October 2012 Newsletter

posted Oct 1, 2012, 7:54 AM by mfoxall@sau88.net

October Newsletter 2012

 Dear Parents: 

 t’s great to meet and greet so many new and returning families to the Mt. Lebanon School on Friday mornings for our Weekly Morning Sing school assembly.  Your visible presence in the school sends a powerful message to your child: “I care, I want you to be happy and learning, this school is a good place to be.”  Thank you for your support in this partnership.

 Exercise: These golden fall days are conducive to being outside and running around.  We encourage all students, and parents, who live within walking distance to walk, or ride bikes, to and from school.  Of course, pedestrian and bike safety are of paramount importance.  If you’d like to become a regular volunteer and accompany students on the way to or from school please let Mrs. Ballou, Ms. Barnes or myself know.  To promote this idea, you received a permission slip for students to participate in a Safe Routes to Schools morning walk on October 4.  More walkers mean few cars and less congestion in our parking lot before and after school, not to mention healthier student bodies.

 The difference between “in trouble” and “skills based learning”:  Many parents and students often confuse the notion of making mistakes or lacking specific conflict resolution skills with being “in trouble.”  We do not talk about logical consequences to social or behavioral expectations in these terms.  We do take into account that following school rules involves complex learned behavior, that it takes time for children to learn what socially expected and acceptable behavior is, and that even after it’s learned, a student may, for a variety of reasons, transgress our expectations.  In our school, we see these transgressions as opportunities for children to learn new, more appropriate behavior, and an opportunity to fix the mistake.  Guiding our thinking and practice are the methods of Responsive Classroom, a social curriculum developed by educators over the last 20 years, and the work of renowned child psychiatrist Dr. Ross Green.  Dr. Green says, “If they can comply they will.  If they cannot, then we will need to teach them the skills.”  So at home, instead of asking, “Did you get in trouble today?” say, “What did you do that demonstrated you understand what kindness and respect look like?”


 NECAP : (New England Common Assessment Program) This is the time of year when students in grades three and four take the standardized state wide assessment, the NECAP.  This normed test measures academic achievement in the areas of reading, language arts and mathematics.  There are three, forty five testing sessions in language and reading, and three in mathematics.  For optimal student performance we recommend a good night’s sleep and hearty breakfast.  We thank our PTO volunteers for providing healthy snacks during testing.  Student results will be known  next February. 


Healthy Snacks :  The Mt. Lebanon School is not imposing a ban on sugar or birthday treats.  That said we are strongly encouraging parents to be creative in thinking of healthy snacks to bring in if you are inclined to celebrate your child’s birthday that way.  Additionally, some teachers and grade levels are looking to host one reasonable birthday treat / month for all the students in that class or grade level for that month.  Thank you for helping us to promote healthy eating habits.


Healthy Snack Store:  We thank the West Lebanon PTO for their generous support in helping to make our Friday morning Healthy Snack Store a great opportunity for students to 1. Engage in real commerce on a small scale by selling vegetables, fruit, yogurt, cheese and crackers, thereby providing them to learn how to count and make change using real currency, and 2. promoting snacks high in protein and energy essential for the energy consumed by the brain in learning.  This week we thank Mrs. Joanis and the folks of Cedar Circle Farm in Thetford for providing fresh organic carrots. 


Questions and Concerns:  Please do not hesitate to contact your child’s teacher when you have a question or concern.  Often times, teachers may not be aware that a child has experienced a moment of frustration or confusion during the day.  Children are often selective with sharing depending on parental prompts or levels of emotion.  When your child shares information that elicits concerns, please share this with your child’s teacher as soon as possible.  In this way doubts will not have a chance to linger and grow.


Limit Screen Time:  If you want your child to perform better in school strictly limit the amount of time they are spending in front of the TV or computer monitor.  It has been clearly demonstrated that the more TV a child watches the lower his or her academic achievement.  MONITOR programs and hours, and we strongly recommend no TV in the bedroom.


Dates to Remember:

MLS Annual Open House on October 11th  6:00 – 7:00 PM  Beginning in the MPR.  This event is to welcome parents, students and alumni into our school to share current student work, meet the teachers, and reminisce.  There will be tables with information important news. 


Masterpiece Art:  There will be a meeting of parents interested in volunteering to teach in the Masterpiece Art program on Tuesday, Oct. 9, at 3:15 in the art room.  Parents volunteer once a month to teach an art lesson/activity related to an artist, a piece of art of body of multicultural art.  If you’re interested but cannot attend the meeting please contact Margaret Schultz, MLS art teacher, at your earliest convenience.  Thank you!

Michael Foxall,


 “Nothing in life is to be feared.  It is only to be understood.”  Marie Curie