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FINAL Class Lists, New Kindergarten Teacher and Start Dates!

posted Aug 21, 2013, 12:13 AM by Beth Murphy

Hello Kindergarten Families!

We would like to thank you all for your extreme patience and grace as we have worked very hard the last 24 hours to get everything figured out and the information to you so we can be ready for a great Kindergarten year!    I am very happy to announce that we have hired a new Kindergarten teacher--Tabitha Brown--and that we have finalized class lists and start dates.  Please make sure you read below AND the attached documents so that you are clear about who your child's teacher is and what days he or she will be attending school this week and next. 

First though, I am excited to introduce you all to Mrs. Brown, our new Kindergarten Teacher!  Mrs. Brown will be teaching the second Tuesday/Thursday (Friday morning) section of Kindergarten.  She brings a great skill set and an excitement for learning and students. We are confident she will be a wonderful addition to the Kindergarten team.  Welcome Mrs. Tabitha Brown!

Meet Mrs. Brown:
Tabitha Brown brings a menagerie of life experiences to her classroom. Including nine years as a pre-school and home child care provider with a focus on social emotional development and play based learning. Mrs. Brown has been a substitute in the Boulder Valley School District for the last two years working long term positions in Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grades. She obtained her Masters in Education and her initial teacher’s license through Jones International University in the summer of 2011, her undergraduate degree in Liberal Studies Multiple Subjects with an emphasis in Spanish and a minor in Computer Information Systems from Humboldt State University in California. Mrs. Brown spent a year in Germany during high school, as a result speaks German, she returned to Germany after completing her undergraduate degree and taught English, violin and viola for six months.  In her free time Mrs. Brown enjoys a number of hobbies including gardening, hiking, cycling and music. She currently plays viola in the Flatirons Community Orchestra and with chamber musicians as time allows.  Mrs. Brown  greatly values and appreciates her high school sweetheart and husband Ariel, their three children, Ella, Kalen and Lyndsey, her Rhodesian Ridgeback Kendi and calico kitty Zia. 

Meet Mrs. Brown and Ms. Murphy In Person!
Sending  your children off to Kindergarten can leave some parents feeling a wide range of emotions.  We want you to know that we will take great care of your children and that they are going to have a wonderful time in the safe, welcoming, educational, and FUN environments that we create in our classrooms.  We also realize that all these changes at the last minute can add to any anxious feelings you and/or your child may feel about starting school.  Below are several options to stop by and meet us. (Please bring school supplies as well at these times if you can!)

Wednesday, August 21 (tomorrow): 1:45-2:45
   We will be working in our classrooms at this time, so if you are in the neighborhood and would like to pop in to say "hi" check in at the office and head on down to see us!

Thursday, August 22 (T/Th classes' first day): 7:30-7:55am; 11:15-11:40am; 2:40-3:00pm
    We know you want to see your teacher before school starts, and we also know we are short on time, so join us the half hour before your staggered start time (or any of these times if you are unable to make the one right before your child's session).  Mrs. Brown is going to bake up some yummy zucchini bread and we will have juice too.  Check in at the main office and then meet us in our classrooms.  Five minutes before class starts we will say our goodbyes and then go outside to line up for our very first day of school!

Friday, August 23 (M/W class' first day--MURPHY only): 7:30-7:55am; 11:15-11:40am; 2:40-3:00pm
  Ms. Murphy is the only Kindergarten teacher on Mondays and Wednesdays, so she will be the only one there!  :)  Please let Ms. Murphy know if you plan to attend the 7:30am "Meet the Teacher"!  Otherwise, it will be the same setup as above.

Thursday, August 29th--Back to School Night: 5:30-8:30pm
   Work schedules may not allow you to come meet us during the day prior to your child's first day.  All of Birch is having a Back to School Night where we will be handing out important information and talking in greater detail about the school year, our classrooms, expectations, etc.  We would like ALL Kindergarten families to join us on this evening, but if you are unable to "meet the teacher" during one of the above times we strongly encourage you to make every effort to attend--we want to meet you and build strong relationships that support your children and his or her learning! Ms. Stegall (our Principal) will be sending out more specific details on the times each grade will be presenting during the 5:30-8:30 time block.

