From the Principal

Dear Steele Families,

Welcome to the 2018-2019 school year! I am thrilled to begin my second year as your principal. Last year, I learned one of the most impressive attributes of Steele Elementary is the depth of your commitment and dedication to our school. Our parent-staff partnership is a model for what the home-school connection should be. On behalf of our whole staff, we are looking forward to another fantastic year working in collaboration with you to provide the best environment for our students to learn and grow.

Here are just some of our highlights from the 2017-2018 school year:

  • We started last year with a Total Eclipse! What an amazing first day of school!
  • Steele staff and students reinvested in understanding and living our Steele Code at school, at home, and in the community.
  • In December, we introduced our monthly all school Community Circle with drumming, singing, chanting and celebrating student leaders who consistently lived the Steele Code and also helped encourage others to live the Steele Code.
  • We initiated our Student Safety Patrol to ease the congestion in the Kiss and Drop lane.
  • Steele students continued to perform well on standardized assessments, such as iStation and CMAS. This fall, when results have been finalized, we will share 2017-2018 CMAS / PARCC assessment results.
  • Early Literacy Performance for students in grades K-3 continues to be very strong.
    • 93% of students in grades K-3 ended the 2017-18 school year at or above grade level
  • We celebrated two retirements:
    • We are grateful to Mr. Sodano for guiding our Steele 4th graders in constructing and launching rockets, bringing the thrill of science to life before retiring in June.
    • We thank Mrs. Ungar for unleashing our students’ artistic talents throughout the year and showcasing their art at the annual Steele Art Show before retiring in June.
  • Coach Welch sponsored our first Students vs. Staff Capture the Football game. Our plan is for this to be an annual event, so keep your eye on the Teacher Experience Auction items for our PTA Fall Fundraiser!

What’s the best way to get connected at Steele?

We have the BEST PTA ever!
We would not be able to do our best for our students and school without the dedication and investment of our PTA and parents. I encourage you to join our Parent Teacher Association! Our PTA continues to amaze us with their fundraising efforts which provide such an incredible support for our staff and students. The PTA helps to fund things such as:

  • Second Educators in our classrooms
  • Financial support for technology upgrades, curriculum resources, and staff professional development
  • Funding for supplies, materials and equipment for our Specials teachers
  • A new cover for our greenhouse
  • Grant funding to grade level teachers and individual classrooms who seek additional funding for special projects and classroom resources, for example, technology resources, all the Rocketry materials for 4th grade, headphones for students,
  • And much, much more!

In June, our classroom teachers, including our newly hired staff, dedicated four days to planning for this school year. During these planning days, our Instructional Leadership Team of Natalie Pyle, Marissa Sarkesian, Betsy Maletz and I were able to get a glimpse of how awesome our teacher teams are going to be this year! It was impressive to see the quality of work teachers did on behalf of our students and school. I cannot wait to see their planning come to life in each classroom!

Our plan for improvement includes two major focuses for the 2018-2019 school year. Our first major focus is to continue to strengthen our school culture through the implementation of our Steele Code which we believe will positively impact the social, emotional and academic growth of our students. We are eager to deepen our work with our Steele Code.

Our second major focus is to increase individual student growth from year to year. We have developed new support structures to help classroom teachers challenge all students with rigorous learning opportunities which we are confident will result in increased student academic growth. We look forward to sharing more with you as we move through this school year.

Our improvement efforts include, but are not limited to:

  • providing students with rigorous and meaningful learning opportunities that lead to increased achievement overall and individually. Our targeted professional development will support this effort.
  • implementing an effective Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) structure designed to support teachers in meeting the unique needs of our learners.
  • strengthening our School to Home two-way communication

Please join us in welcoming our amazing new staff:

  • Stephanie Krizek- Kindergarten
  • Cortney Finkler- First Grade
  • Kelly Hensley (Pearson)- First Grade (Kelly got married over the summer! Hensley is her new last name!)
  • Abbie Capwell- Second Grade
  • Julia Talen- Special Education – part time at Steele
  • Liz Leeper- School Psychologist

We also had a few internal staffing changes.

  • Betsy Maletz is the Senior Team Lead / Intervention Teacher for our Kindergarten and First Grade. Sarah Rauser is staying in First Grade, as opposed to looping down to kindergarten. She is the teacher for the students Mrs. Maletz had in Kindergarten.
  • Emily Joy Walker is our Art Teacher. Kelly Hensley is taking her place in First Grade.
  • Erin Royer is transitioning from 4/5 Intervention Teacher to 4/5 classroom teacher.

Finally, don’t forget that all students must be registered! The Annual Family Update is a new online process that ends August 6. This is the easiest way to register. More information to come this week on registration options.

Thank you for your ongoing support and partnership. Serving as your principal is a tremendous honor. We could not accomplish all that we do without your support. I hope you enjoy your last couple of weeks of summer!
See you soon!