May 2013 Newsletter
Thank you PTO Volunteers: We love our children and are wont to indulge them at times with a treat, movie, special dessert, or toy. But buying a book for our child is not an indulgence. It is a powerful way to assert the value of reading, of literacy, and of education. In a time when our values seem so out of perspective, the simple act of buying a book for a young learner puts our priorities back where they belong.
Last Friday, April 26, was a busy day at Mt. Lebanon. Mrs. Greenough graciously gave up her instructional space so that Mrs. Lori Hibner, PTO volunteer and staunch supporter, could organize the Scholastic Book Fair. We also wish to thank Audra Smith and her assistants for organizing a highly enjoyable Spaghetti Supper. Bread was donated by Panera and the sauce and meatballs by Cantores . Café Services also lent us Mr. Dennis Samuel who provided his oversight, time and pasta preparation skills. We are most fortunate to have local business representatives take such an active and generous role in supporting our school. Thanks to all who attended to support these annual events.
NECAP, the New England Common Assessment Program:
Beginning May 7, our fourth grade students will be taking the state-wide three day science assessment. Two parts of this test will be standard questions and on the third day students will work with friends to conduct an experiment and write about it. For the past three years our students have done well on this assessment.
As the standard for numbers of students and rate of growth for students goes up each year, so do we see more and more schools not making AYP, and as such are designated schools in need of improvement (SINI). The state requires a corrective action plan. In the most general of terms, the premise of corrective action is based on the assumption that if your students, individually, in cohorts, or en masse, are not meeting growth targets then what you are currently doing must change. We are going to continue to revise those areas where we may have more control: scheduling, grouping of students, refining our understanding of learning diagnostics, and materials. These strategies will be incorporated into an ongoing Mt. Lebanon School Corrective Action Plan.
Class Lists: Thank you to all who provided feedback for consideration as we put together class lists for next year. We are making every attempt to ensure that we have considered all variables, but wish to remind you that there is no guarantee that your first choice for your student can be realized in all cases.
Building Usage Committee: In the last four years, Mt. Lebanon School has seen an increase in our student numbers. We’ve identified the need for more teachers, more SPED support, and more administration, all of which have been supported and will be provided for next year. The most challenging issue we currently face at Mt. Lebanon is space. An ad-hoc committee spent many hours exploring alternatives and we will be submitting our proposal for consideration so that plans for these accommodations can be made this summer. While these building adjustments may serve in the short run, a more serious building refitting will be in the hands of the district Long Range Planning Committee of the Board.
Responsive Classroom: We are constantly striving to become more effective in helping children learn, understand and practice appropriate social interactions and responses to direction. We use clear, direct language that is free of innuendo or sarcasm. With words, tone of voice, facial expression, and body posture, we can communicate calmness and respect. In this way we avoid shaming and/or judging the students. We address behavior, not character. And, we keep the focus on the positive behavior we want to see, and reduce the likelihood of power struggles. For more information you may visit the Responsive Classroom website. There is a section there for parents.
What do we Hold Dear?: I’ve always been against waste, inefficiency and ignorance. Education is an expensive social proposition. Democracy, in order to work well, requires an educated and informed citizenry. In our district we’re willing and able to dedicate twelve to thirteen thousand dollars a year per child for that charge. That includes direct instruction, materials, counseling services, specialized instruction, technology infrastructure and software, professional development, secretarial services, transportation, specialized language instruction, physical education and its myriad of options, paraeductors, books, custodial services, insurance, nurses and medical services, attractive outdoor playgrounds, administrative oversight, parking and maintenance facilities, utilities, special reading instruction, testing services, special educator contract services, before school supervision; the list goes on, and at second glance, this is very good value, indeed. Our children deserve nothing less.
While I should be accustomed to how and where other money is spent, I’m still aghast when I read about the professional athlete on whom is lavished, and sanctioned by our mute approval, a per annum expenditure of $63,000,000.00. Of course, that’s salary (21 mil)., and endorsements (42 mil). For that, that individual dribbles the ball, shoots the ball, passes the ball, blocks the ball, kicks the ball, and says good things about the brand written on or about the ball. (These variables have the added benefit of employing savvy statisticians who inform us of the great value to be added-- by knowing the stats.) Let’s see, $12,800.00 for comprehensive services for an elementary student for a year v. services from one individual in 66, two hour public appearances at $955,000.00 per appearance, for one season. Why, it would appear that we could educate every child in SAU 88 for five years for the same cost as one professional athlete’s annual haul.
