Mind UP

    MindUP™ is the new Social Emotional Learning Curriculum that we
are introducing at Mountain View Elementary this year. MindUP™ is a
Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning or (CASEL) select
program, and as such has extensive research to back its effectiveness.
The first half of the MindUP™ Curriculum focusses on helping
students understand the parts of the brain and deepen their understanding
of their own mental processes. Kids are fascinated by the fact that their
brain is made up of different parts with different functions. As they begin to
understand more about the processes of, feeling, thinking and learning, the
groundwork is laid for them to monitor and regulate their behavior, calm
themselves in the face of anxiety, focus their attention, and take control
of their learning.
Two core practices of MindUp™ are Focused Awareness and Mindfulness.

    Focused awareness is simply the practice of pausing, listening, and
focusing on your breathing. As students become proficient at this practice,
they learn to quiet their brain and get ready to learn. This practice also
reinforces the habit of responding to anxiety by focusing on breathing.
Mindfulness is about attending to the here and now in a
considerate, non-judgmental way. The MindUP™ curriculum has multiple
sensory awareness lessons that help students learn and practice focusing
their attention on the task-at-hand and filtering out unnecessary stimuli.
The second half of the MindUP™ curriculum is dedicated to helping
students develop a positive mindset and includes lessons on perspective
taking, choosing optimism, and appreciating happy experiences. The final
lessons focus on gratitude and kindness.
Find out more about MindUP™, and how it can benefit your
students at school and at home by coming to our MindUP™ parent
night on February 26th. There will be a presenter from the MindUP™
team. More details will be coming soon.

Mountain View Elementary Presents to School Board

Every three years KPBSD schools get to make a
presentation to the School Board. Last week Mountain View
Elementary made our presentation to the board.
We focused on the School Board adding “social and
emotional well-being” to its school culture goal this year. This
addition recognizes the fact that even with physically and
emotionally safe buildings, we still need to help students acquire
the social and emotional capacities to function at their peak and
take full advantage of the exceptional personalized learning
opportunities our teachers make available to them.
We feel the Board adding this goal validates our long-term
work in this important area. In fact, it is the purpose behind one of
our School Development Plan Goals this year. Our Personalized
Learning goal for this year encompasses student reflection and
ownership. We realize that successful, high-level student
reflection and ownership can only be achieved when a student
has the social and emotional skills to do so.
Our presentation highlighted two of our schools successful
ongoing positive school climate programs: kindness counts, and
positive responses to conflict, and then went on to describe Mind
Up, the new to the district, social emotional learning curriculum
we are implementing.
Students played a key role in our presentation. They
described in depth the components of our Positive Responses to
Conflict Program and drove home our Kindness Counts culture
with an amazing dance routine to the music of Kindness is a
Muscle choreographed by kindergarten teacher Cindy Thomas.
The video of our presentation to the School Board can be
found on the Mountain View Elementary Facebook Page.

Brown Bears in the Neighborhood

Throughout late Fall, local news sources have confirmed that we are
experiencing brown bear sightings later than usual. Bears have been
observed near the buses, on the playground, and even in the classrooms!
Players from Kenai’s very own Brown Bear hockey team are actively
volunteering in a variety of settings throughout Mountain View.
As an active part of our community, the Bears have a specific focus on
advancing learning and building connections with our students. They are
working diligently with our teachers and administrators to ensure that they are
supporting instruction where they can. The players are engaged with our
students on the playground in a “controlled fun atmosphere.” The most
popular activities include running around the playground, four square,
basketball, and hanging on the bars together. They are also seen during
lunch, in multiple classrooms teaching reading groups, working on persuasive
writing pieces, helping students sharpen their math skills, painting with Pre-K,
and learning about the brain with 3rd and 4th graders! Who knew that a four
square game at recess would involve conversations about geography and
how amazing our brain is? Notable quotes from students have included,
“Don’t let your amygdala take control! Your prefrontal cortex is in charge!” and
“If you’re from Canada, isn’t that the same as California?”
We would like to thank the Kenai River Brown Bears for spending time
within our school community. Go Bears! Aside from working in our building,
there are opportunities to see them out on the ice for the next several weeks:
November 14
Youth Night/Fill the Net-Everyone 12 and under get in free,
Adults get a $5 ticket with food shelf donation
November 21
Student ID Night- Get in free with your Student ID
December 6
Elementary Night- Elementary Students get in for free!
December 7
$1.00 ticket night!

Every Day (Hour) Counts

         Mountain View Teachers strive to meet the diverse
learning needs of our students. Students do not all learn at the
same pace for each new skill taught and our teachers work hard
to help each student maintain pace with the grade level
curriculum. Some students may need additional teaching while
others may move forward quickly. This varies from student to
student on each concept taught. Our teachers do an amazing job
juggling all these variables.
When students who were absent because they were sick
return to school, teachers have to adjust their day to help that
student catch up. That is part of the job and teachers accept
that as reality. However, when the number of absences are too
great the system breaks down and the learning for all students is
negatively affected.
Anything you can do to improve your student’s attendance
would be greatly appreciated and benefit not just your child but
his or her class as well. Obviously, you should keep your child
home when they are sick. However, maybe those three-day
weekends or trips to Anchorage could wait until there are
vacation days. Maybe those family vacations could be planned
around the school calendar. Missed the bus or car didn’t start,
bring your student to school as soon as possible, better late than
not at all. Schedule those student appointments on non-school
days or after school. If you must schedule appointments on
schooldays, send your child to school for whatever part of the
day that you can.
The list of how you can help improve attendance is long
and I know that sometimes you “gotta do what you gotta do” but
any help you give us to increase overall attendance would be a
big help to teachers and increase learning for all students.

Kindness Counts

You may have seen the above logo on banners, buttons, stickers and posters
throughout our school this month. The message is clear as to the behavioral
interactions we place a priority on here at our school. While respect is often
the “go to” theme for school-wide expectations, our staff feels that kindness is
indeed a step up in this area as it reaches a deeper emotional level.
We specifically teach and recognize kindness whenever we can. Kindness
lessons can be found specifically in teacher’s lesson plans at the beginning of
each semester. Having all students, staff and families utilize positive responses
to respectfully resolve conflict has long been a staple our schools Strategic
Plan. Kindness is promoted in all interactions.
Multiple researchers have shown that students who learn kindness and
empathy are more likely to acquire the fundamental skills to build the strong
relationships that are one of the most vital and durable sources of well-being.
When these relationships are built between teacher and student the perfect
environment blooms for teaching and learning.