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From the desk of the Principal

  • December 2018

    Can you believe the holiday season is upon us?  It feels like we just started the school year, but a trimester is already in the books.  The month of November was a busy one for our staff and students.  In addition to our weekly community meetings, we had our Veteran’s Day Celebration and welcomed many veterans and guests to AES.  There are pictures of this event in this edition of the Husky Herald.

     Our 5th graders kicked off our 2018-19 concert series with a very nice performance in early November.  Our fourth graders are up next and remember the date was changed to Thursday December 20th.  We cannot wait to see and hear our fourth graders perform.

     As we enter the month of December, do remember that conferences are from 3pm-8pm on Monday December 10th and Wednesday December 12.  Both of these days are early release days, and students will be released at 2:35pm.  I highly encourage all parents to meet with their child’s teacher.  Many of our classes will be doing student led conferences this year, which is always impressive to see.  If you have any questions about available time slots please contact your child’s teacher directly.

     Before you know it winter break will be upon us.  Our winter break starts on Friday December 21st at 2:35 and runs through Tuesday January 1st.  Do remember, our school year is condensed so our winter break will be a few days shorter than usual.  School resumes on Wednesday January 2nd.

     On behalf of the AES staff I would like to wish all of you a very happy holiday season and hope winter break is enjoyed by one and all.  See everyone in 2019!



    Trimester one is almost in the books.  The year is flying by for sure and before you know it the holiday season will be here along with the dreaded “s” word, snow!  Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let’s take a moment and review some of the events that occurred during the month of October.

    We began the month of October by concluding our fall assessment season.  Students not only took assessments via NWEA in Math, Language, and Reading, but also took additional assessments through a program called Fastbridge.  This assessment will provide us with even more data into where our students are at both academically and social/emotionally as well.  The data will be used by staff to create effective student groups and utilize strategies that will maximize our students’ success.

    Our community meetings continue to be every month, and our students really enjoy earning the weekly awards that are given. Throughout the year, each class will be expected to present at community meeting.  Mrs. Gomez’s 4th grade class did an excellent job with their presentation about Christopher Columbus on October 8th.  As a reminder, parents and community members are always welcome at our community meetings to help us celebrate our successes each week.

    Grandparents day was a huge success once again this year.  You will find pictures of this event in this edition of the Husky Herald.  AES would like to the thank the United Methodist Church of Antioch for allowing use of their parking lot for our staff to allow for close parking for our guests.

    In the month of November, we look forward to the 5th grade music concert on November 8th at 2pm and 7pm.  On November 9th, AES will be celebrating Veterans Day with an assembly at 9:30am.   Of course, everyone is looking forward to the Thanksgiving holiday.  Please note that unlike in past years, school will be in session for the first three days of Thanksgiving week.  Finally, we will have our first family night on November 29th.  Stay tuned for more information about this fun event!

    I wish you all a great month and very Happy Thanksgiving!



    We are one month into the school year and off to a great start.  This past month students enjoyed being at an anti-bullying assembly by Jodee Blanco, attending our PBIS station activities, and of course our community meetings.  Our meeting on September 24th saw the awards being given out for the first time and it was so nice to see our students excited about living up to our AES expectations.  Keep in mind our community meetings are open to anyone in the school community.  We truly want to the education and success of our students to be celebrated by everyone. We enjoyed a successful curriculum night as it was so nice to see so many parents come out to support the work of AES.

    Over the last two weeks of September and the first few weeks of October, our students will be taking our fall assessments.  These assessments will help our students create goals that they will work towards meeting by the end of the school year.  The data gathered from the assessments will help our staff create math and reading groups, identify where students are struggling, and help target interventions.   As for October events, stay tuned for more info in the coming days about Grandparents day and Halloween festivities.

    The year is off to a great start!  Thank you for your continued support and helping our students reach their full potential.




    I would like to welcome all of you to the 2018-19 school year.  This year is shaping up to be our best year yet, despite all the emotions that have come with it.  As many of you know, this will Antioch Elementary School’s final year in operation prior to becoming the district’s early childhood center.  Throughout the year we will take time to celebrate our school and its contribution to our community over the years.  We will highlight our staff many of whom have only worked at AES throughout the years.  Our community meetings this year will not only continue to focus on building our caring learning environment but also drive our celebration of this school.  While this school year will definitely be a “year of lasts” we also acknowledge that “new adventures await”.  This will be our theme for the upcoming year. 


    We have many new faces here at AES.  In this issue of the Husky Herald you will find more information about our new team members.  I am confident they will be excellent additions to our staff not only this year but valuable members of the Antioch 34 team for many years to come.


