Ravenwood PTSO
Upcoming Events

February

February 5th – PTSO General Meeting – Everyone welcome / encouraged to attend!!!

February 7th – Movie Night; 5:30 gym doors open/6:00 movie starts

February 7th – Popcorn Friday

February 8th – Eagle River JNYO hosted at Ravenwood 9-4pm

February 12-13th – Book Fair in Library

February 12-13th – Parent/Teacher Conferences, Early Release for students at 12:30

February 14th & 17th – No School for Students

February 19th – Ravenwood Spelling Bee

March

March 4th – Science Fair / STEAM Night 6-7:30pm

March 5th – Popcorn (not) Friday

TBD – PTSO General Meeting – Everyone welcome / encouraged to attend!!!

March 9-13th – Spring Break

April

April 25th – Clean up / Tune up

Facebook Posts

Good evening Ravenwood families. Below is important information about where we are at for becoming a STEAM school. It is a lot to read, but we feel it is worth your time.

Ravenwood needs your help:

Ravenwood Elementary school proposes to transform to a Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts/Design, and Math, neighborhood program, or STEAM school. Below are statements summarizing our support from the PTSO’s perspective for your consideration. Attached as its own document and duplicated at the bottom of this message is a letter we, the PTSO, intend to share with the Anchorage School Board showing our support for this program as families. The letter expands on the bullet statements in the "Executive Summary."



Executive Summary of PTSO's Interest

1. Scientific literacy must be emphasized early and reinforced more regularly than there is currently time for during the school day. Reading may be the foundation of education, but by the time our children start middle school they should be fluent in scientific method and basic statistical awareness.

2. Our families and PTSO have already demonstrated a commitment to STEAM core values. We have raised and committed nearly $130,000 to STEAM projects over the last four years.

3. Ravenwood's reading, math, and science levels of proficiency are among the highest in the district for neighborhood elementary schools. We believe this approach to elementary education will quickly bear out in higher levels of achievement and student engagement.

4. The Project Lead the Way curriculum and the school wide culture it will support create a direct pipeline to our middle and high schools.

5. We are confident that our teachers’ ability to have more control over their classroom time will lead to a more deliberate approach to instructional schedule for math, reading, science, language arts, and social studies.

6. The underlying principles in a STEAM curriculum and school-wide philosophy reflect the values of the students, teachers, staff and community that make up Ravenwood.

7. A program like we propose requires additional staffing to implement and facilitate.



How you can help:

1. Please email or phone call the members of the Anchorage School District’s Board and encourage them to vote “yes” for Ravenwood to become a STEAM school. Please feel free to use the above statements in your communication to the board. A consistent and overwhelming message showing parent support for this change is crucial.

a. Copy and paste these school board names into your “To” line

marsett_starr@asdk12.org, hilde_alisha@asdk12.org, vakalis_elisa@asdk12.org, bellamy_margo@asdk12.org, mitchell_deena@asdk12.org, donley_dave@asdk12.org, holleman_andy@asdk12.org,

b. Use a title encouraging the board to approve Ravenwood’s STEAM initiative

2. The letter below and attached is written on your behalf. If you agree, please endorse that letter with your signature on signature pages in the front office during the week of conferences. Please only respond once per family.

3. You may attend the district school board meeting on 3 March to support Mrs. Bautista's formal proposal to the board.

4. Join us at the district school board meeting on 17 March (we think) in your Ravenwood colors. A PTSO representative will read the letter that you endorse so that we can be counted as one voice the same evening that the board votes.



What our school hopes for:

Though Ravenwood will remain a neighborhood school, or a “whole school alternative program,” we are asking the district for accommodations and staffing to teach a curriculum from a STEAM framework. This requires a new curriculum (Project Lead the Way), additional staffing (2 additional teacher positions), and scheduling freedom (outside of the district’s required daily curriculum time for reading and math). We do not believe this is a burdensome request. It comes at a minimal cost, and promises academic growth. We should be considerate of the reality that the district has another year of budgetary challenges and a responsibility to ensure that neighborhood schools are providing the necessary education to students. As parents we need to support Mrs. Bautista, Mr. Johnson and Mrs. Nielsen’s efforts to appeal to the board.



When it all happens:

On 3 March Mrs. Bautista, Mr. Johnson and Mrs. Nielsen present our proposal to the Anchorage School District school board. On 17 March the PTSO will read a letter based on these bullets encouraging the board to approve Ravenwood for the STEAM initiative. During that same meeting the board will vote.

