts next year.  If you are not familiar with these wonderful interactive educational tools, you can find more information about Promethean boards at the link below:

http://www.prometheanworld.com/us/english/education/home

These updated computers and smart boards will help us achieve our goal of putting technology in the hands of the students.  We want to promote creativity and peak student interest through the use of technology and project based learning activities as we move forward.  We will finally have the tools we need to make this happen.  These are exciting times at Adobe Bluffs.

Our school has been impatiently waiting for our turn to have our facilities updated.  I am happy to announce that we will receive some much needed cosmetics this summer as well.  We will have new paint on our exterior walls, and the wood siding will be replaced with metal siding.  To improve safety, new gates with “panic bars” will be installed in the rear of our campus and they will be expanded to enclose the student bathrooms.  The district will also upgrade our old Multi-Purpose Room a new sound system and new projection system.  With all the changes taking place now and over the summer, we are on our way to having the beautiful facility that our kids deserve.

With Aztec Pride,

Mark Atkins

 May 10, 2013
Apr 152013
 

The California Standards Test (or STAR test) will begin this Thursday, April 18th and continue until May 3rd. For the next two weeks Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday will be testing days with make-ups for absent students on Friday. All grades (second through fifth) will begin testing at 8:00 am, so it is very important to make sure students go to bed early each night, and have a healthy breakfast. Please get your student to school on time. Students are not allowed to enter the classroom once testing begins. All students who arrive late will have to wait in the office until testing has been completed.

“Take your daughter to work day” is April 25th which is a STAR testing day. I strongly recommend that you do not take your child out of school for this. However, if you are planning to do so, I request that you take your student out after testing has been completed that day (9:00 am for 2nd and 3rd grades and 10:00 am for 4th and 10:20 for 5th grade).

Our staff and students have worked hard all year and our kids are well prepared. Let’s encourage our children to do their best, and I’m sure we will have great results. Thank you for your support.

 April 15, 2013
Mar 182013
 

CA common core state standardsDear Adobe Bluffs families,

During this school year our instructional staff has been focusing professional development in the areas of writing and technology. In writing we have been aligning our pedagogy and instructional focus with the newly adopted Common Core State Standards (CCSS). The Common Core State Standards are internationally benchmarked standards that ensure that students will be globally competitive. There are two sets of Standards:

  •  Mathematics
  • English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science and Technical Subjects

The CCSS have been adopted by 48 states, and they are replacing the California Standards. California’s existing standards were rated by the Fordham Institute as best in the nation. State law required that the new standards meet this existing level of rigor so 15% of the CA standards have been added to the CCSS.

Writing is part of the English Language Arts set of standards of the CCSS and is being implemented this year in PUSD. As part of our language arts instruction and learning goals we focus on helping our students to become more fluent writers and to improve writing strategies. One of the most important parts of knowing how to write well is to feel comfortable doing it. Here are a few ideas that you can use at home over Spring Break and beyond, to encourage your child to understand the importance of writing and to practice writing skills:

  • Show that you write often to make lists, take down messages, write notes to the school, and write emails or letters to friends.
  • Write to your child: Put a note in a lunch bag, make a birthday poster, or send a postcard from work.
  • Have your child write thank you notes and cards to friends and relatives.
  • Play writing and spelling games: Have family spelling bees, do crossword puzzles, play Scrabble, play waiter or waitress.
  • Think of different professions and discuss how people use writing and writing skills in the job.
  • Talk about why people write and the purpose. Are they giving step-by-step instructions, telling a story according to when events happened, describing how something looks, or trying to convince someone to do something.

The magic in writing comes from the ideas you have. Encourage your child to let ideas flow as they would if talking. The beauty of the written word is that you can always edit or go back and make changes. The important thing is to think of writing as a way to communicate and as a reflection of your thoughts.

With Aztec Pride,

Mark Atkins

 

 March 18, 2013
Feb 252013
 

Student Support

Is your student having difficulty completing homework?  Do they need help with organizational skills?  The Homework Club may be just what they need.  It meets each Wednesday from 2:05 – 3:00 pm in room 21 with Mrs. Cline.  The goal of this club is to help each child have more academic success now and in the future.  If students finish their homework early they can log into Compass Learning.  We have a few spaces available, so ask your teacher for a permission slip or call the office.

