Decker Prairie Elementary School

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I started my journey teaching in 2006 at Decker Prairie Elementary after graduating with a degree in Academic Studies from Sam Houston University. I have taught both 2nd and 3rd grade and absolutely love teaching! This will be my 12th year!
A little bit about myself:
My husband and I live in Cypress with 4th grade son Aiden and our feisty Pre-K daughter Brenna. We have several pets that include our dog Riley, our box turtle Slash, and our assorted fish. I enjoy researching my family's history in my spare time.

I think I have the best job in the world! I get to help students reach their fullest potential, learn new and exciting things, and have fun doing it! I believe that we are going to gave an amazing year!


Recent Posts

DPES 3rd and 4th Grade


May 7-11, 2018

DPES 3rd and 4th grade students are all CHAMPIONS!  In order to review for the upcoming STAAR Math and STAAR Reading tests on May 14th and 15th, students will be taking part in engaging review games.

To make this more fun or our students, students are also invited to dress up each day based on the sport of the day!

  • Monday, May 7thCharge the STAAR: wear    basketball attire or a jersey

  •     Tuesday, May 8thTackle the STAAR: wear a        
                football jersey or T-shirt

  •            Wednesday, May 9th- Diving Toward STAAR

           Success: wear swim caps and googles, bring a towel to  

           sit on (no bathing suits, please)

  • Thursday, May 10th- Knock STAAR Out of the Park: wear baseball attire or a jersey

  • Friday, May 11th-Our Team is Going to SOCK the STAAR: wear your class shirt and crazy socks

*Please remember all outfits for the week must

follow school dress code*

Dear Parents,

Since the beginning of the year, students have been working to improve their math problem solving, computation, and fluency.  On Monday, May 14th, all third grade students will take the Math STAAR test. It requires students to use problem solving skills, math computation, and reading comprehension to solve a variety of math questions. The homework folder marked STAAR Math Homework is coming home March 26 and will need to be returned on the date assigned. Scratch paper will be included in the folder and NEEDS to be used. Just marking an answer with no work shown cannot help us help your child if they get a question wrong.

The STAAR Math Homework should be completed during the week. The pages will be given to the students either Friday or Monday and will be due either Thursday or Friday, depending on what is occurring that coming Friday. We will review these assignments in class.  For this reason, it is important that your child has completed and returned the assignment so that the time spent checking and discussing it is most beneficial. The following strategies can be used to help your child comprehend word problems. These are things we have talked about all year and the students should now be able to apply.

Word Problem Strategies:

Read the problem: Get a feel for the kind of problem you are about to solve.

Then reread each sentence, stop, and jot:

Is there any information that could be important?

Pull that information out and label it. For example, if the first sentence says John had 34 watermelons, I might write down JW: 34  for John’s watermelons.

Organize all information before solving!

Ask yourself what actions are happening:

A strip diagram can help you organize those actions. Once you know the actions and how they are

related to the problem, you can figure out what operation/operations you will use to solve the


Can you eliminate answer choices that don’t make sense from the information you’ve gathered so far?

Sometimes you can eliminate the “silly” answer choices once you’ve analyzed the problem.

Choose a strategy to solve:

Students have been taught many strategies to solve problems. They can draw a picture, draw a

model, break apart numbers into easier numbers to solve, create an array for

multiplication/division, and much more. Make sure they work carefully and don’t rush! This

causes students to miscalculate.

Finally, does your answer make sense?

Does your answer match what the problem is asking? If you plugged your answer in, would it

work and make sense?

Finally, as you are working with your child on their STAAR homework, we ask that you help your child by reminding them to use the strategies we have practiced in class and allow them to the answer the questions.  This is not for a grade, but rather an opportunity to learn. We appreciate your support of your child and what they have been accomplishing as 3rd grade problem solvers!  If you have any questions, please contact your child’s math teacher.

Thank You!
3rd Grade Math Teachers


Due Date



March 29- Thursday




April 6-





April 13- Friday




April 19- Thursday




April 27- Friday




May 4-





May 10- Thursday



Important Dates

  • March 30 No School - Good Friday
  • April 12 Field Trip
  • April 20 Field Day
  • May 14 Math STAAR 3rd/4th Grade

Week of October 30
In Math, we begin estimating differences using rounding and compatible numbers.
In Science, we are finishing our unit over Sound Energy.
Many students have lost their earbuds or their earbuds have quit working. Please ask your child if they need new ones. Many students have also lost their dry erase markers. Talk with your child to see if they need replacements. Thanks!

Week of Oct. 16
In Math, we are estimating using compatible numbers and representing addition using pictorial models and number lines.
In Science, we are learning about buoyancy, mixtures, and solutions.

Week of Oct. 2
In Math, we are rounding,comparing, and ordering numbers up to six digits. We are continuing addition and subtraction facts. Begin practicing basic multiplication facts at home.
In Science, we are studying the properties of solids, liquids, and gases.
Parent conferences are well on their way! If you have not signed up for a parent conference, please do so. Make sure to check your email for the link!
If you didn't come to Parent Orientation, please make an effort to go through the google slide on my Edlio.

