Dear Hollymead Families,
The excitement is building. For a couple of weeks teachers have been in and out of the building planning and organizing classrooms in order to make sure we are ready for a great start to the school Year. It is a most wonderful time of year when we are all excited to learn and grow with our new classes!
We have a couple of changes in staff at Hollymead this year. As you may already know, Megan Kopley will be our new guidance counselor. She has many years of experience as a counselor and a classroom teacher. She is excited to get to know students, families and staff.
The lower numbers in grades kindergarten and first grade are moving up and there will only be three classroom teachers in second grade this year. Mr. Bernhardt is moving to 4th grade and Ms. Groeber-Fard is going to 5th grade.
All students at Hollymead will be using a new math program this year called ST Math. The “ST” stands for spatial temporal because they have to manipulate images in their mind in order to solve math problems. ST Math has been used in Albemarle County Title I schools for the last five years and has helped them be successful. In fact, the research shows that students who are using ST Math grow significantly in their mathematical achievement. This web-based program begins teaching concepts non-linguistically and then connects to symbols and language. This is a standards-aligned program that allows students to move forward as they master each level. Teachers have control over what students are working on and monitor student progress so that they can help when students are stuck. Each grade level will decide how ST Math will fit into their math classrooms. ST Math can be used whole class and/or in a center rotation. ST Math is designed to be challenging and will help us continue with our emphasis on “failing up”. We try to help everyone understand that you have to be willing to fail sometimes in order to learn.
We will continue our work on Project Based Learning. Our goal is to give students more opportunities to use creativity and critical thinking to learn and demonstrate their learning. Some PBL will give students more control and choices over what they are learning. Teachers will be developing opportunities for students while also sharing and receiving feedback on the PBL offered from colleagues.
As you know, we work to emphasize Hollymead CARES in all the work that we do. CARES stands for cooperation, assertion, responsibility, empathy, and self-control. We know that you are also teaching these things at home and together we will help our community be a place we can be proud of.
Please contact me if for any questions or concerns. You can reach me by phone, 434 973-8301; by email at firstname.lastname@example.org; or in person at school.