Could your child benefit from having a mentor?  High achieving Mt. Carmel and Westview students have been trained to work with Adobe Bluffs Elementary students to build positive relationships, boost self-esteem, and to encourage social and academic success.  This has been a very successful program for the past few years.  Our students look forward to spending an hour with their mentor each Monday from 2:05 – 3:05 pm under the supervision of a faculty member.  We have a few spaces left, so if you are interested call the office for more information.

 

safety_first_signSafety First

Help keep Adobe Bluffs safe by having an orderly drop off and pick up each day.  We have had problems with cars speeding down the neighborhood streets to drop children off.  It has also been reported that some parents are parking in a city-designated red zones and leaving their cars unattended in the traffic circle.  This is particularly problematic since it causes congestion for all the other drivers and blocks the driveways of those living at the end of the street.  The best way to help us have a safe drop off is to use the traffic circle.  We ask that only preschool, Kindergarten and special needs families enter the parking lot to park and walk students onto campus.

For those families who have children who walk to school, please remind your children of the following:

  • It is best to be with friends when walking, bicycle riding, or playing outside.
  • Be alert to strangers. The best thing to do is to run away if a stranger approaches.
  • Let parents and/or the school know what has happened.

For additional safety tips, visit the PUSD website at www.powayusd.com and click on the school safety link on top of the home page. 

 

flu seasonRecognizing Flu symptoms

Because all flu viruses can spread easily from person to person, Poway Unified School District is asking for your help in reducing the spread of the flu in our school.

Here is what parents can do to help

Recognize the symptoms of the flu. Symptoms of the flu include fever (100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher), cough, sore throat, a runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, and feeling very tired, etc.

 

Do not send your children to school if they have any signs of illness. Children who are determined to be sick while at school will be sent home. Students cannot return to school after illness until they have been fever free for at least 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medication.

Make plans now for children who need to stay at home. Plan for how children will be cared for if they become ill.  For more information, visit the PUSD website. www.powayusd.com/schools/safety/.

 

With Aztec Pride,

Mark Atkins

 February 25, 2013
Jan 212013
 

stopwatch

Parents often ask how to best support their child with school experiences, here are a few suggestions on how you can use five minutes each day to encourage your student.

Take Five minutes every day to talk with your child each day about the following:

1. What is your student goal?
2. What did you do today to help achieve your student goal?
3. How did you make character count today?
4. What can you do tomorrow to conduct yourself as a stellar student?
5. Encourage your child in a very specific and genuine way.

Here are more suggestions from various research based resources.

Ways to Help your Child

  • When booklets and papers are brought home, look at them; comment on them; go over them with your child. Show genuine interest in the work. This communicates the idea that education is important and encourages your child to do well in school.
  • Talk with your child about school and everyday events.
  • See that your child gets plenty of sleep. Encourage exercise and good nutrition.
  • Monitor TV programs and video. TV can be instructional and also relaxing in proper doses at proper times. Talk with them about the programs they watch. Turn off the TV during meals to facilitate conversation. Supervise the content of the video games children play.
  • Encourage your child to do homework as early in the afternoon or evening as possible.
  • Provide a quiet, well-lit study area for your child. Set up a desk, table, or area designated for study, not far from the other family members. Remember to provide materials such as pens, pencils, pencil sharpener, paper, dictionary, ruler, crayons, glue stick, and scissors.
  • Take an active interest in your child’s schoolwork. Keep up with your child when he/she has a test and needs to study.
  • Orally quiz your child to help him/her prepare for a test.
  • If your child has trouble understanding something, try to help, but do not do it for them.
  • Be aware of numerous study strategies, such as flash cards, that can be shared with your child.
  • Provide learning experiences outside of school. Parks, beaches, libraries, zoos, and family games offer great learning experiences.
  • Encourage your child to write.
  • Read with your child. Discuss what was read.
  • Remember that you are your child’s first teacher.

Thank you for your support!

