November 2015

VHE Family Series - Maria Prudnikovich

Maria Prudnikovich was born in Luban, a small village near Vileika in Belarus. This is her third year at VHE: a bilingual teacher in kindergarten and first grade during her first year, a first grade teacher with Ms Mileham last year, and now a first grade teacher again. Maria Prudnikovich is also Ms Masha, her Russian nickname and also how everyone at VHE knows her.

A Note from Our Principal - November 2015

Dear Families,

It’s November, and the first signs of work on our new library at Van Hise are visible now.

The construction equipment has been lined up and ready to go. On October 15th, we held a ground breaking ceremony with Hamilton Middle School. There is more information in the newsletter about this event. The plans for the library and overall remodeling are available on the district website as well as outside our office area. The new library is scheduled to be complete at the end of February! Soon we will have some more space to stretch and learn!

Positive Behavior Support - Be An Ally!

Hello VHE families! I'm so happy to be starting my 6th year as the VHE Positive Behavior Coach. October was bullying prevention month, something we work hard on all year at Van Hise. This year we are working with students to understand what being an ally/upstander looks like, sounds like and feels like. We are rolling out our ally pledge (ask your child to tell you about the pledge) and asking students to help us be bully behavior free at VHE. We are teaching how to stand up to and report bullying behaviors to staff.

Art Project Updates November 2015

Kindergarteners are learning about color theory. Be sure to ask them about primary and secondary colors. First graders are letting their imaginations take them to far off places with a Magic Treehouse project. Second grade is creating their first weaving from a beautiful collection of papers, which will prepare them for fiber weaving in the future. Third grade is starting an amazing project about a turtle that grows a garden on her back. Their love of nature, artistic talents and patience makes this project perfect for this group of kids!

Mosaic Update

I'm so excited to share that just this past week we finished the mosaic mural with visiting artist Megan Cain. The mural is temporarily displayed in the art room window until we see what wall space is available after the school renovations are complete.

Backyard Bites Sign Up

This year marks the 3rd annual Backyard Bites Program at Van Hise Elementary School. Modeled on Farm to School and Homegrown Snack Programs around the country and region, our goal is to provide a healthy snack, created from locally grown and produced fruits, vegetables, dairy products and grains to all 400 plus students once each month. In addition to raising awareness of what foods are grown in Wisconsin, we also hope to introduce students to foods they may not have tried before.

We Love the Hedgehogs!

Our annual fundraising effort is wrapping up, and we want to extend a huge THANK YOU to more than 120 generous families.  As a group, we have raised more than $10,000 dollars to support our hedgehog classrooms and programs.  Your support makes Van Hise a truly special school.

If you still want to make a contribution, it's not too late!  You can return a check, payable to VHE PTO, in your student's take-home folder, or you can click here to donate via PayPal

THANK YOU for supporting our hedgehogs!

Coffee & Buttons for VHE Staff

Jennifer Roth, mom to Nora LaValley in 4th grade, rode her Cadence Nitro Coffee cart to Van Hise on October 6th and served staff coffee and ice cream to celebrate being an Ally during Anti-Bullying Awareness month. "Be an Ally" buttons were available for staff as well. Thank you Jennifer for your generous donation of time, coffee and ice cream! You made our day! 

Lessons from the Library 3rd-5th

October is Anti-Bullying month. Here are a few stories (some that we read) on this topic: Say Anything, The Bully Blocker’s Club, and The Recess Queen.  Please ask your children how they can be an “ally” at Van Hise. Last month we reviewed some important internet safety rules and started learning about how and where to find sources for information in the library. This month the 3rd graders worked on their acrostic poems. The 4th graders started their Important people projects. The 5th graders started their Non Fiction projects.

Plug Into Public Education

Love Jimmy Fallon? Love Lip Sync Battles? Don’t miss the first annual Lip Sync for Schools! Let your inner rockstar shine and raise funds for public education at the Foundation for Madison’s Public Schools’ newest fundraiser. Based on popular skits from “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” the event features lip sync battles between community leaders with the audience determining a winner. The night also features a silent auction, photo booth, food and drink. We hope you’ll join us on Friday, November 6 from 7-11pm at the Brink Lounge.


During the month of November Second Grade REACH students will continue to consider the author’s purpose and work to identify if the author is trying to persuade, inform, and/or entertain the reader. Some of the books we will use are: Hey Little Ant (Phillip and Hannah Hoose), The Ant and the Grasshopper (Rebecca Emberley), and Inside an Ant Colony (Allan Fowler). They will use their username and password to login to our school library portal and navigate into Bookflix and Tumblebooks.

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.

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