WSPS District Spotlight - January 18, 2019

posted Jan 18, 2019, 11:46 AM by Erin Mountain

WSPS District Spotlight - January 18, 2019

The full WSPS calendar can be accessed through THIS LINK


From The Superintendent [Twitter: @WestSideSupt]     

  • There will be no school on Monday, January 21, in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

  • WSPS hosted a Vaping Prevention Mini-Conference this morning at the high school, featuring several presenters and break-out sessions.  The conference was sponsored by the Western Mass School Substance Abuse Counselors’ Association, the Office of the Hampden District Attorney, the West Springfield CARE Coalition, and the Longmeadow CLOSE Community, with support from the Department of Public Health.  Leadership teams, including administrators, health/wellness, School Resource Officers, prevention specialists and counselors, from a number of Hampden County school districts, including West Springfield, were in attendance. District Attorney Anthony Gulluni delivered opening remarks, and WSHS student representatives on the DA Youth Advisory Panel served as one of the three presenters.  See the flyer on this link.  

    • WWLP coverage of mini-conference on this link.

    • CBS News vaping story (January 18, 2019) on this link.

  • The Bullying Task Force met on Monday and refined plans for a Kindness ‘K’ounts calendar that will be launched next month.  The calendar will be distributed to K-12 students.  Students who submit their completed calendar to their principal by the end of February will be entered into a drawing to receive raffle prizes, donated by local groups/organizations, businesses, merchants, and individuals.   

  • The 2019 Pioneer Valley Excellence in Teaching Award nominations (teacher’s name with supporting evidence) are due to building principals by January 22, 2019.  A nomination form, on this link, may be used, but it is not required.  Five WSPS teachers, including one new teacher, will be honored at a banquet to be held at the Log Cabin on May 1.

  • The West Springfield CARE Coalition presents a powerful event on Thursday, January 24 at West Springfield High School!  The event is being held in conjunction with the district’s activities during National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week (January 22-15).  The CARE Coalition event is free and open to all.  Childcare will be provided by WSHS Key Club members!  (Photo 1)

    • Free dinner courtesy of the Lions Club, 5:30-6:15 in the dining commons.

    • Presentation by West Side resident Kirk Jonah at 6:30 p.m., in the auditorium.  Mr. Jonah will reflect on the impact of teen substance abuse on his family.  He will address middle school and high school students in school during the week of January 22-25.  Program attendees are eligible to win a door prize!

    • The flyer is on this link and my “In the Spotlight” interview with Mr. Jonah on this link.  

  • The Community Outreach Team will meet on January 28, 2019.  Meetings are held from 6:00-8:00 p.m., at West Springfield High School in room B221.  Anyone wishing to participate is welcome to attend. Should someone need childcare for this meeting meeting, please email mountain@wsps.org by January 22. The focus of these meetings will be on engagement around the District Improvement Plan.

  • The next School Committee meeting is January 29, 2019 at 7:00 p.m., in the Municipal Office Building auditorium, located on the 2nd floor.

  • There’s still time to register a team for the Partnership for Education Annual Trivia Night on January 30, 2019 at the Dante Club!  Doors open at 5:30 p.m. for dinner (pizza, salad), and trivia begins at 6:15.  Click this link for more information and to register your team of up to five people.  (Photo 2)

  • The Share the Warmth winter boots/snow pants collection drive for students in need, ages 5-11, is underway now through the end of January (organized by Coburn Reading Specialist Lisa DeLong).  Collection boxes are located in the Municipal Office Building lobby and Tatham School lobby. Donations of gently loved/new winter boots and snow pants will be picked up weekly from the collection box.  Click this link for flyer.   

  • The Tech Talk Tuesdays blog, presented by Screenagers, is included in each District Spotlight post.  Click here to read this week’s TTT article.

  • The West Springfield High School indoor track is available to the West Springfield community on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, from 5:30-6:30 a.m.  Please see the details here.

  • The Superintendent’s Office is seeking updates on WSHS alumni for inclusion in this blog.  Alumni are encouraged to complete this short form.  

  • In the Spotlight” airs on Channel 15, on Monday and Tuesday at 6:00 p.m., and Thursday-Sunday at 8:00 p.m.  This week’s guests were Kirk Jonah, followed by WSHS Mathletes students. The entire playlist is on this link.

  • The Commissioner’s Weekly Updates are posted on this link.  

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District/School Counseling Program [@WSHS_Guidance]

  • WWLP’s Mass Appeal program this week featured Guidance and Counseling Department Chair Shamis White and Adjustment Counselor Maura Ryczek discussing the role of school counselors, on this link.

  • January 29 at 5 p.m. is the annual scholarship fair at WSHS.  At 6 p.m., the Guidance and Counseling Department will host a FAFSA completion event.  Pre-Registration for FAFSA night is required.  In addition, 6 p.m. is when the MEFA representative will present about college admissions.  These events are open to all, with the scholarship fair and FAFSA events dedicated to 12th grade students/families.

  • Follow us on Facebook - the new page is WSHS Counseling Department.  Important events will be posted on this site. Twitter is also used to post important information: @WSHS_Guidance.

  • The high school Counseling Department is seeking community involvement for a School Counseling Advisory Council. This year, the commitment would be two sessions of 1-1 ½ hours each.  The dates and times are not yet determined, but parent and community involvement is a required part of the council. Please email Shamis White (white@wsps.org) with any questions or to express interest.

                    

English Learners

  • Ascentria West Springfield will be starting evening adult ESOL classes in February.  Classes will be Mondays and Wednesdays for level 1 (low –high beginner) and Tuesdays and Thursdays for level 2 (low intermediate – intermediate), 6-7:30pm.  The start date is TBD right now, depending on registration outcomes. Please share this flyer with  students/parents/community members.  All are welcome!

  • Just a reminder….. Every school in the district has access to Voiance, a dial-up interpreter/translation service which gives educators access to a native language interpreter in hundreds of languages instantly to be able to communicate with families.  For more information, ask your administration or email desteph@wsps.org. (Photo 1)

  • ACCESS testing for English Learners is still going on all month.  Students are giving their best performance on this hard test, and test administrators are running a smooth testing experience!   Excellent efforts, everyone!

  • Language Word of the Week:  snow storm in Kiswahili       Pronounced:  dhoruba ya theluji         

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Health Services & CARE Coalition [Twitter: @WSPShealth; @01089cares]

  • Together with CARE Coalition coordinator Nikki Lewis, high school and middle school nurses are preparing to bring information to HS and MS students for National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week, January 22-25, 2019.  National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week (NDAFW) occurs annually during which organizations across the country seek to educate, raise awareness, and shatter the myths surrounding substance use among youth.

  • Events at the middle and high schools include:

    • resource tables, a NDAFW IQ Challenge with prizes, sharing West Springfield student facts, activity posters, and assemblies by West Side Resident Kirk Jonah, as introduced by the Superintendent above. Operation prevention video challenge will also be introduced at the high school.

  • On January 24, 2019, the West Springfield CARE Coalition presents a free dinner courtesy of the Lions Club, and a talk by West Side resident Kirk Jonah, at West Springfield High School. The dinner is 5:30-6:15 in the dining commons, and the presentation begins at 6:30 p.m., in the auditorium.  Mr. Jonah will reflect on the impact of teen substance abuse on his family. The CARE Coalition event is free and open to all. Childcare will be provided by WSHS Key Club members!  Program attendees are eligible to win a door prize! To RSVP and for more information click visit this link.


Information Technology:

  • Tech Tip of the Week:

    • Setting expiration dates in Google Drive: To set an expiration date for either a file or folder in Google Drive is to restrict access after a specific date.  To do this, the file or folder first will need to be shared with one or more other users of Google Drive. In order to set an expiration date, you’ll need to go into the advanced share settings of a file or folder.  Here you’ll see a list of users with whom you’ve shared the file/folder. In line with their name and Email, look for the clock icon displayed; upon clicking this icon, you will be able to set a date on which the user will no longer have access to the file or folder.


Fausey School [Twitter: @WSPSFausey]

  • Third Grade Engineers ~ Mrs. Pichey’s third graders trying out their racers. Look at  this link

  • Graduation from Reading Center ~ The students ‘graduated’ from reading center with Mrs. Petit and Mrs. Kane.  They will be still working as 1st and 2nd grade Reading Buddies. Comments from the ‘graduates’ included: Andrew: I’m just happy!; Alessandra: I went from a 1 to an 8.  It’s so exciting that I reached my goal in reading.  I got a bracelet, a pencil, a bookmark and a certificate!; Izabella:  I’ll hang it up and show it to my Mom, Grandma and cats.  Photos on this link.

  • Greek Culture in Mrs. Johnson’s Third Grade Class ~ Mrs. Kantos visited the third graders to share her Greek heritage.  Take a look at this link.

  • MAKERSPACE! ~ Mrs. Morneau brought a group of 5th graders to WSMS and challenged them to make a catapult.  Video on this link.  Mrs. Skolnick  later brought a group of 4th graders to build a device that made a marble go forward, back and then forward again.  Photos on this link.

  • Fausey Chorus at the Falcons’ Game ~ Mrs. Sapowsky’s talented crew performed “God Bless America” at the start of the Falcons’ game.  They were cheered on by a ‘few’ of their families, teachers and friends which totaled more than 450 people! Link, which includes a video of their song on this link.


Social-Emotional Learning (SEL)

  • West Springfield Public Schools fosters a school environment where family and community partnerships support students as they learn to be compassionate, empathetic, and healthy citizens.  Work is based upon five core competencies:  self awareness, self management, social awareness, relationship skills, responsible decision making.  For information, please visit this link.

  • The district will be partnering with the UMASS to conduct a PBIS Audit and Social Emotional Learning Capacity survey at the end of this month to further assess our district’s strengths and needs.

  • SEL/IST Revision Committee will begin meeting at the end of this month to examine supports for students.


High School [Twitter: @WSPS_WSHS and @WSHS_guidance]

Weekly Review:


Upcoming:


Athletics [Twitter: @wshsterriers

  • WSHS Girls Basketball will play in the Hoophall Classic on Friday, January 18, at 5:30 p.m. (event is held at Springfield College).

  • Family ID registration for winter sports is open.  Register on this link.

  • Please visit the MIAA Schedule on the athletics web page for sports schedules.  

  • Reminder - the Terrier Pride Banner Campaign is ongoing -- details are on this link.

   

Special Services  

  • The next SEPAC (Special Education Parent Advisory Council) workshop will be presented on January 24, 2019 at 6:30 p.m., at West Springfield High School, in room B221.  The topic is Supporting Your Child’s Executive Function Needs.  

  • The SEPAC Leadership is looking for new members!  Anyone wishing to get more involved with setting up Special Education parent workshops and support groups is welcome to join!  Please call 263-3276 if interested. The Leadership Committee meets monthly with the Director of Special Services to find out what is happening in Special Education and to plan upcoming activities.