    Finally, as move through the school year, do know the staff at AES is committed to providing each student the highest quality education possible.  I encourage you to reach out to your child’s teacher if you ever have any questions or concerns.  My door is always open as well and I welcome any feedback you may have in regards to our school.  I look forward to another great year of being a husky and no it will be our best one yet.


    August 2018

    Every summer seems to go by that much faster.  This summer was no exception.  Much has happened over the summer months besides rest and relaxation.  The building has had some work done such as work on the tile floor, new carpeting in the teacher's lounge, and most of our rooms now have AC units.  This is very exciting for many of our staff members as this will be the first time many of them have ever had AC in their classrooms.  Those rooms that don't have AC units will be monitored closely and if we endure any extremely hot days, we will utilize the LMC as a cooling station.  Hopefully this will be a non issue as the upcoming school year is starting later and ending earlier. 

    Also exciting is the prospect that all students will have their own iPad to use here at school.  This tool will only enhance the excellent work already occurring here at AES. Be ready to ask your child/children what exciting work is being done on their iPads.

    I am excited to get the school year going and have the students back in class.  For many this will be a year of mixed emotions as this will be the final year we are together as AES.  We acknowledge that this chapter of AES will come to end at the conclusion of this school year.  That being said, I am excited that the spirit of this building will live on and be spread throughout the district as we restructure.  New adventures definitely lie ahead and no matter the building we are in, once a husky always a husky!

    I hope all of you enjoy the rest the summer and I look forward to see many of you at meet and great on August 30th from 4pm-6pm.

    Mr. Shepherd


    March 2018

     Can you believe we have completed two trimesters?  Where has the time been going?  The month of February was an incredibly busy month and our students continue to shine academically. We were able to view the results of the winter round of NWEA testing, and I am so proud of all of our students for the growth they are showing.  Our students have set new goals and are now working hard to finish the school year strong. 

     The assessments keep rolling in and this month our 3rd-5th grade students will be taking the PARCC assessment.  This is a state mandated exam designed to determine our students’ readiness for college and career and their progress with the Common Core Standards in the areas of ELA and Math.  Students will need to make sure they have headphones as this is a computer based assessment that will require the students to listen to text or view video.  While this assessment is important, it is important to stress to your child/children that this exam is nothing to stress about as long as they put in their best effort.  Below are some helpful tips to ensure a successful testing experience for each student.

    1. Get a good night’s sleep. Plenty of rest will ensure our students are mentally sharp and able to focus on the exam. 
    2. Eat a good breakfast/lunch. We know if students are hungry, they will not be able to focus as much on the exam.
    3. Don’t stress! This is important to stress to our students.  This is just one exam and while important is not the end all be all for their progress this year.  This is just an opportunity for each student to shine and show the rest of the state how well we are doing here at Antioch Elementary
    4. Be here! Illnesses come at the least inconvenient times I know.  I have experienced that this year with my own children.  However, do try to get them to school every day during the month of March.  Missing days can cause children to feel more stressed out as they now have make up sessions to attend.


    We are scheduled to be testing throughout most of the month so that no student has to take more than one exam a day. We are excited to see how our students perform on PARCC as I know they will shine!


    In addition to PARCC, our second graders will have their concert on March 8th at 2:40pm and 7:00pm. Please note the time change for the afternoon performance as the typical start time is 2:00pm.  The schedule was adjusted due to PARCC testing.  I doubt I need to provide this reminder, however spring break begins on March 23rd at 2:35pm.  With that will we enter the home stretch of the 2017-18 school year.

    I wish you all much continued success.


    February 2018

    What a whirlwind month January was!  This month was jammed packed with events that highlighted the amazing work that is occurring at AES.  We dove right back into the swing of things with our Winter round of NWEA testing.  Many of our students have shown significant growth, in fact I met with a fourth grader a few days ago who went up almost 25 points in reading.  That is simply amazing.  With NWEA testing now completed, our students are setting new goals and creating action plans to achieve them.  I also met with some students who came up just a bit short with their goals.  These students are taking time to reflect on how they can change their plans to meet their goals in the spring. These students are excellent models of what the continuous improvement process is all about.

    At the January 23rd Board of Education meeting, our AES students were the stars of the show.  Our AES student council, which was formed this year, presented to the BOE about their goals for the rest of the school year, as well what they have done so far.  Following the student council presentation, two of our 5th grade students presented their student led conferences to update the BOE on their progress.  Our students did an amazing job as it can be quite nerve wracking presenting before a large group of people.  Smiles were had all around, and it was a proud moment for our school community.  It is my hope that we will have more opportunities for students to present to the BOE about many accomplishments that are occurring at AES.