Kindergarten Enrichment (KE)
KE starts on Monday, August 26th.  Students enrolled in KE will attend for the FULL DAY on Monday
Note: If your child is in a T/Th class then they will ONLY have Kindergarten for the HALF day on Thursday (8/23) and Tuesday (8/27).  There is NO KE on the opposite halves of the day and there is NO KE on Friday.  District-wide KE does not start until Monday, August 26th.  This means that for these first two days of school you will need to find alternative arrangements for childcare.  The staggered-start model is also used district-wide and is an important practice to start the year successfully for Kindergarten students.

Class Lists
Please know that a lot of thought went into the creation of these new class lists.  We took into account many factors to ensure that we have balanced classrooms that are best suited for the needs of our students.  We realize that these lists may be a change for some of you and would like to thank you again for your flexibility and understanding during this "11th hour" (literally...it's 11pm! Please forgive any typos!)  We have been working hard to make this as smooth as possible for everyone but know and appreciate that it has disrupted some schedules and plans. We know these changes are for the best though and are very excited to start a great year with smaller class sizes, amazing learning and you and your child(ren)! 

***Check the attachment for you class, schedule and staggered start date! 

Welcome to Birch Kindergarten!

Best to you,

Tracy Stegall, Principal   
Tabitha Brown, T/Th Kindergarten Teacher
Beth Murphy, M/W and T/Th Kindergarten Teacher 

Kindergarten Schedule and Class list update!

posted Aug 19, 2013, 5:54 PM by Beth Murphy

Hello Kindergarten Families!

If we don't have your email address in Infinite Campus (a system our district uses for grades and all contact information that you enter upon being enrolled) you may not have received the email below from our principal, Tracy Stegall and myself.  Please read below:

Dear Families--

Over the course of the last few days, we've had MANY new registrations for Kindergarten.  So many, in fact, that our two kindergarten classes have reached 28 children in each class!  As much as she would love to teach ALL the kindergartners, Beth Murphy will be getting a new teammate who will be teaching one section of kindergarten on Tuesdays and Thursdays (and Friday mornings).

I'm writing to ask you to please be patient with us as we make this change in the 'final inning' of the summer.  I'm also asking for your grace and flexibility as we make some class changes that are best for all students.  We're working on hiring a person who has kindergarten experience and is a 'known quantity' but we just now got the 'go ahead' to do so.

To that end, we are not holding "Meet the Teacher" for Kindergarten tomorrow; as soon as we've hired our new teacher, we will host that event and inform you of any class changes and possible new start dates.  As we rebuild class lists, this will be done by student mix and ability levels to ensure a high quality, balanced environment.  

We are very aware that many of you had to create new childcare for our staggered start for Kindergarten.  If our soon-to-be-developed and then announced staggered start schedule causes an undue hardship and you do not have a way of getting your child to school as a result, we will excuse the absence.  The kindergarten teachers will be planning accordingly, knowing that our last minute change was difficult and not all students may be in attendance.

Right now, we have 28 students in our Monday-Wednesday-Friday afternoon class.  Some of these students (10-ish) will need to move to a Tuesday-Thursday-Friday morning section.  If you are currently scheduled in M-W and are able to easily switch to T-Th, please let us know by replying to this email.  (Note, this does not necessarily mean that you would be assigned one teacher over the other; again, that will be determined by best mix of kids and ability levels.)

We will share more information with you as soon as we can.  In the meantime, this IS a celebration (because we do believe that smaller class sizes work better for kindergartners); it just feels like a challenging hurdle right now.  Not to worry, though... our running shoes and leg muscles can handle it!

Best to you,

Tracy Stegall, Principal
Beth Murphy, One of two Kindergarten teachers
____________, Unknown right now Kindergarten teacher

School Supplies!

posted Jul 25, 2013, 3:49 PM by Beth Murphy

Hey parents! If you have started your back to school shopping (ahh! I know...it's still early, but I'm working my way back into school mode) I found "primary" composition books at the Dollar Tree for $1! They can be expensive and/or hard to find so I thought I'd share! If you are willing to pick up a few extra for the families who don't find them/can't afford school supplies I would appreciate the extra help greatly! Thanks!
-Ms. Murphy (Click my name to go to my Facebook page for more updates!)