Middle School [Twitter: @WSPSMiddle]

  • On Friday January 18, WSMS hosted a Career Fair for 8th grade students.  The West of the River Chamber of Commerce partnered with WSMS Guidance staff to put on the event.  Dave Ratner, owner of Dave’s Soda and Pet City served as the Keynote speaker while area leaders, tradespeople, and business owners hosted booths to answer questions and present information for students!

  • On Wednesday January 23, Kirk Jonah will speak to students regarding substance abuse prevention by sharing his family’s story.  The West Springfield CARE Coalition facilitated the presentation. An evening presentation for families and community members is taking place on January 24 at the high school, as well.

  • Term 3 begins on January 23.  Student report cards for Term 2 will be issued on February 6, 2019.


Cowing Alternative School

  • Students in Ms. Lindsy’s 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade class are learning about Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King. They are enjoying reading about the civil rights movement and learning about the history of these important figures.  (Photo 1)

  • Grades close on January 22 for Grades 6, 7, and 8.  The new term begins on Wednesday, January 23 and the Middle School students will welcome Mrs. Murphy for Food Explorations.

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Memorial School [Twitter: @WSPSMemorial]

  • Grade 3 played a new game of finding 2-3 dominoes that totaled 20!  They loved it! They later wrote the number sentences proving that the set was equal to 20.  (Photo 1)

  • Last week, Room 3 worked on building models of the Earth's Systems.  Students got creative as they worked in groups to display the Geosphere, Biosphere, Hydrosphere, and Atmosphere.  Students worked hard to label all parts of their dioramas. Students will display these projects during our science fair on January 28.  (Photo collage 2)

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Coburn School  [Twitter: @WSPSCoburn]

  • EL kindergarten students in Mrs. Cameron’s room practiced using labels this week.  After labeling the parts of a snowman, they showed their language skills by using that label in a complete sentence. (Photos 1, 2)

  • This week, teachers in grades 1 and 4 are collaborating on grade specific topics.  Fourth grade teachers worked together Tuesday afternoon to focus on fractions, as this was an area of need from our MCAS scores.  The worked with the math interventionists to plan for rigorous instruction on this unit of study. First grade teachers collaborated on Thursday to plan for STEMscopes, which is a new science program that is being implemented within the district.  This program is a resource designed to help our educators in teaching the new Next Gen Science Standards.

Mittineague [Twitter: @WSPSMittineague]

  • The fourth and fifth graders visited the UMASS campus and attended a D1 women’s basketball game in the Mullins Center against the George Mason Patriots team from Fairfax, Virginia. This opportunity was paid for by the ASMG grant allowing students the opportunity to visit the campus and see a division 1 basketball game for free!  The students are provided with a supplemental information guide including UMass Women’s Basketball player and team information, basics of basketball, fun quizzes, games, and other additional information. The students also have an opportunity to create signs to cheer their team on. It was a memorable experience for all, even though the team from George Mason won the game!

(Photo collage)

  • Fifteen students were recognized last Friday for exhibiting behavior exemplifying the “Character” words for last month.  The characteristics that were focused on were thankful, thoughtful, conscientious and citizenship. These students were recognized for consistently displaying these tenets in their day to day behaviors (Jagger, Christins, Nevaeh, Ella, Jordan,Siobhan, Phoebe, Emmeline, Charlie,Vincent, Amaris, Alex, Gianna, Sofia).  (Photo collage)



Tatham School [Twitter: @WSPSTatham]

  • Mrs. Morizio’s third graders worked on biography projects. When they completed them, they dressed up as the person and presented their information to the class. (Photo 1)

  • The fifth grade students in Mrs. Ramos’ class have been working on opinion writing.  Students practiced this skill by writing letters to the School Committee, Mr. Nardi, Food Service Director, and Mr. Heath, Tatham principal.  They are concerned about the amount of sugar in chocolate milk served in the cafeteria at lunch, and they like the idea of serving water. Writing for a purpose helps motivate the students.  The students appreciated the feedback from the School Committee! (Photo 2)

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Alumni Update

Alumni are encouraged to fill out this brief survey to help WSPS highlight their news, accomplishments and updates!  

Cowing Early Childhood

  • Students in Room 4 are learning about Polar animals and ice fishing!  (Photo 1)

  • Students in Mrs. T’s class collaborate with scooters during gym time.  (Photo 2)

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Coburn Building Project (Biweekly) [Website link here]

  • The next Coburn building project update is February 1, 2019.


Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment [Twitter: @WSPScurriculum]

  • West Springfield Public Schools convened a team of grade EC-1 teachers and administrators to discuss school readiness and the potential for a full district review of teaching the whole child. The 32-member team decided unanimously that we indeed need to review current instructional practices to identify skills that are non-negotiable for future social and academic success….stay tuned.

  • WSPS will begin the review process of our current Instructional Support Team process on February 5. This process will help the district align Tier 1 and 2 supports for both academic and behavioral interventions.


John Ashley School [Twitter: @WSPSAshley]

  • The School Council took the John Ashley School Improvement Plan and matched it up with the District Improvement Plan initiatives.  They then reviewed each area to see how progress was being made. This helped the School Council get to know both documents in a fun and interactive way and helped them strategically plan next steps.  (Photo 1)

  • Ashley school nurse, Mrs. Scripter, presented to all classrooms about dental health.  This presentation offered some background information to help students prepare for the Mobile Dentist visit next week. (Photo 2)

  • Mrs. Materas’s classroom learned about the Mo Willems “Knuffle Bunny” series.  They had the chance to write about their favorite book within the series. (Photo 3)

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Community and Family Engagement [Twitter and Facebook: @westspfldcfce]

  • The Ages and Stages questionnaire is now available online (see this link).  ASQ is a free screening tool for parents of children 1 month to 5 ½ years that provides a snapshot of a child’s development.  Please contact Rebecca Burgos for the screening link: rburgos@wsps.org or 413-246-3411. (Photo 1)

  • Playgroups for children ages 0-5 and their parents/caregivers is ongoing at the West Springfield Boys and Girls Club, Wednesdays and Fridays, from 10:30-11:30.  Free. Drop in. Registration not required.

  • Raising a Reader began January 11 (1-2 p.m.) and it will run for six weeks.  The program will be held at the West Springfield Public Library (Children’s Room).  Participants will take home a red bag filled with books to borrow and read with their families.  Upon completion of the program, children will receive a blue bag to keep. Registration is required, and space is limited to 12 families.  Flyer on this link.

  • CFCE January calendar and program descriptions can be found by clicking this link.

  • CFCE will hold a parent workshop in collaboration with Cowing Early Childhood, on January 24, 5:30-6:30 pm at Cowing School.  Pizza and limited childcare will be provided. Please see this flyer for more information.

To register for any programs, please contact the Community and Family Engagement Coordinator, Rebecca Burgos, at rburgos@wsps.org or 413-246-3144.  

WSPS District Spotlight - January 11, 2019

posted Jan 11, 2019, 11:07 AM by Erin Mountain

WSPS District Spotlight - January 11, 2019

The full WSPS calendar can be accessed through THIS LINK


From The Superintendent [Twitter: @WestSideSupt]     

  • The Community Outreach Team will meet again on January 14 and 28, 2019.  Meetings are held from 6:00-8:00 p.m., at West Springfield High School in room B221.  Anyone wishing to participate is welcome to attend. Should someone need childcare for the January 28 meeting, please email mountain@wsps.org by January 22. The focus of these meetings will be on engagement around the District Improvement Plan.

  • There will be no school on Monday, January 21, in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

  • The 2019 Pioneer Valley Excellence in Teaching Award nominations (teacher’s name with supporting evidence) are due to building principals by January 22, 2019.  A nomination form, on this link, may be used, but it is not required.  Five WSPS teachers, including one new teacher, will be honored at a banquet to be held at the Log Cabin on May 1.

  • The West Springfield CARE Coalition presents a free dinner courtesy of the Lions Club, and a talk by West Side resident Kirk Jonah on January 24, 2019, at West Springfield High School.  The dinner is 5:30-6:15 in the dining commons, and the presentation by Mr. Jonah begins at 6:30 p.m., in the auditorium.  Mr. Jonah will reflect on the impact of teen substance abuse on his family. He will address middle school and high school students in school during the week of January 22-25.  The event is being held in conjunction with the district’s activities during National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week.  The CARE Coalition event is free and open to all.  Childcare will be provided by WSHS Key Club members!  Program attendees are eligible to win a door prize! Check out the flyer on this link.  (Photo 1)

  • The next School Committee meeting is January 29, 2019 at 7:00 p.m., in the Municipal Office Building auditorium, located on the 2nd floor.

  • The Partnership for Education Annual Trivia Night is January 30, 2019, at 5:30 p.m., at the Dante Club.  Click this link for more information and to register your team of up to five people.  (Photo 2)

  • The Share the Warmth winter boots/snow pants collection drive for students in need, ages 5-11, is underway now through the end of January (organized by Coburn Reading Specialist Lisa DeLong).  The collection box is located in the Municipal Office Building lobby. Donations of gently loved/new winter boots and snow pants will be picked up weekly from the collection box.  Click this link for flyer.   

  • The Tech Talk Tuesdays blog, presented by Screenagers, is included in each District Spotlight post.  Click here to read this week’s TTT article.

  • The West Springfield High School indoor track is available to the West Springfield community on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, from 5:30-6:30 a.m.  Please see the details here.

  • The Superintendent’s Office is seeking updates on WSHS alumni for inclusion in this blog.  Alumni are encouraged to complete this short form.  

  • In the Spotlight” airs on Channel 15, on Monday and Tuesday at 6:00 p.m., and Thursday-Sunday at 8:00 p.m.  The most recent guest was Rob Wise, WSHS School Resource Officer.  Next week’s guests are Kirk Jonah, followed by WSHS Mathletes students. The entire playlist is on this link.

  • The Commissioner’s Weekly Updates are posted on this link.  

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Community and Family Engagement [Twitter and Facebook: @westspfldcfce]

  • The Ages and Stages questionnaire is now available online (see this link).  ASQ is a free screening tool for parents of children 1 month to 5 ½ years that provides a snapshot of a child’s development.  Please contact Rebecca Burgos for the screening link: rburgos@wsps.org or 413-246-3411. (Photo 1)

  • Playgroups for children ages 0-5 and their parents/caregivers is ongoing at the West Springfield Boys and Girls Club, Wednesdays and Fridays, from 10:30-11:30.  Free. Drop in. Registration not required.

  • Raising a Reader began January 11 (1-2 p.m.) and it will run for six weeks.  The program will be held at the West Springfield Public Library (Children’s Room).  Participants will take home a red bag filled with books to borrow and read with their families.  Upon completion of the program, children will receive a blue bag to keep. Registration is required, and space is limited to 12 families.  Flyer on this link.

  • CFCE January calendar and program descriptions can be found by clicking this link.

  • January Parent/Child Date Night will be held January 14, from 5:30-6:30 p.m., at the West Springfield Boys and Girls Club.  Please see this flyer for more information.

  • CFCE will hold a parent workshop in collaboration with Cowing Early Childhood, on January 24, 5:30-6:30 pm at Cowing School.  Pizza and limited childcare will be provided. Please see this flyer for more information.

