November Newsletter 2011

posted Nov 7, 2011, 5:28 AM by

Dear Parents: 

 Strings Program applicationThe Lebanon Public Schools have been chosen to partner with the chamber orchestra Camerata New England in a pilot after-school Strings Program.  This program will be open to students in grades 2-6 from Hanover Street, Mount Lebanon and Seminary Hill Schools.  At the moment, we are able to offer lessons on the cello only with the accomplished cello instructor, Linda Galvan. There will be up to 12 slots available.  Lessons will tentatively begin in January 2012 and take place after school on Mondays at the Mt. Lebanon School (times to be determined).  A cello and music will be provided for each participating student. The only charge to families will be the minimal cost of instrument insurance and a portable music stand (for practice at home).  If your child is interested in this program, please contact Mrs. Greenough for an application.  The research clearly demonstrates improvement in academic tasks, particularly mathematics, and studying music.  Thank you Mrs. Greenough.

 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.   Know too, that 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.

 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:  We are pleased to have on our team this year, Mrs. Judy HoudeHardy, special education teacher and Responsive Classroom Behavior Support Team leader.   Mrs. HoudeHardy has been tightening systems of support and assistance for those students who, for a variety of reasons, find it challenging to consistently adhere to our school rules:  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.  Cruelty, harassment, or violence of any type, is not an option in interpersonal relationships.  

 Responsive Classroom: 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.

 Kindergarten:  The national trend for some time now has been toward full day kindergarten programming.  The Lebanon district has not kept pace with this trend.  This year, Dr. Paludi and committee of administrators, teachers and parents are proposing that Lebanon adopt an all day kindergarten program.  Students in full day programs are readier for the rigors of grade one and have a better understanding of school culture and norms.  With special education costs soaring and standardized testing scores just holding steady, we must, in my opinion, be paying greater attention to those critical early years in building a strong foundation for the learning and expectations to come.  Please inform yourselves as to the benefits of this approach and consider supporting this proposal. 

 From Chris Malhoit, RN Health Services Coordinator: School Based Flu Clinic

There will be a flu clinic held for Mt. Lebanon students on Friday November 4th.  Paper consent forms must be in by the preceding Thursday morning in order for your child to receive the vaccine.  This clinic is free to all.  The Lebanon Fire Department will be administering the injectable or the nasal vaccine. If you have the permission form and do NOT want this, please fill out and send in anyway with No checked as the State is keeping track of this information.  

 Reminder:  Please call Vicky Moran in the office if your child will be absent from school. 

 Michael Foxall

 “Let us not be too particular.  It is better to have old second-hand diamonds than none at all.”   Mark Twain