Wednesday, January 20, 2021

We are better TOGETHER!

Today saw the inauguration of a new President and Vice President, and with it the peaceful transfer of power that is foundational to our democracy and the very ideals of America.  As President Biden shared, "here's the thing about life. There's no accounting for what fate will deal you. Some days when you need a hand. There are other days when we are called to lend a hand. That's how it has to be. That’s what we do for one another."

This sentiment of unity, togetherness, and care shapes our work at East Prairie every day.  It is this spirit and the collective actions it empowers that make our school community one of a kind.  Sharing our common humanity and valuing our differences, we learn from, with, and alongside one another each day.  This is an extraordinary gift and opportunity that benefits children and adults alike.

It is with this in mind that we reiterate our commitment to ensuring that every child, every parent, every family, and every community member feel safe, valued, and included at East Prairie.  That we recognize our resolute responsibility to ensure that all children learn at high levels, and have their future opened to any and all possibilities - even those they may not yet see or dream for themselves.  All the while, we will continue to openly, earnestly, and collaboratively address the very real challenges and issues facing our school, community, and world.  

At East Prairie, we know we are better together! In unity there is not only strength, but kindness, wisdom, and compassion!

Thursday, January 7, 2021

From the Principal's Desk

Yesterday's events in the Capitol further demonstrate what we have long known, that rhetoric matters.  Words and ideas don’t exist in a vacuum, they inspire action and shape history.  Sadly, these events also reinforce how fiercely divided our country and politics are, highlighting the challenges of bridging the divide through reasoned discourse, debate, and compromise.  As I have repeatedly shared, educators have a professional and moral responsibility to engage our students in thoughtful analysis, discussion, and contemplation of current events and civic issues.  It is part of the responsibility entrusted to us to develop informed young people prepared to actively participate in our shared democracy for the common good.  

The following resources were shared with our staff as it relates to helping students to process and understand about moment, as well as, navigate other challenging/controversial topics.  The National Association of School Psychologists has these tips for talking to students about violence.  Key points include: affirming that students are in a safe place, creating the space to have age appropriate conversations and address concerns, checking in emotionally with students, and continuing to utilize normal routines.  Though a bit lengthier Let’s Talk: Facilitating Critical Conversations with Students recognizes that kids want and need to talk about these issues, providing a clear framework and effective strategies for doing so. 

As with all of our teaching, these dialogues and explorations are approached in an intentional and thoughtful manner, ensuring students have a well rounded and critical view on this or any issue is essential, free of each of our own personal biases.
Thank you for your sustained efforts and partnership as we navigate our shared world and work together to create a safe space for students to consider, reflect, dialogue, and ultimately act upon these and all matters.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Supporting Reading Fluency At Home

 Here is the latest episode of Reading Extraordinaire with Mrs. Mehr - the second episode focuses on building reading fluency. 

Fluency is the ability to read with speed, accuracy, and proper expression.  It is an essential skill in helping students to build their reading comprehension.  This family friendly video walks through specific ways you can help to support your child’s fluency at home.

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Happy New Year! | Processes, Protocols, & Safe Decision-making

Happy New Year!  We hope your past two weeks have been filled with laughter, joy, and the warmth of family!  As we head into the new year our focus remains on ensuring high levels of learning for all students, while assuring the health and wellbeing of our school community.

Please take the time to review this comprehensive video overview of our practices and policies courtesy of Nurse Christina.  This five minute video highlights information regarding COVID-19, as well as, our decision-making processes and policies related to absences and travel.  If you have recently left the state of Illinois here again is our travel policy.  As we prepare for a return to in-person learning, please be mindful of your travel and responsibility to others.  Thank you for openly communicating with our team and making choices that help to keep everyone safe.  

If you have any questions, concerns, or would like to discuss further please don’t hesitate to reach out to your child’s teacher, Dr. Schmeisser, or any member of our team.  We look forward to the new year and to the unlimited possibilities it holds!

Friday, December 18, 2020

Thank You & 2021 Here We Come!

Thank you to Ms. Pasia and Mr. Berlinghof for carrying on the annual EPS tradition of a holiday sing! What a turnout! What a blast! Our school (jingle bell) rocks!

Despite what has unquestionably been a most challenging year,

we couldn’t be more grateful for the manner in which our

partnership has strengthened and grown.  Our ability to develop

strong relationships, create community, transform teaching,

and hold high expectations for all kids - all with a sense of

purpose, humility, and humor - has made this year

special and successful in its own right.  We are truly proud to

learn alongside and serve such a phenomenal community!

We hope the next two weeks present you and your family the opportunity to hit pause and recharge.  We hope your days are filled with happiness surrounded by those closest to you.  Whatever 2021 has in store for us, we are confident that we will continue to rise to the challenge, and do our best to learn, grow, and have some fun along the way!

Congratulations to our winning snowmen designers -

Jessica Boca, Kristin Tang, Ramina Korkis, & Trent Hunton!

Each winner will receive a $50 gift card to a local restaurant

and there will be a $150 donation to the Panther Pantry made in

their collective honor.

1st place - Jessica Boca

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Coming Together!

 Excellent Coming Together Committee Meeting today!  This group of community leaders is doing outstanding work to fight food insecurity and combat isolation within Niles Township.  East Prairie is proud to be a part of this important work!

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

No Business Like Show Business!

 Wanting to find a way to bring folks together and celebrate the extraordinary talents of our students and staff, our 8th grade enrichment came up with the idea of hosting a talent show.  Here is a link to the first ever EPS Virtual Talent Show - the final product of their hard work, collaboration, and creativity! 

A huge thank you to Sophia Alban, Ainsley Flintz, Dylan Lam, Griffin Larson-Erf, Reed Larson-Erf, Esther Min, Althea Rejuso, Ella Sorkin, and Mrs. Smeeton for putting this exhibition together.  A tremendous thank you to all of our performers for showcasing and sharing their many talents with the world!