  • To register for any programs, please contact the Community and Family Engagement Coordinator, Rebecca Burgos, at rburgos@wsps.org or 413-246-3144.


District/School Counseling Program

  • January 29 at 5 p.m. is the annual scholarship fair at WSHS.  At 6 p.m., the Guidance and Counseling Department will host a FAFSA completion event.  Pre-Registration for FAFSA night is required.  In addition, 6 p.m. is when the MEFA representative will present about college admissions.  These events are open to all, with the scholarship fair and FAFSA events dedicated to 12th grade students/families.

  • Follow us on Facebook - the new page is WSHS Counseling Department.  Important events will be posted on this site. Twitter is also used to post important information: @WSHS_Guidance.

  • The high school Counseling Department is seeking community involvement for a School Counseling Advisory Council. This year, the commitment would be two sessions of 1-1 ½ hours each.  The dates and times are not yet determined, but parent and community involvement is a required part of the council. Please email Shamis White (white@wsps.org) with any questions or to express interest.

                    

English Learners

  • ACCESS testing all this month!   English Learners are taking their annual language assessment which determines language development from one year to the next in the domains of: listening, reading, speaking, and writing!

  • Ascentria West Springfield will be starting evening adult ESOL classes in February. Classes will be Mondays and Wednesdays for level 1 (low –high beginner) and Tuesdays and Thursdays for level 2 (low intermediate – intermediate), 6-7:30pm. The start date is TBD right now depending on registration outcomes.   Please share this flyer with any of your students/parents/community members are all welcome!          

  • Language Word of the Week:   नयाँ बर्षको शुभकामना - Happy New Year     Pronounced:  Nayām̐ barṣakō śubhakāmanā         

 

Health Services & CARE Coalition [Twitter: @WSPShealth; @01089cares]

  • Mrs. Pandolfi and Mrs. Apostle are working hard to educate students on the importance of breakfast as fuel for a successful school day.


Fausey School [Twitter: @WSPSFausey]

  • SECOND GRADE ART ~ Mrs. Carter’s artists were inspired by the art and plant life they saw on their field trip to the Smith Art Museum and Botanical Garden. They will use their experiences in their January projects, which will surely be part of the upcoming Art Show!  Pictures and more information on this link.

  • DAY OF GIVING ~ The holiday season can be hectic, but things slowed down in a wonderful way at Fausey on December 20.  The Fausey PTO and administrators collaborated to share a very special day with the Fausey Community:

    • PTO volunteers went into classrooms to help students make a very special craft for their families.

    • The volunteers also made no-sew fleece blankets that will be donated to Baystate Hospice.  Each class was proud of their comforting contribution for people in need.

    • Since all the extra hands were busy with the students, staff members were able to take a small break in the library.  Fausey staff enjoyed treats and a neck massage, and just a few minutes to sit and relax in each other’s company. The raffle prizes were also a great treat!

    • Pictures on  this link.  A special thank you to a generous and thoughtful PTO!                                              

  • SNOW SCULPTURES ~ Room 16 engineers used homemade ‘snow’ to design snowmen, volcanoes and snow dogs!  Pictures on this link.

  • HOLIDAYS AROUND THE WORLD ~ First graders invited their loved ones to their beautiful renditions of popular holiday songs!  Pictures on this link.

  • ACADEMIC AND CITIZENSHIP AWARDS ~ Mrs. Morneau handed out the December awards from teachers to a group of very deserving students.  Pictures on this link.

  • CONNECTICUT SCIENCE CENTER ~ Mrs. Chalero’s class, and all the fifth graders, explored the Hartford Museum.  The hope is to follow the experience with a visiting program at Fausey!  Pictures on this link.


Social-Emotional Learning (SEL)

  • West Springfield Public Schools fosters a school environment where family and community partnerships support students as they learn to be compassionate, empathetic, and healthy citizens.  Work is based upon five core competencies:  self awareness, self management, social awareness, relationship skills, responsible decision making.  For information, please visit this link.

  • The district will be starting it’s PBIS and SEL Capacity Audit this month in order to assess strengths and needs for behavior and SEL supports throughout the district.

  • SEL Video of the Week: Why SEL?


High School [Twitter: @WSPS_WSHS and @WSHS_guidance]

Weekly Review:


Upcoming:


Click on link:


Athletics [Twitter: @wshsterriers

  • Family ID registration for winter sports is open.  Register on this link.

  • Please visit the MIAA Schedule on the athletics web page for sports schedules.  

  • Reminder - the Terrier Pride Banner Campaign is ongoing -- details are on this link.

   

Special Services  

  • The next SEPAC (Special Education Parent Advisory Council) workshop will be presented on January 24, 2019 at 6:30 p.m., at West Springfield High School, in room B221.  The topic is Supporting Your Child’s Executive Function Needs.  

  • The SEPAC Leadership is looking for new members!  Anyone wishing to get more involved with setting up Special Education parent workshops and support groups is welcome to join!  Please call 263-3276 if interested. The Leadership Committee meets monthly with the Director of Special Services to find out what is happening in Special Education and to plan upcoming activities.

  • As part of the commitment for UDL Universal Design for Learning, all of the students and staff in West Springfield have access to support tools called Snap and Read and Co:Writer.  To learn more about these tools please click on this link and this link.

  • This week, Middle School Principal Peter Gillen, Superintendent Richard and Kathryn Mahony, Director of Special Services had the pleasure of a completing a Walk Through at the Middle School.  The group observed some terrific co:teaching instructional practices. The students were engaged and having some thoughtful dialogue in all of the content areas. (Photo 1)

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Middle School [Twitter: @WSPSMiddle]

  • The WSMS Career Fair has returned!  All 8th Graders will attend a Career Fair next Friday, January 18.  WSMS partnered with the West of the River Chamber of Commerce to create the event, which will feature a keynote speaker and tables of community members representing jobs in the trades and professions around Western Massachusetts.  This event will also coincide with WSMS’ College Week, where staff talk about their college pathway, majors, and application experiences. WSMS staff members will be wearing apparel from their alma maters on January 18 as well.

  • ACCESS Testing for EL students begins next Monday, January 14, for English Learner students.

              

Cowing Alternative School

  • Happy New Year!  Cowing Alternative School is in the process of revamping schedules to make some much-needed changes to enhance the social emotional learning goals for our students.

  • PBIS lessons will be reviewed to ensure that students have the best intentions in mind when walking in the hallway, using the restrooms, riding the bus, and participating in classroom activities with respect and mindfulness.

  • There were many fun and exciting activities that took place prior to the holiday break.  Take a look….

                      

Memorial School [Twitter: @WSPSMemorial]

  • At a recent raffle, a lucky second grader named Anthony Cortis won a brand new bike!  Anthony shared that his bike is used frequently and he’s very appreciative to be able to ride in style! Thanks to Kelly Beckwith for her generous and thoughtful donation and to Tim Connor for his assistance -their acts of kindness have made a child very happy!  (Photo 1)

  • Second grade students were given the opportunity to incorporate ELA, Science and Math as they read several informational texts. After reading Balloons Over Broadway, the classes chose to design their own balloon, much like one that would be in a parade. Students selected materials to create their very own original balloon for this project-based assignment  This lesson involved perseverance, revision and trial and error. As a culminating activity, the entire school was invited to a balloon parade in the hallway - it was wonderful! Throughout the lesson, students learned about text features and diagrams, and they completed a written component, reflecting upon their choices, their calculations and designs. (Photo collage 2)

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Coburn School  [Twitter: @WSPSCoburn]

  • Students in Mrs. Cauley’s 4th grade practiced using details from a text to support their responses to a text dependent question in writing.  (Photos 1 and 2)

  • Welcome to Julia Lizska who is filling in for Maxine Cirillo for the remainder of the school year.  Maxine retired in December after teaching 1st grade for 25 years. Congratulations to Mrs. Cirillo!

  • On Thursday before the holiday break, Coburn students and staff continued to focus on a monthly character trait and celebrate their work with a school-wide museum walk.  Students in each grade learn about the character trait for the month and use literature as a springboard for discussions. Then each class creates a student display in the hallway to showcase what they learned.  During the school-wide museum walk, teachers escort their classes through the building to enjoy all of the displays and celebrate their work. The character trait for December was honesty. January’s character trait is courage.  (Photos 3-6)


Mittineague [Twitter: @WSPSMittineague]

  • The first graders in Mrs. Gerardi’s room were conducting a series of experiments using sound.  Through these experiments, they made water ‘dance,’ the light of a laser shimmy, and some objects move!  They collected observations throughout all of the different procedures, and discovered that the sound was...ENERGY!  (Photo collage - Madison, Sofia)

  • Mrs. Canon’s second graders have been working with the MCU (Model Curriculum Unit) Fairy Tales.  Since they have been back from break, they have read and discussed the books, Cinderella, A Little Gold Star and Adelita.  All of these books have some things in common and the children have

been charting their observations as they read.  Adelita is a Mexican-inspired Cinderella tale where a beautiful young woman named Adelita has a jealous stepmother and two hateful stepsisters.  She eventually meets a young man who is looking for a wife and in turn she loses her rebozo-(shawl). In A Little Gold Star (a Spanish-American Cinderella tale), a young woman is rewarded with a gold star for her good deeds.  Her wicked stepmother is jealous and sends the two step sisters to get the same reward with disastrous results.  The Cinderella stories are just the start, as these second graders will delve into a multi-cultural study with Cinderella tales from different cultures to come.  (Photo collage)

  • Miss Diana had several students down to visit and read to Momo, this week!  The boys were so excited to be the one to be able to read to the rabbit! As the boys sat in a semi-circle and read, Momo politely listened and stayed right with the boys until they were finished!  The boys (Derek, Vinnie, and Nick) even had a chance to feed him and have their picture taken with him. Momo, the Lion Lop, is quite the motivator!! (Photo collage)


Tatham School [Twitter: @WSPSTatham]

  • After reading a story about a disabled gymnast, Mrs Gale invited Troy Cronin into her class.  Troy Lost both his legs and some of his fingers due to meningitis. He now plays for the Thunderbirds’ Sled Hockey Team.  He talked about overcoming many challenges and was an inspiration to the students. (Photo 1)

  • Tatham School began a Superbowl Reading Challenge! Each week students will get a football themed prize for reading a certain amount of minutes. After four weeks, the grade with the most minutes will be treated to a special “tailgate party” with food and games - just in time for the real Superbowl.  (Photo 2)

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Alumni Update

Alumni are encouraged to fill out this brief survey to help WSPS highlight their news, accomplishments and updates!  

Cowing Early Childhood

  • Room 3 hung bagel bird feeders on the trees outside Cowing School. (Photos 1-3)

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Coburn Building Project (Biweekly) [Website link here]

  • The Schematic Design phase of the Coburn School Building project continues to move along. November and December were taken up with meetings with school staff and program administrators as well as food service, maintenance, and public safety representatives, to get their response to the initial site and building plans.  The design team is continually refining those plans to try to meet the needs of all stakeholders and still stay within the strict parameters set by the Massachusetts School Building Authority and, at the same time, to remain sensitive to cost implications. The plans are being adjusted weekly as different issues are resolved.

