Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Safety at Fireside

This week students and staff participated in their first Lockdown drill in partnership with our Director of Security and the Louisville Police Department. Our visitors were impressed with Fireside's level of preparedness thanks to the cooperation of our students and staff. I encourage parents to take a moment to review the Standard Response Protocol we use to support school safety, view the short video and discuss the drills with your child by accessing the resource link here  Should parents have any questions regarding safety practices at Fireside, please don't hesitate to contact Mrs. Keppler or a Safety Committee member:,, or

Our safety motto at Fireside is..."See something, say something."  As a community safety is all our responsibility.

On the topic of safety, a parent recently shared a resource with me regarding sexual abuse training. Here's a simple online tool that might support how you address this sensitive topic at home.  
As a school, we've hosted the Child Assault Prevention Program in the past. They're completely booked this year but we will plan to bring this program back to Fireside next year. To learn more, visit their website: 

We look forward to seeing our families at tonight's Jogathon celebration where we'll be unveiling our total amount raised from this year's fundraiser. Thank you for generously supporting our students, teachers and this exceptional place for learning!

Friday, September 14, 2018

September 14

Dear Fireside Families,
In an effort to streamline and improve our home-school communication we will soon be launching a new platform to  simplify life for our families and meet the varying needs. We will no longer have our lengthy monthly Chat. Instead, we'll have specialist "spotlights" and programmatic highlights spread throughout the month. We live in an age of mass communication, and our sincere hope is to reduce, refine, and distribute information more efficiently in order to enhance accessibility for our families. I'd like to thank our team for helping coordinate these changes- Director of Communications for BVSD, Randy Barber, Leah Sylvan, Kathryn Wolf, Samantha MacMillan, Dilek Eccles, and Trish Ortega. 
We were fortunate to host our Superintendent, Dr. Rob Anderson this week. Together we visited classrooms and he spent time with staff gathering feedback on ways we can continue to grow as a district. He noted as many do when walking through the doors of Fireside, the positive, purposeful, and engaged learning environments established in classrooms. As I myself have spent time in classrooms observing learning and trying out our new adaptive seating and personalized learning spaces, I couldn't agree more. There are noticeable shifts in the ways students are gathering to listen and learn from peers, their teachers, and flexing with seating and spaces. Personalization means meeting students where they're at as learners- this includes academically, social-emotionally, and physically. 

As a school, we continue to use brain research to inform teaching and learning practices. One of these areas is supporting our students with their developing pre-frontal cortex, which is responsible for executive functioning/a.k.a organizational skills. During this week's leadership team meeting, we discussed the similarities and differences of how this looks at different grade levels. For primary grades, it may be "chunking" information and having students kinesthetically involved to retain learning. For intermediate grades, it may include completing their daily planner and explaining short-term and long-term assignments. As parents, you can support your child with these skills as well by discussing what they've written in their planner and breaking down larger tasks into shorter manageable pieces. Visual schedules and list making at home can also support students with executive functioning skills. A simple step by step list of what they need to be ready each morning for school or a weekly/monthly calendar can help as well.

I'm happy to discuss this topic as well as others during our upcoming Principal Coffees. This is an open forum for us to come together as a community, ask questions, learn more about the school and support one another in our most important work- raising our children. 

I am so grateful for our amazing Jogathon committee who made this year's Jogathon such a success- we couldn't have done it without you! Proceeds from the Jogathon provide a variety of educational experiences for our kids that truly make a difference for our Fireside Falcons. Thank you for your financial support and participation in this one-time fundraising event. 

Your partner in education,
Christa Keppler

Friday, August 31, 2018

Fireside Pride

Dear Fireside Falcons, 
Hopefully, everyone's settling back into the rhythm of the school schedule. We sure enjoyed seeing all of you at Back to School Night this week. If you missed my presentation, feel free to view it here

I've had a chance to read this year's book, Be Kind, to all classrooms the past two weeks; the theme of kindness seems to come quite effortlessly to our Fireside Falcons. We discussed different acts of kindness at school as well as in the home and community and the rippling effect it has. Ask your child/ren about the book and ways they might contribute within your own family circle. 

We also had our beginning of the year PRIDE assembly to kick off the school year, promote this year's Jogathon, and to celebrate all the bond project enhancements with a blue-ribbon-cutting ceremony. Students were reminded of what it means to be a Fireside Falcon, opening the assembly with our all school movement and closing it with our Fireside Falcon song. Coming together as a school community for assemblies is another way we solidify the unity of students and staff. 

As most of you are aware by now, our one and only fundraiser is underway. We're so grateful for our Jogathon planning crew who've worked tirelessly to coordinate the event. The three day weekend is a perfect opportunity for our Fireside Falcons to creatively fundraise for the event. This year's Jogathon will be on September 14th. 

Wishing you all a "Labor free" 3-day weekend and hopefully, you're able to come out for this year's Louisville Labor Day parade!

Your proud Fireside Falcon,

Thursday, May 10, 2018

May 11

Dear Fireside Falcons!
It's been an exciting close to our school year with so many culminating events including field trips, field day and plowing the fields of our Fireside garden. There isn't a day that goes by when I don't stop and give thanks for this amazing home for learning, exploration, and the safe spaces we've created to nuture habits for learning. 

While the staff plays a critical role in our success, it's also our strong volunteer base, as well as the trust and support of our families that makes Fireside truly shine. Speaking of which, the staff was touched by all the creative expressions for staff appreciation week. Thank you Lee Hamiliton and Kate King for coordinating the week! 

Proud of our Destination Imagination Team! 

