Return to Headlines

Avon Elementary Newsletter (January 2019)

News for January 2019

Notes from the Principal

Hello 2019 and Happy New Year to all! Avon Elementary started our year back to school with the PAWSitive Pride Reboot of our PAWSitive Pride expectation lessons in the areas of the classroom, hallway, cafeteria, bathroom, bus and playground.  We did this to reset our expectations and to get a great start to 2019! The lessons were designed and taught by our 5th grade students and they did a fabulous job! It is so fun to see our oldest students take leadership and the role model status they have in our building with such integrity.  You will see some photos of their teaching later in this newsletter.

As we enter a new year, our schools are also entering a transitional period in how we approach education to respond to the fast-paced technologically rich and global world we live in. In K-12 education, it is our responsibility to prepare our students for the future in which they will work and live as an adult. We don’t necessarily know what that will look like for our students, but we can certainly prepare them with skills that are adaptable and rich in learner-driven agency.

At Avon Elementary  we are beginning our movement from what was once a very traditional approach to one that is much more learner-centered and personalized. You will see evidence of this as you enter our classrooms and see students working on a variety of projects or activities at any given time. You may see students working in flexible areas, with flexible seating, unlike the classroom of only desks you would often see in the past. This approach creates a much more personalized learning experience and engaging environment for our students. Our teachers are spending much less time working with all students in a classroom on the same assignment, worksheet, etc. Students are working in small groups, pairs, and individually on their projects. Teachers on some of these projects are stepping back to facilitate and support students as needed in their research and passion driven exploration.  

This shift looks different, of course, at all grade levels, but it encourages all learners to personalize their learning and as a result become more engaged and empowered in the process. In this practice all learners in a grade level are working on the same grade level standards; it just might be accomplished in different ways by different students using various approaches or materials.  This creates an opportunity for all students to feel the challenge necessary for deeper learning. Our education system in the past has focused heavily on student compliance, and our shift lately has been one capitalizing on learner agency.  Learner agency gives our learners an authentic purpose for their work rather than passively completing the assigned work to get it done as we have done in the past. We also have stepped back to celebrate the process of learning much more in this scenario.  The end product of our school work of course is still important, but it is this learning process itself that will help our students in their future applications.  

In all cases and in all grade levels our Minnesota State Standards guide our work with students and the process of the learning they are engaged in. Along with this we are also heavily engaged in the foundational knowledge and skills we need to build in our elementary students to make it possible for students to take those skills and use them in their personalized learning process. This part of our teaching is more traditional and familiar to us. 

This is an exciting time in education, requiring hard work of both the teaching staff as facilitators and the students as they engage in and personalize their learning. We are confident that the result will be worth the effort as our students are using their tools, foundation skills, and available technologies to somewhat choose and direct some of their learning!  

As parents and families ask your child about their day at the dinner table, in the car, or as you reflect on your day together. Your children are excited about their work and will enjoy sharing their learning with you!

Have a wonderful month. I look forward to seeing and visiting with many of you at conferences, kindergarten registration, and in our school community.
Sue Jenkins
Avon Elementary Principal


This Month's News

Feature Article 
Coming back from our winter break, we have a lot of fun projects coming along in the art room.  Kindergarten is working on a process-art project that is geared toward experimenting with paint, fiber, and beads. First grade is starting to learn about sewing on burlap and the patience that comes with it.  Second grade started their found art sculpture project that could include materials such as wood, straws, tiles, packing peanuts, wire and other miscellaneous supplies Grades 3-5 are working on clay projects. Whether they are building with wet clay or have moved to the glazing process, adding bold vibrant color to their hand-crafted projects, the students are very excited to see their final product. 


The K-3 music classes are getting back into routine after working to prepare for the December program. Kindergarten students are listening and moving to "Carnival of the Animals" and experiencing the opposites of music (high/low,  fast/slow,  loud/soft).  First and second grades are working on repeating patterns within songs and playing lots of new games in class. Grades 2-5 recently attended a St. John's Boys' Choir Concert at the BEAT, which was a fabulous opportunity for students to experience different cultural music and the various ways to perform.  The 4th graders look forward to starting a recorder unit soon, while the 5th graders are just beginning to learn some basics on the guitar.  We look forward to putting together a spring program for Grades 4 and 5 in May. Keep listening and singing!
What is kindergarten registration?
At Albany Area Schools, kindergarten registration is a time when incoming kindergartners' parents come to our schools for an informational meeting. 