  • In addition to their work on the building and site layouts, the design team has begun to present ideas to the Planning & Construction Committee (PCC) about how the building will look from the outside.  The PCC will meet three times in January to give and receive feedback as these matters continue to be worked on.

  • The design team also made a presentation to the School Committee at their publicly-televised January 8, 2019 meeting to share where the plans currently stand and to get their reactions and input.

  • Work is continuing to secure ownership of some neighboring properties that are necessary to complete the site of the proposed school.  This process remains on schedule to be completed before the next phase of the project - the Budget and Scope Agreement between the State and the Town.


Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment [Twitter: @WSPScurriculum]

  • Member representatives of the Elementary Math Pilot Team will be heading to Stratford, CT to visit schools that have been using the program for three years.  The purpose of the visit is to discuss the strengths and challenges of the program as we move towards a final decision.

  • The district is in the process of reviewing the concept of student readiness.  This review a “check in” for the district to determine social and emotional learning trends and its relationship with student achievement.


John Ashley School [Twitter: @WSPSAshley]

  • Mrs. Hildonen’s classroom has been learning about how frogs grow and change.  They have created a pond habitat and have been acting out the frog life cycle through the seasons.  (Photo 1)

  • Mrs. Rodriguez’s classroom has been learning about polar bears.  They have completed written reports detailing all that they have learned.

  • Mrs. Jacob’s classroom read The Mitten by Jan Brett, and completed a craft and writing project to go along with the story.  They depicted different animals going into mittens and created a mitten tree. (Photo 2)


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WSPS District Spotlight - December 14, 2018

posted Dec 14, 2018, 11:25 AM by Erin Mountain   [ updated Dec 18, 2018, 12:17 PM ]

WSPS District Spotlight - December 14, 2018

The full WSPS calendar can be accessed through THIS LINK


From The Superintendent [Twitter: @WestSideSupt]     

  • There will be no District Spotlight next week.  I look forward to sharing our next DS on Friday, January 11, 2019.  Also, beginning in 2019, I will be sending out an abbreviated version of the DS (under a title yet-to-be-determined) that will highlight just a couple of events or happenings in the District; it is expected that this will be published on Mondays or Tuesdays.  The longer District Spotlight will continue to be published each Friday afternoon.

  • This is the final weekend of the WSHS Drama Club production, “You Can’t Take it With You.”  The play will be presented Friday, December 14 and Saturday, December 15, at 7:00 p.m. in the high school auditorium.  Click this link for more information.

  • The WSHS Ski and Snowboard Club presents Warren Miller's FACE OF WINTER film at West Springfield High School on Sunday, December 16, at 4:30 p.m.  Attendees will receive free lift tickets to Sugarbush VT and Berkshire East (or other local mountain).  Tickets are $15 at the door, or visit Colorado Ski Shop on Westfield Street. Great door prizes and raffle prizes!  The fundraiser will help make the fees for the high school’s ski/snowboard trips cheaper for everyone!! View Movie Trailer.

  • The next School Committee meeting is January 8, 2019 at 7:00 p.m., in the Municipal Office Building auditorium, located on the 2nd floor.

  • 2019 Pioneer Valley Excellence in Teaching Award nominations (teacher’s name with supporting evidence) are due to building principals by January 22, 2019.  A nomination form, on this link, may be used, but it is not required.  Five WSPS teachers, including one new teacher, will be honored at a banquet to be held at the Log Cabin on May 1.

  • I was able to observe the Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) class demonstration at WSHS today.  The course is offered through the high school’s health curriculum and is designed to empower young women to be able to defend themselves and give them the skills necessary to remove themselves from physically and mentally compromising situations.  The program is made possible due to the support and training of the West Springfield Police Department. Next week “In the Spotlight”, I will be interviewing School Resource Officer Robert Wise about this and other relevant issues.

  • The Share the Warmth winter boots/snow pants collection drive for students in need, ages 5-11, is underway now through the end of January (organized by Coburn Reading Specialist Lisa DeLong).  The collection box is located in the Municipal Office Building lobby. Donations of gently loved/new winter boots and snow pants will be picked up weekly from the collection box.  Click this link for flyer.   

  • Food Service menus are in the process of being enhanced with comprehensive nutritional information and a new look.  Click this link for a preview!  Feel free to peruse the webpage and direct any questions or feedback to schoolnutrition@wsps.org.

  • The Tech Talk Tuesdays blog articles, presented by Screenagers, will be included in each District Spotlight post.  Click this link to read this week’s TTT article.

  • Work on the new Adult Education Center (the former Teen Center) is coming along nicely.  It is expected that the facility will open in January. (Photos 1-3)

  • The Community Outreach Team will meet again on January 14 and 28, 2019.  Meetings are held from 6:00-8:00 p.m., at West Springfield High School in room B221.  Anyone wishing to participate is welcome to attend. Should someone need childcare, please email mountain@wsps.org by January 7.

  • It’s back - the Partnership for Education Annual Trivia Night!  The event is January 30, 2019, at the Dante Club.  Click this link for more information and to register your team of up to five people.

  • The West Springfield High School indoor track is available to the West Springfield community on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, from 5:30-6:30 a.m.  Please see the details here.

  • The Superintendent’s Office is seeking updates on WSHS alumni for inclusion in this blog.  Alumni are encouraged to complete this short form.  

  • In the Spotlight” airs on Channel 15, on Monday and Tuesday at 6:00 p.m., and Thursday-Sunday at 8:00 p.m.  This week’s guest:  Amy Pasterczyk, WSHS Special Education teacher.  The entire playlist is on this link.

  • The Commissioner’s Weekly Updates are posted on this link.  

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John Ashley School [Twitter: @WSPSAshley]

  • Mrs. Rodriguez’s classroom enjoyed conducting an experiment involving setting up a pretend town at bottom of a mountain side.  They had to figure out how to block a huge boulder (ping pong ball) from crashing into homes.

  • Students and staff are continuing to enjoy weekly visits from Cathy Bussolari and Frigo from Bright Spot Therapy.  There are many opportunities for visiting with Frigo when he comes, and students are identifying how “happy” he helps to make them feel.  (Photo 1)

  • Winter concerts are happening on Tuesday, December 18 and Wednesday, December 19. The schedule is as follows:

December 18, at 10:30 a.m. - Mrs.Phelan, Ms. Cannon, Mrs. Narey

December 18, at 1:30 p.m. - Mrs. Dufresne, Mrs. Vedovelli, Mrs. Materas

December 19, at 10:30 a.m. - Mrs. Ramistella, Mrs. Busiere, Mrs. DeForge

December 19, at 1:30 p.m. - Mrs. Hildonen, Mrs. Jacobs, Mrs. Rodriguez

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Community and Family Engagement [Twitter and Facebook: @westspfldcfce]

  • The Ages and Stages questionnaire is now available online (see this link).  ASQ is a free screening tool for parents of children 1 month to 5 ½ years that provides a snapshot of a child’s development.  Please contact Rebecca Burgos for the screening link: rburgos@wsps.org or 413-246-3411. (Photo 1)

  • Playgroups for children ages 0-5 and their parents/caregivers is ongoing at the West Springfield Boys and Girls Club, Wednesdays and Fridays, from 10:30-11:30.  Free. Drop in. Registration not required.

  • Raising a Reader will begin January 11 (1-2 p.m.) and it will run for six weeks.  The program will be held at the West Springfield Public Library (Children’s Room).  Participants will take home a red bag filled with books to borrow and read with their families.  Upon completion of the program, children will receive a blue bag to keep. Registration is required, and space is limited to 12 families.  Flyer on this link.

  • To register for any programs, please contact the Community and Family Engagement Coordinator, Rebecca Burgos, at rburgos@wsps.org or 413-246-3144.


District/School Counseling Program

  • This week counselors from West Springfield High School visited 8th grade students in their Science classes. The theme of this transition activity was “What are the differences between the high school and the middle school?” Members of the class of 2023 had thoughtful questions and counselors were able to help students allay some nervousness. Any questions about the presentation or the transition from 8th grade to high school can be sent to Amanda Hernandez, 8th grade counselor, ahernandez@wsps.org, or Shamis White, high school department chair, white@wsps.org.  (Photos 1-2)

  • The 8th annual Alumni Panel will take place on December 19.  Interested students should respond to this link.  This panel is open to students in grades 11 and 12.

  • The high school counseling department is seeking community involvement for a School Counseling Advisory Council. This year, the commitment would be two sessions of 1-1 ½ hours each. The dates and times are not yet determined, but parent and community involvement is a required part of the council.  Please email Shamis White (white@wsps.org) with any questions or to express interest.

  • Hannah Melendez teaching a classroom lesson about Anger and Mindfulness at John Ashley.  (photo 3)

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English Learners

  • Coburn’s annual Winterfest brought hundreds of students and families out on a wintry night to enjoy the festivities, food and the fun of games and crafts led by Coburn faculty and staff!   

          

 

Health Services [Twitter: @WSPShealth]

  • According to Massachusetts Department of Public Health, here is still time to get your flu shot for best chances of protecting yourself and those around you from the flu and associated health problems.  

  • Use this link to find out where flu vaccine is available.


Information Technology

  • Tech Tip of the Week: How to Add Citations to a Google Doc:

    • Open a document in Google Docs, then select Tools > Research. Or use shortcut Ctrl+Alt+Shift+I.

    • Find the paper or study you'd like to cite by selecting Scholar in the search bar, then searching by keyword or author.

    • Select the study or paper and click either Cite as footnote or Insert.


Fausey School [Twitter: @WSPSFausey]

  • Ms. DellaGuistina’s class read the book The Mitten by Jan Brett.  With the help of their fantastic paraprofessionals, the students then got creative and created their own mittens.  Click this link to view the photos.

  • WINTER CONCERT ~ Mr. Rovero and Ms. Sapowsky outdid themselves with an impressive Winter Concert.  Students in grades 3-5 were dedicated to their music, and the end result was a beautiful show shared with their peers, staff and their families.  Photos are on this link.

  • HARVEST TIME!  A special thanks to Mrs. St. Peter, who with her staff and students, has planted and groomed the lettuce in Fausey’s Tower Garden.  Looks delicious! (Photos 1- 2)


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Social-Emotional Learning (SEL)

  • West Springfield Public Schools fosters a school environment where family and community partnerships support students as they learn to be compassionate, empathetic, and healthy citizens.  Work is based upon five core competencies:  self awareness, self management, social awareness, relationship skills, responsible decision making.  For information, please visit this link.

  • PBIS audit Pre-K-8 will start this February. We are looking forward to finding our strengths in behavioral supports.

  • Our SEL task force members will begin our Multi-Tiered Student Support assessment this January to find strengths and gaps in supports for students with academic, social emotional, behavioral and language needs.

