Skip To Main Content

Cottonwood Dictionary

Accelerated Reader (AR) - The Accelerated Reader program is a computerized program that tests reading comprehension. Students select books on their reading level, read independently, complete and 5-20 question test.   Each book is worth a certain number of points, based on its length and reading level. The school librarian or the classroom teacher can provide parents with more information on reading goals and classroom policy.

AHS Football Cheer Night - Cottonwood students are encouraged to come out and cheer for our Trojan football players before the game.  All Cottonwood students may attend the game for free. 

Box Tops - Every Box Top turned in is worth $.10!  Clip your Box Tops, place them in a bag and send to the school office by the designated date.  Parents can also sign up for the Boxtop App. More information can be found on the PTO website.  Our school receives FREE money! 

Buddy Olympics -  Buddy Olympics is a Student Council sponsored event that involves physical and academic games.  Buddy classes participate together in games set up all over the school. The purpose of Buddy Olympics is for students to have fun learning and playing together in events such as limbo, math card games, musical chairs, logic puzzles, etc.

Class Meetings - In order to provide a safe environment for students and adults to work on social emotional learning skills that will help students feel valued and connected, each classroom will participate in a class meeting at least 3 times a week during the school year.  Teachers allocate the first 20 minutes of class for constructive conversations and preparing students for the day ahead.  There are four basic components to morning meetings:

  • Greetings, where teachers and students welcome each other
  • Time for engaged sharing, where students and teachers share about something in their lives; the rest of the group practices active listening and asks follow-up questions
  • Activities that promote teamwork and give students additional time to practice social and emotional skills
  • A morning message, which is a short note from the teacher that explains the day’s events and objectives

Cottonwood Buddies - Each grade level and classroom has a buddy class for the year.  Kindergarteners meet with 5th graders; 1st graders meet with 3rd graders and 2nd graders work with 4th graders.  During buddy time, our students spend time reading together or completing a project. Teacher facilitate each activity.  Each group will meet for at least 30 minutes, twice a month.

Cottonwood Cheer - We are Cottonwood, where we start at the roots, grow and leave.

Explorations - Explorations is a 6 or 7 week study of various topics or hobbies.  Each quarter, students will be able to select from a menu of choices and give feedback regarding their learning.  Some of the topics include yoga, Bal-a-vis-x, drumming, Legos, coding, book study, cooking, coloring and playing games. The Cottonwood staff and community volunteers will be asked to share or facilitate a small group of students.

Global Play Day - Global School Play Day is an annual, February event promoting the importance of unstructured play in schools. Unstructured play helps children to develop 21st-century skills. Schools all over the world participate by interacting with classmates by playing a variety of games.  Students are encouraged to bring cards or board games from home. Students work together, read directions, follow game rules, and use team building skills by effectively communicating with one another.

Grandparents Day - This is a day designated for students to invite their grandparents to school to participate in special classroom time.   Each classroom has activities planned. The Grands are able to meet the teachers, enjoy some cookies, and play on the playground with their grandchildren. (This is a school-wide event that happens every 3 years) Classrooms may have their own celebrations.

Greater Andover Days - This is a yearly event in Andover to bring the community together and enjoy a variety of activities.  Our school float is made by parent and student volunteers and all are encouraged to participate in the parade.  Near the Andover library, vendors are set up with a variety of things to share, food to eat, face painting, carnival rides, a car show, different contests to participate in or observe, an evening concert and a fireworks show.   

Groups - Small groups are led by the school counselor to help students work through a concern.  Groups may be focused on divorce, friendship or social skills. Groups meet during the school day.  The counselor works with the teachers to schedule a time so that students are not missing classroom instruction.

New Student group - To help children acclimate to Cottonwood and feel a part of the community.  The students work with the counselor to get acquainted with the staff and building and make a few friends during the process.  

Banana Splits - Is a therapeutic group to assist students of separation or divorce by giving them a safe place to talk about what they are going through.   During the group time, students work on identifying coping strategies in a fun and safe environment.

Circle of Friends - Is a social and language skills program of inclusion that provides valuable support to students with special needs.  It is based on building friendships in a natural environment.