When is kindergarten registration?
At both Albany and Avon Elementary schools, registration will be held on January 29 at 5:00 p.m. Because it is an informational meeting, only parents are invited.

What is there to do before registration?
Informational packets are sent to all parents of children that will be 5 years old by September 1, 2019. The informational forms received should be completed prior to attending the informational meeting.  

If you have not received an informational packed by January 22, please call your school office at Albany Elementary - Mrs Noll 320-845-5200, Avon Elementary - Ms Brenda 320-845-5300

Every child should be pre-school screened before they enter kindergarten. If your child has not been screened, please call Julie Stich at 320-845-5369. She will set up screening for all district students.

What should we expect?
At 5:00 p.m. there will be an informational meeting about what to expect for your student in kindergarten. There will be opportunities to ask questions of transportation, health office and lunch expectations.

We look forward to meeting you at kindergarten registration.
Pawsitive Pride
Avon Elementary's 5th graders retaught our Pawsitive Pride expectations this week. They did an amazing job creating and preparing their lessons! #avonlearns #pbismn

Pawsitive Pride for Family


Student Council 

Avon Elementary Book Drive 
Avon Elementary Student Council will be sponsoring a new or gently used book drive. The details are listed below. Please consider donating books that will benefit our media center and classrooms.
  • January 22 - February 1
  • Collection boxes will be located in each pod area and in the lobby.
  • Please make sure the books are school appropriate and in good condition.
Student Council members Wyatt and Alexa are shown with some of the new indoor recess items that were purchased with their fundraiser money. Items include small cones, cup stacking, agility ladders, and small foam balls.
Digital Citizenship Community Connection:
Spotlight: Makerspace 

Our media center is continuing to provide a Makerspace opportunity for our students. Makerspaces allow students to explore, innovate, and tinker with materials to design, solve problems, and dream up inventions. Students will not need to sign up this year, as the Makerspace activities are being integrated into the school day. 
Our Makerspace has both tech and non-tech materials. Listed below are non-tech items that we need. If you have been cleaning your closets and find any of these items, and would be willing to donate them, that would be great! Thank you! 
Craft supplies 
Perler beads and grids
Parchment paper
Beads (all types)
Jewelry making supplies
An iron
Parachute cord and connector clips
Used sewing machine 
Sewing supplies
Paint (Tempera) 
Clay/Play Dough
Organization supplies
Clear plastic organizer boxes (with dividers, like a tackle box)
Clear plastic (15 qt.) totes w/lids 
Clear plastic “pencil boxes”
Ziploc freezer bags (all sizes)
General supplies
Chisel-tip markers (red, blue, green, black)
Duct tape (solid and patterns)
Tape (masking and scotch) 
Glue sticks and craft glue
Decorative scissors
Graph paper
Paper clips
Rubber bands 
Paper (plain, construction and tagboard) 
Stamps (rubber)
Stamp pads (any color)
Hole punches (any shape)
Building Supplies
Cardboard (corrugated)
Shoe boxes and cereal boxes
Pipe cleaners
Toilet paper/paper towel tubes 
Legos/building toys 
Keva Planks
Plus-Plus Plastic Bricks (in tubes)
String, rope, or twine 
Tools (small screwdrivers, needle-nose pliers, magnetic pick-up tool, mini flexible flashlight) used to disassemble items
Hot glue gun & glue sticks
Follett Book Fair: During Conferences on February 7, 11 and 12
Since we had lots of positive feedback about the quality and selection of the Follett Book Fair, we have decided to use Follett for the next book fair, which is during conferences. Follett does not offer a BOGO fair for the 2nd fair of the year, and therefore doesn’t have an option for any type of “deal” in their registers. So I am offering $5.00 off any purchase $10.00 or above (One offer per person). It will take an extra minute at checkout, but I am hoping that this offer will entice you to stop by and pick up some new books.
I Love to Read Month is coming! Watch for details coming soon in your child’s backpack! 