Primary Notebooks are similar to regular composition notebooks but the BIG difference is that they have the modified lines that make it easier for kids to write on and they have a picture box.  We use the daily in Kindergarten, so please make sure you get one!  If you can't find one at the Dollar Tree then Mead makes some too and those can usually be found at Target or Wal-Mart.  If not in the school supplies section they are usually with the markers, crayons and poster boards!  See the picture attached below for more info! 

http://www.mead.com/meadstore/mwv/product/Primary-Composition-Book-Grades-K-2/09902?searchClickId=0134209413%2C3826&catId=&prodId=09902 (Mead website- cheaper in stores!)

New Info: Kindergarten Assessments and "Jump Start"

posted Jul 18, 2013, 9:25 PM by Beth Murphy

Hello Kindergarten Families!
I hope that the summer sun is treating you all well so far!  As you plan out the rest of your summer days please take a look at the dates below and then follow the link provided to sign up for an hour testing day/time!  I have spread the dates over a few weeks in hopes of catching you all before the summer is over. 

Summer Kindergarten Testing Dates:
Wednesday, July 10th
Friday, July 19th
Monday, July 29th
Tuesday, July 30th

Each testing day has three 1hour time slots available (8:00-9:00am; 9:00-10:00am and 10:00-11:00am).  There are spots for four kids in each hour time.  Please sign your child up in the Google document (link below).

I have also "shared" this document with you, so you should receive a separate email with the link and providing you access/permission to sign up.  If you have any trouble or questions please let me know.  As you sign up please make sure you pay attention to the day and time you sign up for and PLEASE do not erase another child's name.  Don't forget to include your child's name (and yours if you wish) and a way for me to contact you.



Boulder Valley Schools all begin the year testing incoming Kindergartners to see what skills they have in reading, writing, and math.  Testing before the school year begins allows us to get to know your child academically and socially in a smaller setting and allows us to use that information to create balanced classrooms where all children can thrive academically and socially. It is extremely important that we are able to collect this information about your child before the school year begins so we can plan for the needs of the incoming Kindergarten group! 


At the beginning of the school year students start with a wide variety of skills, talents, needs, and experiences.  It is part of what makes Kindergarten such a fun and challenging year.  Every child has had different learning and social experiences up to this point and it has shaped them into the incredible boys and girls they are today. 

To help ease transitions and get kids the information, skills, experiences and learning they need I am offering a special Kindergarten "Jump Start" this summer!  This is a completely FREE opportunity for your child to come to school for a few hours a day for a week and a half before school starts.  I will be running 3 sessions a day that last about an 1.5-2 hours. 


As I now live in Fort Collins and will be commuting to work these extra days this summer I want to make sure that there is enough interest to make it worth the drive!  Please respond in an email (elizabeth.murphy@bvsd.org) and let me know if you are interested in having your child attend this Kindergarten "Jump Start".  I will send out more detailed information about what we will do during the time at school later, but just need a head count to start.  Please look at the times below and respond with the following:

___ These dates/times will not work for my child.

___ Yes!  I'd like my child to participate. 

Dates and Times: 

Wednesday, July 31-Friday, August 2nd and Monday, August 5-Thursday, August 8th.
There will be three sessions (I will create the lists based on the information I gain from testing days and let you know which session your child will be in).
Session 1: 8:00-9:45
Session 2: 10:00-11:45
Session 3: 12:00-1:45

I hope to see many of you and your children in the next few weeks! 
--Beth Murphy
Kindergarten Teacher, Birch Elementary

* This information was sent out in an email to all parents I had contact information for in the beginning of July.  If you did not get this email please let me know so I can update my contact information!  Thanks!


posted Apr 22, 2013, 7:59 AM by Beth Murphy

Due to weather and BVSD canceling all after school activities on Wednesday, April 17, we had to reschedule our "Incoming Parent Information Meeting."  The NEW date is THIS Thursday, April 25th from 6:00-6:45. 

An email was sent out to all contacts who filled out the "2013/2014 Kindergarten Contact Information" form located on the 2013-2014 Kindergarten News Tab of this website.  All email addresses were taken directly from what you filled out on the form, so if you filled out the form but did not get the email reminding you of the meeting and letting you know if was rescheduled, then please re-submit your correct information on the form.  If you did not receive an email please make sure I have your contact information by filling out the form!  Thanks!

