Hillcrest Newsletter November 2019


Hillcrest Newsletter

November 2019

Image result for november kids clip art

Upcoming Dates

  • Tuesday, Nov. 26, School Council Meeting, 3:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 28, School dismissed at NOON (11:30 a.m. Preschool) for Thanksgiving break.
  • Monday, Dec. 2, school resumes.
  • Wednesday, Dec. 4, In Service, Half Day

Parent Parking Reminder

Please do not park across the street in the “No Parking” spaces on Griswold Street when picking up or dropping off your children at the 30 Griswold St. entrance. F.M. Kuzmeskus informed us the busses have a hard time getting through when cars are parked there. Please observe posted No Parking signs. Thank you.

From the Principal

Dear Hillcrest Families,

It was such a pleasure to have so many of you join us for our November All School Meeting today!  Our monthly All School Meeting is a beloved tradition here at Hillcrest and it is closely connected to an important Responsive Classroom practice: Morning Meeting.  Morning Meeting is a daily routine which promotes positive classroom community, builds our students’ social emotional skills and promotes their academic growth.  When you join us for All School Meeting and you participate in our Greeting, Song, Presentations and Community Announcements, you are getting a window into the classroom Morning Meeting. Thank you for joining us!

As the cold weather arrives, it’s very likely that we will have some TWO HOUR DELAYS due to wintry conditions.  When this happens, you will receive an automated phone call from the Office of the Superintendent. You can also check the district website: www.gmrsd.org and our school Facebook page for weather related announcements such as delays and cancellations.  On TWO HOUR DELAY days, it’s very important to remember the following:

  • Our school day will begin at 10:30 on Two Hour Delay days.  The building will open at 10:15. Please do not arrive at school prior to 10:15 as we do not have staff members here to supervise children before 10:15.
  • Breakfast is NOT served on Two Hour Delay days. Please be sure that your children eat breakfast at home on Two Hour Delay days. 
  • There is No School for preschoolers who attend our Half-Day Program.
  • For more information about school cancellations and delays, please review the Hillcrest Elementary School Directory and Family Handbook.

In other seasonal news, I am pleased to announce that Hillcrest will be participating in the GMRSD Food Drive to benefit MCSM’s Food Pantry. Please consider donating to this important community resource. Young children love to be involved in activities that help others and lending a hand by donating a few boxes of cereal, some cans of soup, or other essential food items is the perfect entry point for community service. Talking with your children about small ways that they can be community helpers is a great conversation starter.  You may be surprised by the wonderful ideas that your children have for addressing big challenges like food insecurity.  The Food Drive begins on Monday, November 25th and continues through December 3rd. You will find donation bins located outside the Hillcrest main office.

In closing, November offers the opportunity to express my gratitude to your commitment to our school community. Getting your children to school each day, making sure they are ready to learn, attending parent conferences and All School Meetings, lending a hand at school events -- all of your actions are noticed and appreciated! Thank you for all that you do to contribute to a vibrant learning community!

Wishing you a wonderful weekend ---

Sarah Burstein, Principal


In preschool this month the children have been taking on the roles of members of a family during our Tools of the Mind family theme. Centers have included the garage, the living room, the kitchen, the bedroom, the bathroom, and the laundry room. The children enjoyed pretending to be parents or older siblings especially in these centers. We are ending this theme, and in December will be moving on to a Grocery Store theme. Stay tuned!

In our new Bridges math curriculum, November has been a month all about two-dimensional shapes. Shapes we have focused on are: circle, square, triangle, and rectangle. We have been identifying, counting, patterning, graphing, discussing attributes, and sorting these shapes. Ask your child to show you these shapes around the house or while you are out and about!


Just a friendly reminder that the weather is getting more winter like! Make sure your child is prepared for outdoor recess! Thank you!


Ms. Sarah, Ms. Chanda and Ms. Teresa



In kindergarten we continue to build our literacy and math skills. We are reading our second Magic Tree House book that focuses on castles, knights, and the medieval times. We read one chapter a day as a class and practice our writing with chapter summaries. We learned a lot about the Middle Ages during our fact building week!       

