Principal’s Message

 

Hello, OES Families!

Our staff at Oskaloosa Elementary have continued implementing our four areas of focus throughout the 2022-23 school year. This month, I am excited to share some of our building’s recent highlights!

To increase student learning and readiness (Focus Area #1), we have now appointed our 4th and 5th Grade Student Council members. Students are voted as members by their classmates for being kind, helpful, responsible, respectful, and reliable. The OES Student Council meets once or twice per month with Mrs. Haley VanDerPol. Students are in the process of determining projects they want to accomplish this year, such as reading to kindergarten students, joining kinderprep students at recess, and more!

We are also increasing student learning and readiness with WIN (What I Need) Time at OES! During this time, students are dispersed amongst their grade level, based on each student’s specific needs, to receive instruction in various skill areas. These areas could include fluency, phonics, coding, novel studies, specially designed instruction, talented and gifted, math facts fluency, or any other necessary instruction related to their grade-level standards. Teachers frequently review student data and regroup students as needed. 

Students engaging in What I Need (WIN) Time at OES: reading, working on computers and tablets, raising their hands
 

Teachers also engage students through Wit & Wisdom Socratic Seminars. Mrs. Edwards’ 5th grade students recently had their first W&W Socratic Seminar to share their learning around the roles that storytelling played in the Nez Perce culture. Nez Perce stories were passed down through generations and helped teach students about various aspects of Nez Perce culture (such as their people's history, homeland, survival, and behavior). 

Students enjoyed seminar snacks to celebrate their learning. These included goldfish crackers (because fish were a primary food source for the Nez Perce), dried blueberries and cranberries (because the Nez Perce dried 36 different kinds of fruit to eat throughout the winters), and mint leaves and hot tea (because the Nez Perce would use twigs of berries or mint leaves to flavor hot water and make tea). Together, students were able to build their understanding and knowledge on their studies.

To create a culture that is safe, welcoming, and inclusive for learning and working (Focus Area #2), we continue to award our PBIS Students of the Month. This award is presented to students who follow our PBIS expectations of being respectful, responsible, safe, and caring. Students are selected by their classroom teacher for being eager to learn, putting forward their best effort, demonstrating great character, having a positive attitude, and showing consideration for others. 
Students awarded with PBIS Student of the Month Awards stand in front of a wall and smile

We have also continued to provide a weekly reward for students who model positive behavior, called Dining at the Ritz! Each week, several OES students are invited to dine with a “celebrity” guest or guests. Some of our recent guests have included the Mahaska Drug dinosaurs and the OHS Cross Country team. 

Students pose with Dinosaurs from Mahaska Drug

Additionally, OES has been working on promoting staff, family, and community engagement and support this year (Focus Area #3). We are happy to report that we had 95% of K-5 families attend our Fall Parent/Teacher Conferences!

  • KP/KG → 96% attendance
  • 1st → 96% attendance 
  • 2nd → 95% attendance
  • 3rd → 94% attendance 
  • 4th → 93% attendance 
  • 5th → 98% attendance

Thank you to all parents and guardians who attended conferences. Your presence is always welcome and appreciated!

Recently, we have seen considerable engagement from Rotary Club Members. The Oskaloosa Rotary Club has begun sending volunteers to our classrooms to read to students each week. We greatly appreciate the volunteers for donating their time to read to our classrooms!

Rotary club member reading to studentsRotary Club member reading to students

To also promote family engagement, we recently held our Family Math & Reading Night and had a great turnout, despite the rainy evening. A total of 265 OES students attended, and they received a grade-level appropriate book and a coupon for a free kids meal at Taco Johns. Thank you to Edward Jones and Taco John’s for making the event possible!

Teachers and students smiling at Math and Reading Night

Our Parents as Partners project, via social media, has included sharing information with families about how to strengthen home-to-school connections. The first social media post focused on promoting close reading. Our Wit & Wisdom curriculum advises that learning to ask questions about a text is an important skill for lifelong learning. The routine of spending time wondering about a text and noticing the details encourages students to read with their full attention.

Parents as Partners: Notice and Wonder Strategy from Wit & Wisdom
 

We also look to manage resources effectively and improve our facilities (Focus Area #4). October was a busy month for drills at OES, as we practiced the evacuation, shelter, and hold drills. Students and staff have done a great job reviewing our procedures and putting them to practice!

OCSD also conducted a bus driver-call back drill in collaboration with Mahaska Emergency Management and other local partners. The goal was to assess the speed at which our bus fleet would arrive at our schools to transport students and staff to a safe location, in case of emergency. Students and staff did not participate in the drill.