    Finally, I would like to say that our Band and Orchestra students did a wonderful job at their concerts this month.  The progress they have made in such a short period of time is a testament to their hard work and devotion.  Having worked in many districts, it is very nice to see a community take pride in their fine arts programming.  As a musician myself, I appreciate the dedication our students and their families have to this program.

     Another month is in the books, with so much to be proud of.  I am looking forward to seeing what February has to bring, knowing that it is a great day to be Husky!


    January 2017

     We are back into the swing of things after a well-deserved winter break for one and all.  This is a natural point during the school year to review schoolwide expectations and I encourage you to review your expectations for school with your child as well.  The months between winter and spring break can be difficult at times, but reaffirming expectations and holding our students to them will help keep them focused on their studies.  In addition, I would like to take the rest of my message to provide a few reminders.

    *Our students will be taking the Winter round of the NWEA assessment in both Math, Reading, and for grades 3-5 science.  As always, it is important to encourage your child to do their absolute best on the exam, while at the same time not stressing out about the results.  As educators, we use the scores from these exams to paint a picture of each child’s progress and identify areas where improvement could occur.  It is important to stress to our students that the results will ultimately help the teaching staff assist each child in reaching their academic goals.  Your child’s specific testing times will be detailed classroom teachers communications home.  Do make sure your child is well rested and has a hearty breakfast to ensure their day is off to a wonderful start.

     *Winter has definitely hit us hard with some cold temps the past few weeks.  Please make sure your child is dressed for the elements especially if they walk to and from school.  Students will be going outside for recess if the real feel temperature is 20 or above, so it is crucial they dress warmly.

     *There are many events going on at AES this month from our weekly community meetings to band and orchestra concerts.  Crop till you Drop will be January 27th at Hillcrest.  Jump Rope for Heart was kicked off right when we returned from break and is an excellent way for students to raise money to further heart research.  I also encourage you to reach out to your child’s teacher and inquire how you can get involved and show your support to our students and staff.

    The school year is flying by, and before you know it spring and warmer weather will be here.  I continue to thank all of you for your steadfast support of our school and our mission.


    December 1 2017

    The holiday season is in full swing and the school year is almost half over. Can you believe that?!! This time of year is definitely busy for everyone, with family gatherings, shopping, and evening events of all types. Even with all of the different festivities occurring, it is important to take a step back and reflect on how the year has progressed. I normally take time to reflect every week, constantly striving to improve what I do, and the effectiveness of the school. At this “mid-year” point, here are a few of my takeaways.

    We have an incredible school culture. This is undeniable. I am sure your students have come home and talked about our community meetings, whether it be our student presentations, the awards their class received that week, or even in some cases my saxophone playing skills. These meetings are the foundation in which our caring and respectful school community is built.

    We have an incredible staff. This is not just referring to our teaching staff, but our building staff as a whole. Every staff member here contributes and ensures our students are safe and in an environment of high expectations. It is our custodian and student supervisors greeting the students as they exit the bus in the morning, to our kitchen staff providing excellent meals for our students to eat, and I can tell you school food has changed for the better since I was in school. Our Para-pros are beyond amazing; willing to do whatever they can both in and out of the classroom to ensure our students’ success. The office staff is the lifeblood of school operations and of course, our teaching staff is second to none, by far the best staff I have worked with.

    The students. Simply put, our students are showing real devotion to their educations. During parent teacher conferences, it was so nice to hear from our students themselves about what they are doing to achieve their goals. We are starting the journey towards implementing student lead conferences. This year we had at least one class in each grade level use this approach. Our students are taking ownership over their educations, setting goals, monitoring their progress, and celebrating success. It is exciting to imagine that this could be done building wide in the future, and how it will positively impact our students.

    You, the community. Since starting in July, it was evident that the community takes real pride in it’s school. The level of support that we receive is greatly appreciated. Interactions between parents and staff are collaborative, showing that the education of our students is a team effort. AES would not be the successful school that it is without the community’s backing and it’s advocating for it’s students.

    Thank you for your continued support. There are many ways to continue to be involved at AES ranging from volunteering in classrooms, to attending after school events, or attending a Community Meeting. Our 4th graders will have their concert on December 7th at 7pm. I wish all of you the happiest of holiday seasons and like always, remember, it is a great day to be a Husky!


    November 1 2017

    We are in the heart of the fall season; the air is crisp and the leaves have turned color and fallen by now. With winter right around the corner, I would like to take a few moments to remind everyone to be dressed for the elements.  Students should be dressed warmly especially if they walk.  Gloves and hats should be the norm for our students.  Keep in mind that students whenever possible will go outside for recess as it is beneficial for them to be able to burn off some extra energy.

