November 17, 2006

Splash, November 17, 2006


Letter from the Principal


Dear Parents and Guardians:

            This is the week that the results of the state test, the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCAII), will be released.  Seward staff received preliminary data last month, so we could begin planning.  According to this data, Seward students did very well in reading.  This needs to be celebrated, as most of our students have made excellent growth in reading.  So, reading achievement is the good news.

The not-as-good news is that there are 114 ways a K-8 school can get on the “needs improvement list,” and our special education students are on the watch list.    This group of students must make gains in their math achievement, or Seward will be on the list of schools not making adequate yearly progress.  Teachers are working with them in small groups.  Classroom and special education teachers are targeting these students to improve their skills.

Analysis of the test data has also shown an area of weakness for all students in math.  Mathematical Reasoning or problem-solving is an area of concern all across the school.  Seward staff is addressing this area of student need.  Our Math/Science Cluster of teachers has devised a research-based strategy to help students with problem-solving.  This strategy is called the GAPS Check Strategy.  Posters are up in classrooms all over the school, and this strategy is begging to be used.

Parents are always asking what they can do to help.  I’m enclosing the strategy, so you can start using it at home with your children.  The more the children hear and use the strategy, the sooner it will become part of their thinking.  Follow this procedure when solving a problem:

Given:  What is the given?

Asked:  What is asked for?

Procedure:  What procedure do we use?

Solution:  What is the solution?

Check:  Check your answer.


Happy problem-solving,

Dr. Marilyn






City Children’s Nutcracker at the State Theatre: Many Seward students will be dancing and skating in this classic Tchaikovsky ballet with an urban twist!  $5 Tickets for Parks Night (Friday, November 24 at 7:30pm) may be purchased from your local Minneapolis Community Center.  Call ahead for availability



Seward PTSO Officers for the 2005-06 school year:
Susan Sullivan, Chair,
Julie Brekke, Communications Chair, 
Fariba Sanikhatam, Treasurer,
Mary Cady, Fund-raising Chair,
Katherine Lewis, Events Co-Chair,
Kerry Cashman, Events Co-Chair,     

SMLC, 2006-07

Parent Representatives
Kari Kleven (co-chair):

Angela Mansfield:

Lisa Ray:

John Lauber:
Tom Hanson:
Claire Colliander:

Teacher Representatives

Linda Reiner (Special Ed; co-chair):

Susan Hughes (Middle School):

Agnes Kilpatrick (E2):

Karen Swigart (E1):

Gwen Lyon (Kindergarten):



Feed the Birds-Help us! We are hungry for bird food and suet, and if you could please donate some in the large bucket by the main entrance (the one that says 'Feed the Birds'), we would greatly appreciate it. Thanks for helping us stay nice and full throughout the Winter!      -The Courtyard Birds


Seward Used Book Fair, November 17, 2006; 5:30-8:00 pm:                                                                                           Come to the Book Fair! There will be used books to buy, performances by the Wild Raspberries, the Seward Jazz Band, and the Drumming Librarian, and the popular book-making project (tulip books this year) through the Center for Book Arts.                                                                Plus there will be food -- pizza from Papa John's and Pizza Luce, apples, applesauce, Best Maid cookies, juice, pop, and coffee.




Schools endure nurse shortage as health needs rise (from an article in the Wall Street Journal, November 2, 2006): Federal guidelines suggest that each school nurse be assigned no more than 750, children, but 59% have more students than that in their care (Seward’s school nurse is responsible for 1,562).



Hmong New Year Celebration at Seward!

            We are very happy to announce that there will be a Hmong New Year Celebration in the Gym, on Tuesday, November 21. There will be two performances of song and dance by Seward students, and a fashion show displaying colorful traditional Hmong clothing.

The first show will start at 9 am, with a repeat performance at 12:45 pm. Each show will last 45 minutes. Parents and all friends of Seward Montessori are invited; we hope to see you there!

Remember that the upcoming Hmong New Year celebrations held at River Center in St. Paul, and at the Metrodome in Minneapolis, are open to the public. These festivities are wonderful cultural events for all ages.



WINTER YOUTH CAMP at the Movement Arts Center, 2211 Franklin Avenue East, Minneapolis, (612-333-8635 or January 2 - 5th (Tuesday – Friday), 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. For boys & girls ages 6 to 12 years.

            Each day will start with a stretch and balance warm-up, followed by a Shotokan Karate lesson.  Children will learn basic blocks, kicks, & punches - moves to enhance self confidence, awareness and develop concentration. There will be movement, music & games throughout the day. 

            Chess is a board game that challenges the brain and imagination.  Campers will learn the basics of how the game is played, and pair up with each other to play at their individual levels.  Beginners will work in a small group with the teacher to understand the basic beginning, middle & end strategies of this fascinating game.  No previous experience is necessary.

            Fee for the entire four day camp is $175;

Fee for 1/2 day morning or afternoon full camp is $90. Or sign up for one or two days: full day $50;    1/2 day $25.