  • Spotlight On Best SEL Practice: Flexible Seating in Deb Ramistella’s Room at John Ashley. Deb’s room is an amazing display of utilizing flexible seating to meet the needs of all learners!


High School [Twitter: @WSPS_WSHS and @WSHS_guidance]

Weekly Review:


Upcoming:


Click on link:


Athletics [Twitter: @wshsterriers

  • Family ID registration for winter sports is open.  Register on this link.

  • Please visit the MIAA Schedule on the athletics web page for sports schedules.  

  • Reminder - the Terrier Pride Banner Campaign is ongoing -- details are on this link.

   

Special Services  

  • The next SEPAC (Special Education Parent Advisory Council) workshop will be presented on January 24, 2019 at 6:30 p.m., at West Springfield High School.  The topic is supporting your child’s executive function needs.  Go to this link for more details.

  • The SEPAC Leadership is looking for new members!  Anyone wishing to get more involved with setting up Special Education parent workshops and support groups is welcome to join!  Please call 263-3276 if interested. The Leadership Committee meets monthly with the Director of Special Services to find out what is happening in Special Education and to plan upcoming activities.

  • Last week, Dr. Deb Brady of Ribas and Associates spent the day working with teachers at John Ashley School.  Dr. Brady observed and coached teachers on inclusive practice and executive function skills.

  • Fausey School continues to use the co-taught methodology to address the needs of all learners in an inclusive setting. The following pictures represent the 3rd and 4th grade classrooms.


Middle School [Twitter: @WSPSMiddle]

  • The West Springfield VFW recognized three students for their writing in the VFW’s annual “Patriot’s Pen” Essay contest.  Vanna Nguyen, Mariah Toro, and Franza Mazimpaka were recognized for their writing!  Additionally, two West Springfield Middle School students, Ella Stevenson and Tia Jackman, were recognized by the Southwick VFW for their essays in the same contest.  This work was part of the Creative Literacy classes led by teachers Gia Torres and Hannah Miller. Mrs. Torres and Ms. Miller continued WSMS’ partnership with the West Springfield VFW for this program which begins in conjunction with Veteran’s Day each year and continues into the winter.  (Photo 4)

  • Members of the Guidance team at WSHS visited 8th graders this week to answer questions and begin preparation for transitioning to WSHS next year!  Additionally, seniors from West Springfield High School met with 8th graders in Mr. Chotkowski’s Modern World class.  They spoke with students about being successful in high school, as well as important pieces of the college application process!  (Photos 1-2)

  • Ranger Scott from the National Park Service spoke to students in 8th grade 21st Century Skills classes this week.  Ranger Scott works at the Springfield Armory Historical Site and supported students with their research projects on the National Parks. (Photo 3)

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Cowing Alternative School

  • This weeks Spotlight is on the CAS Middle School students.  Thank you to Ms. Maloney, our unified arts technology teacher, for inviting us to the Make Space at the WSMS.  The students thoroughly enjoyed the boat building activity!

  • Also, the Grade 6 and 7 students have been working hard to improve their written language skills.  They are writing more and more each day and are making wonderful gains!

  • Reminder:  Every Tuesday is School Banking.  Send in your deposits each week. If you would like to join, please request a school banking form from your child’s teacher.

     

                   

Memorial School [Twitter: @WSPSMemorial]

  • It was standing room only at the Annual Holiday Band and Music Concerts!  Students and staff members participated in a joyful morning of song, dance, instrumental music, and solo performances. Many thanks to Memorial families for supporting their children during our before school practices and with their music at home.  Mr. Rovero has worked tirelessly with the band students, and their excellent performance indicates the effort they have put forth. Mrs. Sapowski has brought beautiful music and a great enthusiasm for performance to Memorial students. Ms. Thahir and our entire student body created a collage that was a true masterpiece.  Our teachers and staff are to be commended for their flexibility and collegiality while working and singing with our specialists. Thank you to all of the families who attended and supported the children - it meant a great deal to everyone! Thank you to Memorial custodian, Brian, PE teacher Ms. Sirignano, and the fifth grade student helpers who prepared the gym, the chairs, and checked the microphones prior to the arrival of the many visitors!  (Photo collage 1-3 - collage 1: Leo and Joseph show brotherly love; Dominic received flowers after a stellar performance; Mrs. Tolpa greets families as they sign in)

  • Concurrent with the Holiday concert, the school held a Scholastic Book Fair to support students through PTO funds.  Sincere thanks to Kim, Celinez, Mya, Karen, Melissa, Whitney, Katy, and Nichole for facilitating before and during the fair - they are terrific PTO members!  

  • Coming up - Annual Family Holiday Luncheon is Monday, December 17!

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Coburn School  [Twitter: @WSPSCoburn]

  • Wednesday morning, 2nd and 3rd grade chorus performed as well as band for the winter concert.  This was a well attended event that showcased the talent of Coburn’s young performers. (Photos 1-4)

  • Next week is Spirit Week. The schedule is:  Monday - Team Sports Day, Tuesday - Hat Day, Wednesday - West Side Pride Day (wear blue/white), Thursday - Crazy Hair Day, Friday - Pajama Day.

  • Winter Festival was held Thursday night.  The event is the highlight of the school year.  Thank you to all of the faculty and staff who volunteered their time at the festival.  A special thank you to Lori Gendreau and Christine Price for their leadership with this massive endeavor!


Mittineague [Twitter: @WSPSMittineague]

  • Classroom teachers attended two more days of workshop training on the Responsive Classroom model.  The first of these trainings took place in the end of October. The workshops were scheduled this way to give the teachers a little time in between trainings to try out some of the methods and strategies.  Responsive Classroom is an evidenced approach to teaching that focuses on the strong link between academic success and social emotional learning. (Photo collage)

  • Mrs. Lancour’s fourth grade math group presented at the December 11 School Committee meeting.  The children demonstrated the four different multiplication methods that they had learned and mastered in class.  They not only ‘did the math,’ but explained the process as they were doing it. (Photo collage)

  • Mrs. Penna’s fourth graders invited guests to a showing of their science projects on weathering and erosion.  The unit culminated with the students creating projects to show what they learned about the process, and the cause and effect that weathering and erosion has on our earth.  (Photo collage on this link.)


Tatham School [Twitter: @WSPSTatham]

  • Meteorologist, Jacob Wycoff, visited Grade 3 to talk to them about weather.  The third graders are finishing up the weather unit in their science class. (Photo 1)

  • The annual Holiday Concert was held on Thursday.  Miss Tucker and Mr. Rovero put on a great program each year for our Tatham families. (Photo 2)

  • Our after school program ended on Wednesday as the students presented a magic show. The students were excited to show off their tricks to their parents! ( Photo 3)







Alumni Update

Alumni are encouraged to fill out this brief survey to help WSPS highlight their news, accomplishments and updates!  

  • Dr. Debra "Debi" (Hulseberg) Latour ‘74 is an Occupational Therapy educator at Western New England University.  She earned her B.S. from Tufts and her M.S. in Occupational Therapy from Springfield College; her doctorate in O.T. came from A.T. Still University.  She is featured in the Winter 2018 issue of the Western New England magazine.


Cowing Early Childhood

  • Family Theme: A play dough portrait of Mom.  (Photo 1)

  • Building houses for the gingerbread man.  (Photos 2-4)

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Coburn Building Project (Biweekly) [Website link here]

  • WSPS is now in  the Schematic Design phase of the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) process, and there have been many  recent meetings with stakeholders to work on refining the details. Within the past month, the calendar has been as follows:

  • November 6:  Meeting with Coburn School Staff

  • November 6:  Meeting with Safety & Security Task Force

  • November 6:  Planning & Construction Committee Meeting

  • November 8:  Meeting with Food Service Director & Consultant

  • November 13: Project update meeting with Mayor/CFO/Town Attorney

  • November 13: Meeting with Mechanical/Electrical/Plumbing (MEP) Subcommittee

  • November 21: Planning & Construction Committee Meeting

  • November 26: Meeting of LEED Subcommittee

  • November 27: Conference call with MSBA

  • November 27: Project update meeting with Mayor/CFO/Town Attorney

  • November 29: Meeting w/DPW Engineering and Planning Department representatives

  • December 5:  Planning & Construction Committee Meeting

  • December 8:  Meeting with Special Services Staff

  • December 11: Project update meeting with Mayor/CFO/TSKP & NV5

  • As a result of all of this activity, the early draft of the building floor plan is being continuously modified as issues of program requirements for space and adjacency are explored in greater depth with staff and administrators.  At the same time, the parameters imposed by building and planning codes, emergency services, maintenance requirements, energy code and LEEDS compliance, and so on, are being defined and accommodated in the design.

  • This level of activity will continue and the months ahead will be very busy. There will be more meetings to review changes made as a result of the input from the early meetings.  A meeting with the Information Technology (IT) department also will take place.

  • Concurrently with this design work, the Town has been advancing negotiations with the owners of the various properties around the existing Coburn School.  They are currently on schedule to secure ownership by the conclusion of Schematic Design and prior to the next phase of the MSBA process which will be the Budget and Scope agreement between the State and the Town.


Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment [Twitter: @WSPScurriculum]

  • This week 30 elementary teachers and Coburn Elementary School Vice Principal Amy Smith concluded their four day training in Responsive Classroom (RC). “The Responsive Classroom approach to teaching is comprised of a set of well-designed practices intended to create safe, joyful, and engaging classroom and school communities. The emphasis is on helping students develop their academic, social, and emotional skills in a learning environment that is developmentally responsive to their strengths and needs.” The goal of the District is to train every elementary teacher and administrator in the strategies of RC over the next 3-5 years.  

WSPS District Spotlight - December 7, 2018

posted Dec 7, 2018, 12:22 PM by Erin Mountain

WSPS District Spotlight - December 7, 2018

The full WSPS calendar can be accessed through THIS LINK


From The Superintendent [Twitter: @WestSideSupt]     

  • The community is encouraged to embrace the spirit of generosity by contributing to the Share the Warmth winter boots/snow pants collection drive for students in need, ages 5-11.  Coburn Reading Specialist Lisa DeLong is spearheading the drive, which will run from Monday, December 10, 2018 through the end of January 2019.  The collection box will be located in front of the School Department/ Municipal Office Building first floor. Donations of gently loved and new winter boots and snow pants will be picked up weekly from the collection box.  Click this link.   

  • The Bullying Task Force met this week.  The group has determined that the focus should be on highlighting and encouraging positive behaviors (i.e. kindness, empathy, etc).  The Task Force is meeting again on December 17 to establish next steps in a “marketing” and engagement campaign!

  • The Community Outreach Team on Monday and discussed many ways to engage the school community in understanding the District Improvement Plan.  Ideas include: mailings, social media posts/videos, and more. The next two meeting dates have been set: January 14 and 28, 2019.  Meetings are held from 6:00-8:00 p.m., at West Springfield High School in room B221.  Anyone wishing to participate is welcome to attend. Should someone need childcare, please email mountain@wsps.org by January 7.