I’m looking forward to the day when we as a society value education, our nation’s future, well-being and economic stability as highly as we do our spectacle of sport. Please let me know if you have any ideas as to how to level the playing field.
We are bidding farewell to two outstanding educators who will be retiring at the end of the year: Mrs. Jane Earl, third grade teacher, and Mrs. Jan Casano, grade one teacher. Our sincere appreciation for their many years of selfless service and dedication go with them, as do our well wishes for a long, happy, healthy and well-deserved retirement.
Teacher Assignments SY 2013-2014
Judy Klunder, Suzanne Martin, MaryEllen Reinsel
Mary Skiffington, Alice Gundersen, Nancy Hall
Christina Joanis, Mary Davidson, NEW hire
Linda Ehrlich, Emily Wright, NEW hire
Melissa Allen, Shelley Renehan, NEW hire
May 7 – May 10 Grade 4 Science NECAP
May 17, Mr. A.Heinemann, Ex.Dir. Boy Scouts, Lunchtime Visit w/Boys
May 24, Volunteer Appreciation Morning Sing
June 7, PM Sing 1:15 to honor retirees, Reception Following
June 17 Grade 4 Promotion Ceremony 8:30 AM
June 18 Last Day of School for Students
Farewell Cookout 11:30 – 1:00
“Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for kindness.” Anonymous
April Newsletter 2013
Wild About Reading Week: This year’s theme met with an enthusiastic response from both teachers and students. Kicking the week off was the memorable Morning Sing appearance of the Mt. Lebanon teachers doing their inimitable interpretation of “The Lion Reads Tonight”. Thank you all for the generous donation of books for the book give-away. The PTO volunteers collected close to a thousand books enabling each student in school to select and keep two, with plenty left over for the next event. The students showed great school spirit as they donned their tee shirts, wacky hair-dos and pajamas. We had many guest readers including parents, grandparents, Dartmouth students, police officers, our superintendent and visiting colleagues.
Reading is arguably the most important skill students will learn in school. Each year the teachers look at the results of our state mandated reading assessments, and each year we see similar patterns. Those test items which seem to present the greatest challenge to our students fall into two basic categories: making inferences from text, which is understanding the main idea from details, and responding in writing to open-ended questions about the text? All thoughts, internal and spoken, are expressed in complete sentences. For text to make meaning sentences must sound like spoken thought in the mind of the reader. If a student is spending time trying to decode a word, fluency is lost. If they don’t recognize the word, meaning is lost. So, all the reading components, phonics, vocabulary and fluency, must work together in the mind of the student to reach COMPREHENSION, the end result of reading. (Writing is even more complex, so you can see that for students for whom any of the above is problematic, writing about reading will be doubly complex!)
When you read with your child at home, read fluently, pause to ask questions, share your impressions, and above all be patient, encouraging and enthusiastic.
Photos: The retakes of photos a few weeks back, was to provide the district with updated student ID cards. These cards will be updated annually and have the school year on them. We have just recently begun to use the bar codes on these cards to process lunch payments and this has saved valuable time in our cafeteria at lunch time every day.
Kindergarten Registration: If you have neighbors or friends with children who will be five on or before Sep. 30, 2011, you may remind them that we have open scheduling for new kindergarten students. We urge all to sign up who have not yet done so as this year we are scheduling kindergarten aptitude screening tests that will help us in planning our classes.
Report Cards: Research clearly indicates that your active participation in your child’s education improves performance. First and third quarters teachers do not typically write detailed comments on the students’ report cards because they will conference with you. Please come with specific questions about study skills, what your child looks like as learner in the class, and what you can do in the home to have your child finish the last quarter on a very positive and productive note.
Grade 4 NECAP: This is the fourth year that we will be administering the grade four science New England Common Assessment. For the past three years our fourth grade students on average scored better than the state average, especially in the area of life science. A case may be made correlating our trained parent volunteers in the Four Winds program who visit classes monthly and use our surrounding environs for motivating and interesting lessons. These science tests will be administered in May.
