Dear School Community,
As we enter budget season there are a lot of questions about what “we get for our money.” I think it is important for the community to understand that Madison Elementary School itself is a portion of the overall budget, but the only one that we can directly influence. Large portions of the budget go to tuition, transportation, and special education costs.
The first question to answer is what defines a quality education? If someone looks online, they will only see test scores for the state mandated testing. I ask our community to dig a bit deeper to understand why those scores are not a true reflection of our school and the education that we provide.
NH mandates testing annually in grades 3-6 on ONLY reading and math. The 2017-18 school year was the first round of the NHSAS testing. It is similar to the SBAC testing we did prior to that for three years, but it is different. Due to the constant change in testing systems, there is not reliable data that the test is effective at measuring students’ achievement, nonetheless progress.
I ask you to look deeper. At MES we consistently monitor students’ academic performance using the STAR and DIBELS testing to measure reading and math skills. Through these assessments we can breakdown students’ performance and address specific skill areas so that students can make growth. An overview of these scores and related resources can be seen on this page. I believe students are more than a number, I hope you do as well. We aim for students to achieve at the benchmark or above levels, but we also look for student growth.
What else? There is so much more that happens here at our school. When I arrived in 2014 it was revealed to me the lack of dedicated time to writing, science, and social studies. Because these areas are not “tested,” they get taken off the priority list. It is critical that we provide students with a well-rounded education. Providing an education that meets these core areas helps to prepare students for the next stages of their education, but also as they begin to develop interests that will lead to a career path.
In 2017 we introduced mindfulness as a school wide initiative. We know that part of being a citizen in today’s world is to give students skills and experiences in the areas of empathy, resilience, communication, critical thinking, and problem solving. We continue this work including all students with a variety of backgrounds. Our population demographics cannot be defined by a number either. It is important to look at socio-economic factors, living situations, stability, experiences of trauma, learning differences, and physical needs as these all impact learning. Again, our focus is on growth in many areas and it should be!
This year we restructured our support for students which included a more formalized student support center. Through the restructuring we created the Dean of Students position. What I learned at the Nov. board meeting is that I need to do a better job of informing our community about specific items that have come into question. As part of this, I have a link to a “History of the Dean of Students” position. I encourage you all to spend time reviewing this document and understanding how it came to be, what it represents, and how it encompasses several responsibilities that are needed at Madison Elementary School. If you have questions, please contact me.
As we work through our budget process, I encourage the community to become more informed; ask the questions, visit the school, and look at the multitude of data. You cannot judge a book by its cover, so you shouldn’t judge a school and what it provides its students by one source of data. I am proud of this school, the continual commitment the staff have to provide for all children’s needs, and for the community that has shown its support over the years.
Feel free to reach out so that we can share more with you about our school and what we are doing on a daily basis.
Sincerely, Heather Woodward, Principal
Announcements & Upcoming Events:
Upcoming Dates & Events:
12/11: Report Cards
12/17: Special Board Meeting 6 pm in Gym
12/21: 1:30 School Assembly and Movie
Outdoor Appropriate Clothing
- Yellow Day: (above 60 degrees) Students may wear what they are comfortable in.
- Green Day: (40-60 degrees) Students are encouraged to wear a coat or sweatshirt with a minimum of 2 layers.
- Blue Day: (20-40 degrees) Students must have a fall/winter coat (Wind and Water Proof) ; hat, headband or earmuffs (ears covered tightly); and gloves or mittens to go out, but may take them off if too hot. (no shorts or skirts)
- Purple Day: (Below 20 degrees) Students must wear a winter coat; hat; and gloves or mittens.(no shorts or skirts)
- Snow on the Ground: Boots for outside and shoes for inside are expected. If your child will be playing in the snow (sledding, building snowmen, etc.), snow pants are also required.
Consequences for not wearing Appropriate Clothing: Student will remain in the office. Parents will be notified after 3rd repeated incidence.
Recess is a key component of the health curriculum and the wellness policy for all students. All students will be expected to participate in physical activity during recess time.
As outlined in our Family Handbook, here are the guidelines we follow at school during our changing of seasons.
- Yellow (Above 60 degrees) It is warm: Students may wear what they are comfortable in.
- Green (40-60 degrees) It is Cool:Students are encouraged to wear a coat or sweatshirt with a minimum of 2 layers.
- Blue (20-40 degrees) It is Cold:Students must have a fall/winter coat (Wind and Waterproof); hat, headband, hood or earmuffs (ears covered); and gloves or mittens to go out, but may take hat/mittens off if too hot. (Arms/legs covered)
- Purple (Below 20 degrees) It is Freezing: Students must wear a winter coat; hat, headband or ear muffs (ears covered tightly); and gloves or mittens. (no exposed skin except face) All clothing stays on.