  • I am pleased to announce that West Springfield High School librarian Sarah Forfa has been named the West Area Co-Director of the 2018-2019 Executive Board of the Massachusetts School Library Association (MSLA).  In this capacity, Ms. Forfa will be involved with planning professional development for MSLA members and hosting regional meetings to explore topics of local interest and explore best practices.

  • The next School Committee meeting is Tuesday, December 11, 2018 at 7:00 p.m., in the Municipal Office Building auditorium/2nd floor.

  • The West Springfield High School indoor track is available to the West Springfield community on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, from 5:30-6:30 a.m.  Please see the details here.

  • The Superintendent’s Office is seeking updates on WSHS alumni for inclusion in this blog.  Alumni are encouraged to complete this short form.  

  • In the Spotlight” airs on Channel 15, on Monday and Tuesday at 6:00 p.m., and Thursday-Sunday at 8:00 p.m.  This week’s guests:  WSHS Drama Club members.  The entire playlist is on this link.

  • The Commissioner’s Weekly Updates are posted on this link.  

                                     

Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment [Twitter: @WSPScurriculum]

  • The 2018-2021 District Improvement Plan (DIP) was approved by the School Committee earlier this year.  In the plan, the District Improvement Development Team used School Council recommendations and other feedback and data to determine the needs of the District.  One of the strategic objectives is related to the review of the district’s current Instructional Support Team (IST). The process will include a review of effectiveness, areas of improvement, team makeup, best practices and how the process can better support a Response To Intervention Model.  As you can imagine, this process will take time. The goal is not to simply tweak existing practices but methodically review the foundational structures of our current practices.

The Process for Review:

  • Develop a representative review team from across grade levels and departments. (January 2019)

  • Identify outside experts to support and guide best practice. (February 2019)

  • Identify the Tier I and Tier II supports, both academically and behaviorally. (February 2019- May 2019)

  • Develop a list of needs in the area of programming and training. (Summer of 2019)
    The target dates are aggressive, but the goal is to get the work started.  As each phase is conducted, undoubtedly, there will be more details to think through.

  • Develop an implementation process with specific training. (Summer of 2019)

John Ashley School [Twitter: @WSPSAshley]

  • Mr. O’Brien’s class is working on stacking cups during Physical Education.  (Photo 1)

  • Mrs. Materas’s classroom has been working on comparing temperatures over six days.  They discovered that the warmest time of day is usually in the afternoon and graphed their results.  (Photo 2)

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Community and Family Engagement [Twitter and Facebook: @westspfldcfce]

  • The Ages and Stages questionnaire is now available online (see this link).  ASQ is a free screening tool for parents of children 1 month to 5 ½ years that provides a snapshot of a child’s development.  Please contact Rebecca Burgos for the screening link: rburgos@wsps.org or 413-246-3411. (Photo 1)

  • Playgroups for children ages 0-5 and their parents/caregivers is ongoing at the West Springfield Boys and Girls Club, Wednesdays and Fridays, from 10:30-11:30.  Free. Drop in. Registration not required.

  • To register for any programs, please contact the Community and Family Engagement Coordinator, Rebecca Burgos, at rburgos@wsps.org or 413-246-3144.

  • Registration is open for Parent/Child Date Night, December 10, from 5:30-6:30 p.m. at the West Springfield Public Library.  Attendees will listen to the story “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” followed by a STEM make your own Grinch slime activity.  Limited to 12 families.


District/School Counseling Program

  • PSAT scores were released on December 3. Counselors are working with College Board to determine the best way to disseminate scores to all grade 11 students. Scores may be accessed through College Board’s website if an account has been created. Look for more information regarding PSATs in upcoming weeks.

  • Next week, high school counselors will make visits to all grade 8 science classrooms.  The focus of the visits are “Middle School vs. High School. What are the differences? What can I expect?”

  • The high school counseling department is seeking community involvement for a School Counseling Advisory Council. This year, the commitment would be two sessions of 1-1 ½ hours each. The dates and times are not yet determined, but parent and community involvement is a required part of the council.  Please email Shamis White (white@wsps.org) with any questions or to express interest.

                    

English Learners

  • DESE has released a video, “Fulfilling Our Promise: Snapshots of English Learners and their Families”. Hear directly from the families of our multilingual learners, including discussion of the importance of the schooling experience, as well as hopes and aspirations for their children.    It is DESE’s hope that this video help build enthusiasm for change, strengthen the commitment to the academic success and immense potential of ELs, and compel and support equity and rich, abundant educational experiences for all our students.

  • Language Word of the Week:      socorro - help  (Portuguese)     

 

Health Services [Twitter: @WSPShealth]


Information Technology

  • Tech Tip of the Week: Chromebook Keyboard Shortcut: Turn Caps Lock on or off: Press Search Search + Alt.


Fausey School [Twitter: @WSPSFausey]

  • BLACK OUT CHALLENGE ~ On November 28, Mr. Harty issued the "Black Out Challenge" to all Fausey students.  They (and their families) were asked to go an entire day without watching TV or playing video games.  This was a culminating activity for November's Family Literacy Month. There was an impressive total of 187 students, or 41% of the school that met the challenge as they handed in sheets which logged hourly accounts of everything they did on November 28, from the time they got up until they went to bed.  It was interesting to see the variety of activities they engaged in that involved some form of literacy, without watching TV. At first, many kids grumbled at the thought of blacking out TV for a whole day, but they found so many other things to engage in, that most admitted it wasn't so bad after all! All students that participated were given an opportunity to be part of the random drawing for Barnes & Noble gift cards.  There were winners at each grade level, shown below.

  • HOUR OF CODE ~ According the website https://hourofcode.com/us, the Hour of Code started as a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify "code," to show that anybody can learn the basics, and to broaden participation in the field of computer science. It has since become a worldwide effort to celebrate computer science, starting with 1-hour coding activities but expanding to all sorts of community efforts.

Mrs. Florek led the Hour of Code activities at Fausey with all grades!  Click this link for photos.

  • FIRST GRADE AVMR NIGHT ~ The first grade team put together yet another fun night for their students and families.  Ms. Brogan, Ms. Kauffman, Ms. O’Brien, Ms. Pytka outfitted their classrooms with games that encourage Math exploration.  Ms. Bogner (Special Education) and Mrs. Altman (Math Interventionist) joined in the fun, and kept a tight schedule so that the groups could visit all the classrooms.  Once everyone tried each classroom’s game, the students and their families were able to take home bags with games to continue playing at home. The children were excited to share the bags that they had decorated themselves!   See the photos on this link.

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Social-Emotional Learning (SEL)

  • West Springfield Public Schools fosters a school environment where family and community partnerships support students as they learn to be compassionate, empathetic, and healthy citizens.  Work is based upon five core competencies:  self awareness, self management, social awareness, relationship skills, responsible decision making.  For information, please visit this link.


High School [Twitter: @WSPS_WSHS and @WSHS_guidance]

Weekly Review:


Upcoming:


Athletics [Twitter: @wshsterriers

  • Family ID registration for winter sports is open.  Register on this link.

  • Please visit the MIAA Schedule on the athletics web page for sports schedules.  

  • Reminder - the Terrier Pride Banner Campaign is ongoing -- details are on this link.

   

Special Services  

  • The next SEPAC (Special Education Parent Advisory Council) workshop will be presented on January 24, and the topic will be on supporting your child’s executive function needs.

  • The SEPAC Leadership is looking for new members!  Anyone wishing to get more involved with setting up Special Education parent workshops and support groups is welcome to join!  Please call 263-3276 if interested. The Leadership Committee meets monthly with the Director of Special Services to find out what is happening in Special Education and to plan upcoming activities.


Middle School [Twitter: @WSPSMiddle]

  • Next week, Dr. Rojas will be conducting a visit to WSMS to examine English Learner programming as part of the district’s review.  Staff members have met with her to provide some feedback last week and WSMS looks forward to welcoming her in classrooms next week!

  • Also next week, the WSMS staff will participate in a curriculum training regarding using instructional technology.  Specifically, the WSMS Data team has partnered with members of the Town’s IT Department to learn about how to use the Chromebooks effectively in classes and how to deliver material with minimal opportunities for student distraction.  Additionally, the Data Team and WSMS administration will engage in training regarding engaging learners in the classroom and using classroom and grade level PBIS strategies to better facilitate that engagement.

  • The WSMS Bell Schedule Committee reconvened in October.  Similar to its previous iteration a few years ago, this group represents all stakeholders on staff.  The teams have been working on suggesting and crafting adjustments to our current bell schedule to be in place for next school year.  

  • Amber Pelletier from the American Lung Association met with all eighth graders on Thursday to discuss the dangers and long term impact of Vaping and Juuling.  Thank you to Mrs. Pelletier and the ALA for providing this relevant and important assembly!


Cowing Alternative School

  • Thank you to the hard-working custodian, Mr. Tim Shea, and Joseph, an 8th grade student, for delivering breakfast and lunch to all of the classrooms every day!

  • Once again this year the students have become penpals with their Bay Path Buddies.  The first letter exchange has taken place and the CAS students are excited to receive a letter after our holiday break.

  • Reminder:  Every Tuesday is School Banking.  Send in your deposits each week. If you would like to join, please request a school banking form from your child’s teacher.

                    


Memorial School [Twitter: @WSPSMemorial]

  • Last Friday, Memorial students were very fortunate to have a guest teacher in their PE classes - Mayor Reichelt! Students in grades 1-3 spent quality time engaged in physical and problem-solving activities. Mayor Reichelt had the opportunity to answer some student questions and he was even asked for his autograph like a true celebrity! We also wish to thank Mr. Hamel and student teacher, Ms. Flagg for their engaging lessons as well as Mr. Richard for this opportunity.  (Photo 1)

  • Children’s book author and former Memorial first grade teacher, Jamie Deenihan and her mother, Donna Bielonko visited on Monday. Jamie’s book, When Grandma Gives You a Lemon Tree will be released on March 5, 2019.  Most remarkably, this book was shared during the 2014-2015 school year when Jamie read her first draft during Writer’s Workshop at Memorial!  Jamie’s mother, Donna, wrote “The Lemon Tree” song to accompany the book. Our students have learned the beautiful song together and they will have the opportunity to sing it again when Jamie returns to read her book on the release day.  Jamie is most deserving of success and Memorial is overjoyed for her. To learn more about Jamie’s upcoming picture books, or to pre-order her book, please visit her online at www.jamiedeenihan.com.  (Photo Collage - Jamie standing by the lovely welcome sign made by school paraprofessional Ms. Sheridan; some Memorial staff members posing with Jamie; Jamie and her mother Donna; Jamie’s former students (now 5th graders) who heard the story for the first time in Writer’s Workshop; the student body singing; and Jamie displaying her book.  (Photo collage 1)

  • Coming up - The Memorial Lego Dominators will once again compete against 24 teams for a chance to go to the FLL Lego Championship. The competition is this Saturday, December 8, at the Alumni Healthful Living Center  at Western New England University in Springfield. Students will be competing between 10:00 and 12:00. All are welcome!