Pennies for Bears: We are most thankful for your donations towards our fourth grade’s Pennies for Bears drive. Students raised over $300.00 to donate to Mr. Ben Kilham to help defray the costs of caring for 29 orphaned cubs that did not hibernate this winter. Well done!
Class placement and grade level configuration: You have recently received letters explaining our process for the creation of balanced class list for next year. If your child is in a class where looping (moving on with the same teacher) is taking place you will receive a second letter. We encourage you to take this opportunity to provide feedback that we will take into our consideration on the back of the letter and return it to the office by April 25.)
The tentative grade level configuration for SY 2011-2012 is as follows:
Kindergarten: Three Classes
Grade 1: Three or Four Classes (TBD)
Grade 2: Three Classes
Grade 3: Three Classes
Grade 4: Three Classes
Parent Conferences are this week, Early Dismissal for students Wednesday, Thursday at 1:00PM, April 3 and 4.
Safe Routes to Schools Walk to School Day: Friday, April 26, we will sponsor Walk to School. Permission slips will be sent out for bus students who wish to be let out to join teachers and parent volunteers enjoy the spring weather by walking up to school. More details to follow.
Lost and Found: Now that winter has begun to abate, we have many remnants left behind in our lost and found. Unmarked and unclaimed winter garments will be donated to the Listen Center over April break. Please do take a moment to put an initial and last name with a Sharpie on the label of your child’s sweater, sweatshirt or jacket, for a safe return on your investment.
Winter Weather Wear: Snow pants are no longer required to playground recess. Our structures will remain closed until the ground is fully thawed. We recommend that you still send in boots for muddy conditions.
Lebanon Public Library will be closed for renovations from April 19 thru 30 for
renovations. The Kilton library in West Lebanon will be open with expanded hours during
“April 1. This is the day upon which we are reminded of what we are on the other three hundred and sixty-four.” Mark Twain
March 2013 Newsletter
Lock Down Drill: The lock down drill originally scheduled for Wednesday, February 27 was canceled due to the snow day. The drill has been rescheduled for Thursday morning, March 7. Any conversations that you have with your child should focus on the positive aspects of keeping safe by being prepared for unexpected events. You may reinforce this message with your child, being careful to emphasize the positive aspects following directions and preparedness.
Snacks and nutrition: A well nourished brain is more fit for learning than a malnourished one. For six years the Mt. Lebanon School has been teaching students the benefits good nutrition. The Healthy Snack Store initiative seeks to combine students handling coins and currency with purchasing a healthy snack. We thank the PTO for helping to subsidize this initiative. It has been very successful in encouraging students to choose healthy alternatives, and provide them with opportunities to try foods they might not otherwise eat. We cannot compete with huge fast food companies and their advertising dollars. We can, however, through hands-on experience, develop in our students an awareness and appreciation for where our food comes from, and how long and how much labor is actually involved in getting it to us. Our garden produce and our Friday Healthy Snack Store are two very effective ways to teach sensible, healthy eating habits.
Did you know that the average American eats the equivalent of 28 teaspoons of sugar every day? This means an additional 450 empty calories every day. The recommended maximum amount is nine. Unfortunately, with childhood obesity an epidemic in this country, we may count on ever higher rates of diabetes and heart disease in the future if we don’t help our children help themselves now.
Pennies for Bears: As many of you are aware, Mr. Ben Kilham, resident of Orford, NH, has for years now, been caring for and releasing back into the wild, orphaned black bears. This year, for a variety of reasons, there are more bears in his charge, and for other reasons, these bears have not hibernated. This has put significant strain on his resources. Mrs. Allen has received permission to host a pennies-for-the-bears fund raising effort which coincides with Wild About Reading Week. Not for nothing is our theme about wild animals. See if there aren’t some extra chores your child might do to earn some pennies for the effort. They will feel good, you will feel good, Mrs. Allen will feel good, Ben Kilham will feel good, and most importantly, the bears will feel good.
Scents in Schools: More students have more allergies now than ever before. Strong fragrances and clinging odors from smoke have triggered asthmatic and allergic reactions in some members of our school community. Laundry detergents and fabric softeners are often laden with heavy perfuming agents and can sometimes play the culprit with sensitive noses and skin. Fortunately, there are fragrance free options for these products. Please help us provide a clean and wholesome environment in school by minimizing the risk of allergic reactions.