Pawsitive Pride Flag

Mrs. Meyer's class walks in with PAWSitive pride every day from afternoon recess without disturbing other classrooms. They walk with zero voices along the right side of the wall. They know how to show PAWSITIVE PRIDE. The students in this group are almost always following directions and are respectful, kind and helpful! Well done, kindergarten!

Science Fest

Six Albany and six Avon 5th grade students were chosen to represent District 745 at Science Fest 2019 on Thursday, January 10. It was a day to explore and learn about various areas of science and nature in hands-on learning sessions. Students were selected based on essays written about their knowledge of science of the past and science of the future. Congratulations to this incredible group of kids! 
Avon and Albany Elementary 5th grade students that attended Science Fest. 
Left picture: Teegan Crumely is pictured here in a session called "Water Pollution," where they learned how water is filtered and cleaned before it comes out of our kitchen sinks. 
Right picture: Olivia Dirkes and Gracie Bishir are pictured here in a session called "Snake, Rattle, and Roll." During this session students had the opportunity to get up close and personal with various reptiles. 
Left picture: Alexa Middendorf attended a session called "Milk: From Cow to You." Students learned about the science and how they make milk. After the session they even got to make their own ice cream. 
Middle picture: Ace Donabauer attended a session called "Bridge Up!" Students worked in teams to build a bridge as real engineers would. 
Right picture: Claire Lecy attended a session called "The Engineering Design Challenge." In teams, they created their own EDC machine, using every day materials. 

Bakken Museum War on Currents 

Thanks to Stearns Electric and Great River Energy for sponsoring the Bakken Museum War on Currents show at Avon Elementary. Great show! Lots of learning with much encouragement to explore and follow our learning interests!

Hundred Mile Club

Congratulations to the students who have reached 25, 50 and 75 miles!


News in Review

Traveling Huskie
I am passing the Huskie onto a very kind and patient person. If everyone were as kind and dedicated as she is, the world would be a much better place. She is so passionate about teaching young children and is a great influence on the students' growth and success. She is such an adaptable staff member as well, someone who is up for any challenge that comes her way. She is a blessing not only to preschoolers but to everyone that she comes into contact with. I am excited to pass the Huskie on to Jen Schwalbe!
Avon Elementary Yearbook Link
School District Plan to Survey Students 
2019 Minnesota Student Survey 
Our school district is asking students in grades 5, 8, 9 and 11 to participate in the 2019 Minnesota Student Survey (MSS). Federal law requires us to notify parents of this school activity. The MSS is conducted in schools across our state every three years. 

Questions on the survey are about many topics relating to young people’s lives. The survey asks about how well school is going, future plans, out-of-school activities, physical and mental health, relationships, substance use, and more. High school students are asked about sexual behavior. This useful information about their thoughts and behaviors helps communities and schools develop effective programs and provide better services. 

The Minnesota Student Survey (MSS) will be administered February 2-5, 2019.

If you have questions about the survey, please contact Amy Notch, Director of Teaching and Learning, at 320-845-5044 or email here at

You have the right to review a copy of the survey. For details on how to do this, please contact Amy Notch (see above for contact information).

This survey is anonymous. To prevent individuals or families from being identified, students do not provide their names, student identification numbers, or other personal information. 

This survey is voluntary. You may choose to have your child not take the survey by completing and returning the atttached form below. Students may also decline to take any part of the survey or the entire survey. They are informed of this option by staff. 

If you do not want your child to take the Minnesota Student Survey, please return this form to the school administrative assistant by Friday, January 25. Thank you!


January 18 - Early Release (Buses leave at 12:20 p.m.)
January 21 - No School (Martin Luther King Jr. Day)
January 22-February 1 - Book Drive
January 23 - School Board meeting (7:00 p.m. at secondary school building - board room)
January 29 - Kindergarten Registration (5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.)
February 6 - Grade 2 to Paramount (Little Mermaid 8:45 a.m. -11:45 a.m.)
February 7, 11 & 12 - Conferences (appointment details coming soon)
February 14-18 - No School (President's Day Break)
March 5 - BIZtown (grade 5)
March 7 - Preschool registration