Week of Sept. 18
Math: We are learning how to compose and decompose numbers up to 6 digits in various ways. We are learning the relationship between places is ten times as much as the one before it.
We will have our first PLACE VALUE TEST on Thursday. 
We have a Fact Proficiency over adding and subtracting doubles.
Homework started last week. It consists of studying math facts each day and one worksheet. Please be on the look out for this homework.
Science: We are beginning our Matter Unit and our ongoing Weather Journal. 
Starting next week, we begin our ever-popular Traveling Scientist. Each student will get a chance to become the Traveling Scientist this year. A bag will be sent home with several science experiment books, a journal, and directions. Students will have a week to complete a science experiment of their choice, document it with pictures and a write up, and teach the class as the "Traveling Scientist". We will have one Traveling Scientist each week, so get ready!

Week of Sept. 11
Math: We have begun our place value unit up to 6 digit numbers. We will be composing, decomposing, and representing numbers up to 999,999.
Science: We are learning about Science Safety and Science tools. 
Homework will be coming home soon. It is important that you check your child's planner daily. Students will receive homework on Mondays and will be due every Thursday for Math and Science. You will rarely have Science homework. Homework usually consists of studying math facts and a review worksheet over what we have learned in class. After the Christmas break, we will have STAAR homework come home.
Ask your child what fun Science or Math activities they have had this past week. There are a few photos of our germ activity in the photo album!

DPES is looking for volunteers for our Parents as Coaches program!  Parents as Coaches are weekly parent volunteers that work with small groups of students in a Kindergarten or First Grade classroom for thirty minute increments.  A language arts or math activity/game will be provided for the parent to play with the students.   We believe that our community and parents play a significant role in our students’ success.  All volunteers will need to submit and pass the district background check on the TISD webpage.  If you are interested in volunteering for the Parents as Coaches program, please contact Mrs. Hudson at  or complete the application form at

 Dear Parents,
This year is getting off to a great start! We are really enjoying your children and can't wait to dive into our curriculum! If you have not already signed up for Remind, please do so. I am attaching directions to sign up for Remind.
Be on the lookout for another email coming soon about Class Dojo.
Mrs. Heniff

 Welcome parents to my Teacher Page! I am so excited to begin teaching your child this year! We have a great year planned! Please make sure to send your child's supplies with them on the first day of school.

The end of the year is nearing!! We have the privilege of getting snow cones for our end of the year party. This means we have to have party money a bit sooner in order to have time to order everything. If you can, please think about donating $5 for our snow cone end of the year party. Thank you so much in helping us provide the most amazing end of the year party for our class!
Mrs. Heniff 

  • May 24- 3rd Grade Field Trip to  W.G. Jones State Forest-DON'T FORGET TO SEND IN YOUR PERMISSION FORMS GOING HOME TODAY!
  • Chaperones Needed:
    We will be taking a 3rd Grade field trip on Wednesday, May 24th!   If you are considering chaperoning you must have a background check complete and on file with the district.  Please click the "volunteer application" on the right to fill out the district form. (Yes, it looks like you are filling out a job application for TISD.) Apply now so it is all back in time! LINK IS BELOW!

This Week
We are reviewing for the STAAR test this week.  The  Math test is next Monday, the 8th, and the Reading test is Tuesday, the 9th.  Please make every effort to have your child in school, all week, this week.  Please also have them wind down early Sunday night and have a good breakfast Monday morning.  Remind them how awesome they are and how awesome they will do.  The test doesn't define us; however, the state takes the scores very seriously.  So, we do want the students to perform as well as they can.  
An email was sent by Mrs. Velchoff about the Parent Encouragement Letter we give students every year from parents before the STAAR test. We tell them all day long that they can do this, but sometimes that extra special surprise encouragement letter means the world to them. Please send your letter back in a sealed envelope by Friday. The blank copy will be in Wednesday folders with an envelope. Thank you for helping us support your children.

What’s happening at DPES?

  • May 2- STAAR Tutoring, Field Trip Permission Slips sent home for Field Trip
  • May 4- STAAR Tutoring (last opportunity)
  • May 5- Fun Run!!! Go Heniff Hoppers!!!
  • May 8- STAAR Math Test
  • May 9- STAAR Reading Test
  • May 12- Moms and Muffins
  • May 14- Mother's Day
  • May 19- All Library Books Due
  • May 24- 3rd Grade Field Trip to  W.G. Jones State Forest
    Chaperones Needed:
    We will be taking a 3rd Grade field trip on Wednesday, May 24th!   If you are considering chaperoning you must have a background check complete and on file with the district.  Please click the "volunteer application" on the right to fill out the district form. (Yes, it looks like you are filling out a job application for TISD.) Apply now so it is all back in time!
  • May 26- Reading Rally
  • May 29- Memorial Day, No School
  • May 31- End of Year Parties
June 1- LAST DAY OF SCHOOL, Early Dismissal/Report Cards Sent Home

Week of April 17
In Math, we are learning how to create, use, and draw conclusions from tally tables, dot plots, pictographs, and bar graphs. We are continuing time division and multiplication facts.
In Science, we are learning about plant adaptations and life cycles.
This Friday is Field Day! 3rd grade's time is from 12:15-1:45. Sack lunch is appreciated because we sometimes get to eat in our own classroom this day.  
Please make sure your child comes to school wearing sunscreen as we are not to apply it at school. All students should bring a plastic sack to put wet clothes in. I recommend bringing a towel, a change of clothes (including socks, shoes, and underwear), and a water bottle.