Growth Mindset


Do we all have it?

Here at Harvest the answer is YES!

Check out the presentation from our Fabulous First Grade Team on Growth Mindset and CAN!

In addition to focusing on Growth Mindset we celebrated our December & January birthdays as well as our December Shining Stars.


We’d also like to congratulate our first Golden Lunch Tray awardees…

Kindergarten: Mrs. Girbach

1st Grade: Ms. Johnston

2nd Grade: Ms. Shafer

3rd Grade: Mrs. Larsen

These classrooms were awarded the most points over the course of one week for good behavior, conversational voices, neatness, listening, & clean-up. Each week one class will be awarded the

Golden Lunch Tray

This tray will be displayed in their classroom for one week. There is no limit to the number of times a class can be awarded the Golden Lunch Tray.

Here are a pics from a couple of classes who were awarded the GLT!



The strong feeling of appreciation or thanks to someone for doing something for you, showing a kindness, or receiving a gift from someone.

I am filled with gratitude everyday for the joy and kindness I receive from our students here at Harvest Elementary. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t receive a hug or high five for our children. They work hard to demonstrate our Harvest 4 behaviors and because of this an environment of care and concern permeates throughout our building.

In addition to gratitude for our wonderful students I also have much gratitude for our faculty and staff. We are fortunate to have an incredible group of educators and support staff personnel that care deeply for the children they serve. They think outside the box, are innovative, and work tirelessly to put kids first.

We have had the pleasure of hosting teachers and administration from other school districts on visits to our school several times since the start of the school year each one exploring more about our Next Generation teaching and learning, innovative spaces and practices. While our guests were excited to learn about these things they also saw what a great place Harvest is to learn and grow. The feedback I regularly receive is they can’t believe how quiet it is, the building is calm, peaceful and our students are so well mannered. It is this for which I am thankful for you… our parents.

We are all fortunate, indeed, to live, work, learn, and play in a community that supports one another in good times and bad. We lift one another up, cheer each other on, and provide a simple smile when feeling down.

So to my students, staff and families… THANK YOU! You make leading Harvest Elementary School the best “job” in the world.

With much gratitude,











Schools of Rock!

Friday, December 2… It’s time to ROCK!

Our community meeting today reminded us about how to be a good audience member as well as a review of GIVE ME 5:


Following our review the Harvest Schools of ROCK team shared their performance with our Harvest Family… we wanted all of our students and staff to join in our fun!


Following the perfoamce we celebrated our November Shining Stars… Congratulations to the following Harvest leaders:

Abigail Kim, Abril Dominguez, Aiden Liu, Amir Samaha, Analeise Martinez, Anderson Ross, Anina Iadipaolo, Anna Tomaszewski, Audrey White, Ava Leopold, Ben Zapawa, Bently Harris, Brooke Simon, CeCe Arico, Charlie Daniels, Chase Bauman, Christian Vitale, Clarie Portwood, Ellie Greener, Emilee Horvath, Isabella Apone, Jason Parkhurst, Kanon Stone, Laura Gopntijo-Varin, Luke Reeves, Maizie Ratajczak, Mia Zimmer, Michael Miller, Natalie Robida, Nathaniel Ley, Nicole VandenBerg, Parker Sitarski, Samir Sankaran, Scott Krogsrud, Seraphina Newton, Sophia Spahich, Sophie Roth, Taylor Dahms, Travis Finch, & Trey King III.

Wishing you a wonderful December!




How to Be a Friend!

Our specials teachers recently shared the story How to Lose All your Friends with our family at the November 18 Community Meeting. While Mrs. Dana read the story to our students Ms. McEvoy, Mr. C, & Mrs. Peplinski acted out the story to bring it to life. After demonstrating behaviors that will help you to lose your friends they reversed the story and showed how to be a good friend! Following the Community Meeting students were asked to write on a gingerbread man things they could do to be a good friend. The “cookie sheet” and gingerbread men are hanging in the lobby of the school to remind us all of how to be a friend.


