October 2015

REAP Taste of Wisconsin Holiday Sale 2015

Greetings Hedgie Families! By now you should have received information about the REAP Taste of Wisconsin Holiday fundraiser. This fundraiser raises money for the Van Hise PTO (typically we raise over $1000 from our participation!) and also benefits small WI farms and businesses by featuring a variety of high quality, locally and sustainably produced items. To participate please complete the order form, attach a check for the amount due to Van Hise Elementary PTO, and submit your order to your child’s teacher or the main office by Friday, November 6th.

Jottings from the Gym November 2015

We are FALL'in in love with being outside on these gorgeous autumn days! During Walk to School week, every 2nd - 5th grade class enjoyed walking and running on our 1 mile course which encircles the VHE campus. Our hearts and lungs got a great workout and we also discussed the mental benefits of exercise - growing brain cells, releasing hormones to help us in learning and helping us regulate our mood and energy level. We also spent a week "harvesting the heart" by participating in functional fitness in the Waukesha gardens.

Music Notes November 2015

The Van Hise students did a great job singing the choruses along with Opera for the Young last month. The actress that played Pamina commented that it was so powerful hearing all the voices join on the first chorus, that she was holding back tears. It is always nice to have the 16 kids up in front be strong (which they were), but it is really a great testament to the kids of the school when they all have the confidence to sing!

We will continue to be looking at way that music helps to communicate ideas and stories--through other genres and through our own compositions.

FMPS is sending Madison’s Leaders Back to School

Since 2004, the Foundation for Madison’s Public School’s A Principal Experience (formerly known as Principal for a Day) has built relationships between Madison’s community leaders and MMSD students and staff. This year, Michael Barbouche, who is a father of students at both Van Hise and Hamilton and is also the Founder/CEO of Forward Health Group, Inc., served as our school’s “Principal Partner” during the event held on Tuesday, October 13th.

Conference Information for 2015-16

At Van Hise Elementary we believe that families are important partners in our students’ success. Conference time is one of the ways in which we communicate and plan for our students. As a school, we have tried out various organizational formats for conferences to include more student voices. Last year we had a heavy emphasis on Student Led Conferences in both fall and spring. We collected information via family surveys after each conference time and examined the data that families provided.

Ground Breaking Event

On October 15, 2015, a ground breaking ceremony was held to commemorate the beginning of the construction on our new library and remodeling at Van Hise/Hamilton. Ed Hughes and Michael Flores from the Board of Education joined us as our school liaisons. Mike Hertting, Chief of Schools, was also present for our celebration.

Lessons from the Library - October 2015

We have had a wonderful start to our new year in REACH/Library class despite the warm weather (students have enjoyed coming into the cool LMC to read and check out books:) All students are learning about the Dewey Decimal System to organize non-fiction books. Third and Fourth graders can continue to check out 2 books each week. Fifth graders will be allowed to check out up to 3 books once we start our non-fiction projects in October.

Van Hise Open House Information

We are busily getting ready for our Open House on Tuesday, October 6th from 5:30-7:00pm! Open House is a wonderful chance to visit your child's classroom and get to know Van Hise. It is also a great social opportunity to have dinner with your child's friends and their families. Thanks to our fabulous Parent Teacher Organization, free pizza will be served in the cafeteria.

In order to make sure that we have room in the hallways and common areas for everyone, we organized the evening into “shifts” by grade level to do different things at Van Hise during this event:

VHE Families Series: Peng Kangzhou

Peng Kangzhou, also known as Daniel, moved to Madison with his daughter in April. They come from Chongqing, China, a city with around 20 million inhabitants encompassing over one thousand towns and smaller townships. Viola Yang, now a VHE first grader in McGuire’s class, arrived with him to join the full year experience. His wife Angela “commutes” between Chongqing and Madison. Here, they live with the Veto family, who welcomed them at the airport and since then is sharing their year-long life in the US.

We Love the Hedgehogs!