NECAP (New England Common Assessment Program) Results: When we received our NECAP results in January, classroom, special education and reading teachers reviewed the student results. We looked at those released test items in which the majority of our students did well and responded correctly, and we looked especially closely at those test items where students had a more difficult time. Together, we have already come to some conclusions about where we can make greater instructional efforts. And, we will consider what we might add to our third and fourth quarter instruction to provide additional motivation, incentive and practice in those areas. The leadership team will also be presenting a summary of the results to the Education Committee of the Board next month.
“Wild About Reading” Week: Next week we are celebrating literacy by focusing our attention on the joy and celebration of reading. Our focus will be on reading, all kinds of reading. More to follow and be prepared to participate! You may sign up to be a guest reader on the door of the front office if you wish. There is a calendar of reading celebration themes that students will be participating in. The week will culminate in pajama day, Friday, March 8.
Dates to Remember:
Monday – Friday March 4-8 Wild About Reading Week, also:
Pennies-for-Bears fund raising week.
Tuesday, March 12, District Vote on Budget, Ward I at the Kilton Library
Thursday, March 14 at 1:00 Early Dismissal
Thursday, March 14, Kindergarten Registration at school
Friday, March 15, No School for students, Teacher Professional Development
Friday, March 15, Annual PTO Contra Dance Fundraiser 7-9 PM, Mt.Lebanon multipurpose
room. (Family dance- all children must be accompanied by adults)
Wednesday, Thursday April 3,4, Parent Conferences
Thanks for reading!
“There’s only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self.” Aldous Huxley
February Newsletter 2013
A personal note: I share the following with you so you may say you heard it from me. I have tendered my resignation as principal of Mt. Lebanon School effective June of this year. The past seven years serving the students, teachers and parents of this fine school community has been a great privilege, and source of much joy and professional satisfaction. My best hope is that my tenure has contributed in some way to the advancement of our students toward the goals of our district mission. I have no set future plans in place yet, but am far too young to retire. Truth be known I’m as curious as yourselves as to the next chapter of this educator’s sojourns through the hallways.
ELO : We are getting into place our Extended Learning Opportunity grant-funded program. A small group of teachers will provide remedial instruction before and after school hours. This program is primarily designed to help those students who need just a little extra support in reading, writing and mathematics. Our current structure will limit the group sizes to 6-8 students to ensure that the teacher will provide plenty of individual attention. If your child has been recommended to me as one who might benefit, I’ll be incontact with you.
Playground happenings: This winter has been an interesting mix of balmy rains and bitterly cold frigid days. At times, our playground has been deemed too wet, too icy, or too cold. Lately, it’s been just right. We appreciate that you are sending your students in appropriate winter weather. To protect your investments, please label your student’s outwear with first initial and last name in permanent marker on the inside label. We’ve had some emotional scenes over lost snow pants. The physical education skating unit is going on now as well and we thank the combined efforts of Mrs. Ballou, Ms. Barnes and our custodians Mr. McGonis and Mr. Porier for their assistance in grooming and keeping the rink in good shape.
PM Closings: The cancellation of after school activities due to snow and potentially hazardous driving conditions includes ALL activities school related or not, that may take place in the building. For example, Cub Scouts is an independent activity. However, if a den meeting is scheduled in school, it will be canceled. This goes for community events, after school clubs and meetings. The central office will issue an Alter Now email, and, it has been decided, voice mail message as well. Please think about your own home contingency plan in the event of after school cancellations.
Upcoming Public Hearing meeting: Saturday, February 2, 9:00 AM in the High School gymnasiam we will hold our Annual Deliberative Session to discuss budget and warrant articles. Please plan to attend the annual meeting. Voting is your second most important civic responsibility. The first is informing yourself of the context that will shape the vote you cast!
NECAP: The NECAP (New England Common Assessment Program) is a state mandated assessment for all students in New Hampshire grades 3 – 8, and grade 11. Our third and fourth grade students take the reading, language and math sections of the test annually in October. These test results are disaggregated by the state into 8 subgroups: gender, race/ethnicity, LEP students (learners of English), IEP students (identified with learning disabilities), students in low-income households, migrants, and Title I (students eligible for receiving federal assistance). The state has a four-point rubric for describing student performance results.
