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The Arc- SJA's School Blog

Getting Healthy for the New Year

January 21, 2019
By SJA Power of the Pencil- Gracie S.

How are you doing on your New Year's resolution?  Did you know that if you share your resolution with others, you are more likely to achieve it?  Today SJA Power of the Pencil club member, Gracie, shares her thoughts.

Getting Healthy and More
Hello, I’m Gracie and I’m in the fifth grade. I have some New Year’s resolutions to share with you. Here is one of many, I want to eat healthier and get more exercise. I can pack a healthier lunch and eat a healthier breakfast. On top of that, I also want to ‘up’ my basketball game and practice shooting. I have practice two nights a week, but I want to practice more than that. So, I plan to practice at least ten minutes on the weekends or after I do my homework during the week. You can never practice too much.

I have a good feeling that I can achieve those resolutions. If I do I am going to feel really good that I did! Here are some more I would like to accomplish. I am not going to ask for so much and I need to be grateful for what I have. Also, I would like to read more books because reading is always better for you. There are so many more things I would love for to happen, but that’s a lot! Nobody’s perfect anyways. Or at least I’ve never met someone who was perfect. 

So far, in 2019 I have a book I want to read it is called The Outsider. My mom told me it was a great book so I wanted to read it. I heard the movie is amazing too. I am definitely going to watch it.  Well, I hope you liked hearing about some of my New Year’s Resolutions.

Learning French- My New Year's Resolution

January 13, 2019
By SJA Power of the Pencil- Meredith M.

How are you doing with your New Year's resolution?  Today SJA Power of the Pencil member, Meredith M. shares her goal.

Learning French- My New Year's Resolution
Did you know that New Year's resolutions were invented by the Babylonians? This tradition has been going on for thousands of years, from the Romans to the Medieval period. This year, I have decided to do a New Year's resolution. I have considered several options, but I finally decided on learning French.

The main reason I want to learn French is because of its popularity. Over 220 million speakers worldwide speak French. The language is spoken in Europe, Africa, North America, and South America. French is the sixth most spoken language in the world, (After Mandarin Chinese , English, Hindi, Spanish and Arabic.) Many believe French is popular because of the fact that it was spoken by most of the upper class in the 19th and early 20th century.

Another reason I want to learn French is because of how global the language is. French is the second most taught language in schools (after Spanish). In many high schools, French is an elective. There are eight French newspapers in the United States alone. In a country were a language is not the main language, that is pretty impressive.

French has also had an influence on modern culture. An example includes using French for your passport. You can also find up to twenty TV shows or movies that originated from French or include French content. Take the "Home Alone" scene, for example. The family goes to France, and at one point a French TV show can be heard.

That is my New Year's resolution and why I will attempt to achieve it. It is crazy how much a foreign language can impact your life.

Getting Organized - My New Year's Resolution

January 07, 2019
By SJA's Power of the Pencil - Reagan N.

What is your New Year's resolution.  Today, SJA Power of the Pencil Club Member, Reagan N. shares how she is getting herself and her room organized:

My New Year’s resolution is to keep my room clean and organized.  Today, I started cleaning out my closet.  It was very messy!  Nothing was folded. Instead, a mountain of clean clothes sat at the bottom. Art supplies were scattered everywhere, moving boxes from two years ago were still in the back, and my memories box was an unorganized mess.  

First, I started going through the pile on the floor, sorting the clothes in the right labeled baskets.  Then, I got rid of any clothes that I didn’t want or that were too small for me.  I put those in a pile to be donated or given to friends and family.  Next, I cleaned out my art supplies.  I found paint, brushes, pencils, pens, crayons, markers, colored pencils, paper, cardboard, and even clay.  I sorted it all and put it into a box to be used. The last thing I needed to do, was to organize my memory box.  I found pictures, drawings, and schoolwork that I made all the way back to preschool and kindergarten age.  That was my favorite part of cleaning my room.  I liked seeing all my drawings and the things that I made when I was a little girl.  I also threw away any garbage that I found or things that I had made that I really didn’t want to keep. 

