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My first days as principal of Morris Area Elementary School have been GREAT! Students, staff, and community have been very welcoming and the building is a flurry of activity.

With the start of a new school year I would like to share our 2012-2013 MAES goals. They are:

• All students will meet or exceed projected growth targets in the areas of reading and math. Concentrating on growth demonstrates a commitment to seeing ALL students learn - regardless of ability. Actions to support this goal include a focus on data analysis, increased staff collaboration, and ongoing reflection regarding effective instructional strategies.

• All students and staff will strive for a safe and secure school climate, showing respect for each other and the environment. Actions supporting this goal include ongoing implementation of the MOSAIC program, the Olweus initiative, student leadership support, and consistent staff follow through.

Please remember to check the school website often. My own page is titled PRINCIPAL and can be found as a link on the district website (first go to the elementary page). Several staff members also have web pages, which can be accessed by clicking on the staff link. One link on my page that may be of interest to you is a feature called, "Student Author of the Month." Each month we will be publishing the work of two student authors each from grades 3-6. Writing is a key skill in developing high level reasoning skills and one that I want all children to view as important.

Let me again invite you to stop in and visit Morris Area Elementary. We take great pride in our mission to educate and prepare all students for a successful tomorrow - and your support is critical in that process.

Don't forget Coffee with Ken held from 7 to 7:30 a.m. in the school cafeteria the first Friday of each month. This is a time for fellowship, asking questions, and getting to know your school a little bit better!

You may have heard that Morris Area Schools now has a Parent Support Group. I have met with the leadership team of this organization a couple of times and they are going to be a great group of people and a tremendous asset for our students and staff. If you have any questions or are interested in joining this organization, please contact Naomi Fynboh at 320-589-7155.

Data collection is a key part of the educational process. We are constantly monitoring student achievement in an ongoing effort to determine if we are adequately meeting student needs. We want all children to be successful and show growth - so when you hear terms such as AIMSweb, NWEA, IGDI, and MCA - know that they are some of the tools we use to ensure every child is making progress. If you would like more details on any of these assessments, do not hesitate to contact me.

MAES was named a Celebration Eligible school by the Minnesota Department of Education. Celebration Eligible Schools are in the 60th to 85th percentile of top performing schools based on their Multiple Measurement Rating or MMR. Congratulations!

A HUGE thanks for all your support when shopping at Target stores! The elementary recently received a check for $2,175.69.

Morris Area Schools will be having an evacuation and relocation drill taking place on Monday, Oct. 15, at approximately 1:30 p.m. This will be a structured opportunity for our students to practice evacuating off campus and to experience what would happen in the event we were not able to return to school immediately. All students will be walking to the RFC and staff will provide supervision. It is anticipated the drill will last 45-60 minutes. The drill is part of our normal safety planning and helps us sift through potential problem areas in the event of a true emergency. If you would take time to discuss safety planning with your children, it would be greatly appreciated. Any questions or concerns should be directed to me at Morris Area Schools - (320) 589-1250.

The Morris Area School District purchased a new language arts curriculum. As a result we have an older set of student and teacher texts that are no longer needed. If you are aware of a school or agency that could use these materials, please contact me at your earliest convenience.

Attention motorists: Never pass a school bus with flashing lights or an extended stop arm, whether meeting or following the bus! The flashing yellow lights tell you the bus is preparing to stop. When the red lights are flashing and the stop arm is extended you must stop 20 feet from the bus in any direction. Do not move your vehicle until the driver shuts off the red lights and the stop arm. School bus drivers must report all violations to the police department. Fifteen violations were reported in 2011-2012.

Upcoming Events

Sept. 17, 12:30 p.m. - Early Dismissal

Sept. 17, 5 to 6:30 p.m. - Elem. Parent Night; 6 to 7:30 p.m. - H.S. Parent Night

Sept. 18 - Fall NWEA testing begins

Sept. 27 - Fifth grade Conservation Day at SWELL

Oct. 1-5 - Homecoming Week

Oct. 10 - Two-hour late start

Oct. 10 - Picture Retakes

Oct. 18-19 - Fall Break