4= Proficient with distinction
1=Substantially below proficient.
Should any group, consisting of 9 or more students, not make an average score of 3, or reach proficiency, or should a percentage of the entire group not reach it, the school is deemed “in need of improvement.” Additionally, if a majority of students do not meet proficiency standards as set by the state, a school may be designated “in need of improvement.” Mt. Lebanon School has had for the past four years, both sets of conditions apply at different times.
This year in our third grade class, of those 48 students taking the NECAP for the time, 77% or 37 students scored proficient or better in mathematics. This is up 7 percentage points from last year. Three quarters of our students scored proficient or better in reading, down just 4 percentage points from last year.
Our fourth grade students, in a class of 42, 81% scored proficient or better in mathematics, up 20 % from last year! In reading 71% scored proficient or better, up 8% points. Well done to our all for showing this growth. We will again use these results to determine how best to target instruction in reading and math by analyzing incorrect student responses against the released materials items. As parents of students in grades three and four, you will receive individual test reports in the coming weeks.
Reminder: Any changes in student afterschool plans must be stated in writing and given by the student to the secretary at the beginning of the day.
February 2, 9:00 AM LHS Annual Deliberative Session
February 4, Report Cards for second quarter go home with students.
Feb. 18. – Feb. 22 : Winter Break, NO SCHOOL
“It’s what you learn after you know it all that really counts.” Alfred E. Neuman
Winter Weather: Welcome back! We hope you are staying warm in this cold weather. Just a few reminders on appropriate dress expectations: Send your child with warm coat, hat, mittens or gloves, snow pants and insulated boots. If we do not have any snow on the ground, we will not insist that students wear snow pants, but these will certainly keep them more comfortable out of doors. We know that students who are active and fit are better able to learn. We will provide outside recess every day except when it is raining or the temperature drops below 10 degrees F. Also, as winter wear is not cheap, please label your student’s clothing with first initial last name in permanent ink somewhere on the garment.
End of First Semester: The second quarter of school ends on Friday, January 25. Report cards will be sent home with the students on Monday, January 28. While we do not formally schedule conferences at this time of year, you may call your child’s teacher at any time and request a meeting to review your student’s progress. We ask that you seek a time that is mutually agreed upon. It helps greatly to give your child’s teacher a head’s up about the nature of questions, concerns or suggestions you’d like to share at the meeting in a note prior to getting together. In this way your time will be well spent.
ELO: During the second half of the year, Mt. Lebanon School will offer, by invitation, a program called ELO or Extended Learning Opportunity to students who have been recommended by their teachers for additional support. This program is grant funded and designed to assist students in need of some additional structured remediation. We are finalizing the details and will be sending home a letter soon.
Delayed Openings: Our district will continue to use the two-hour delay system when we know that roads are not ready for bus and student transportation due to icy or snowy conditions. If we have delayed openings, we cannot provide supervision for any students prior to 9:15 AM. The buses will run two hours later than usual. If you drive your child, have them to school by 10:00. The class day starts at 10:05. AM preschool will be canceled for the day.
Responsive Classroom: Learning to abide by the rules is a large part of the social curriculum at Mt. Lebanon School. Inevitably, some students will break rules at some time. We use the terms “expected behavior” and “unexpected behavior” with students. When this happens we apply the principle of logical consequences. As opposed to punishment, logical consequences seek to reinforce the internal requirement of self-control. Logical consequences are respectful of the student and classroom, and are not intended to humiliate or hurt. Logical consequences respond to behavioral choices and actions, not character. And, logical consequences describe the demands of the situation, not the demands of authority. Our short-term goals in using logical consequences are to help the student regain self-control and self-respect. Our long-term goal is the establishment of an internal framework for social behavior based on self respect and the rights, safety and well being of others.
Return school materials: First and second grade teachers sent home specially prepared holiday home reading bags over the break. We need your help in keeping school costs down. Please return borrowed school materials in a timely fashion, and avoid having to pay for lost or missing materials.
