Principal September News

Dear Fall River Families,

Welcome back for the 2018-19 school year!

We are pleased to welcome new staff members to our school community, as well as a few changes within the building. Ms. Buchtel has moved from teaching 4th and 5th grade to being one of our homeroom 5th grade teachers.  Ms. Wiley has moved to our 4th grade team. Ms. Whisman will be teaching 2nd grade and 3rd grade to help us reduce class sizes; Mr. Wakeman will do the same for grades 4 and 5.  Ms. Waters has moved back to our 1st grade team. We have added some support to our special education team, including Ms. Howard (half-time special education teacher) and Ms. Stacie, Ms. Sara, and Ms. Lori (paras).  Ms. Parkinson is our new media tech (librarian), Ms. Amanda is our new kitchen lead, and Ms. Shaya is our new literacy para. Ms. Liz and Mr. Jonny (previous Fall River student!) have joined our kitchen team. We are still in the process of hiring our STEM Coordinator and Preschool teacher; Ms. Erin is doing a fantastic job as our long-term preschool substitute teacher while we wrap up our search process.  It is always exciting for a school to welcome new faces and the new ideas that come along with them; please welcome them the next time you’re here!

Let’s celebrate our students’ state test scores!  There is a lot to cheer, but here are a few highlights:  2nd highest 3rd grade ELA score in district, 3rd highest 5th grade math score in district, and excellent growth in math scores overall. We also increased our overall School Performance Rating Score, and Exceeded Expectations in all Achievement areas.  We will analyze results as a staff, and use the info to plan accordingly; in the meantime, will be using school and district assessments to make sure your kiddos are learning and growing.  Students in grades 1st-5th  will be taking iReady online tests for reading three times per year, as well as our usual grade level common assessments. We will share student data from these assessments at parent teacher conferences so you can partner with us to meet student needs.  As usual, we will continue to look at how we can improve student behavior, responsibility, and academic achievement for your kiddo, and the whole school community!

Our school Accountability Team, made up of parents, teachers, and community volunteers, also participates in setting our school-wide goals.  We meet approximately five times per year to review how our school is doing, and give parents a chance to share ideas on how we can do even better.  We have 1-2 open spots on our team this year: if you are interested in serving on our Accountability Team, please see the info that went out in a separate email.  Thanks to our outgoing members for their service!

Thank you again for walking (or biking) to school. We hope to have many lovely days before the weather turns cold, and the benefits are not only for less traffic, but for better health!  Remember, for student and animal safety and health, if you are walking a dog along with your kiddos, please do not bring your dog onto school property.  Thank you for helping to keep our little ones feeling safe.  It is also important to follow our traffic rules for our students’ safety.  Please see info later in the newsletter about traffic safety.

The staff at Fall River believes that the job of America’s schools is to develop the full educational potential of each and every child that attends them, including supporting students in becoming responsible decision makers. Our focus as a staff this year is Fall River…Make Today Matter!  We are continuing to learn and use Love and Logic Techniques, and we encourage you to check out the parent section in our library, or visit with our school counselor for tips.  We will also continue using our ROCKS behavior expectations to teach students in making good choices.  We will continue using Kelso’s Choices to help students learn how to solve their own problems. We will also use Fox ROCKS to recognize good choices, and have weekly drawings, monthly assemblies on Late Starts, and Fox Parties to celebrate student successes in this area.  Both the ROCKS behavior matrix and Kelso’s Choices are in your student’s handbook for your reference.  Keep your eyes peeled for “foxes,” “paws,” assemblies, and other fun ways to celebrate how great our kiddos are!  

Lastly, Parent Teacher Conferences are not far away; please see the section later in this newsletter for details about a few things we do to help effectively use the short time we have with you during Parent Teacher Conference times.  

Thank you in advance for your support in delivering excellence in education to all of our students.  If you have questions about our school or our school district, please do not hesitate to contact me at



Dr. Guthals, Principal, Fall River Elementary