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Weekly Principal Updates, 2017-2018 9/25/2017 - 9/29/2017


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Contact info

5251 E. Stearns Street
Long Beach, CA. 90815

Office: (562) 498-3794
Fax: (562) 498-1711

Mr. Sam Platis

Office Hours:
7:30 - 4:00, Mon - Fri

Mr. Sam Platis


Bixby Mission

The Florence Bixby School Staff is a dedicated, highly qualified, caring, group of professionals.  We are committed to providing positive and challenging opportunities.  High expectations, academic excellence, parent and community involvement, and a safe learning environment provide students with the means to grow socially, emotionally, and academically on the path to becoming life-long learners.

2nd Annual Salute to Veterans and Active Duty Personnel

From the Principal: Weekly Update, January 15-19, 2018 (Posted 1/13/2018)

“Cliff Notes Version”

  1. Coach Wooden Success Trait/Growth Mindset Quote of the Week

  2. How Are We Doing?”... A Brief Summary of Family Survey Results

  3. UPDATE:  School Safety, Security and Infrastructure Enhancement Committee (Schedule of Monthly Meetings:  6:00 p.m. January 17; 2:30 and 6:00 p.m. February 21, March 21, April 18, May 16, Room B-24)

  4. “The Great Kindness Challenge” is Coming to Florence Bixby! (January 22-26)

  5. Changes to our Campus -- Maintenance Yard Extension and Fencing

  6. PTA Fit-a-Thon Prize for Eligible Students -- Lunchtime Pizza and Ice Cream Party, Friday January 19th

  7. JiJi Math Progress Update by Grade Level

  8. “Arrive on Time, Every Minute, Every Day” Update

Upcoming January and February Events:

  • January 15 -- No School:  DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING HOLIDAY

  • January 17 -- 6:00 p.m., Room B-24:  School Safety, Security and Infrastructure Enhancement Committee Meeting

  • January 25 -- 6:00 p.m., Room B-24:  FAB-U (Families at Bixby “University”), FREE Family Workshop

  • February 2 -- Achievement Reports (“report cards”) Sent Home

  • February 12 -- No School:  PRESIDENT LINCOLN HOLIDAY

  • February 19 -- No School:  PRESIDENT WASHINGTON HOLIDAY

  • February 21 -- 2:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m., Room B-24:  School Safety, Security and Infrastructure Enhancement Committee Meeting

Good Saturday Afternoon, Florence Bixby Elementary School Families,


Our work as parents, guardians, families, teachers and principal is a tremendous privilege and an even greater responsibility.  As one of my favorite education researchers and authors Dr. Haim Ginott once wrote, our roles are beyond impactful, they are indeed life-changing.  His quote from Teacher and Child (Avon Books, 1972; buy it here: speaks to this idea of being “life-changers” for children…


“I’ve come to a frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element in the classroom. It’s my personal approach that creates the climate. It’s my daily mood that makes the weather. As a teacher, I possess a tremendous power to make a child’s life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated and a child humanized or dehumanized.” --Dr. Haim Ginott (Underlining added for emphasis).


For myself, as both a parent and a principal, when reflecting on Dr. Ginott’s quote, I find myself frequently interchanging the words “home” and “school” for the word “classroom”; “father” and “principal” for the word “teacher”.  At times, it feels effortless for us all to help “...create the climate...” of a sunny, positive and appreciative day.  Other times, it can be quite different.  In more challenging situations, we may struggle to maintain composure, take the “high road”, remember our greater purpose, and to “Be the change we wish to see in the world” (a quote/thought widely attributed to the great Mohandas Gandhi).  This can be true in our home, in our classroom, or as the entrusted principal of 483 remarkable students and dozens of hard working staff members.  It is precisely during the more challenging times that it is the most important for all of us -- parents/guardians, teachers, and principal -- to work even harder to ensure that our thoughts, words and actions serve to create a “climate” of appreciation, respect and encouragement for ALL children.  


I strongly believe that Dr. Ginott’s quote gets to the heart and the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King’s Dream (PLEASE WATCH HIS HISTORIC “I HAVE A DREAM” SPEECH WITH YOUR CHILDREN HERE: As a school community, we ALL have a moral, ethical, and legal imperative to continue to work together to provide a school community that values ALL children.  A school that ensures ALL children have the inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  A school that inspires ALL children to reach their Personal Best.  And a school where ALL children are humanized by their parents/guardians, teachers and principals, working together to ensure that they are provided with a Key to the American Dream.  

Here’s to our privilege and responsibility -- as teachers, parents/guardians, and principal -- to build on Dr. King’s Dream, and to create the “climate” and “weather” where children grow and thrive academically and socially. Because… the PRESENT and the FUTURE belong not only to those who dream, but also those who work tirelessly to ensure that ALL children’s dreams are made possible through Hard Work, Determination, encouragement, inspiration and who embrace “OUR Journey to Success and OUR Personal Best.”


And now for the detailed version of the Weekly Principal's Update...

1. Coach Wooden Success Trait/Growth Mindset Quote of the Week -- “Discipline yourself, and others won’t need to.”  –Coach John Wooden


2. “How Are We Doing?”... A Brief Summary of Family Survey Results -- We received 71 completed Family Surveys!  Thank you to those who were able to take the time to provide our school with invaluable information.  Your feedback will help our school to celebrate our successes, as well as prioritize and develop action plans for continuous improvement.  Here is a brief summary of some of the results…  

  • 78% of respondents feel that a gate to enclose the front of our school would significantly enhance safety and security.   

  • 93% stated that our school provides high-quality instruction to their child/ren.