Following our lesson Mrs. Nelson & Mrs. Gall’s class shared their RAK with us… they wrote letters to past & present service members. I received a very special message from a currently retired Marine who was so grateful for the letter of thanks he received from our students.  Mrs. Nelson & Mrs. Gall presented the Harvest 4 Trophy to Ms. Johnston’s class. We’ll learn more about their RAK at the December 2 Community Meeting.

We also sang Happy Birthday to all of our friends who celebrated a birthday in November. Happy Birthday!!

Sending hugs!


Friendship Soup!


On Friday, November 4 our third grade teachers “cooked” friendship soup with our students and staff during our Community Meeting. Our third grade students performed 4 skits demonstrating school would look like without friendship soup. Next our students & staff made our Friendship Soup with heaping cups of RESPECT, KINDNESS, CARING & FAIRNESS with a dash of GOOFINESS and a whole lot of FUN! Our third grader students then performed their skits again showing what happens when Friendship Soup is added to the mix!

Following our lesson for today Mrs. Widen’s class shared that they performed a Random Act of Kindness with Mrs. Nelson’s class as well as for Mrs. Bekkala & Mrs. Stewart in our office. Their RAoK was providing treats to everyone in Mrs. Nelson’s class and to the office staff. They then presented Mrs. Nelson’s class with the RAoK trophy… Mrs. Nelson’s class you are up! What will their RAoK be? We can’t wait to find out on November 18th!

Finally, we closed with our first presentation of Shining Stars for the 2016/2017 school year. 45 students were recognized for demonstrating kindness, leadership, perseverance and all around exemplary Harvest 4 behavior. Each student received a certificate signed by Mrs. Rosen-Leacher and the teacher that nominated them. They also have a STAR with their name on it hanging in the foyer near the stairs! These will remain up all year long! CONGRATULATIONS to all!

October Shining Stars - Kindergarten

Kindergarten Shining Stars


1st Grade Shining Stars


2nd Grade Shining Stars


3rd Grade Shining Stars



This past Friday was our 5th Community Meeting. It was a culmination of all of the work that our students and staff have put in these first 5 weeks of school to learn, practice, and review our Harvest 4 as well as celebrate one another. Our 2nd grade team of teachers shared the story of ONE by Kathryn Otoshi with all of us.

ONE teaches us: “Blue is a quiet color. Red’s a hothead who likes to pick on Blue. Yellow, Orange, Green, and Purple don’t like what they see, but what can they do? When no one speaks up, things get out of hand — until One comes along and shows all the colors how to stand up, stand together, and count. As budding young readers learn about numbers, counting, and primary and secondary colors, they also learn about accepting each other’s differences and how it sometimes just takes one voice to make everyone count.” summary from Amazon


As the story was being read 2nd grade teachers with help from Mr. Puckett, Mrs. Pickett, Mrs. Dana, and Mrs. Rosen-Leacher acted out the story for everyone. The story concludes with a reminder that it only takes ONE to make a difference.


Mrs. Edwards class shared their Random Act of Kindness with all of us. Her students wanted to do something nice for Mr. Puckett and chose to “give him a break” and set up the cafeteria for lunch. He got to “put his feet up” and give direction to the boys and girls! They passed on the Harvest 4 Trophy to their buddy class in 2nd grade… Mrs. Widen’s class you are up! We can’t wait to see what RAK they will do.

In addition to all of this fun we celebrated our October birthday friends and ended with a reminder to all that they are loved!


Friday, was a busy day… following our Community Meeting our kindergarten & first grade students stayed for a fun assembly with Choosy Suzy who shared a special reminder about being a person of good character. Our second and third grade students visited with Choosy Suzy in the afternoon.



Our Harvest Family met again this past Friday in our community meeting to discuss being responsible for How We Help. First grade teachers led the school with a story of Reach Out and Give.