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Coburn School  [Twitter: @WSPSCoburn]

  • On Tuesday, Coburn students participated in a virtual author visit with Jacqueline Woodson, the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature.  Students read Ms. Woodson's books and sent in questions for the author ahead of the visit. Students learned all about Ms. Woodson's writing life, how long it takes to write a book, how many revisions she makes, and how she works with editors and illustrators.  Ms. Woodson encouraged all students to tell their stories. "If you survived Kindergarten," she said, "you have a story to tell." (Photos 1 and 2)

  • Hour of Code this week was held in computer class!  Fifth graders were challenged to become Google doodlers to code their own Google logo.  Check out their creations in photos 3 and 4.  Also, Room 30 students participated in an Hour of Code by animating an original story.  (Photo 5)

  • Don’t forget Winter Festival is Thursday, December 13, from 5:30-7:30 p.m.  Hope to see you there!



Mittineague [Twitter: @WSPSMittineague]

  • The auditorium was filled with over one hundred students who returned to school for Movie Night last Friday!  In keeping with the ‘superpowers’ theme, the movie was Incredibles 2, which was the most anticipated Disney movie of 2018!  The fabulous PTO got the local 99 Restaurant to donate popcorn for the event as well!  One of the highlights of the evening was being able to use our new sound system! It truly was like being at the movies!  (Photo collage)

  • The auditorium was the setting for the Character Awards assembly for the months of October and November. The decision was made to combine the celebrations on the very last day of November. Eighteen students were recognized for consistently exhibiting good character over that time period. October’s words were: punctuality, kindness, service, self control, courteousness and November’s were: politeness, patience, fairness, and thankfulness. (photo collage)

  • The school’s favorite librarian, Mrs. Fonte, recognized that there was a need for some reading spaces. So she created some special reading vehicles for those students who need a quiet space to get lost in their book!  She was able to do this with money generously donated by Mrs. Joan Pearsons.  Mrs. Pearsons is a library "angel" and she has generously given to the school library the last three years.  (Photo collage)


Tatham School [Twitter: @WSPSTatham]

  • Band students  are now getting to practice their skills in front of their peers.  Each month, they play the Happy Birthday song to the students who have a birthday during the month. The band students certainly are taking pride in these “live performances!”  (Photo 1)

  • The fourth grade took a field trip to Hartford Stage on Wednesday to see “ A Christmas Carol.”  The students are totally amazed by the special effects of a live performance!

  • On Thursday evening, students helped welcome the holiday season by singing Christmas Carols  on the Town Green. They were certainly excited to be part of the Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony.  Special Thanks to music teacher, Miss Tucker, for all of her efforts! (Photo 2)

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Alumni Update

Alumni are encouraged to fill out this brief survey to help WSPS highlight their news, accomplishments and updates!  

  • Susan McCarthy ‘72 has a home-based craft business, Soap by Susan (soap for the soul).

  • Maura (Craig) Kelly ‘06 married Devin Kelly in September.  She is working as a physician’s assistant (PA) at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

  • Jess Taylor ‘13 served as Regional Field Director for Elizabeth Warren’s re-election campaign to the U.S. Senate.  Her team helped carry several towns, including West Springfield, that voted for a Republican Governor.


Cowing Early Childhood

  • Students are learning about people in their family with a family glyph. (Photo 1-2)


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Coburn Building Project (Next Entry December 14) [Website link here]


WSPS District Spotlight - November 30, 2018

posted Nov 30, 2018, 1:14 PM by Erin Mountain

WSPS District Spotlight - November 30, 2018

The full WSPS calendar can be accessed through THIS LINK


From The Superintendent [Twitter: @WestSideSupt]     

  • Over the last two days, nearly forty teachers and administrators participated in ½ day sessions of professional development around the educator evaluation system. These sessions were facilitated by Elayne Gumlaw from Ribas Associates.  The PD will continue in January for two more days (January 8 and 10). This experience was made possible with the collaboration of the WSEA.  Special thanks to Mayor Reichelt, School Committee members Mrs. Garbacik and Mrs. Alevras, and City Councilor Gendron for volunteering their time to act as substitute teachers over these past two days.  (Photo collage 1 - special guest substitute teachers at the middle school).

  • I had an opportunity to attend the National Honor Society Induction Ceremony on Wednesday night.  It was such a pleasure to celebrate the accomplishments of 35 students who represent the pillars of Scholarship, Leadership, Service, and character.  There are a total of 60 WSHS students in NHS!

  • Thanks to the West Springfield Public Library for delivering to the School Department some very unique historical record books dating back to the Paris Exposition in 1900.  The three volumes contain a glimpse into education at the turn of the century (penmanship, art, science, mathematics and more).  Anyone wishing to stop by and peruse the volumes is encouraged to contact my office at 263-3300. (Photos 2-3)

  • This week during my Admin Walk at Tatham, I was pleased to observe an excellent example of inclusion in a P.E. class.  (Photos 4-5)

  • Last evening, WSPS presented the Screenagers movie at the high school.  

    • I encourage families to check out Tech Talk Tuesdays weekly blog, which offers tools and discussion tips on this link.  

    • In addition, the Screenagers Parent Guide on this link provides many useful tips, discussion questions and resources.

    • This poignant article on social media’s effect on students, was shared by a middle school parent  who attended last night’s screening.

  • The Community Outreach Team will meet Monday, December 3, from 6:00-8:00 p.m., in room B221, at West Springfield High School.  The conversation will be driven by indicators in the District Improvement Plan.  Meetings are open to anyone wishing to be part of this school-home-community collaboration!  Childcare will be provided by WSHS Key Club students, should there be a need.

  • One parent representative is needed for the district’s Bullying Task Force committee.  Composed of district administrators, faculty/staff, WSHS students, parents, and community members, the group will meet a few times each year, for one hour, at 3:00 p.m., at the high school.  The first meeting is December 3. Please email mrichard@wsps.org if interested.

  • The next School Committee meeting is Tuesday, December 11, 2018 at 7:00 p.m., in the Municipal Office Building auditorium/2nd floor.

  • The West Springfield High School indoor track is available to the West Springfield community on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, from 5:30-6:30 a.m.  Please see the details here.

  • The Superintendent’s Office is seeking updates on WSHS alumni for inclusion in this blog.  Alumni are encouraged to complete this short form.  

  • In the Spotlight” airs on Channel 15, on Monday and Tuesday at 6:00 p.m., and Thursday-Sunday at 8:00 p.m.  This week’s guests:  WSPS principals and Anne Charron, WSHS Fine Arts Department Chair.  The entire playlist is on this link.

  • The Commissioner’s Weekly Updates are posted on this link.  

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Coburn Building Project (Bi-weekly Entry) [Website link here]

  • The new Coburn School project has been approved by the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) to advance to the Schematic Design phase of the process.  This means that the MSBA has approved the preferred design solution of a new, three-story building to be constructed on the current site immediately behind the existing school. The work of the Planning & Construction Committee (which is overseeing the project on behalf of the Town) and of the architects will now focus on developing the design of the interior of the building.  To achieve that, the architects have begun to meet with the various end users and with the local authorities having jurisdiction to refine the outline concepts into a detailed floor plan that reconciles our needs with the parameters imposed by the MSBA.

  • So far there have been meetings with teachers, the school nurses, the Food Service department, the Central Maintenance department and the public safety officials to get their input.  More meetings are planned with the Central Information Technology department, the Park and Recreation department, the Building department and the LEED compliance subcommittee. Follow-up meetings may be scheduled with some or all of these groups to further refine the plans.

  • The goal at this point is to complete schematic design by March of 2019 so that it can be shared with professional estimators who will develop the estimated cost of construction.  Those estimates will then become the basis of discussion with the MSBA which will determine which of the costs are eligible for reimbursement and at what effective rate they would be reimbursed.  If this is acceptable to the Town, the determination will be codified in a Project Budget and Scope agreement between the MSBA and the Town of West Springfield. This is expected to be concluded and signed in the summer of 2019.

  • The design team will then begin work on transforming the approved schematic design into full construction specifications and bid documents.  The project is scheduled to go to bid by the spring of 2020 and to have a General Contractor appointed in time to begin construction as soon as possible after that.  Construction of the new building would take approximately two years and it would be ready for occupation by late August of 2022. Following occupation of the new school, the existing school will be demolished and parking will be constructed where it currently stands.  This is similar to how the construction of the new high school was achieved.

  • The entire project is expected to be 100% complete by the summer of 2023.

                                    

Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment [Twitter: @WSPScurriculum]

  • West Springfield High School has received initial approval of the Innovation Pathways Grant.

Innovation Pathways are designed to give students coursework and experience in a specific high-demand industry, such as information technology, engineering, healthcare, life sciences and advanced manufacturing.  Launched last year, Innovation Pathways are designed to create strong partnerships with employers in order to expose students to career options and help them develop knowledge and skills related to their chosen field of study before they graduate high school.  Final approval would provide West Springfield High School with a 5-year grant to enhance the work already started under the Pathways to Prosperity grant.


John Ashley School [Twitter: @WSPSAshley]

  • Mrs. Jacob’s class welcomed families for a Thanksgiving Day brunch last week.  Many families enjoyed spending time with their children in the classroom.

  • Students enjoyed learning about garbage, recycling, and reducing waste from Dr. T.  A huge thank you goes out to Mr. Colson from the DPW for sponsoring this presentation.  (Photo collage 1)

  • Staff, students, and families enjoyed spending time at the school for a Literacy Night on Tuesday.  Everyone was engaged in playing games, reading stories, and working on crafts. (Photo collage 2)                                                                                     

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Community and Family Engagement [Twitter and Facebook: @westspfldcfce]

  • The Ages and Stages questionnaire is now available online (see this link).  ASQ is a free screening tool for parents of children 1 month to 5 ½ years that provides a snapshot of a child’s development.  Please contact Rebecca Burgos for the screening link: rburgos@wsps.org or 413-246-3411. (Photo 1)

  • Playgroups for children ages 0-5 and their parents/caregivers is ongoing at the West Springfield Boys and Girls Club, Wednesdays and Fridays, from 10:30-11:30.  Free. Drop in. Registration not required.

  • To register for any programs, please contact the Community and Family Engagement Coordinator, Rebecca Burgos, at rburgos@wsps.org or 413-246-3144.

  • Registration is open for Parent/Child Date Night, December 10, from 5:30-6:30 p.m. at the West Springfield Public Library.  Attendees will listen to the story “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” followed by a STEM make your own Grinch slime activity.  Limited to 12 families.

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District/School Counseling Program

  • On November 19, the counseling department hosted local colleges for GEAR UP MASS activities. On that day our seniors who participated in Gear Up:

    • earned $297,000 in Merit Scholarships (and counting).

    • 67 seniors participated.

    • 49 instant decisions

    • 85 applications completed

    • 11 colleges participated.

  • The high school counseling department is seeking community involvement for a School Counseling Advisory Council. This year, the commitment would be two sessions of 1-1 ½ hours each. The dates and times are not yet determined, but parent and community involvement is a required part of the council.  Please email Shamis White (white@wsps.org) with any questions or to express interest.

