January Newsletter

posted Jan 9, 2012, 7:35 AM by mfoxall@sau88.net   [ updated Jan 9, 2012, 11:34 AM by Jody Stone ]

 Dear Parents:

 Winter Weather: A warm welcome back to school.  Please help keep your children warm on cold days by sending them with appropriate winter wear: warm coat, hat, mittens or gloves, snow pants and insulated boots.  While 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.  I had the great pleasure of returning a pair of labeled gloves to a student recently and it made me giddy.  If I could do that 5 times a day, we’d greatly lessen our considerable cache of lost clothing. 

 End of First Semester:  The second quarter of school ends on Friday, January 20.  Report cards will be sent home with the students on Monday, January 30.  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:  The Mt. Lebanon School will pilot a new program called ELO or Extended Learning Opportunity program.  Grant funded, this program is to assist students in need of some additional structured remediation.  We are finalizing the details and will be sending home a letter soon.

 SINI (School in Need of Improvement) Status:  We have submitted and have had approved by the Dept. of Education, our action plan for continuous improvement.  The above mentioned DOE approval does not change our SINI status, which is determined soley on the student outcomes of the NECAP (New England Common Assessment Program) fall tests in Reading, Language Skills, and Mathematics.  We should be receiving the results of the October assessments in the coming weeks.

 Delayed Openings:  Our district will continue to use the two-hour delay system when we feel that roads are not ready for bus and student transportation due to icy or snowy conditions.  If we have delayed openings, remember that 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 kindergarten 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.  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.  They are respectful of the student and classroom and are not intended to humiliate or hurt.  Logical consequences respond to choices and actions, not character.  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.

 “Sliver Program” now in year Three:  Working with Dr. Ferguson, Asst. Superintendent, we are continuing the “Sliver” kindergarten program for a half dozen kindergarten students who may benefit from additional remedial instruction in preliteracy and literacy skills.  This occurs daily from 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM.  For two years we have noted student improvement among the participants and this has led us to ask, “what are the advantages to be gained by all students by providing a longer kindergarten day program?”   The majority of districts in the States have gone to full day programs, and a few hundred now offer free public pre school as well.  The evidence supports the improved performance and readiness of students for school.  Consider well these long term advantages for our students’ future when voting on the kindergarten warrant article in March. 

 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.

 Important Dates:

Thursday, Jan. 12: PTO Meeting at 12:30 in the Library

Monday, January 16, NO SCHOOL for Martin Luther King Day

Friday, January 27: Early Dismissal for Students, 1:00 PM

 Michael Foxall


 Economy has been much in people’s thoughts lately.  Yet over 140 years ago, Ambrose Bierce reminds us that only the players have changed:  “ECONOMY  n.  Purchasing the barrel of whiskey you do not need for the price of the cow you cannot afford.”  (excerpted from “The Devil’s Dictionary” by Ambrose Bierce)