    The month of October saw many fun events and student achievements. We had a successful grandparent’s day and by all accounts had a record turnout. It was enjoyable to walk around the building and see students showing off their hard work to their relatives and also engage in some fun activities such as pumpkin carving.  Academically students are setting goals, creating plans that will allow them to reach their goals, and monitoring their progress.  Our teachers that are implementing the classroom learning community are creating classrooms that are truly collaborative and the very definition of a learning community.  Dr. Marino recently toured AES with some educators from Holland and they were impressed with the level of collaboration, discussion, and hard work seen across the grade levels.

     There are many events coming up this month that will allow you to be a part of your child’s educational journey.  Parent teacher conferences are November 15th and 16th from 3-8pm and are excellent opportunity for you to hear about your child’s progress, in some cases through the child themselves. The fifth-grade band concert and book fair are also this month.  Make sure you are paying attention to our AES newsletter and all communication from your child’s teacher so you do not miss key events this month.

     Finally take a moment at your child’s conference to thank their teacher for all of the hard work being done.  Our AES staff is incredibly devoted to all of our students, and I am in awe of their work and that of our students on a daily basis.

     I wish all a very happy November and Thanksgiving Holiday, and of course it is a great day to be a husky.


    October 2 2017

    The school year is off and running and it’s like we never left for summer. I have enjoyed getting to know the students, staff, and community of AES and judging by the month of September we are on track for an incredible year. Throughout the school year I will take time to highlight some of the many positives that go on here at AES.  Without a doubt, the first aspect of our school that should be highlighted is our weekly community meetings.

    These continue to be a staple of the Antioch School Community.  We gather every Monday to celebrate following expectations in all areas of the school, such as the gym, cafeteria, playground, specials, and honor the good character of many of our students.  Our focus for the first few meetings was maintaining our growth mindset. This was demonstrated through the use of music, as I dusted off my saxophone to demonstrate what can happen with determination and hard work.  Having not played the instrument for years, the improvement I made from week to week was quite evident to the students and staff.  We also witnessed a cartoon from the Disney Channel that demonstrated growth mindset in a humorous way, and witnessed a presentation by Mrs. Ingrum’s 5th grade class about the effects of cyber bullying.  The level of participation and enthusiasm witnessed amongst the students for each meeting is inspiring and reassuring knowing we are creating a fine generation of young people.

    The exceptional sense of community developed at AES stretches out far beyond the school walls.  Our students, staff, and community donated a tremendous amount of supplies to those who suffered through Hurricane Harvey in Texas.  So much was collected, that it took multiple trips by district to gather the items, and there were multiple drop points throughout the building.  Our students and staff go above beyond in living up to our school pledge of making our world a better place.

    And so, we are off and running this academic year.  I challenge all at the school to keep up with the excellent work seen so far both academically and civically.  Let’s set lofty goals personally and as a community, work hard to achieve those goals, and celebrate our successes. 

    Much continued success and remember IT IS a great day to be a Husky!



    August 23, 2017

    Another summer is in the books.  I hope all of you have taken time this summer to relax and enjoy times with family and friends.  The opening bell rang through the air this morning as we welcomed in the 2017-2018 school year.  I have always enjoyed the start of a new school year, and in many ways, the sense of excitement and anticipation it brings for me is very much like the winter holiday season. This is especially true this year as I am honored to be at AES as its Principal.  

    When the position at AES opened this past spring, the decision to apply was a no-brainer.  The school has a rich history, a dedicated staff, and incredible students.  My predecessor, Dr. Judy Hamilton, raved about the school community, and how it was a true blessing to have an opportunity to be at the school.  In my short time here, I have quickly discovered that she was absolutely correct in that assessment.  

    When I first visited AES, I was struck by the sense of community that had been created.  Students and staff truly live by the AES pledge and believe in its mission.  Part of our school pledge that I believe deserves our time and attention is that we make mistakes so that we can learn, we learn so that we can succeed.  We want our students to set personal goals, be inquisitive, collaborate with each other, and never be afraid to fail.  Students and staff for that matter should always be on a path of continuous improvement, recognizing they can always improve their skills and learn from mistakes.

    Dr. Marino, our Superintendent, has preached for years about the continuous improvement process and how it will lead to personal excellence.  Extensive research has confirmed the success of this approach as AES has grown leaps and bounds over the years.  The school's gains are directly attributed to the hard work of staff and students, all buying in to the mission and vision of the school. Over the coming year, we will continue in this process and provide our students with every opportunity to continue to grow academically and socially.

    I thank you in advance for your dedication and support and look forward to an incredible year here at AES.  Please know my door is always open, and your comments and questions are valued.  Working together we will continue to lead our students towards success and live up to our school pledge of make our world a better place.

    I wish all of you the happiest of school years.