2008 10 October

October Newsletter:

National Recognition: On behalf of my colleagues, I am most pleased to extend our congratulations to Amy Bielunis for receiving this year’s “American Star of Teaching” award for the State of New Hampshire. Teachers are nominated by peers or supervisors for their special efforts in seeing that all children experience success.  Under the direction of Margaret Spellings, US Secretary of Education, a selection committee vetted the 5,000+ nominations.  Of all of this year’s fifty-one teachers, Amy was the only physical education teacher to be selected.  Mr. Todd May, Senior Director, Office of Communications and Outreach, flew up to make the presentation.  Also there to commemorate the event at our Morning Sing were Dr. Shirley Ferguson, Asst. Superintendent, Diane Estes, our new public relations representative, local newspapers, and Amy’s mom and fiancée.  Thanks for all you do to make Mt. Lebanon a great place for our students to learn, Amy.  

Project Out-Doors Update:  About 30 volunteers showed up on Saturday, Sep. 20th, dressed for work and armed with garden tools.  Under Marilyn Wyzga’s direction, and with the assistance of some enthusiastic Bobcat operators, tons of topsoil, gravel and sand were moved and removed to shape berms, gardens and a terrace.  The berms will provide additional surface area for plants and trees, and place of exploration for the students.  Spaces between the rocks of the terrace will be planted with fragrant ground cover and herbs.  Our thanks to all who participated!
We gratefully acknowledge the generous donations Mt. Lebanon received in the memory of Briana Mayes, formerly a student of Mt. Leb.  The Mayes family has been strong supporters of Mt. Lebanon having had four children attend over the years.  It was their desire that a memorial garden be positioned near the library to serve as a quiet place of reflection, attractive to birds, butterflies and children alike.  
When, two years ago, a group of teachers attended a week long course in the White Mountains that focused on the enhancement of school yard space to enrich science instruction, and to encourage children to get outdoors, the idea to merge these two projects began to take shape.  
In honoring the wishes of the Mayes family, we have chosen Saturday, Oct. 4th as a workday to include special friends of Briana and the Mayes family.  On this day, we will build and groom garden beds and plant bulbs and perennials.  We will also select a site selected for the installation of a granite bench or other commemorative feature.  We will also inscribe a plaque to be placed in the near the library that will read, “Children’s Garden in Loving Memory of Briana Susan Mayes”.  We invite you all to join us Saturday, Oct. 4, 9:00-3:00 and we encourage you to bring perennial cuttings from your garden, bulbs and tools.  Also, a bag lunch and snacks if you intend to stay.

Safe Routes to Schools (SR2S) : The city of Lebanon has recently received a grant to further the SR2S initiative.  Of the $30,000.00 received, approximately half is earmarked for the students in West Lebanon attending Mt. Lebanon and Seminary Hill.  City planner David Brooks is keen to start a task force and prioritize the work so we can start putting that money to work.  We are working closely with out PTO volunteers to articulate a full plan, and anticipate that we will need to address 4 key areas, among others:
1. Determine the number of students who would walk or ride a bike to school if there are  responsible and trained “walking/riding school bus drivers” to conduct them.
2. Determine the most likely routes, assuming at least two, one coming from both north and south, to the school.
3. Determine those places that are in need of additional support and/or human supervision en route,
4. Determine what additional infrastructure do we need to put in place (speed tables, traffic lights, signs, visible police and traffic law enforcement, etc…)
If you are interested in getting in becoming a member of the West Lebanon SR2S task force please contact Suzanne Mansfield, pres. of the West Lebanon PTO, Amy Bielunis or myself.  Benefits to be realized: less gas spent on driving for parents, less air pollution for all, healthy activity, exercise, fresh air, enjoyment of the outdoors and appreciation of the surrounding environs and neighborhoods of West Lebanon for kids.

NECAPs: Between Oct. 6 and Oct. 23, all of our third graders will be taking the New England Common Assessment Program tests.  These are standardized tests measuring student progress in the areas of reading comprehension, language arts, and mathematics.  The areas in mathematics where some of our students experienced difficulty were, U.S. coins and values, time and time telling using clocks, fractions and numbers less than one, and number operations.  

Family Literacy Night for Families including children who receive reading support services.  Many parents might recall that we had planned a spring family Literacy Night program only to have it canceled due to inclement weather. This program will be on Tuesday, October 9 from 5:30 to 7:15 in the multi-purpose room.  Healthy snacks will be provided.  The evening will consist of sharing strategies for supporting the literary growth of your child; what we do here in school and what you are encouraged to do in the home.

Masterpiece Art:  There will be a meeting for any interested in helping to lead the Masterpiece Art classes this next Monday, October 6 at 6:30 in the Mt. Lebanon Art room, #32.

Mt. Lebanon Open House Evening Program:  Thursday, Oct. 23, 6:15 – 7:30 PM

  Mount Lebanon Elementary School  5 White Avenue, West Lebanon NH 03784  Phone: 603-298-8202  Fax: 603-