We hope to see parents at our Volunteer Reception on Tuesday, May 15 from 5:30-6pm for an informal gathering. Please join us for light hors d'oeuvres and a social in the libary at Fireside. RSVP here
We are also appreciative of our community weekend warriors-Dan Wizotsky, Tom Swett, Aidan Swett, Jim Van Nelson, Sebi Van Nelson, Mike Sarver, Isaac Sarver, Gary Norman, Drew Beckwith, Macy Beckwith, Veran Radebaugh and Xixi Shen for their help cleaning up and beautifying Fireside over the Earth Day weekend. They moved branches, raked pine needles and built stairs to the primary playground. 
As we close out the school year, I often try to push the "pause" button during the day, even if for a moment, to truly take in the buzz of learning throughout our school. It's also a time when I reflect on the year, listen to new ideas, and plant seeds for the year to come. 
Over the coming days, I hope all of us take a moment to step back and reflect on the past year, ask your child about their memorable moments and acknowledge their accomplisments.
I am so proud to be a Fireside Falcon and my greatest hope is that every student embodies  the same spirit of Fireside PRIDE.
Proud Falcon,
Mrs. Keppler

Friday, March 9, 2018

March 9

Dear Fireside Families,
It's been a week of inspired literacy, from our guest author on Monday, Gary Hogg, reminding students about "finding their voice as writers" to students exploring their world near and far during writing time. I had a chance to  share stories with students about my time in Ugandan schools teaching Fireside Falcons about the cultural differences, and most of all- our commanalities- the "strong desire to learn." Our literacy events culminated with a "Stop, Drop and Swap" on Friday afternoon where teachers swapped classrooms for read aloud, and we ended the day with a drawing and Kindle giveaway. Our literacy week wouldn't have been possible without the support of our community, staff and planning committee. A special thanks to Chrissie Burg and Rachel Setzke our co-chairs! Our goal at Fireside is to inspire a joy for reading and writing- this was seen and felt throughout the week. Let's maintain the momentum- share stories as a family, engage in a family read aloud, or take a moment to pause and write a "Top 10 list" when you're exploring your world! 
International Potluck- a celebration of our diversity!

Safety continues to be a top priority for us as a school and district. Here is district information regarding steps taken and resources to support safety discussions at home:  Be Ready- District Safety Training
Let's all do our part in protecting the safety of our students and volunteer crossing guards by driving slowly, avoiding illegal u-turns, and being attentive at the start and end of the school day. We are working in partnership with the City of Louisville to remind drivers that "We love our town, please slow down." 
During our School Accountability Meeting Thursday night, our School Counselor, Mrs. Wiilson, shared important tips and information about how we're teaching self-regulation skills to students at Fireside. For more information view the slides from her presentation: The Importance of Emotional Intelligence

The spirit of community is alive and well here at Fireside! Thanks for your support, partnership, and trusting us with your amazing kids. 

Now.....go exploring....onward to next week's Science Fair! 

Thursday, February 15, 2018

February 16

Dear Fireside Families,
     Thank you for attending conferences and for being a partner in your child's learning. Please contact your child's teacher to reschedule if you were unable to attend. A big thank you to our volunteers for providing meals during conference nights. It is such a gift and one we don't take for granted.
     This week I was reminded of why I truly LOVE Fireside- it is the love we all have for our children and the joy they bring to our lives. Expressions of love flowed throughout the school during Valentine's Day, everything from a "love" musical playlist coming from music to love poems, love affirmations and student's artistic expresssions of love on our community chalk art board (thanks to Ms. Sehnert). Read a love poem written by Lynley Sylvan here

In the wake of tragedy, love is what we return to and need to be reminded of. As a parent, should you need any support with discussing safety or the recent school shooting in Florida with your child, here are a few resources:
Talking to Children About Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers
How to talk to children about difficult news 

Fireside Community Literacy Week is coming soon! We are excited about launching this year's theme:  “Explore Your World”:  New this year…Fireside students will become a Travel Writer for a Day!  Please see the Family Writing Project for K-2nd graders  and 3rd to 5th-graders for the opportunity to have your child begin exploring at home.
Help your student(s) fill in the Family Writing Project worksheet prior to Community Literacy Week, March 5-9, 2018.  Students will turn the notes they take with their families into a finished piece.  Our aim is to inspire writers of all ability levels to be observant of their surroundings. Join in on the fun!

 A big thank you to all the parents who volunteered to support our free book giveaway during conferences. There's no better way to develop young readers than for students to practice reading books at their independent level. All books that weren't claimed will be donated to support students at schools in Uganda, Africa. To learn more about the non-profit organization started by a teacher, visit Mwebaza Foundation

Friday, February 9, 2018

Feb. 9

Dear Fireside Families,
Thank you for attending conferences this week. Our last night of conferences will be Monday evening, Feb. 12th. Please contact your child's teacher if you still need to schedule your child's conference. Thank you for supporting our goal of 100% attendance- your participation and partnership matter.
Congratulations to our Fireside Falcon spelling champ, 3rd grader, Lila Sannes! She will represent Fireside at tomorrow's regional spelling bee at Platt MS. We wish you all the best Lila! Thanks for making Fireside proud.
School Safety:
As most have heard by now, the BVSD security and communications departments have partnered to implement a new system to keep parents informed during a crisis. When a school is placed in lockout, lockdown, evacuation or shelter in place, an Emergency Alert via phone, text and email messaging will be sent to families. These alerts will be short in order to help inform our parents of the situation. This alert will not include regularly practiced school drills. We request families to be sure contact information, including phone number and email addresses, are updated in Infinite Campus. Once all the contact information in IC is correct, parents can set up an account in SchoolMessenger to set preferences for how they receive communications sent through the system.
To learn more about BVSD district practices Should families choose to opt in for text messaging click here