Principal’s Message: Sept 4, 2014

Dear Parents,

Allow me to begin my note with a look back into last week.

Many thanks to Jennifer Walker and her parent helpers for organizing the Cookie and Ice Cream Social in Ms. Gulnara’s honor. As Gulnara left school on Friday her words to me were: ‘I didn’t realize how important my role was at school.   I can see today that people depended on me.’  Gulnara felt valued and appreciated.  It was a wonderful send off.

Lory teaching grade 7-8 students in art.
Lory teaching grade 7-8 students in art.

Now, looking forward into next week, I would like to talk about the upcoming MAP testing.  I have included the schedule in my note for quick reference.  We always say to parents that you can support your children by ensuring that they get a good night’s sleep and a nutritious breakfast.  This is true, but there is something else that you can do.

For years standardized tests have required students to work very quickly and when they didn’t know an answer to guess.  The MAP test is completely different.  The test wants to establish what your child knows and is able to do.  For this reason, students are instructed to go back and reread passages to ensure they have selected the right answer.  They encourage students to actually work out the math questions rather than guess at the answers.

At school over the next couple of days I will be talking with all of the students about the right way to complete the MAP test.  Classroom teachers will also be giving students a practice test so that they are familiar with how a computerized test works.  You can assist at home by talking about the importance of the test, as a way for teachers to determine what your child knows.  It would be very helpful if you could reinforce the following message:

“Be sure to take the time you need to work out questions and to reread passages in the stories to check your answers.” 

Students look to their parents as the bearers of truth and wisdom so your assistance would be greatly appreciated.

We hosted our ‘Back to School Night’ on Wednesday evening.  Thank you for taking the time to come out and learn about the subjects, the curriculum and the learning expectations for each of your children. The presentations on Wednesday evening were designed to give all parents a picture into your child’s life at school. If, following the presentations you have specific questions that you would like to address with your child’s teacher or myself, please don’t hesitate to contact us and set up an individual appointment.

Lory Thiessen, Director/Principal


Click here for full access.

K-1: Two Days > Math/Reading (Audio)

GR 2: Three Days > Math/Reading/Language Usage

GR 3-8: Four Days > Math/Reading/Language Usage/Science


Counseling: Ease Back to School Worries

Validate their feelings and let them know that you understand.

Welcome back to school! I hope that everyone had a positive and refreshing holiday.

Most children and parents (probably all) look forward to the start of school again. Getting to see their friends, meet the new students and teachers can be so exciting. But changing grades can also cause anxiety in some children. Sometimes they may feel overwhelmed with all of the changes that a new school year brings.

You can support your child at home in a few ways:

  1. Acknowledge that their worries or stress are real. Validate their feelings and let them know that you understand. Dismissing a child’s worries can lead to arguments.
  2. Emphasize continuity, rather than dramatic changes, helps children feel less adrift. Ask your child, “How different are you the day after your birthday compared to the day before your birthday?” The answer, of course, is that although the chronological age has changed, your child hasn’t changed noticeably. Moving up a grade works the same way. You may also want to let them know that “just like you managed the transition from kindergarten to grade 1 (pick your grade), I’m sure you’ll manage this transition too. It’s just another step on the same path.”
  3. Focus on the positives. Remind your child that school is a safe place for them, their teachers care about them (old ones and new ones) and that each day there are opportunities to grow and learn new things.
  4. Finally, the most important thing you can do to ease back-to-school worries is to share your confidence in your child’s ability to cope. Children tend to look to their parents to help gauge, “How dangerous is this new situation?” If you are calmly optimistic that your child will manage the back-to-school transition, it makes it easier for your child to be hopeful too. A couple of good things to say may be, “Right now, the idea of changing classes seems scary, but my guess is that after a few weeks, you’ll be used to it, and it will seem like no big deal.” You may also want to remind them of successful stories from the past.

I hope these small suggestions can open up conversations with your children about how they are feeling about school this year. I look forward to working with you and your children towards a successful school year.

Cheryl Fullerton, School Counselor

Principal’s Message: Aug. 25, 2014

Dear Parents,

For four of us, school began on July 31st as we landed for the first time in the city of Atyrau.  Our first two weeks were spent meeting our colleagues, learning about DAIS and setting up our homes so that we were ready to start school on August 13th.

As we opened the doors on the morning of the 13th, the DAIS faculty and staff were excited to welcome home both new and returning students.  Following the morning assembly I enjoyed the opportunity to meet and greet many of the children’s parents.

Our first Friday brought the ice cream social for the students by the swimming pool.  Smiling faces were everywhere as students enjoyed chocolate and vanilla ice cream with sprinkles.  A special thank you to Chris Patterson,  Jo Rava, Wendy Barrie, and Marloes Brantjes for volunteering to serve the ice cream.

This past Thursday, DAIS hosted it’s first Parent Tea  with Dr. Ambrogi as our guest.  It was an excellent first step in talking about  our school programs and parent/ student/teacher communication.  Our second Parent Tea will be in September  and will focus on MAP testing results.

Our week ended with the Welcome Back Luncheon  for DAIS faculty.  A wonderful way to end the week! Forty minutes of relaxation and visiting with friends while eating a scrumptious meal.  Thank you so much to Carrie Walker for organizing the event and to the DAIS parents for the incredible food.

Thank you also to Jo Rava for organizing our Classroom Parents.

PreK – Tess Powers
Kindergarten – Lailing Moran
Grade 1 – Veronica Winniesdorffer
Grade2/3 – Rohini Ramesar/Carrie Walker
Grade 4 – Chris Patterson
Grade 5 – Rebecca Dempster
Grade 6 – Pam Sterling
Grade 7/8 – Diana Ivanov

A week and a half of school has come and gone. We have had an amazing start.  Our children have settled into their classrooms, learning new routines and expectations and renewing friendships.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to call or drop by my office.

Lory Thiessen, Principal

Upcoming Events:

  • After School Activities Begin Aug. 25
  • Middle School Study Trip/Parent Mt. Aug. 25
  • Teacher Professional Development/No School Sept. 1
  • Back to School Night /Elementary & M.S. Sept. 3 & 4
  • MAP Testing Sept. 8-19

Measures of Academic Progress (MAP)

During the weeks of September 8th through September 19th, students will take tests called Measures of Academic Progress™ (MAP). DAIS will administer the test to all students in grades K-8.

Click to view the MAP test schedule, or visit the Measures of Academic Progress page.

This assessment is used to determine your child’s instructional level as well as measure academic growth throughout the school year. The areas tested are Reading, Language Usage, Math and Science (grade 3-8 only).

The MAP test is unique because it is taken on the computer and can adapt appropriately to your child’s level of learning. As a result, each student has the same opportunity to succeed and maintain a positive attitude toward testing.

Your child will spend approximately 1 to 2 hours per day completing these tests. DAIS will administer the test in the fall and spring of each school year. Following each testing period, you will receive a report showing your child’s growth.

For more information on resources for parents, click the Parent Toolkit or visit the page located at > Partner Support.

Kind regards,

Brent Fullerton, MAP Testing Coordinator

Touching Hearts Strengthening Minds