Murch Faculty and Staff Priorities
- Academic excellence
- Celebration and recognition of the Murch community’s diversity
- The uniqueness of each child
- An authentic and differentiated approach to teaching
- Mutual kindness and respect
- On-going faculty training and development
- Open communications among all stakeholders
Important Back-to-School Dates (2015-16)
- School-Wide Open House/Meet & Greet: Friday, August 21st
- Pre-K Drop In (come during any one of these times): 12-1, 1:30-2:30 or 3:30-4:30
- Kdg through 2nd Grade Drop In: 12-1:30
- 3rd through 5th Grade Drop In: 1:30-3:00
- All Grades/Flexible Drop In (for Students Who Couldn’t Come Earlier or for families with multiple siblings, making 1 time easier): 3:30-5:00
- All Grades/Flexible Drop In with Resource Teachers, ELL and SpEd Drop In (you are invited to stop by these classrooms anytime to say hello): 12:00-5:00
- First Day of School (K—5th grade): Monday, August 24th
- Pre-K Conferences: Monday, August 24th—Tuesday, August 25th (sign up online once
you receive your class placement letter at):
- Pre-K First Day of School (if last name begins with A-K): Thursday, August 27th
- Pre-K First Day of School (if last name begins with L-Z): Friday, August 28th
- All Pre-K Students Attend Full Day: Monday, August 31st
- Curriculum Fair/Back-to-School Night: Thursday, September 3rd
- New Parent Breakfast: Friday, September 4th
- Labor Day (No School for Students): Monday, September 7
- International Night: Thursday, September 17th
- School Picture Day: Wednesday, September 30th
Please check the DCPS website (http://dcps.dc.gov) for district-wide calendars for 2015-16, as well as www.murchschool.org for additional 2015-16 calendar items.
Teaching and Support Teams
|Early Childhood Learning Team (Pre-K & Kindergarten)||Art Teacher|
|Primary Grades (Grades 1 & 2)||Geography Teacher|
|Intermediate Grades (Grades 3, 4 & 5)||Physical Education Teacher|
|Reading Intervention Teacher||School Counselor|
|Math Specialists||School Nurse|
|Science Specialist||School Social Worker|
|School Wide Enrichment Specialist||School Psychologist|
|English Language Learner (ELL) Teachers Speech &||Language Pathologist|
|Special Education Teachers||Occupational Specialist|
|Special Education Coordinator||Instructional Coach|
|Library/Media Specialist||Instructional Aides (Pre-K—5th)|
National Common Core Standards
DCPS has adopted the National Common Core Standards for kindergarten through grade 5. The National Common Core Standards will:
- Help ensure students are receiving a high-quality education consistently from school-to-school and state-to-state
- Provide a greater opportunity to share experiences and best practices within and across states.
Murch is committed to academic excellence. Teachers will be planning to incorporate rigor in lessons that supports the National Common Core Standards.
Within the Murch community, we understand that every child does not learn the same and because of this we ensure that differentiated instruction is a part of the planning process of every classroom. Teachers support the ability of students by creating guided reading groups (reading groups based of a student’s reading level), and flexible math groups (small groups that focus on the needs of kids based on a mathematical concept). In addition, instruction is planned with the needs of all students in mind. We continue to strive to have every teacher fully implement differentiation strategies in their classrooms in order to meet all students where they are at and provide appropriate instruction to ensure every student meets high standards of learning.
To enable optimal student learning, Murch follows the principles of Responsive Classroom throughout the school. Responsive Classroom is an approach to elementary teaching that emphasizes social, emotional, and academic growth in a strong and safe school community.
Responsive Classroom encourages students to see their school and classroom as a community of learners made up of unique individuals, each deserving respect. Key RC principles include:
- Social curriculum is as critical as academic curriculum.
- Children need social skills, such as cooperation, assertion, responsibility, empathy and self-control, to succeed academically and socially.
- Social interaction is where the greatest cognitive growth takes place.
- Families are key partners in children’s education.
Some of the specific RC practices are: Morning Meeting; Rule Creation; Positive Teacher Language; Logical consequences; Academic Choice; Working with Families; and Collaborative Problem Solving. Murch uses Responsive Classroom techniques across age groups — from Pre-K to 5th grade. The involvement of parents and guardians is vital for reinforcing the behaviors and activities that are modeled through RC.