Kansas Redesign - The Kansans Can School Redesign Project was created in 2017 in support of Kansas’ vision for education,”Kansas leads the world in the success of each student”. In the Spring of 2018, the CES staff voted to apply to be a part of the Redesign Project and we were accepted.  Throughout the 2018-19 school year, the Cottonwood staff was involved with research, thoughtful discussions and pilot programs.  In the fall, we asked students, parents, and staff to share ideas and thoughts regarding an ideal Cottonwood. From that information, we developed a vision statement, mission statement and school-wide goals.

Vision: At Cottonwood we believe in doing what’s best for all kids by building relationships and providing opportunities for exploration that promote lifelong learning.

Mission: We will work together at Cottonwood Elementary to be responsible, respectful and resourceful life-long learners.  We will do what is right.

Goal 1: Student opportunities and success--Cottonwood will provide real-world experiences that allow for personalized learning and give students the chance to make a difference in their world.

Goal 2: Relationships -- We will foster healthy relationships with students, families, and our community.

Goal 3: Student well-being--Students will feel valued and connected. They will develop skills to listen, empathize, manage emotions, and problem solve.

Using the vision and goals to drive the process, we researched best practices and visited other schools. We met in small groups and as a whole staff to determine our areas for focus.   As we go through the 2019-20 school year, we will update the CES community on our strategies. We will continue to grow and evolve, while providing the best opportunities for all our students to grow and learn.

Kindergarten Round Up - This evening is designated for parents of incoming Kindergartners to visit our school and receive important information about the upcoming school year.  Parents will be able to sign up their child for a special visitation day, where their child can come for a few hours and see what goes on in the Kindergarten classroom.  

Kindergarten - Muffins with Mommy and/or Donuts with Dad - This is an opportunity for a parent, guardian or family friend to come to the classroom for an hour February and April for a muffin or donut and fun.  The students will share their classroom activities and experiences. It is a great opportunity to meet other Cottonwood community members and spend time with a child.

Meet Your Teacher Night - Parents and students are encouraged to visit their classroom and meet their new teacher for the upcoming school year.  You are welcome to bring school supplies at this time. 

Parent Teacher Conferences - The Andover schools offer parent-teacher conferences in the Fall and Spring. A parent teacher conference is a short meeting between you and your child’s teacher to talk about your child’s academic performance and experience at school. These meetings help you understand what your child is experiencing and learning at school, and what you can do to support them. If your child is having trouble, parent teacher conferences also give the parent and the teacher time to plan how you can both help them best.  While formal conferences are held on specific days, parents and teachers should continue to communicate throughout the school year. Together, we can make a difference.

Picture Day - LifeTouch will take photos of students/staff during regular school hours. Flyers will go home in advance so that parents are aware of the scheduled date for Cottonwood. Visit our website where you will find our school code for online orders.

PTO Meetings - The Cottonwood PTO consists of parents and teachers working together for the betterment of the school. Their purpose is to support our Cottonwood staff and provide opportunities for all students.  Meetings are the 1st Tuesday of each month from 7:00-8:00 in the Cottonwood staff lounge. Our PTO strives to build community by offering activities for the family. We have offered a Father/Daughter Dance; Mother/Son bowling; movie nights and carnivals. We continue to grow and change each year.  

PTO All Star Sports Night - Cottonwood families are invited to come and spend a few hours together and enjoy carnival rides, go-karts, putt-putt golf, and the arcade. 

PTO Non-A-Thon Fundraiser - This is a tax-deductible fundraiser!  This does not involve any door to door sales, candy bar or magazine purchases.  All we do is simply ask for a donation! We have an online donation page, so friends and family from out of town can easily participate.  All funds raised are used to purchase items for our Cottonwood teachers and students. Here are a few things we’ve been able to purchase with the funds:

  • Accelerated Reader (the reading program used at our school)
  • Dreambox Learning (new Math program)
  • Chromebooks for every classroom
  • Flexible Seating
  • Teacher Grants...and Much More!

PTO Sonic Spirit Night - Families are invited to meet at Sonic and enjoy a variety of delicious foods while getting to know others in our Cottonwood family.  A portion of the proceeds are donated back to CES!  

Red Ribbon Week - Red Ribbon Week (last week in October) is the oldest and largest drug prevention program in the nation and a way for people and communities to take a visible stance against drugs. The event is sponsored by The National Family Partnership.  The school counselor talks with students about making positive choices. 