          We are practicing phonemic awareness, letter sounds and names, and segmenting sounds in our small group literacy activities. We continue to use Fundations to learn not only the letter names and sounds but also the correct way to write each letter. We have been focusing a lot on beginning sounds. Can your child tell you the first sound heard in a given word? This is a great skill to practice at home.

          Kindergarten students are working towards building their number sense. We are practicing matching numerals with correct amounts, representing and comparing numbers, and putting numbers in the correct order. We still continue to work on writing the numerals correctly. How can you help build your child’s number sense at home? Count everything!

          It’s cold out! Please remember we are outside every day, weather permitting. Please send in appropriate winter weather gear for your child.

          The kindergarten team,

          Mrs. Fox, Ms. Hirst & Mrs. Lesenski


First Grade

In Reading, first graders continue to use comprehension strategies as they read. After reading with your child, try checking in and asking them ‘what happened in the story?’. In first grade, we work on retelling details such as the characters, setting, and main events.
In Phonics, first graders worked on the “floss rule” or bonus letter rule. This happens when a single syllable word with a short vowel ends in f, l, and s.The final letter gets doubled like in well, puff and mess.  We have also started working on “glued sounds” like an, am, all.  This means that the short a vowel is “glued” to the ending consonant and can’t be separated without changing the sounds in the word. (Can you think of some examples of words that follow this rule?)


In Math, we are working on solving equations and story problems involving addition and subtraction. Students use a variety of strategies to solve these problems (such as drawing a picture, using a rekenrek, or their fingers). They will be learning about doubles, doubles plus one and doubles minus one. They’ll be learning the process of how to solve a word problem by understanding the problem, showing their work, finding a solution and checking their answer. They have also learned about  telling time to the hour and understanding fractions using whole, half and fourths.

In Social Studies, we are wrapping up our study on our names and what they mean to us. We will be working on learning about our families and who is in our family communities. We will be sending home a survey about what kinds of celebrations your family has. In the spirit of giving thanks during this time of year, we will be developing our understanding of gratitude as we explore ways to share and show our thanks.
    We were happy to meet with all of you during fall conferences so we could show you all the wonderful work your children are doing!

Miss Matrishon, Mrs. Saylor, Ms. Smith


This past summer, Technology has received a handful of new items to engage young learners. All students at Hillcrest have been able to play with the new Sphero Robots along with utilizing the Osmo learning games involving words and letters, numbers, tangrams, and even interactive drawing. Kindergarten and 1st graders have also learned how to log into their iReady accounts independently on iPad's. There is always a lot of excitement and energy in Technology!

Katie Hopp, Technology Teacher

Hello Families,

November is a busy month here at Hillcrest and in the Health Office.  The Fluoride Rinse Program is going well in the first grade classes.  Each week participants do a one minute swish with a fluoride solution, with different flavors of fluoride each week.  Bubblegum flavor is a favorite so far! 

This past Tuesday the Community Health Center of Franklin County's Dental Hygienist visited to provide dental care to students participating in this program.  This program will be offered again in the Spring. Watch for the flyer that will go home with students.

Mandatory health screenings are well underway which include vision, hearing, height and weight. I enjoy getting to visit with each student as these screenings are completed.  If your child's screening indicates that a follow-up exam in needed you will receive a referral letter by mail from the school nurse.  The referral letter is to let you know that your child needs further evaluation by their primary care physician or specialist.  Early detection of vision and hearing difficulties is important for their physical, social-emotional and educational health and well-being.  Please have the referral letter completed by the doctor and returned to the school nurse as soon as possible.