  • 97% feel welcome to participate at our school.

  • 97% feel teachers treat them with respect.

  • 63% feel that the office staff treats them with respect.

  • 100% feel that the principal treats them with respect.

  • 95% feel that their child’s/ren’s background (race, ethnicity, religion, economic status) is valued at our school.

  • 94% feel that discipline is fair.

We will continue our Determination, Hard Work, and Action by using our family, student and teacher survey results to make our school the very best.  Thank you!  


3. UPDATE:  School Safety, Security and Infrastructure Enhancement Committee (Schedule of Monthly Meetings:  6:00 p.m. January 17; 2:30 and 6:00 p.m. on February 21, March 21, April 18, May 16, Room B-24) -- This Wednesday, January 17th, we will continue our monthly meetings to ensure that our school is physically and emotionally safe and secure.  Our second meeting will focus on our committee of parents/guardians, staff and teachers’ recommendations to our School Site Council and the LBUSD.  We will also analyze our recent surveys that were deployed to all third through fifth grade students, teachers and families to formulate next steps. Finally, please note that the 2:30 p.m. meeting for this Wednesday, January 17th has been cancelled, but we will still meet at 6:00 p.m. in Room B-24.  Thank you for your active involvement in helping to maintain and enhance a safe and secure learning environment!


4. “The Great Kindness Challenge” is Coming to Florence Bixby! (January 22-26) -- Coordinated by our Literacy Specialist, Mrs. Nickell, and our Counselor, Ms. Veca, The Great Kindness Challenge will be an outstanding growth opportunity for our students and staff.  Here’s how it will work…  The Great Kindness Challenge is one week dedicated to the continued development of a culture of kindness on campuses nationwide.  Our school is proudly participating in this proactive, positive bullying prevention initiative the week of January 22nd-26th.  All students will receive a GKC checklist with 50 kind acts. Families and teachers are encouraged to have all children complete the checklist by the end of the week. We will have a kick-off morning assembly with the whole school and grade-level pep rallies on Monday, January 22nd. Teachers will receive a “teacher kindness folder” this week, with all the details.  Here’s to teaching all of our students, “If you have a choice between being right and being kind, choose kind." This quote, by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer, is also a major theme in the book/movie “Wonder”, which our Literacy Specialist Mrs. Nickell has been using as a “book study” tool to both support increased academic achievement, as well as teach our students (and now the rest of the school, through the “Great Kindness Challenge”) about the power of kindness!


5. Changes to Our Campus:  Maintenance Yard Fencing Extension -- In an effort to enhance and improve the District’s good work to maintain nearly 100 facilities throughout the LBUSD, a portion of the playground has been repurposed.  We are proud to support this effort, as our school is part of a larger system to provide all children in Long Beach with quality facilities to learn in. You may have noticed (or your child may have shared with you:) that additional fencing has been added to the northern portion of the playground to extend the maintenance yard (located adjacent to Los Coyotes Diagonal).  This re-purposing of District property will support greater efficiency in maintaining schools throughout our great city.  


6. PTA Fit-a-Thon Prize for Eligible Students (Lunchtime Pizza and Ice Cream Party, Friday January 19th) -- The PTA Fit-A-Thon committee is excited to present its next prize party - pizza and ice cream which will be held on Friday, January 19th at lunch. Coupons for this prize party will be placed in teacher mailboxes on Tuesday, January 16th by our parent volunteer, Mr. Michael Frick. Free dress date is schedule for Friday, January 26th with coupons for this event delivered to teacher mailboxes on Monday, January 22nd. Thank you for supporting our only PTA fundraiser of the year to ensure the PTA can continue to support programs for our students, families, and staff.


7. JiJi Math Progress Update by Grade Level -- Research shows that students who regularly and efficiently progress through the JiJi math syllabus are more successful with developing their understanding of key mathematical concepts and skills.  Here are the current grade level JiJi average syllabus completion rates, in descending order (as of 1/6/18).  1. Second Grade (38.5%), 2. Third Grade (37.4%), 3. Fifth Grade (35.7%), 4. Fourth Grade (30.5%), 5. Kindergarten (28.5%), 6. First Grade (28%).


8. “Arrive on Time, Every Minute, Every Day” Update -- There is just no “sugar coating” this one… Our first week back from Winter Break was not our school-wide best for arriving to school on time.  Thank you to the families whose Hard Work, Action and Determination ensured that their child/ren benefited from a high-quality education, every minute, every day last week. The great thing about continuous improvement is that we have another chance next week to do better.  As a reminder, students arriving late will meet briefly (about 30 seconds) with me before going to class to develop a plan for arriving at school on time. Families of late arriving and/or frequently absent students will also continue to be contacted to see how the school might be able to better support our shared commitment to ensuring that all students are at school every day, on time. Congratulations to Mrs. Levitan’s TK students in Room 1 for earning a popsicle party by arriving on time with 100% attendance twice last week!

Enjoy a Personal Best weekend and week ahead!


With continued gratitude,

--Sam Platis, Proud Principal, Florence Bixby Elementary School

School District News

Today: 1/18/18

Kindergarten - Are you ready?

Here are some places to go to get information to help both you and your kindergartener get ready for the first day of school.

Immunization Requirements

LBUSD Parent Guidelines - English

LBUSD Parent Guidelines - Spanish

ABC - Ready to Read

Literacy Activities: What Your Child Learns

Daily Affirmation

This day has been given to me, fresh and new.
I can learn from it, or throw it away.
I will choose to do my best in thoughts, words, and actions.
This day will be used, not lost.
That’s the Bixby way!