From grades Pre-K through five, each student is required to master skills in reading (readiness), mathematics and other content areas. Student records are available for parents to see during conference times with teachers.
- Fountas and Pinnell Benchmark Assessment - One-on-one, comprehensive assessment to determine independent and instructional reading levels and for determining each child's instruction level for guided reading according to the Fountas & Pinnell A-Z Text Level Gradient™.
- Interim Assessments (PIA) - Benchmark assessments given at 6 week intervals in grades 2-5. The assessment covers targeted standards from each unit and shows what knowledge and skills students have mastered, and where instructional time and resources need to be focused. The fifth PIA, administered in June, assesses student mastery of the most essential skills as listed on the DCPS scope and sequence documents.
- The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PAARC) - Starting in school year 2014-15, students will no longer take the DC CAS and will instead take the PARCC test, which is a new annual test used to measure students’ progress in English Language Arts and Math. DCPS is switching to the PARCC tests because they will better measure students’ critical-thinking and problem-solving skills, which are essential for college and career success, while also matching to Common Core standards. PARCC will provide schools with vital information about students’ progress so that educators can both improve instruction and also provide student support where needed. PARCC will be administered online (computers).
- GOLD - A tool used to measure skills development in multiple areas of development for pre-k students.
**National Assessment Educational Progress (NAEP)-4th graders participate in the national assessment that measures DCPS progress in comparison to others in the nation in the areas of reading and math. This is administered in the spring in designated years. The assessment was last administered in February 2013.
Research provides strong evidence that, when used appropriately, homework benefits student achievement. Look for your child’s homework and encourage its completion. Students usually have homework related to the work that has already been covered in class. Parents should ensure that students have a specific time and quiet place to complete their homework since it is an important reinforcement. As a friendly reminder, please make sure that homework is completed independently by your child. To make sure that homework is appropriate, teachers should follow these guidelines:
- Assign purposeful homework. Legitimate purposes for homework include introducing new content, practicing a skill or process that students can do independently but not fluently, elaborating on information that has been addressed in class to deepen students' knowledge, and providing opportunities for students to explore topics of their own interest.
- Design homework to maximize the chances that students will complete it. For example, ensure that homework is at the appropriate level of difficulty. Students should be able to complete homework assignments independently with relatively high success rates, but they should still find the assignments challenging enough to be interesting.
- Involve parents in appropriate ways (for example, as a sounding board to help students summarize what they learned from the homework) without requiring parents to act as teachers or to police students' homework completion.
- Carefully monitor the amount of homework assigned so that it is appropriate to students' age levels and does not take too much time away from other home activities.
Homework for young children should help them develop good study habits, foster positive attitudes toward school, and communicate to students the idea that learning takes work at home as well as at school.
- For students in the earliest grades, it should foster positive attitudes, habits, and character traits; permit appropriate parent involvement; and reinforce learning of simple skills introduced in class.
- For students in upper elementary grades, it should play a more direct role in fostering improved school achievement.
The amount of homework assigned varies according to the grade levels of each child. The suggested maximum time limits for student homework and study are:
- Pre-k 10 minutes
- Kdg. 15 minutes
- 1st/2nd grades 30 minutes
- 3rd grade 35 minutes
- 4th/5th grades 45 minutes
Please reach out to your child’s teacher if you need specific information about homework or assignments.
Report cards will be issued approximately 1 week after the close of each advisory. The approximate report card dates are November 6, 2015, January 29, 2016, April 15, 2016 and June 23, 2016. Please make certain that you carefully review the report card and if necessary schedule an appointment with the classroom teacher for any concerns.
The report card is evidence of the student’s mastery of what is being taught. Because of the significance of the report card, Murch teachers are very meticulous in preparing grades. We use the following guideposts to determine report card grades.
- The ability of the student
- Overall record of school performance
- The academic achievements of the student
- The completion of assignments and projects.
To be promoted from one grade to the next, students must meet the guidelines of the District of Columbia Standards Based Curriculum. Parents will be notified at each benchmark about their child’s progress. There is no retention without parental notification and conferencing.