When I finished sorting out everything, I was finally finished! I felt really surprised at how great it looked. Cleaning my closet took me three hours, but I was happy when it was all finished. I chose cleaning my room for my New Year’s resolution because it is challenging for me to keep things organized. My mom says it’s because I have an artist’s brain.  My goal for the future is to clean up after myself and to put things where they belong.  From doing this, I learned that everyone should stay organized because it is a lot easier to find the things that you need.  

MAP Reading Test Scores

November 14, 2018
By Mrs. Jennifer Guzman

Dear Parents,

Time flies when you are having fun…and learning! In mid-September, our Kindergarten through 8th grade students took the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) Assessment. This assessment measures individual academic growth and provides schools with grade level averages. The results offer valuable data on how SJA compares to the Toledo Diocese; all based on the fiftieth percentile national norm.

Students in grades 2-6, also took the STAR reading assessment at the beginning of 1st quarter. The STAR reading test provides data to help teachers determine Accelerated Reader (AR) reading ranges.  The STAR assessment is given at the beginning of each quarter to progress monitor students throughout the year.
I am pleased to share the fall MAP and STAR reading assessment results:

As you can see from the fall MAP and STAR reading assessment results, our students are doing well!  But we can always do better!!

During our recent professional development days, our team of teachers discussed ways to ensure the reading success of each student.  As educators, we believe in a cycle of continuous improvement which includes evaluation of current programs.  Currently, one of the biggest components to our reading program at SJA is the Accelerated Reader (AR) Program.  Through discussions we realized that, over the years, this program has slowly deviated from its original intention; to be used as a supplemental reading support. In essence, we have been focusing too much on the process of the program vs. the goal- improving the students’ reading skills. 

As the old saying goes…”practice makes perfect!”  The function of the AR program is beneficial for encouraging ongoing reading practice, supporting students at their individual reading level, and collecting data for teachers to plan their instruction. But in and of itself, it is not enough. So we have developed a strong plan to get us back on track to supporting our goal- improving the students’ reading skills.
Reading should be fun! So in “NEW”-vember, we are kicking off a new approach to independent reading...

  • In the upcoming weeks, you will notice is a difference in the way AR is recorded in RenWeb. Beginning with 2nd quarter, AR will be a separate category in RenWeb and on the student report cards; no longer directly impacting a student’s reading grade.  
  • Students’ will continue to receive individual goals for each quarter but will be encouraged to go above and beyond!
  • There will be more leniency with student book selection.  While it is a confidence builder for students to work strategically within their reading range, teachers will be less structured about the step-by-step process. Students (and parents) will be encouraged to focus on the bottom half of their reading range at the beginning of the quarter and the upper half of their reading range for the second half of the quarter. 
  • Initially students are encouraged to take an AR test on their book. However, if a student has chosen a book that is not in the AR system or has not successfully passed the AR (with a 70% or better), teachers will offer alternatives for reading credit. Some possible alternatives include, a written book summary, an oral book summary with the teacher, re-take of the AR test with 1:1 adult support, or (for grades 5 & 6) an alternative assessment through

In addition to individual classroom incentives, we are excited to share that students will have the opportunity to earn school-wide prizes and recognition for meeting and exceeding their goals! The first chance to earn a prize will be at the end of 2nd quarter.  All students who met and/or exceeded their goal will earn a collectible mystery prize and lanyard. Then, for the remainder of the year, they will have 2 opportunities per quarter to add to their mystery prize collection. The culminating event, at the end of May, will be a Rubber Ducky Reading Regatta!! Students will earn their duck for the regatta by successfully meeting their goals for the year. Think cute rubber duckies, squirt guns, sun, and fun! This will be an awesome time that the students won’t want to miss.

This is all part of a broader plan to continue improving upon:

  • Early development of phonics skills, phonemic awareness, and sight word fluency
  • Commitment to ensuring all students meet, and exceed, reading proficiency thresholds 
  •  And most importantly building a life-long love of reading!

We thank you for placing your trust in us as educators and for your on-going support! 



Recent Posts

1/21/19 - By SJA Power of the Pencil- Gracie S.
1/13/19 - By SJA Power of the Pencil- Meredith M.
1/7/19 - By SJA's Power of the Pencil - Reagan N.
11/14/18 - By Mrs. Jennifer Guzman
10/18/18 - By Priya C.