Mark Atkins

 January 21, 2013
Dec 162012
 

The Adobe Bluffs community is made up of families from many different cultural, ethnic and religious backgrounds.  The upcoming winter break can be a wonderful time of year for families who celebrate Christmas, Kwanzaa or Hanukkah; and for those who have different beliefs, but enjoy the time with their families.  This time of year can also be hard on families suffering in this poor economy.  I am so proud that Adobe Bluffs participated in the Giving Tree program again this year to help needy families have a better holiday season.  All of the “apples” were taken, and there will be some cheer spread to those who really need it.  On behalf of the PTA, thank you to all who participated.

Although this is a festive time, we appreciate your support in keeping our students focused on learning.  I encourage all families to work with their students at home over the winter break.  To help motivate students, we are promoting the “Winter Break Read-a-thon.”  The goal is to have every student read for a total of 200 minutes or more over the two week break.  This is part of our challenge to families to keep students occupied, engaged in learning and support their overall academic success.  Students will bring home a reading log that a parent needs to record the time read and initial.  Students who read for 200 minutes will receive a special token from our PTA. They will also have their names entered in a drawing for donated Target and Barnes and Nobles gift cards.

I would also encourage you to place reasonable limits on television and video game time.  Encourage your children to go outside and play.  One of the recommendations from the Governor’s fitness challenge is to exercise for at least 60 minutes each day.  You also have the option of having students work on math and language arts on Compass Learning over the break. Students all know their login and password.  The login is on the school webpage and at http://cl.powayusd.com/

Once again, best wishes during the holiday season.

With Aztec Pride,
Mark Atkins

 December 16, 2012
Nov 262012
 

I am proud to announce that the Adobe Bluffs Foundation has purchased 32 iPad 2s for students to use in classrooms.   The iPads have just arrived, but our teachers have already started their training on the best ways to use this technology with students.  The iPads will be available for teachers to check out sometime this week.  As always our staff is looking at ways to create the best learning opportunities for students and this technology will help engage students in their own learning.

Some of you may ask, Why iPads?  The iPad supports essential skill areas such as complex communication, new media literacy, creativity, and self-directed learning.  “The incredibly immersive and active learning environment the iPad engenders allows for opportunities to develop personalized, student-centered learning.”  These devices are meant to compliment computers and not replace them.  We are all excited about the ways students can use this technology to support divergent thinking and creativity.  Our students will still have access to our Computer lab for activities that require it.  With iPads students have the world at their fingertips, anywhere they might be, without the limitations of the standard computers/laptops.  What students might learn or do is up to their own creativity. I believe this is an important step in preparing students for life in the 21st Century.

There will be a learning curve as we figure out how to best use this technology and we will fine tune things as we go.  Initially students in the upper grades will have the first access.  We know that some of them already have experience using iPads.  We will also be very intent on teaching the guidelines we have created on how to use them safely and to protect these fragile machines.  The end results we are striving for are the acquisition of new knowledge and fostering the creativity the iPad facilitates, as well as the student empowerment it inspires.

Our long term goal is to have more technology in the hands of students, and not just the 32 iPads we have now.  Our immediate goal is to have our classrooms equipped with the essential things it needs, like Apple TVs and air printers to best utilize the ones we have now.  Thank you to the AB Foundation, parents and staff for their continued support of our school.

With Aztec Pride,

Mark Atkins

 

 

 November 26, 2012
Oct 132012
 

October is a great time to be an Adobe Bluffs Aztec!  This month we will be starting several student centered programs.  The first, the after school Compass Learning lab, will begin on October 25th and run each Thursday from 12:30-1:30pm.  Since seats are limited, we will have students sign up and get parent permission.  If you haven’t already done so, please return the permission forms immediately so your child can participate.  As you may know, the Compass Learning program utilizes MAP scores to create individualized lessons that address the student’s specific needs.  For those who are not able to attend the lab, Compass Learning it still available for you to use, and can be accessed online from any computer using this link.

We are proud to announce that high school mentors are returning to Adobe Bluffs! This was a truly beneficial program we started here a few years ago, but was lost due to budget cuts.  We revived the program last year and are looking to continue the positive interaction between elementary and high school role models.  We are currently training the mentors to work with our students to build positive relationships, boost self-esteem, encourage success, and continued education.  Our students will benefit by getting a new friend, and a fantastic role model.  The mentors will be supervised by a staff member and meet their mentee each Monday after school.  If you are interested in having your child work with a mentor, please call the office for a permission slip.