Calling all 2013/2014 Kindergartners!

posted Mar 18, 2013, 4:00 PM by Beth Murphy

Do you or someone you know have a Kindergartner enrolling at Birch for the fall of 2013?  If so PLEASE pass this information on!  The Birch Kindergarten website "2013-2014 Kindergarten News!"  page is updated with the most recent information about Parent Information night (April 17, 2013), Kindergarten Orientation (May 8th, 2013), and kid/parent contact and information forms!  They are waiting for you to RSVP, Sign-Up and fill out important online forms that will get you on our contact list and let us know more about your kids!  Thanks for taking the time to do this! 


Are You Smarter Than a Bulldog, Field Trips, Dismissal, Penny Drive and Teacher Cadet! (Whew!)

posted Feb 27, 2013, 2:51 PM by Beth Murphy

Hello Kindergarten families!

There are some exciting things going on at school and coming up for Kindergarten.  Please read below for important information!

Are You Smarter Than a Bulldog?
This is our big Spring fundraiser at Birch.  It is a really fun way for our kids to show what they know and get together with their buddies.  A study guide was sent home with the fundraiser envelope/information, as well as in your child's homework packet.  Please make sure you are helping them study!  All students will participate and they need to know the answers to help out their team!  We want all kids to participate in the fundraising portion as well.  Every penny really does help, so if all you can afford to donate is a penny, put it in the envelope and send it back to school by Friday!  We are raising money to get a new security door for the back of our school!

The actual trivia event takes place THIS Friday (9:30-10:45 am).  ALL Kindergartners are invited to attend.  M/W Kindergartners should have returned the bottom portion of the second note I sent home explaining how the day will go letting me know if they are attending for the full day on Friday or if they will only attend in the afternoon for their normal time (11:45-2:35).  If you did not send this note in please let me know by email before Friday if they will come for the full day!

Dress: To make the event fun and identify buddy classes we are encouraging our students and their buddies to wear the same colors.  If you have clothing items of these colors, all Monday/Wednesday kids should wear YELLOW and Tuesday/Thursday kids should wear GREEN.

Field Trips
Our first field trip will be on Friday, April 12th.  We will go to the Boulder Dinner Theater to see a play based on Dr. Suess stories called "The Differentest School of All".  This is one of my favorite field trip destinations and I'm sure your children will have a blast!  I have contacted those of you who signed up at the beginning of the year to be chaperones for this field trip.  I made our reservations/bought tickets based on the number of people who had signed up to volunteer at the beginning of the year.  As space/tickets are limited we will not be able to accept any other chaperones at this time.  A permission slip and more information about the field trip will come home 2-3 weeks before April 12th. 

Our second field trip will be to Sunflower Farms in Longmont.  At the beginning of the year I was unable to give an exact date, but I have now confirmed a day with Sunflower Farms.  That field trip will take place on Friday, May 3rd.   If you are interested in volunteering as a chaperone for the Sunflower Farms field trip please email me to let me know and I will put you on my list.  I will send out more information about responsibilities in April, but I'd like to get a count of how many adults will attend.  The fee for this field trip is $7 for adults.  Just a reminder that you must have your background check done/passed and that you cannot bring any other children along if you will be a chaperone on a field trip. Thanks for your understanding!

** MONDAY/WEDNESDAY families:  Don't forget!  Field trip days are days where your child will attend school in the morning!  They are invited to attend for the full day so they are able to go on the field trip!  This time also makes up the instructional hours that the M/W class misses as a result of so many Mondays off this year.  Mark your calendars for these dates so you don't forget it's a full day for them!

**TUESDAY/THURSDAY families:  Please mark your calendars for these field trip dates as well as dismissal time will be later.  Most T/Th kids attend KE, but for the few who do not, we will not be back to school to dismiss by 10:45 on these days.  An exact time will be included in the information and permission slips that go home a few weeks prior to the field trip, but a rough estimate for the April 12th field trip is 12:15-12:30 and 1:00-1:15 for the May 3rd field trip.