Bus Call-Back Drill at OES (buses pictured, bus driver)

The information gathered from this drill will allow the district to create and improve its emergency plans and enhance student safety. Oskaloosa’s small-town, southeastern Iowa values were clearly demonstrated in our drivers’ ability to respond quickly and ensure student safety. Thank you to the transportation staff and everyone involved who made this drill a success! 

We simply cannot wait to see what the rest of the 2022-23 school year holds! As always, we appreciate your continued support and involvement at OES.

 

With Osky Pride, 

Alana Hutchinson, Principal 

Oskaloosa Elementary

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

OES address: 

1801 Orchard Avenue, Oskaloosa, IA 52577.           Phone:  641-673-8092

How do I find out bussing information? 

Call OCSD Transportation, 641-672-0128. They can tell you if your child qualifies to ride a bus and can give you pick up and drop off times and locations.

How will I get information from OES?

OES shares information in the following ways depending on the nature of the information being shared.  

Email/Text - Important updates regarding student safety, schedule changes, etc. are sent through email using the address you provided while registering.  It is important you keep this email address current within your Infinite Campus parent portal to ensure access to important updates.  

District App, Website and Facebook -OES events are published on the calendar on our website and the district app to share upcoming events.  You can sign up in the app to receive notifications of upcoming events.  Our daily announcements are also published for you here.  General news stories and photos of interesting things happening at OES are published on Facebook, the district website and the district app.  Community organizations with approval, can share their events, programs and information.  This information is shared with families on these three sites.

How do I turn in required paperwork to the school?

(ie immunizations, vision checks, physicals, etc.) - There is a place to upload on the district website (LINK), send them via email if scanned in, drop them off at the school office, or you can bring them with you to Kindergarten Parent Orientation or Back to School/Meet the Teacher Night.  There will be staff who can accept these at that time.

What are the drop off & pick up times and procedures?

MORNING DROP OFF BEGINS AT 7:50 A.M.– Students are welcome at OES beginning at 7:50 a.m. (no sooner).  This is when supervision begins outside and school doors are unlocked for students to enter.  All students are to enter the school building through their designated door (see below).  Parents are expected to say their goodbyes at their car or the front door of the school, unless entering the school to conduct school business. When coming into the building to conduct business it is necessary to stop at the office and check in through our Lobby Guard system (you will need your ID) if business is taking you beyond the school office.

ENTRY DOORS - Kgn-2nd = Enter through the K/1 Recess door (until 8:10 bell) / 3rd-5th = Enter through the Main Entrance

Car Drop Off – Entry to the OES drop off/parking loops has been revised over the summer. Each loop now has its own entry/exit point.  Parents using the east loop (closest to main entrance) should enter from the EAST and exit to the EAST.  Parents using the far loop should enter from the roundabout and exit back to the roundabout.  If everyone follows these procedures, traffic should flow more continuously than in the past.  Pull all the way forward and all the way over to the curb before stopping and allowing your child to exit the vehicle.  NO DROP OFF IS TO OCCUR FROM THE LEFT LANE for safety reasons. If you wish to help your child exit the car, please utilize a parking space and not the drop off lane.  This allows other traffic to move freely.   Please use the painted crosswalk areas when walking your child up to the building. This models safe habits for our students and reduces the risks of accidents.

Bus Drop Off – Students will be dropped off on the east side of the building and supervised as they enter the building. 

AFTERNOON PICKUP – Bus students dismiss at 3:10 (2:10 on Wednesdays) and Driveline begins at 3:12 (2:12 on Wednesdays)

Car Pick Up – All students are dismissed from the classroom when their names show up in the classroom Driveline application.  Students travel to the appropriate color lane and enter their car.  Once most cars in the front are loaded, those cars are released and the next wave enters the loop.  On a typical day Driveline is complete by 3:25 p.m.  Parents picking up at dismissal must utilize the Driveline system.

Bus Pick Up – Students are dismissed from classrooms by grade levels to board the buses. Kindergarteners and 1st graders are walked out to the buses to ensure our youngest students are safely on the correct bus. Older students (2nd-5th) are then dismissed to board the buses.

Walkers & Bicycle Riders - These students are dismissed with the first wave of Driveline students and are to head straight home once they leave the school.

What time will breakfast be served?

All students will be given the opportunity to eat breakfast every day beginning at 7:50.  

What is the price for school breakfast and lunch at OES?

Student breakfast will be $2.00, and student lunch will be $2.85. Extra milk or milk to go with cold lunch will be $0.50. Adult breakfast will be $2.50, and adult lunch will be $4.13.

Where can I find answers to questions I have that haven’t been answered here?  

The Elementary School Parent Student Handbook is electronic and can be found here on the District website.   Also, feel free to contact the elementary school office at 641-673-8092 and staff will be happy to help answer your questions.