As the weather turns colder, we can expect more cold and flu symptoms to appear.  Some of these symptoms are unavoidable but there are several things you can do  to help prevent illness and keep everyone feeling healthy. Here are some tips to remember:

  • WASH, WASH, WASH YOUR HANDS!!!  This is still the best defense against illness.  Encourage your children to wash, especially before meals, using soap and water. To ensure thay are taking enough time to adequately kill germs, have them sing the ABC song while scrubbing.
  • Get plenty of rest.  School age children should get 9-11 hours of sleep each night.  Grownups should get 8 hours.
  • Drink lots of fluids and eat a balanced diet - especially breakfast!  Many stomachaches and headaches in school are commonly due to hunger.
  • Dress appropriately for cold weather.  Please help your child choose warm, comfortable, appropriate clothing for school each day, including socks.  Make sure they are wearing a coat, hat and mittens.  Please provide snow pants and boots in snowy or messy weather.  Even in cool weather, they need the exercise and fresh air during recess.
  • According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one of the best ways to protect your child from the flu is with a flu vaccine.

Unfortunately, even with the best care, a virus can still make us sick. Cold symptoms are best relieved with rest and fluids and may last as long as 10 days.  If symptoms persist longer than this, or worsen, the child should see a physician.  Please keep in mind school guidelines when deciding if your child should come to school. Any child with the following symptoms should stay home: 

  • A fever 100 degrees or higher.  A child should not return to school until the temperature is normal for 24 hours without medication.  
  • vomiting or diarrhea-home for 24 hours after last episode
  • any rash accompanied by a fever
  • ear pain and/or eye drainage
  • sore throat with a fever and/or rash

Thank you for your help is keeping our school community healthy and safe. As always, feel free to contact the school nurse with any questions or concerns.

We are always in need of new or gently used chilldren's clothing including socks, shoes, boots and outerwear.  Please consider sending in any clothing items that your child may have outgrown.  Thank you.

Melissa Bednarski BSN, RN                                                                                                     Hillcrest Elementary School Nurse


The Counselor’s Corner

Most students in Kindergarten who participate in lunch groups and all students in First Grade will be introduced to a curriculum called The Zones of Regulation. “The Zones” help students to learn self-regulation by first being able to recognize how their bodies feel and what emotions they are having. Developing this self-awareness is the first step to learning to regulate oneself when big emotions are experienced. The Zones categorizes our feelings into four color zones. By the counseling office in the K/PreK hallway, you can see an interactive display of the Zones.

The following descriptions are from https://www.zonesofregulation.com/learn-more-about-the-zones.html


TheRed Zoneis used to describe extremely heightened states of alertness and intense emotions. A person may be elated or experiencing anger, rage, devastation, or terror when in the Red Zone.

TheYellow Zoneis also used to describe a heightened state of alertness and elevated emotions, however one has more control when they are in the Yellow Zone. A person may be experiencing stress, frustration, anxiety, excitement, silliness, the wiggles, or nervousness when in the Yellow Zone.

TheGreen Zoneis used to describe a calm state of alertness. A person may be described as happy, focused, content, or ready to learn when in the Green Zone. This is the zone where optimal learning occurs.

TheBlue Zoneis used to describe low states of alertness and down feelings such as when one feels sad, tired, sick, or bored.

The Zones can be compared to traffic signs. When given a green light or in the Green Zone, one is “good to go”. A yellow sign means be aware or take caution, which applies to the Yellow Zone. A red light or stop sign means stop, and when one is the Red Zone this often is the case. The Blue Zone can be compared to the rest area signs where one goes to rest or re-energize. All of the zones are natural to experience, but the framework focuses on teaching students how to recognize and manage their Zonebased on the environment and its demands and the people around them. For example, when playing on the playground or in an active/competitive game, students are often experiencing a heightened internal state such as silliness or excitement and are in the Yellow Zone, but it may not need to be managed. However, if the environment is changed to the library where there are different expectations than the playground, students may still be in the Yellow Zone but have to manage it differently so their behaviors meet the expectations of the library settings.

Halina Radosz, School Adjustment Counselor




Friends of Hillcrest News Corner


Save the Date


  • FoH Meeting in the Hillcrest Library – Thursday, December 19th from 5:00-6:00 PM
    • Free childcare will be provided upon request
  • Yankee Candle Fundraiser


If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact Friends of Hillcrest at friendsofhillcrest2015@gmail.com. You can also find us on Facebook! 


Have a Happy and Safe Thanksgiving Hillcrest families!