Fourth grade students began receiving music instruction this month and are now forming a grade level choir.  Jody Johnson is an AB parent and a former music teacher who will continue to serve as the choir director.  The students will learn music and songs that match fourth grade standards and they will perform at school events.

We will have Red Ribbon and Character Counts activities from Oct. 22–26th.  The activities will be geared toward encouraging a healthy drug free life and focusing on developing the character traits of trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship.  By providing these opportunities for kids, we hope to positively impact our students’ social and academic growth.

With Aztec Pride,

Mark Atkins

 October 13, 2012
Sep 152012
 

Dear Adobe Bluffs Families,

The first four weeks of school have gone very well and students and staff are settled into their daily routines.  Our Back to School Night had a great turn out, and our Back to School Picnic was a great beginning of the year events that families seemed to really enjoy.

We have several new people joining our staff this year.  Christin Quinn is a student teacher who is working with Ms. Kenney and Brooke Gerard who will be student teaching with Mrs. O’Connor beginning in October.  Meredith Davis has joined our Special Education team as a Speech teacher, and we also have two new Occupational Therapists, Christine Grupa and Catherine Culver.  Please join me in welcoming our new staff to Adobe Bluffs!

Adobe Bluffs is “going green” this year by using a new system that eliminates paper flyers and raises money for the school.  The paper flyers that were previously sent home are now available online through Peachjar.com which is has a link on our school website.  This company provides a central place to see all flyers and manages this system at no cost to our school.  The after school programs are charged a fee roughly equal to the cost of printing flyers, and 20% of the fees are donated back to our school.  The flyers can also be found in our PTA Newsletter.  Parents have the option of registering with Peachjar.com which will notify you via email when a new flyer is posted.  Our hope is to support our after school enrichment programs and help our school become greener.  Thank you for your support.

Parents of students in grades three through five should have received your child’s Star Testing Report taken last spring.  Our test results are excellent due to the amazing work by students, families and our staff.  Our fifth grade students had the highest English Language Arts scores in the district with 98% of students being proficient or advanced.  We will use these scores to identify areas of strength and areas of growth to plan ways to support all students becoming proficient or advanced.

My hope is that the Adobe Bluffs community will continue to work together this year to create wonderful learning opportunities for students.  I look forward to working with you all this year.

With Aztec Pride,
Mark Atkins

 September 15, 2012
Aug 222012
 

Welcome to the 2012-2013 school year! I hope everyone had a great summer and is ready to begin another exciting school year.  I’d like to welcome all of our new families to Adobe Bluffs.  You have landed in a great place with a dedicated staff and supportive community.  I believe you will find that Adobe Bluffs is a small school with a big heart.

One of the important factors in our school’s success is our large group of parent volunteers.  However, this year we are in need of new volunteers to replace those who have moved on.  If you have an hour a week to volunteer in the classroom or on campus, it helps more than you can imagine.  If you have a little more time, consider working with our PTA to help organize one of the many events our kids love, such as Arts Attack, Mileage Club, Science Day, Winter Jamboree or Olympics/College Games.  Please see our volunteer opportunities page and contact our PTA V.P. of Volunteers, Ami Lau at: ami_lau@yahoo.com.  We are also looking for people willing to help our AB Foundation.  They provide us an Impact Teacher, PE aide, Compass Learning and other things we need to help students achieve.  This year we have a goal to bring some much needed technology to our campus.  Our computers are over 7-8 years old and in desperate need of updating.

I also want to remind everyone of the importance of arriving to school on time.  We will have the same bell schedule and will begin class at 7:45 am. We will have adult supervision on campus beginning at 7:25 each morning. Children are not allowed on campus before 7:25am.  If you need morning childcare, please sign your child up for the ESS program, which now has programs for parents who need only morning childcare.  Contact ESS at (858)538-2672.

We have many great things to look forward to this year.  We have awesome students, dedicated staff members and great volunteers.  Let’s have a great year!

Mark Atkins
Principal

 August 22, 2012