Rise and Shine - Each Friday morning our students meet in the gym from 8:45am-9:15am to hear special announcements acknowledge students who are recognized for excellent behavior and celebrate birthdays.  Staff are available for supervision at 8:35. Students will recite the Cottonwood mission statement and the Pledge of Allegiance. We use Rise and Shine to teach character words, have special speakers and to celebrate together.  On Fridays, names are drawn from a container and if a student is wearing a CES/Andover shirt, he/she can get a CES water bottle. We give away about 250 water bottles each year.

School Store - Student Council runs a school store every Tuesday morning from 8:30-8:50. Students can buy erasers, pencils, pens, highlighters, etc. from the store. Prices range from $.25 to $2.00. Proceeds from the store finance our service projects.

Second Step - A school-wide social-emotional learning (SEL) curriculum to provide students with the skills for learning empathy, emotion management, friendship skills and problem solving. Second Step is designed to help children better understand, manage, and express emotions and empathy, develop positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. SEL curriculum teaches children techniques that help them gain confidence, set and achieve positive goals, collaborate well, and navigate the world more effectively—adding a highly valuable dimension to education in the classroom.  This curriculum is taught during class meetings. More about Second Step will be shared throughout the year in class and building newsletters.

Schoolwide Testing - The Andover schools use STAR and DIBELS as the norm-referenced assessment.  STAR assessments are short tests that provide teachers with learning data. Star tests are computer adaptive, which means they adjust to each answer your child provides. This helps teachers get the best data to help your child in the shortest amount of testing time.  Students in grades 1-5 will take the STAR Math and grades 2-5 will take STAR Reading. Students in K-1 are given a DIBELS assessment. DIBELS is a universal screener that measures the development of reading skills of all students through two main assessments: Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) and the Text Reading Comprehension (TRC)assessments.  Students are tested three times per year. August, December and May. Teachers will share testing results at Parent Teacher Conferences or in the report cards. Parents are encouraged to read through the data and ask questions.  

Site Council - The site council plays an important role in decision-making at Cottonwood Elementary.  A group of teachers, parents, and staff work with the principal to develop, review and evaluate school improvement programs and school budgets. The members of the site council are generally elected by their peers. For example, parents elect the parent representatives and teachers elect teachers.

Spirit Week - Each year, usually in February, it’s time to celebrate school.  Student Council helps plan our spirit week. Students can dress in theme for the day.

Standards-Based Grading - Standards-based grading reflects the student’s progress toward mastery of a specific standard at the time of reporting rather than an overall nine-week average. The student’s proficiency is reported separately from his or her effort on the report card.  The report cards include numerous standards that students are expected to understand for each grade.  Teachers assess students’ performance levels on these standards in multiple ways to include: teacher observation, student work, assignments, projects, and assessments.  Students will receive the following Performance Indicators on graded work. These same performance indicators will be used on report cards. Once again, our goal is to have clear and consistent communication with parents across the district.   

Kindergarten Performance Indicators:

      +Student consistently demonstrates an understanding of skill at an independent level.
      +Student inconsistently demonstrates an understanding of skill and frequently requires assistance.
        ‚ÄčN/A Not assessed this quarter.

1st-5th Grade Performance Indicators:

  • 4 Advanced--The student exceeds requirements by showing in-depth understanding and/or application of the standard.
  • 3 Proficient--The student consistently demonstrates an understanding of the standard at an independent level.
  • 2 Developing--The student inconsistently demonstrates an understanding of the standard and frequently requires assistance.
  • 1 Emerging--The student does not yet demonstrate an understanding of the standard.

      + Student consistently demonstrates an understanding of skill at an independent level.

      - Student inconsistently demonstrates an understanding of skill and frequently requires assistance.

STEAM - Is an educational approach to learning that uses Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics as access points for guiding student inquiry, dialogue, and critical thinking. The end results are students who take thoughtful risks, engage in experiential learning, persist in problem-solving, embrace collaboration, and work through the creative process. These are the innovators, educators, leaders, and learners of the 21st century!

Student Council - Our Cottonwood Student Council consists of almost 30 members.  Students in 5th grade may run for office: (President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer)  Once those elections are held, each classroom in grades 3-5 can nominate 2 class representatives.  Student Council members meet once a month. They are a service organization and throughout the year they plan service projects for CES.  (Food Drive; Toy Drive; School Supply Drive)

Trojans in Training - Cottonwood students are invited to attend an Andover High School football game. The cost is free to students who wear their Cottonwood T-shirts. This event is held in September.