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Dear Stephens Families,

Welcome to Stephens! Our school is a great place to be for many reasons. We are a large diverse school with an enrollment of approximately 550 students. We pull from several neighborhoods on the west side of Madison and are lucky to have everyone come together to share in the great education at Stephens. We have a bilingual program where native Spanish speakers have the opportunity to learn to read and write in Spanish and English. Currently it is a Kindergarten to fourth grade program. We also have a top notch 4k thru fifth grade English language program. Our school is a meaningful place for all children and staff. I feel privileged to be a part of such a remarkable school community. In my service as principal, I take much pride in the fact that our staff works diligently to maintain high educational standards for every child. Our curriculum is rigorous and challenging and will continue to be so with the alignment of the Common Core State Standards. Through these standards, we are charged with the responsibility of ensuring that each child is prepared for college, career, and the community by the time he/she completes high school. The process begins in elementary school. Our goal is to teach students to read and think critically, solve problems, and communicate effectively orally and in print, and to utilize technology in relevant ways. We will give the children the tools to be thoughtful, responsible citizens who will be ready to take their place in the world.

In addition to the academics we have increased our work on social emotional learning over the last several years. Every student participates in a morning meeting each day in the classroom where each student is greeted and then they participate in a share and activity to bring the classroom community together. Every classroom studies the 2nd Step Curriculum to help students how to identify feelings, have empathy and problem solve. In addition, Stephens has a Movin’ Minds Practice Time where we have a daily time to work on our brain/body connections. On Tuesdays/Thursdays the entire school does a JAMM (just a minute of movement) which is an exercise routine together over the loud speaker and on Monday/Wednesday/Friday we learn about meditation and visualization and practice breathing and calming our bodies down. This part of our day is unique to our school and a benefit for students and staff alike. Our 4k and 5th grade teachers were recently trained by the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds in mindfulness practices for children.

Here at Stephens, our children are given the tools to succeed in an environment that promotes academic risk-taking and nurtures a love of learning. In order to be successful, students need support from both home and school. We are committed to working collaboratively with our parents. We encourage our parents and families to take an active role in the academic growth of our students by reading to their children, conducting rich and robust conversations in the car and at the dinner table, talking about the possibilities of college and career choices, etc. We also expect that our parents will encourage children to persevere in the face of challenges and never give up.

I look forward to meeting you and having you meet our great staff including Nou Vang-Vue our new assistant principal. We are here in service to you.

If you have ideas, thoughts, or concerns you’d like to share, we’d love to hear them. You are always welcome to visit the school.

Thank you for sharing your children with us.

Warmly,

Sarah Galanter-Guziewski