Friday, January 18: Early Dismissal for Students, 1:00 PM
Monday, January 21, NO SCHOOL for Martin Luther King Day
Monday, January 28, Report Cards Home
The Long View: Here are some important events and happenings that we have to look forward to:
Final Public Hearing on next year’s school budget. Feb. 2
“Info-Snap” is coming. On-line registration forms for parents.
Winter Break, One week NO school , Feb 16-24
March: Kindergarten Registration
District Vote on Budget
Soliciting Parent Input on class selection for SY 2013-14
April: End Third Quarter
Spring Break April 13 -21
Gr.4 NECAP Science Assessment
All School NWEA Assessment
“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your
December 17, 2012
In light of the recent senseless and tragic events in Connecticut, many of you are wondering what we do to help children feel and be safe in Mt. Lebanon.
Our school is locked at all times, with exception for opening and closing times.
Visitors and parents must be buzzed into the front office and sign in.
Students are always accompanied by adults in classrooms, the computer lab, multipurpose room and playground.
We teach the social / emotional curriculum through Responsive Classroom.
The Behavior Support Team provides social cognition instruction using Dr. Ross Green’s model of problem solving, the “Superflex” program to provide students who struggle with self-regulation challenges, and our guidance counselor provides classroom, small group and individual support in promoting healthy self-images and positive pro-social interpersonal relationships.
Cultural: We provide and encourage parental participation in our school. Our Morning Sing assembly sees between 40 – 70 parents weekly in our school. This practice serves to reinforce the fact that we are ALL here to help oversee the safety, education and well-being of students.
What you can do at home:
Shelter your child by limiting what they hear and see on the media. Children should not be viewing the news with you. We strongly recommend that you do not put TV’s in your child’s bedroom. Do not leave your child be unsupervised on a computer with access to the net. Do not purchase violent video games or permit your child to play them.
Assure students that home is a safe place by putting your own routines in place.
Stress that Mt. Lebanon School is a safe place with teachers, community members, and municipal agencies available at all times monitoring events.
Maintain a normal routine. Routines provide security.
The National Association of School Psychologists also states:
“Early elementary school children need brief, simple information (if asking- if not do not bring it up) that should be balanced with reassurances that their school and homes are safe and that adults are there to protect them.”
We have our district’s full support in promoting and maintaining a safe school. I am in touch with Captain Cohen of the LPD and our school security officer, Greg Partham, who have been visible on our campus and will continue to be so more regularly. We will be making upgrades to our facility as well.
I’m pleased to report that our day has been quiet and unremarkable. This means that you have been conscientious in helping us to keep your children safe. Thank you.
Other Miscellaneous Reminders:
Winter attire: With snow on the ground we ask you to send your child appropriately attired as we go outside at least once a day and often more. This means hat or earmuffs, gloves or mittens, warm jacket, snow pants and boots. Please do not hesitate to contact me or our school nurse if the above list presents a hardship. We can help. Also, please label those garments with first initial and last name with a permanent marker.
Two hour delayed opening: Multipurpose room will open at 9:15 AM. There is no supervision prior to that time. Buses will run two hours later than usual. If you bring your child to school in a car, or walk, a 9:50 – 9:55 arrival time is optimal.
There will be a Friday Morning Sing this week and we hope to see you there. If not, we wish you a very restful, safe, and healthy holiday with family and friends.
“Kindness is a language the deaf can hear and dumb can understand.” Seneca
What does COMMUNITY SERVICE look like in primary school? It begins with sharing information to raise awareness. Last week we had an opportunity to give thanks and reflect on how fortunate we are to have not only the basic essentials for a healthy life, but many extra luxuries as well. Such is not the case for millions of children around the world. By encouraging your child to collect coins for UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) at such traditional times as Halloween, you are providing an opportunity for him or her to participate in a larger effort to help eradicate hunger, provide clean drinking water and sanitation and vaccinations. For nineteen thousand children a day, it is not enough and they perish. Your students this year collected $295.00 which will help provide basic educational supplies for forty students. Great effort. We will keep you posted on our other community service project Heifer, that buys live stock, and poultry to help families in developing economies provide food and build sustainable incomes. That’s what community service looks like in Mt. Lebanon School.