Dismissal Change

It's the time of the year where Kindergartners are really growing- academically, socially and in their independence!  Building independence and responsibility is a big part of Kindergarten and getting ready for 1st grade.  Starting NEXT WEEK (March 4th) I will begin letting the Kindergartners go without giving me a high-five or verbal "I see someone."  I will transition them to an independent dismissal by standing at the door all next week and watching to see that they all get picked up.  The following week I will let them exit on their own.  I will leave my door open and check after 10 minutes to see if anyone is left.  After that they will be all on their own out the door and picked up by you.  It is really important that you discuss your "pick-up plan" with your child and that you are ON TIME for your children.  I always tell the kids that they should still wait by our door as they have done all year for parents to pick them up unless you have another plan in place.  There are teachers on duty every day after school.  Two "sweep" the playground and take any children left outside to the office after 15 minutes and one watches the circle drive.  Mrs. P is required by KE to still walk out with her kids to dismiss them, so her dismissal will remain the same.  Please speak with her if you have any questions about KE dismissal.  On Friday mornings I will still walk out with the students who do not attend KE as there is no one out there to supervise. 

Penny Drive
This is the last week of our "Pennies for Patients" and "Pennies for Sandy" drive.  In Social Studies we have been talking about wants and needs.  One idea we discussed was that sometimes there are people who do not have the things they need.  This penny drive is one way to help people get what they need.  All money raised will be split with half going to Pennies for Patients (money helps families with medical bills for their children)  and the other half going to Pennies for Sandy (money goes to schools that lost many of their books due to damage by Hurricane Sandy on the East coast).  If you have spare change send it in to help these wonderful causes! 

Teacher Cadet

We have a new addition to our classroom!  On Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays we have a Junior from Broomfield High School, Sara Casasanta, helping out in the classroom.  Sara is part of a teacher cadet program where high school students take an education/child development class at the high school and then spend 35+ hours in an actual classroom learning and helping students.  Sara is an exceptional student and is already jumping right in helping your children with reading and writing.  We are excited to have her join us!

Thanks for all you do.  I so enjoy learning and playing with your children! 


Important Dates

posted Feb 6, 2013, 9:12 AM by Beth Murphy

Hey Kindergarten families!  I'm including the majority of the major dates/events for the remainder of the Kindergarten year in this post.  Please mark your calenders.  As events/dates get closer more information will go home about them!   Also, if you know anyone with incoming Kindergartners for the 2013/2014 year please have them check out this website under the "Incoming Kindergartners" tab for information about enrollment and orientation.  Thanks!


Thursday, February 14th: T/Th Valentine's Day party (1:30-2:30)
Friday, February 15th: M/W Valentine's Party (1:30-2:30)

Monday. February 18: NO SCHOOL
President's Day

Tuesday, February 19: NO SCHOOL for Students
Teacher Professional Development Day

Friday, March 1: Are You Smarter Than a Bulldog Fundraiser
ALL Kindergartners are invited to attend the event.  M/W Kindergartners will attend for the FULL DAY of school.  T/TH Kindergartners will have their normal schedule.

March 25-April 1:
NO SCHOOL- Spring Break

Friday, April 5: Class Pictures

Friday, April 12: Field Trip to Boulder Dinner Theater

Friday, April 19: NO SCHOOL for students
Teacher Professional Development Day

Friday, May 3 OR Friday, May 17 (Confirmation TBA): Field Trip to Sunflower Farms

Wednesday, May 22: LAST DAY of school for Monday/Wednesday Class
Family picnic time- TBA

Thursday, May 23: LAST DAY of school for T/Th class and 1st-5th grade
Birch Whole-school family picnic-TBA

December Newsletter

posted Dec 6, 2012, 9:52 PM by Beth Murphy

Hey K families!  Check below for the PDF copy of this month's newsletter.  Also coming home in paper form tomorrow in Friday Folders.  Have a great weekend!

-Ms. Murphy

Winter Parties- SAVE THE DATE- 12/19(MW) and 12/20(T/Th) 1:30-2:30

posted Dec 4, 2012, 10:14 AM by Beth Murphy

Hey K families!  SAVE THE DATE! 

The winter parties will NOT be on Friday, Dec. 21st for Kindergarten as I will be at CU for my graduation. (So excited to be done with my MA!) 

Monday/Wednesday Party: WEDNESDAY, Dec. 19th 1:30-2:30
Tuesday/Thursday Party: THURSDAY, Dec. 20th 1:30-2:30

I will send out more info/an email this week too!

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