February News

Monthly News



• Meet our student teacher: Mr. Derrick Lietz. Mr. Lietz is finishing off his credentialing and Master’s program from Mount St. Mary’s. A requirement of these degrees is for him to complete 15 weeks of student teaching. He will be working in Orange Cluster until the first week of May. His responsibilities include taking over the day to day running of the class as well as working with individual students in order to complete his Master’s project. He has jumped right in, getting to know the class and supporting their growth! We are excited to have Mr. Lietz as a member of Orange Cluster!


On Tuesday, February 25th, we will have our annual Open School Day. On this day, parents lead small groups of kids (all day) in a meaningful activity that celebrates a cultural or family tradition. The focus of the day is to celebrate the diverse histories, cultures, and families of the Open School. In the past, activities such as making latkes, Kwanzaa puppets, pasta making, and learning about the tradition of Japanese tea have been done. Any activity that is a special tradition in your family, celebrates your culture, or is otherwise meaningful to you is an excellent option! If you are interested and willing to help us out on this day, please let us know ASAP.

We will also have a huge multicultural feast on this day and we ask that ALL families contribute a savory dish (no dessert please) and come celebrate! You might start thinking about a favorite family dish to share. We will also need some help setting up and cleaning up the feast. Each year all the families send in the most amazing food and it is a great treat for everyone. Having this organized by some parents would make a big difference. This would include reheating some items, laying out the food, serving the students, and most importantly, cleaning up. Please let us know if you can help out. Preparation for the feast starts around 11am. Thanks in advance for your support (and yummy food donation)!


If your child would like to bring in Valentine’s cards for their classmates, please send them in on the morning of the 14th. They do not need to bring in cards, but if they choose to do so, they should have one for each child (48). They are actually easier to deliver if they are NOT labeled with kids’ names as they can just go down the row & put them in the bags, but that’s up to you! We’ll pass them out the morning of Friday, February 14th.


We’re running low on baby wipes to clean the students’ hands before they get on the computers (Regular baby wipes please, NOT the Lysol ones, we have plenty of those for the tables). We would also love some Kleenex.

• SITE COMMITTEE NEEDS HELP – Here is a message from a former Orange parent:

“Hello Orange Families,

My name is Anne-Marie I am co-chair of the site committee and former Orange parent (3 years with 2 kids in it). Site committee is looking for someone or a few people to do a bit of gardening/weeding/mulching in front of Orange. A few years ago we redid the area in front of Orange, but like all things, it now needs some maintenance. Specifically, pulling out the new lilies that have popped up since the winter rains and some new mulch where there is mud.

As site committee chairs we are trying to build a community/cluster based approach so areas we have worked on don't get neglected as current site committee members age out of Open. If you are interested in working on any aspect of this project, please let me know and we will find a way to guide and support you. All materials needed are already on site and we can help with access if it's needed during a non-school hour.

Also, Christina Nairn is your current "Green Team" Representative who has been doing watering as needed. Thank you Christine! Just to put it out there, we will need someone else to do it next year if you are interested and end up looping. We have irrigation but it's not always reliable so it is mostly about checking and watering every once in a while. It's not a big time commitment and especially convenient if you drop off and walk in. You do not need to cover holidays and breaks. Thank you!“

Upcoming Dates to Remember:

Thurs., Feb. 6th                        Read-a-thon-Kickoff  (3 weeks)

Thurs., Feb. 13th                      Governing Board at 5:30, Friends at 7:00

Friday, Feb. 14th                      Valentine’s Day

Mon., Feb. 17th                        No School - President’s Day

Tues., Feb. 25th                       Open School Day



In math, we are wrapping up our Ages and Timelines – Subtraction on the Open Number Line unit. The class studied their family and when different members were born. They used this information to find the differences in people’s ages. It was a real world application on subtraction and the class was able to develop easy subtraction strategies. Many of the students are comfortable now subtracting larger numbers mentally in their head and they do not need to regroup. The unit was also a nice connection to learning about their family which supported them finishing their family tradition stories and interviewing their ancestors!

The class has finished typing their tradition stories and is working on turning them into books. They will illustrate the pages and then we’ll spiral bound them. They have also started their work on comparing their life to an ancestor’s life. Their interview notes are due Thursday, February 6th. With the information they received, each student will write two paragraphs on how their life is similar to and different from their ancestors.

In Reader’s Workshop, we’ve just begun our character unit. First, the students are noticing how a character talks and acts. The class observes the things the characters do and say in order to learn a little bit about who they are. Next, they’ll use their observations to infer something about the character. They’ll come up with a more precise understanding of the character and ground their ideas in the details of the story. Afterwards, we’ll follow a character’s journey across a story and ultimately, compare and contrast characters across books.

After the winter break, we wrapped up our Roots of Respect unit on empathy. We have now jumped into integrity. The class has watched a few videos on integrity and brainstormed how they can show integrity at school. Next, they will create short public service announcements that demonstrate integrity. These videos will be available to watch at Open House.

We’ve started our second social studies unit. In their culture groups (the same ones from the fall), the students have selected various role models to research. They are busy reading about him/her and taking notes. They are paying close attention to biographical facts, accomplishments, and why he/she is a role model. We talked about being famous vs. being a role model and that you can be famous without being a role model. The kids will put their hard work into a multi-media presentation that will be on display at the museum in May.

Expiration Date: 
Jul 31