May 2012 Newsletter
NECAP, the New England Common Assessment Program:
Beginning May 8, 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 two years our students have done well on this assessment.
In the area of reading, this is the fourth year in which the school has not met the state standard for AYP (annual yearly progress). 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. In one district in R.I., the entire faculty of the school was fired. Well, that’s a change, but not one that we’re implementing here. We are going to be looking at those areas where we may have a little more control: scheduling, grouping of students, more targeted expertise, refining our understanding of learning diagnostics, and materials. These strategies will be incorporated into a Mt. Lebanon School Corrective Action Plan.
Rocking Reading Week: This year, in lieu of Family Literacy Night, the Mt. Lebanon and Hanover Street Schools are celebrating a week of reading. I’d like to thank the RR Week planning committee and the PTO for their efforts in making this week a memorable and enjoyable way to emphasize the importance of reading, the most important skill we will learn in school. We have started with a Scholastic Book Fair. Each day there will be a special theme to highlight an aspect of reading. There will be two events at which students may select a book or book to take home, and, we’ll be making books available to parents on May 4 to take home free of charge. We’d also like to thank Judy Klunder for her efforts in helping to make additional resources available to us. And, we will even have a special visit from our Lebanon Police Department Canine unit for a special presentation on Wednesday, May 2. Now, this will be the stuff student stories are made of.
Grade 4 Students Buddy Up: On May 21, fourth graders from both sides of town will get together with their new 7th grade buddies for a special tour and sneak preview of their new school! Last month, we planned our first ever grade 4 /grade 7 buddy up activity at the old Jr. High. The students drew portraits and asked questions of their new school mates and these will be displayed in the new building as a welcome. Our students will enter as fifth graders and know that they have at least two 8th grade buddies to whom they can go for help. We hope this can become an annual transition event in our district.
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 in so doing, but wish to remind you that there is no guarantee that your first wishes can be realized in all cases.
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.
Principal Leave: I will be taking a medical leave from May 8 – June 6. Arrangements for administrative supervision for Mr. Lebanon are currently being made.
Teacher Assignments SY 2012-2013
Judy Klunder, Suzanne Martin, MaryEllen Buffo
Mary Skiffington, Alice Gundersen, Jan Casano
Christina Joanis, Mary Davidson, Nancy Hall
Jane Earl, Linda Ehrlich, Emily Wright
Melissa Allen, Shelley Renehan
“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.” Albert Einstein