Thanks to the AMAZING support from 67 families, we have already raised $5,795 for classroom stipends, literacy materials, art supplies, and other items that create TOP-NOTCH learning spaces for our hedgies! The support from our families and community is truly inspiring - THANK YOU!

Jottings From the Gym

We have been busy playing outside in this beautiful fall weather and learning how to "play fair." Learning all the rules of the playground and being a good sport is hard work but we do it so well here at Van Hise! Ask your child what their favorite playground activity we learned in PE is and let them teach it to you!

Music Note - October 2015

As you might have heard, Opera For the Young is coming to VHE this year! Though we typically have them every three years, we are getting an extra performance in this "off year" thanks to a generous donor. The opera we are studying is Mozart's The Magic Flute. We are learning four choruses in music class that we will sing along with the opera as a school.

October K-2 REACH News

During the month of October, Second Grade REACH students will use the book Never Let a Ghost Borrow Your Library Book- Book Care Guidelines from the Library Secret Service (Karen Casale) to review how to check out and properly care for books. Later in the month students will consider the author’s purpose as they listening to The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs! (JonScieszka) and Once Upon a breath, The Story of a Wolf 3 Pigs and Asthma (Aaron Zevy).

From the Desk of your School Social Worker


We know that achieving success is, in many ways, based on just being present: for grabbing opportunities, making connections, and learning new information and new skills.

One of the main reasons that students fail to succeed at school is that they don’t “just show up”. Student who miss more than 10 days of school per year end up missing so much academically! That is why Madison Metropolitan School District has a policy that strives to have every student achieve at least 94% attendance for each and every school year.

Garden Parents Needed!

Come get your hands dirty! You don't have to have a green thumb to help your child's class get some time in the outdoor classroom. Parent volunteers are still needed to pair with classroom teachers and assist facilitating taking kids outside for learning in the garden. No experience necessary - guidance and ideas for projects are offered.

Fall projects you could assist with include helping kids collect seeds to plant next year, planting garlic, harvesting, spreading mulch, and writing observations in a garden journal.

New Outdoor Classroom

We invite you to walk under the green bean arch just north of the playground to enter our new outdoor classroom – there are so many exciting things to discover. Each grade has a raised garden bed full of veggies they planted last spring, grown around a different theme: K – pizza garden, 1st – pickle garden, 2nd – sweet and regular potatoes, 3rd – veggies to eat with dip, 4th – salsa garden, 5th – quesadilla garden. Students will be busy harvesting and preparing their dishes soon.

Parents Night Out 2015

Mark your calendars!

Friday, December 11th will be our annual Parents Night Out Fundraiser.

Kindergarten and first grade teachers will babysit your children and feed them dinner while you go out. This event will be from 5-8 p.m. in the Van Hise gyms and cafeteria. Flyers will be sent home in November to RSVP for this wonderful event. This year we will be eating macaroni and cheese* from Noodles & Company!

*Gluten and dairy-free options available upon request!

PBS Updates October 2015

Hello VHE families!  I'm so happy to be starting my 6th year as the VHE Positive Behavior Coach. October is bullying prevention month, something we work hard on all year at Van Hise. We are working with students to understand what being an ally looks like, sounds like and feels like. We are rolling out our ally pledge  and asking to students help us be bully free at VHE! We are teaching how to stand up and report bullying behaviors to staff and working with students to learn to not be a bystander and to know what to do when different situations arise.

News From the Art Room October 2015

Welcome back VHE families!  So far we are off to a great start in the art room. We're currently working with our visiting artist Megan Cain to finish our garden mosaic mural. It's been so amazing to see the mural come together over the last few weeks. Our mural has been years in the making. From fundraising, planning, designing, and laying each piece of glass our students have been part of it all, and I'm so proud. After the mural is finished it will be stored in the art room until the construction on our building is complete and we can find the best place to install it.

Stay informed about upcoming events and opportunities:

Sign Up Now