Return to Headlines

January 2019 Newsletter


Greetings from the Principal

It is hard to believe that 2019 is already upon us.  After hitting a serious patch of writer’s block, I was lucky enough to visit kindergarten’s recess today and get a great suggestion from Mrs. Cooke for this month’s newsletter.  We had an interesting conversation about a recently published article on brain research and how it can inform teaching practice.

“What We Know (and Think We Know) About the Learning Brain: An Interview with Tracey Tokuhama-Espinosa” by Rafael Heller in the December/January Phi Delta Kappan gives some great information on what we now know about this still very mysterious organ.  

Here are some common misconceptions about the brain that current research seems to debunk:

-   That students have differing learning styles;

-   That it’s possible to do more than one cognitively demanding task at the same time;

-   That specific abilities (for example, math, reading, spatial perception) are localized in specific parts of the brain;

-   That there are significant differences between male and female brains (there are small differences, but there’s far more brain variation among men and among women).

Modern research agrees on these 6 core principles:

-   Human brains are as unique as human faces; the basic structure is similar, but each person’s unique genetic makeup combines with life experiences (and free will) to shape neural pathways.

-   Each individual’s brain is differently prepared to learn different tasks; the variables are the person’s biology and genetic makeup, prenatal and perinatal events, environmental exposures, the learning context, prior learning experiences, and personal choices.

-   New learning is influenced by prior experiences; the brain is highly efficient in decoding external experiences and comparing them with existing memories.

-   The brain is constantly changing based on individual experiences; these changes, part of a complex, dynamic, integrated system, occur at the molecular level, even before they are visible in behavior.

-   The brain is plastic; that’s true throughout the lifespan, though there are important developmental differences by age.

-   No new learning takes place without some form of memory and some form of attention; most school learning requires that working memory, short-term memory, and long-term memory are functioning, as well as conscious attention.

The piece that struck me first was that new learning is constantly being attached to prior knowledge.  For teachers, using this knowledge can mean beginning lessons with a review of yesterday’s essential points.  As a parent, it made me appreciate the hard work of giving our children diverse learning experiences as they grow up as this base will be the foundation for future success.  So, encourage your children to try new things in this new year and build their knowledge. From attempting to ice skate for the first time this winter or helping teach a younger sibling how to build a Lego set, you never know how one piece of knowledge will help them connect to something in the future.  Happy learning!


Did You Know?…

How We Determine if Recess is Inside or Outside

We try to get our students outside as much as possible.  When the weather is very cold, we refer to the “Child Care Weather Map” produced by the Iowa Department of Public Health to help us determine if the temperature and wind chill are safe for outdoor play. 

Recess is always inside when the temperature and wind chill are in the danger range or the colder end of the caution range.  

 We generally have outdoor recess when the temperature and wind chill are at the upper end of the caution range (about 20 degrees and above).  Our recess time is 30 minutes.  Only children with appropriate clothing (coats, hats and mittens or gloves) are allowed outside, and only children with snow pants and boots are allowed to play in the snow.  Children are allowed to use roll up sleds on our hills.  This is great fun!  Only roll up type sleds are allowed.  If you wish to, feel free to purchase a roll up sled for your child to bring to school to share with their class.

Crafters donated:

After making and selling their crafts, many children chose to donate a portion of their profits to charity.  The charities that the children voted for were Boston Children’s Hospital & Friends for Falmouth Dogs.   The show’s participants raised over $1,000.00!

A large THANK YOU goes to all those students and families who contributed to these wonderful charities.  Many thanks to everyone for making the craft fair such a positive experience.


Toys for Tots

Thank  you to everyone who helped make many children in the area have a very wonderful Christmas. Mrs. Edgar’s class did a great job supporting this project. We collected 97 toys this year! 


 Safety Reminders

  • When you drop items off at school for your child, please make sure they are labeled with your child’s first & last name, and the teacher’s name.
  • All North Falmouth staff have ID badges. We have badges available for visitors, volunteers & substitutes. Please sign in and remember to put on the appropriate badge when you are in the building. Thank you for helping us make North Falmouth School a safe place for all children.

We appreciate your help in keeping our students safe.


Reminders: *Please keep lunch accounts paid in full and up to date.  Thank you.

* The YMCA will NOT be open in the morning if we have a delayed opening.  They will also  be closed in the afternoon if afternoon activities are cancelled and if school is dismissed early due to the weather.


Important Up Coming Events

*Tues., Jan. 8 is a half day of school all students will be dismissed at 12:40. It is also, PTO Color Day.  Donate a $1.00 and wear your grade level color:  K=Red, 1=Orange, 2=Yellow, 3=Green, 4=Blue, Staff =Purple

*Thu. Jan. 17 Coffee Hour with Superintendent Duerr @ the Administration Building @ 9:00 a.m.

*Fri, Jan. 18 Kindergarten report cards will be sent home

*Wed. Feb. 6  Business Manager, Patrick Murphy & Superintendent, Lori Duerr will be at Mullen Hall @ 5:30 p.m. to meet with PTO and School members to discuss the budget for next school year 2019-2020.

   Please remember to look at the web calendar for any changes.