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Welcome Back from Principal Cadotte
Monday, August 20, 2012 11:55 AM

Dear Families,

The staff and I are very excited to begin the new school year. I hope you are planning to join us for our “Meet Your Teacher” Open House on August 23 from 4 to 5 pm. You will have a chance to meet your teacher and connect with old and new friends. We have had some work done; I hope you will get a chance to admire our new floors in the Kindergarten and Minneapolis Kids wings, the lunchroom, and the auditorium.

Burroughs is ‘Green,’ and here are some important ways you can help with home lunches…

  • Buy juice pouches (like Capri Sun) rather than juice boxes; pouches can be reused for tote bags. Juice boxes must go in the trash because of the foil liners.
  • Please try to send food to school in containers that can be reused like Tupperware or Rubbermaid.
  • Reusable sandwich wraps and wax paper, which is compostable, are great for sandwiches. 
  • A great way to send warm or cold food is in a Thermos. 
  • Please buy drinkable yogurt; the containers can be recycled.
  • Please write your child’s name on his or her lunchbox. If not, volunteers will do it for you at the beginning of the year.

If you have any time, please volunteer in the lunchroom as a part of our ‘Green Team.’ This is not the most glamorous way to help, but it is vital to all of our children’s futures. Sign up here for a shift. 

I get this question every year: “Why can’t recess and lunch be longer?” It is partly due to teacher contracts, and partly due to the fact that lunchroom capacity is limited. 

If we expanded lunch by five extra minutes, it would increase the entire process by about 90 minutes. Lunch now starts at 11:40 am and ends at 1:10 pm. An additional 90 minutes would mean lunch would start 10:55 am and end at 1:55 pm. The result would be that some students would be eating about an hour and a half after breakfast, and some would go home about an hour and a half after lunch. It also means that recess would only be 10 minutes. Students are allowed to have a mid-morning snack if they have one of the later lunch periods. A reminder that snacks at school cannot be sugary and must be nut free. Fruit is always a good choice.

As it is now, first-grade teachers have the option of coming in five minutes early, giving the students twenty minutes to eat. Second- and third-graders are more confined to the 15 minute period, although, they have the option of going to the ‘I’m Not Done Yet Table.’ Fourth- and fifth-graders have the option of staying in the lunchroom five extra minutes if they choose (many do).

With 690 students needing to eat lunch, we, as educators, look for the balance. The students are monitored and reminded to eat by the lunchroom staff. Students are always excited to get to recess and, at the same time, want to be social during lunch. The balance for students is to talk with friends while still focusing on eating. As a reminder, in today’s classrooms, students are moving about and have ample opportunity to interact. 

After much research of other schools, the policy of 15 minutes for lunch and 15 minutes for recess was voted on and passed by Site Council in 2005. 

What you will find new at Burroughs this year…

What is Second Step? Second Step is a researched-based, developmentally appropriate and comprehensive social-skills curriculum for PreK to 8th Grade. It is the highest-rated social-skills curriculum, receiving the 5-star rating from the US Department of Education. It has been implemented in schools around the world for more than 20 years. The lessons are taught one per week to all students in each class by the classroom teachers. The new Ramsey Middle School will also be implementing Second Step, along with many other Minneapolis Schools. This will be a great approach to having common language and social expectations for K-8. Our goal is to create a kinder, gentler, and more respectful community.

‘Playworks’…What is it? Everyone agrees that kids need time to play and expend energy during the school day. However, recess can sometimes be the flash point for playground disagreements, meanness, and occasional bullying. Since school provides recess time each day, this can be a great opportunity to not only get kids active, but also teach a number of valuable social skills such as cooperation, conflict resolution, and teamwork. 

Our goal is to enhance the Physical Education program here at Burroughs and provide students time to engage in team activities during recess. ‘Playworks’ is a series of activity stations through which students can rotate. It is simply a way for us to share effective practices that enhance learning by providing inclusive opportunities for physical activity and play. Students will, of course, still have the opportunity for free time for the playground equipment or to walk around and chat with friends; no one will be forced to take part. It is my belief that students will be intrigued by the activities and want to participate. I also believe this will answer the call from many students who say…“Mr. Cadotte, there isn’t much to do at recess.” 

Thanks and I’ll see you soon,

Mr. Cadotte