Seasonal Food Drive: Even in the wealthiest of nations, resources are not always available to those in need of them most. From Dec. 3 -21, members of the Mt. Lebanon community may contribute non-perishable food items such as canned vegetables, meals in a can, canned meat or fish, holiday cooking items such as mixes or dehydrated mashed potatoes, and personal hygiene items such as soap, toothpaste and detergent. We will collect and store the items here and then donate to the Upper Valley Haven’s food pantry in White River Junction. If you have any questions please contact our nurse, Mrs. Nancy Tomlinson and thanks for contributing to our twenty first annual holiday food drive.
Physical Education in Winter: Five years ago Mrs. Ballou, our PE teacher, noticed that some towns had skating rinks. Then she said, “We can do that here on our playground!” And so, with volunteer help, a small budget and donations, we now have a physical education winter activity that promotes safe ice-skating for all students. (Cold temperatures, while they last, are still free.) Mrs. Ballou is looking to enlist your help in constructing our rink on Saturday, December 8, beginning at 10:00 AM in the playground. Help keep the winter skating tradition alive and well at Mt. Lebanon.
Scholastic Book Fair: Thanks once again to our PTO volunteers for organizing our first Scholastic Book Fair last Thursday and Friday. Regardless of the way in which the written word is presented, we believe it is important for students to develop a positive predisposition toward reading. Research indicates that just having books and magazines in the home increases student performance in school! Taking your child to the library, or making a stop in a book store to buy a book is a sure way to increase the motivation to read. Scholastic does sell other products, and we cannot tell students they may not purchase them, but you as a parent can stipulate that some of the money you may provide must go toward a book. Keep in mind that magazine subscriptions for your child are a wonderful way to promote reading in the home. Kids love to get real mail in the mailbox addressed just to them every month. For a selection of quality magazines geared to the young reader you could start with www.cobblestonepub.com/index.html. Books make terrific gifts, and reading is the gift of a lifetime.
Limit Screen Time: In the “Health and Science” page of “The Week” (pg.29, Oct. 29, 2010), was written the following. “Hours of TV and computer time leads to psychological and academic problems for young people, even if those same kids are physically active for large chunks of the day… Researchers in England found that kids who watched TV or were online for two or more hours a day were 61% more likely to have emotional, social, and concentration problems… It’s not the sedentary nature of TV watching and computer use that’s primarily to blame; it’s something about the content or the experience itself.” A good rule: Watch them outdoors, and watch what they watch indoors.
Winter Weather: We believe in getting the students outside to play. As the weather gets colder please see that your child comes with mittens or gloves, a warm and warm shoes or boots, and warm jacket. Also, label those items with permanent marker so that we may trace them back to their rightful owner. When the thermometer dips below 10 degrees F, we’ll keep the students inside to protect against frostbite.
News from Café Services: “At the beginning of the school year, it was announced that we would be converting from the web site MyNutrikids.com to the web site MySchoolBucks.com for parental management of their student’s lunch accounts. …It will take about 48 hours for the data transfer to take place. During that time, parents will not have access to either MyNutrikids or MySchoolBucks.com. From this point on, when a parent goes to log on to MyNutrikids.com, the site will automatically direct them (you) to MySchoolBucks.com. Their log on names and passwords will remain the same.…Parents will be happy to discover that they will no longer need to use PayPal to make payments. MySchoolBucks uses Heartland to transfer the money and all transactions will be made directly from their credit or debit card accounts. Some parents may be concerned about deposits that have already been made to MyNutrikids.com. Deposited money goes directly to their (your) student's lunch accounts. All money deposited prior to the conversion have been credited to the student's accounts. There is a MySchoolBucks parental helpline available to parents. The number is 855-832-55-226. This is a toll free number.” Dennis Samuel, Café Services
“The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves.” Hellen Keller
November Newsletter 2012
From the Health Office: Wednesday, November 7th is the date for the Influenza clinic. Please turn in your permission slip making sure you check your preference for administration. Injection or nasal route must be checked and this location is below your signature.The health office willingly accepts hand me down pants size 6-10 to keep in the office for those who need them .