_____________________________

Text of attached letter to the board on behalf of Ravenwood PTSO

Members of the Anchorage School Board-



Representing the PTSO of Ravenwood Elementary in Eagle River, this letter asks you to consider our fervent interest in your endorsement and approval of our school as a STEAM program. With due respect and understanding for the challenges of our current budget landscape, we trust that you will consider the importance of moving forward with innovative solutions to improve educational outcomes. Ravenwood’s team presents an opportunity with great and measurable upside, minimal risk, and minimal cost. There is great value and opportunity for the community, district, school, and most importantly, our students. We can and should do better to meet this board’s core values of potential, high expectations and responsiveness.



1. Scientific literacy must be emphasized early and reinforced more regularly than there is currently time for during the school day. The current science curriculum is anemic and irresponsible for the challenges of tomorrow. Shame on us. We are undermining our children’s opportunity to live the quality of life that we have achieved. The news of today serve as an incisive reminder that we must teach scientific literacy in the same way that we emphasize phonemic awareness and numeracy. We are confident that the Project Lead the Way curriculum will buttress an already healthy and hungry staff at Ravenwood that believes in and has been teaching the merits of this sort of world view. It is time for the structure, materials and curriculum to support that effort.



2. Our families and PTSO have already demonstrated a commitment to and an appetite for the possibilities of a STEAM curriculum. Through fundraisers and fees we have raised and committed nearly $130,000 over the last four years. These funds have been quickly deployed to the materials our staff believes and justifies as necessary to growing a more nimble and adept student body. This already resulted in a STEM lab that for two years has been delivering direct instruction to students as well as supporting the needs and vision of teachers throughout the building in their own curriculum objectives. We are committed to raising funds to support the staff but cannot increase the staffing without you.



3. The scheduling flexibility that the school requests comes at a minimized risk with proficiency levels among the highest in the district for neighborhood elementary schools. Ravenwood’s percentage of proficient students in the three tested categories show English/Language Arts 23% higher than district schools, math 30% higher, and science 22% higher according to 2018-19 PEAKS data. The dilemma our teachers face now is how to make incremental improvements to those already high scores while also meeting the needs of students who require additional support. This approach to elementary education will bear out in higher levels of achievement and engagement.



4. This curriculum better aligns with middle and high school, inquiry based instruction that integrate across academic disciplines in a way that elementary instruction does not. The Project Lead the Way curriculum and culture it supports create a direct pipeline to our middle and high school. Inquiry based education is consistent with national trends and is a transportable skill. The potential for expanded success for our rising 6th and 7th graders holds great merit.



5. The challenges of today are not solved in 30 minute blocks. We are concerned that the increasingly fragmented and regimented school days lead to a lot of time in transition and less time with meaningful teacher contact. We are confident that our teachers’ ability to prioritize classroom time will lead to a more deliberate approach to instruction across subjects. This new paradigm enables our students to engage in the curriculum over the longer arc of a planning week. The opportunity for the teacher to decide how and when to focus instruction also provides for a rigor necessary to explore and learn, and teaches students the discipline to examine topics deeply.



6. The underlying principles in a STEAM curriculum and school-wide philosophy reflect the values of Ravenwood’s students, teachers, staff and community. Ravenwood draws heavily from families with careers and business interests in medicine, civil and military aviation, energy development and small business. We have a familiarity with the fields and ability to support the school. Support this need for a pipeline of young Alaskans ready to take part in and lead in these fields. A whole school approach, rather than a school within a school best meets those values at a minimized cost.



7. A program like we propose requires additional staffing to implement and facilitate. We have great faith in our teachers at Ravenwood. Objective and subjective measures like test scores and climate surveys show a connected, compassionate and capable group of professionals. While we are adamant about the implementation of a STEAM curriculum, we also know that adding this to the teachers’ host of responsibilities without appropriate staffing further stretches their most precious resource, time. The expanded staffing we request facilitates not only direct STEAM instruction, but also collaboration with classroom teachers looking to expand and extend their current curriculums.



Thank you for your time. We look forward to your approval and to Ravenwood Elementary sharing it’s successes and lessons learned with the entire district.
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2019-2020 Box Top Goal

As of Feb. 5th, we have collected 12,709 Box Tops! Our goal for this school year is 30,000

42.36%