The message in the story was acknowledging all the ways each person can be kind, generous, and helpful daily in their community, at home, and here at school. When we are kind and help it creates a circle of giving that goes round and round. Then students shared ways they could be helpful here at Harvest. In addition to the story, Mrs. McMaster led the school in a fun, upbeat chant centered around using our hands in helpful ways each and every day. Finally, as a class, students will brainstorm with ways they can use their hands to help.
Then these “helping hands” will be posted on the “How We Help” school house, which is located in the foyer. Classrooms will work on this throughout next week. Be sure to check out all the hands and ways students are helping one another here at harvest!
We kicked off the meeting acknowledging all September birthdays with a school-wide sing along.
 Happy birthday
Lastly, Mrs. Larsen introduced  the Global Cardboard Challenge! Watch the 4 C’s unfold as Harvest students use their collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and CREATIVITY!
We’d like to thank everyone who helped to bring in cardboard and donated time cutting cardboard, helping our students tape, glue, prepare projects. We couldn’t do this without you!

Words Matter!


This past Friday at our Harvest Community Meeting we discussed being responsible for What We Say. Our Kindergarten teachers planned our time together. They read the story of Chrysanthemum, a little mouse with a beautiful name that was teased because of her name. While reading the story other Kindergarten teachers folded giant red hearts every time we heard an unkindness and unfolded them every time a kindness was said. In the end, the heart remained wrinkled. This reminds us to choose our words carefully because even after we apologize for something we have said or done the wrinkle remains behind.


In addition to this lesson our first Harvest Trophy Classes announced their Random Act of Kindness (RAK) – Mrs. Girbach’s Kindergarten class and their 3rd grade buddies from Mrs. Larsen’s class celebrated World Kindness Day on Wednesday, September 21 by sharing a World Kindness bracelet with their friends in Mrs. Edwards’ class. Mrs. Edward’s class learned of who their RAK came from on Friday and were awarded the Harvest 4 Trophy. They now have two weeks to do a RAK for someone else.

Here’s a peek at our students completing their RAK: Mrs. Girbach & Mrs. Larsen’s Classes


At Harvest we focus on the theme of being responsible. Keeping with my first post the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines responsible as:

  • having the job or duty of dealing with or taking care of something or someone
  • able to be trusted to do what is right or to do the things that are expected or required
  • involving important duties, decisions, etc., that you are trusted to do

As a part of teaching our students how to be responsible we have incorporated Harvest Community Meetings every Friday morning for the first five weeks of the school year and then bi-weekly following. During our Harvest Community Meeting we are teaching one of Harvest 4 rules each week and focusing on that behavior during the following week.


We are starting each meeting with our students singing the Respect Song that they learning in their first week in music class. Here they are singing at our Harvest Community Meeting this past Friday.

Harvest Community Meeting – Respect Song

Our Week One lesson focused on being responsible for How We ListenOur teachers have been working on teaching students “Give Me 5!” “Give Me 5!” helps our students to settle and get ready for instruction in any environment.

This past Friday, we focused on being responsible for What We Do. Our Academic Support Team lead the lesson for this week and shared the story of Nails in the Fence (click link to read). While the story was being read members of the team pounded nails into boards and then pulled the nails out to help students visualize the lesson. We hope you will take some time to talk with your children about these lessons each week and help support all of our children in becoming responsible each and every day.



The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines courage as: the mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.

I share this definition with you because the Harvest Elementary faculty and staff are demonstrating a great deal of courage as we begin this new school year.

This spring and summer we took time reflect on the practice of homework for our students as we began preparation for the 2016-2017 school year. Our research and dialogue on this topic has led us to a change in our belief systems around homework and the kind of things our students and families should be doing during their time outside of school. The following letter explains in greater detail this shift in our thinking and our hope and expectations for homework for our Harvest students and families.

Homework Letter to Parents

We hope that you find these changes to bring a positive change to your family time.