Parent Conferences: Our first quarter of the year is already behind us! Our School Board wisely provides time for parents and teachers to get together to talk about individual student progress, your student. While teachers may vary conference styles and presentation, and some include students, what is constant is the focus on learning and growth. Please plan to attend this important meeting, and have with you specific questions about your child’s learning. Hard and fast grades really do not exist in the primary school as all students are learning skills and content on a continuum, and that “grades” or numbers, merely indicate relative position against a range of indicators and proficiency levels. This year’s dates are Monday and Tuesday, Nov. 5 and 6. School will dismiss at 1:00 PM on those days.
October Open House: Thank you all for making our Open House a huge success. A special note of appreciation to our PTO for organizing a successful “Book Swap”. This was a real hit. To our HEAL, and representatives we are grateful for their support. I believe it is important to keep the spirit of Open House alive every school day, and so should you think of Mt. Lebanon School as an open house of learning. There are many ways to support your child’s education from attendance at a Morning Sing, to reading a book in class, to teaching in Four Winds, weeding a garden. Please see Mrs. Vicky Moran in the office and fill out a volunteer application form today if you haven’t already done so and come on in.
Behavior Support: With many new students in school all day for the first time, teaching social skills is taking the lead in the kindergarten and first grade classrsooms. I encourage you all to visit the Responsive Classroom website www.responsiveclassroom.org to learn more about our emphasis on the social / emotional aspects of learning. Our rules for young students are consistent and easy to remember, but as simple as they are, we must be diligent in translating words into behaviors that students can see, remember and internalize: Be Safe, Be Cooperative, Be Kind and Courteous and be Respectful of People and Materials. We all continue to work hard to inculcate these values in our students, providing effective problem solving skills when dealing with others. Our success in this venture will certainly head off more serious problems in the future. Disrespect, aggression, harassment, or violence of any type, is not an option in our interpersonal relationships in the Mt. Lebanon School.
Responsive Classroom (cont): As part of the Responsive Classroom protocol, we use at Mt. Lebanon the “behavioral hierarchy.” When a student is having difficulty staying on task, the teacher 1) reinforces desirable behavior, reminds students what desirable behavior looks and sounds like, and redirects behavior to preferable and viable options. When these methods do not yield the desired effect, 2) the child may be asked to sit in “take-a-break time”. Take-a-break time allows a child time to observe others and reflect. Often, this break is sufficient to remind the child of behavioral expectations. Should that not be enough our next step, is 3) to ask the child to sit in a buddy teacher’s room take-a-break chair. Our final steps may include 4) a walk to the front room, or a walk to the planning room, where an adult will help a child process his or her inappropriate behavior, discuss how the behavior is counterproductive, seek positive ways to redress the situation, and return to class. We believe lasting positive behavioral changes come about most effectively through learning.
EST: The EST refers to Elementary Support Team. Once a week the guidance counselor solicits or collects feedback from teachers on students who, for any number of reasons, are facing unique challenges in the classroom or on the playground. The counselor contacts the principal, nurse, special educators, the speech language pathologist and the classroom teacher. The process we follow is the same for each case: listening to the teacher(s) describes the lagging skills a child is presenting. The team asks clarifying questions. We hear specifically what the referring teacher would like the team to address. The team members then share their reflections and suggestions. Then, the team brainstorms next steps or strategies for teacher(s) to try. Lastly, we set a date to check-in to see how the interventions or new strategies are working. Our best hope in implementing interventions at this level is that the student will demonstrate improvement so that his/her performance will be commensurate with his/her classmates. Sometimes this process may also lead to a referral for additional formal testing.
Reminder: Please call Vicky Moran in the office if your child will be absent from school.
From the Hood Museum Family Day at the Hood: Land and Stories in Aboriginal Art, Sunday, November 4, 2012 from noon-5:00p.m. Travel across the Australian continent to explore contemporary Indigenous art and the fascinating stories these works of art tell. Art-making projects include paste paper painting, collage, and soft clay sculpture. 2:00 p.m. Special performance by renowned storyteller Odds Bodkin who will be performing stories related to Aboriginal culture.
Free and open to everyone. Designed for ages 6-12 with adult companions.
Neely McNulty, Images and ArtStart Instructor
Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH 03755, Neely.H.McNulty@dartmouth.edu
Monday, November 12 Veteran’s Day
Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Nov 21, 22, 23 Thanksgiving
Michael Foxall, Principal
“It’s what you learn after you know it all that really counts.” Words to Live by, Alfred E. Newman