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Cougar Courier 9-15-23

Cougar Courier 9-15-23

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Principal's Message

Greetings Elm Families,

We hope everyone had a wonderful week! It was our first full week, and it was busy. Our students have spent the last few weeks setting norms and creating community while engaging in their academics. It is a tradition at Elm that every Advisory creates and decorates their room as a theme. This year our students and staff have gone above and beyond.

Additionally, students spent this week taking time to get ready for our NWEA all school testing day. This is next Wednesday, September 20th. It is very important for your student to be in attendance on this day as we will utilize the data collected from this assessment to identify areas of curricular strength and deficit while furthermore being able to provide additional support to our students to grow their academic abilities.

A few reminders for test day. Arrive to school on time; eat a good breakfast; bring a book or other paperwork to complete should you finish early, and take your time. Do not rush and answer all of the questions to the best of your ability. Parents, please take some time this weekend to go over these tips with your student as we will also be reinforcing these practices at Elm.

Please take a few minutes and read through this week’s Courier. As always, should you need anything, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me directly. Have a wonderful weekend! #TeamElmStrong

Most Sincerely,
Mrs. Ashley Groeneveld


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Assistant Principal's Corner

There are so many exciting things happening in the Elm curriculum this year. It has been our collective vision to improve students’ reading and mathematics skills through innovative measures and practical, data-based intervention approaches.

This upcoming week, 9-20-23, students will take their Fall NWEA MAP assessment. This platform culminates student data in real-time; wherein, specific skills are identified for practice. Upon taking the exam, students will be generated a RIT (short for Rasch unit)score. The RIT score provides individualized matrices by which students can measure their growth. The score itself will display a range of achievements that a student can strive for throughout the year. Students, with the help of their teachers, will take part in goal setting that will allow for specific instruction and practices in areas of deficit.

What I find most beneficial about NWEA MAP is that the format of the assessment recognizes student strengths and allows them to see specific concentration areas while enhancing their prior knowledge. In essence, the test meets them at their current level of performance and provides them with a clear trajectory to aim towards as the year progresses. The data from the assessment will be used to develop appropriate student interventions and to enhance pedagogical decision-making in the classroom. For more information on NWEA MAP please access the parent toolkit. Also, please feel free to reach out to me with any questions on interpreting your student's RIT score. We are looking forward to an amazing year of scholastic growth at ELM Middle School.

Dean's Den

Hello Elm Families,

I wanted to send out a reminder about picking up your child from school. Every once in a while, we will have students text their parents to come to pick them up from school. This typically happens without the student checking in with the nurse, or after the nurse has assessed the student and deemed that they can return to class. If your child texts you to pick them up, please check in with us at the main office to get the details. We want to make sure that our students are healthy and able to be in school and that they are not missing instruction.

Mr. Goodman

District Construction Showcase

District 401 Meals

Free and reduced-price options for District 401 meals are available. Families interested in these options should complete the application linked here to determine if they qualify.

Starting with the 2023-2024 SY, D401 contracted with a new food vendor: Quest Food Management Services. We chose to break from our long-standing agreement with the previous food provider because Quest Food promised to provide increased meal variety and higher food quality at a relatively similar price as the previous provider.

With this change, meal prices increased by $0.25 this year. All lunches K-8 are $3.00 per meal and the HS meal prices are $3.25.

Last week, Quest Food Management made a slight accounting error and accidentally charged all district families $3.25 for each meal. This has been corrected and the district will work with Quest Foods to properly credit all K-8 accounts that were affected.

For more information about your student's meals and Quest Food, please visit our Meals website.


Here is the link to order an Elm Middle School yearbook! Should you have any questions, reach out to Ms. Fiorito!

Clubs and Extra-Curricular Activities

Elm offers a wide array of clubs and activities for our students to participate in! We'd love to have all of our students contributing to our school community! Take a look at the list of clubs and activities and encourage your student to try something out!

Attendance Reminders and Community Resources

If a student is going to be absent from class, a parent or guardian should call our Attendance Clerk at (708) 583-6600 or email

When calling, please spell your child’s last name and give their student ID number.

For instructions on how to use PowerSchool for attendance please see the video here!

Please review the District Virtual Backpack, this is a resource for community involvement opportunities and more.

Take a few minutes and read through this list of Community Resources provided by West 40.

Upcoming Events

September 20th: NWEA Map All School Testing Day

September 25th-September 29th: Elm Middle School Book Fair

September 29th: Snowflake (8th Grade Only)

October 4th: PSAT 8/9 (8th Grade Only)

October 9th: No School

October 10th: Picture Day