                    

English Learners

  • These photos show EL students in Ms. Duggan’s grade 2 class utilizing a collaborative learning structure for writing learned at a recent PD.   For a procedural writing activity, they were given mixed up sentences and had to put the words for the sentences in order. What a great task that is easily differentiated by the teacher using simple versus complex sentences.  How fun! The students loved it so much the first time that they requested it again! (Photos 1-3)

  • Getting to Know Your ELLs: Six Steps for Success  - guidance on what information will be helpful to gather about your students, ideas on how to gather what you need and who will be able to help, and recommendations for useful resources.

  • This week, educators, guidance counselors, administrators of the EL Program, school and central office leaders generously gave their time to participate in the EL Program Review with Dr. Bertha-Elena Rojas who will be back in two weeks to spend more time with us!

 

Language Word of the Week:      fasax - holiday, recess, vacation  (Somali)

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Health Services [Twitter: @WSPShealth]


Information Technology

  • Tech Tip of the Week: How do I open an excel spreadsheet I’ve received in an email?

  1. Open Google Drive

  2. Upload the excel spreadsheet

  3. Right click on the file in Google Drive and go to Open with, Google Sheets

  • If you need to save a Google Sheet as an excel spreadsheet: Go to File, download as, Microsoft Excel.


Fausey School [Twitter: @WSPSFausey]

  • LA VACA LOLA ~ Isabella, first grade student, enjoys sharing a Spanish nursery rhyme with her two buddies - go to this link.

  • CRAFTY CRAFTERS ~ The second session of Mrs. Florek’s very popular craft program takes on a wintery theme.  Check out this link.

  • PBIS PAJAMA DAY ~ Fausey students enjoyed PJ Day, and it’s obvious that the adults loved joining in the fun.  This was a perfect activity for the half day! See photos here.

  • RECORDERS ~ Mrs. Murphy-Sapowsky and her third grade students take their recorder practice very seriously.  Visit this link.

  • LANDFORMS ~ Mrs. Radon’s second graders love hands-on activities.  They are able to show the attributes of landforms with a physical clay model!  (Photos 1, 2)

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Social-Emotional Learning (SEL)

  • West Springfield Public Schools fosters a school environment where family and community partnerships support students as they learn to be compassionate, empathetic, and healthy citizens.  Work is based upon five core competencies:  self awareness, self management, social awareness, relationship skills, responsible decision making.  For information, please visit this link.

  • Coburn, Memorial and Mittineague staff have participated in Responsive Classroom training and have started  to implement some of the SEL integrated approach. For more information about Responsive Classroom, click this link.


High School [Twitter: @WSPS_WSHS and @WSHS_guidance]

Weekly Review:

Upcoming:


Athletics [Twitter: @wshsterriers

  • Family ID registration for winter sports is open.  Register on this link.

  • Please visit the MIAA Schedule on the athletics web page for sports schedules.  

  • Reminder - the Terrier Pride Banner Campaign is ongoing -- details are on this link.

   

Special Services  

  • The next SEPAC (Special Education Parent Advisory Council) workshop will be presented on January 24, and the topic will be on supporting your child’s executive function needs.

  • The SEPAC Leadership is looking for new members!  Anyone wishing to get more involved with setting up Special Education parent workshops and support groups is welcome to join!  Please call 263-3276 if interested. The Leadership Committee meets monthly with the Director of Special Services to find out what is happening in Special Education and to plan upcoming activities.

  • This week the Director and Assistant Director for Special Services continued their school-based “Meet and Greets”  at Memorial School and the Middle School. This has served as a wonderful opportunity to have staff ask questions, air concerns and get clarity about the initiatives being proposed in Special Services.  Next week, look for us at the High School to continue connecting with staff.

  • This week the students in our Transition Program had the opportunity to visit the studios of Western Mass News.  All of the students enjoyed learning about news production and checking out the studio.


Middle School [Twitter: @WSPSMiddle]

  • On Tuesday of this past week, WSMS partnered with WS Police Department for a planned but unannounced drug search of the building.  The search lasted around 15 minutes, during which students sheltered in place. WSMS is pleased to report that no contraband was found.

  • This week, members of the WSMS staff met with Dr. Rojas as part of her work in conducting an audit of English Learner programming.  Dr. Rojas met with administrators, counselors, and teachers this week. She’ll be returning in mid-December to visit classrooms and observe programming first hand!

  • WSMS was pleased to host some “Celebrity Subs” this week.  On Thursday and Friday, substitute teachers included Mayor Reichelt, Councilor Gendron, and School Committee member Garbacik!  Many thanks to them for their partnership!


Cowing Alternative School

  • Congratulations to the November Students of the Month!  Logan and Keagen have worked very hard following school rules and completing their school work.  Congratulations! (Photos 1-2)

  • Cowing Community News:  Mrs. Cassidy and Mrs. Messier’s classes wrote all different types of poems.  They then gathered together to share their poems with each other and enjoyed some special treats.  (Photo 3)

  • Reminder:  Every Tuesday is School Banking.  Send in your deposits each week. If you would like to join, please request a school banking form from your child’s teacher.

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Memorial School [Twitter: @WSPSMemorial]

  • Fifth graders greatly enjoyed their visit to Bear Hole Reservoir.  Throughout the day, they learned about the watershed, the water cycle, and the historical aspects of Bear Hole and the Massasoit Water Company.  Thank you to Nancy Condon, Mr. K., Jim Turruro, Tim Connor and staff members who participated. (Photo collage 1 and 2)

  • Mrs. Martin and Mrs. Doyle celebrated their annual Thanksgiving feast last week with students from grades 1-5. Students enjoyed the opportunity to share their own holiday traditions. Additionally, students  discussed table manners, how to properly set the table and use utensils. The main focus goal was to model and provide guided practice in conversational skills and to express ideas using details. (Photo collage 3)

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Coburn School  [Twitter: @WSPSCoburn]

  • Students in Ms. Metcalf’s 3rd grade collaborated with their Bridges friends to discuss how to make the world a more beautiful place. They listened to Mrs. Lavelle read aloud Miss Rumphius and then painted small flower pots.  After they dried, students planted lupine seeds in the pots, just like Miss Rumphius planted seeds in the story.  (Photos 1-4)

  • Coburn School donated a tree to the Red Thread Network for the Art’s 4th Annual Yuletree Jubilee held at Balise Toyota.  Trees are decorated and donated by local businesses and residents then raffled off to support the Red Thread Network.  Red Thread Network has been a supporter of several programs at the school. Thank you for Katie Kardos and Christine Price for helping to organize and set up the tree.  The tree is decorated with an ornament handmade by each Coburn student. The tree skirt was made by 5th graders and Mrs. Kardos. Trees will be raffled off on December 9.  (Photo 5)


Mittineague [Twitter: @WSPSMittineague]

  • The Mittineague cafeteria  was the setting for the annual Lee Lang Luncheon!  The room was filled with honored guests and dignitaries as the fifth grade class set the room up, greeted guests, served the meal, ate and had conversations with the residents of Lee Lang and cleaned up afterwards.  One of the highlights of the day was the performance by Mrs. Gerardi and Mrs. Hogan’s first graders, who delighted their audience with a funny, quirky Thanksgiving play and some holiday songs! It was a wonderful afternoon and every student shone!  (Photo collage)

  • Four stand out fifth graders were awarded a handprint recognition for outstanding service to guests, dignitaries and their own peers as well!  These students did not stop, and went above and beyond to make guests feel special and welcome! (Photo collage)

  • Mrs. Penna’s fourth graders took on a STEM challenge this week as each group was tasked with coming up with a model (of something) that showed the effects of weathering and erosion.  The students worked in collaborative groups to plan and design their creation before they built it. Pictures were taken of the completed scenes, and the students were then asked to write what their scene was depicting, what materials were used and how the erosion took place.  (Photo collage)








Tatham School [Twitter: @WSPSTatham]

  • Tatham School Participated in the  Mayflower Marathon School Challenge.  Tatham raised $4278.52 worth of non-perishable food items for the Food Bank.  (Photo 1)

  • A few students from Miss Lunney’s classroom got a surprise visit from representatives from the Big E.  They were recognized for writing an informational story about the Big E. They each received a Junior Marketeer Award!  (Photo 2)

  • Mr. Heath took the day before Thanksgiving to visit classrooms to read one of his favorite holiday books, The Night Before Thanksgiving.  Students always enjoy guest readers!  (Photo 3)

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Alumni Update

Alumni are encouraged to fill out this brief survey to help WSPS highlight their news, accomplishments and updates!  

  • Chris Lipscomb ‘13 (Endicott College ‘17, M’18) is working at his alma mater, Endicott College, in the Admissions Office.  He also assists with coaching the college’s Men’s Basketball team. Click this link to read the story.


Cowing Early Childhood

  • Room 5 STEM challenge - students made a building to hide the turkey.  (Photos 1-3)

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WSPS District Spotlight - November 16, 2018

posted Nov 16, 2018, 12:35 PM by Erin Mountain

WSPS District Spotlight - November 16, 2018

Note:  Due to the November 22 Thanksgiving Holiday, NO District Spotlight next week.


From The Superintendent [Twitter: @WestSideSupt]     

  • Today marked the “unofficial” start of winter with our first inclement weather delay.  Special thanks to the DPW and Central Maintenance Depts for their work to clear roads, sidewalks, and parking lots for students and staff.  As a reminder, in almost every instance, the decision about whether to have school, cancel school, or have a delay will be made the morning of the weather event; I appreciate your patience and understanding as we use the most up-to-date and comprehensive information to make the right decision for West Springfield.  In light of the season’s first wintry weather event, this Western Mass News broadcast (November 13) is a timely reminder about how decisions are made regarding delays and cancellations.

  • The Screenagers movie reschedule date is Thursday, November 29, at 6:30 p.m., in the West Springfield High School auditorium.  Admission is free to this award-winning movie, and childcare will be provided! (Photo 1)

  • Due to an illness with the scheduled facilitator, some professional development around the educator evaluation instrument that was due to happen this week has been postponed.  Look for updates in future editions of the District Spotlight.

  • Next Wednesday, November 21 is a district-wide half day.  No school Thursday and Friday, November 22 and 23, in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday.  Wishing all of our faculty, staff, students and families a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving.

  • The Thanksgiving Day football game is Thursday, November 22, at 10:00 a.m., at Clark Field.  The Terriers will face Agawam in this annual game.

  • I had an opportunity to attend the MASC/MASS conference last week.  The sessions were enlightening and informative. While there, I co-presented a session on School Building Projects.  The session was moderated by Jon Winikur from Colliers International.  Co-presenters were John Tindall-Gibson from DRA Architects and Laura Wernick from HMFH Architects.  The focus of the presentation was on major issues facing the educational community and their impact on future school configuration and design.

  • Girls Soccer played Wachusett in a hard-fought State Semifinals game on Wednesday, losing 4-1. Congratulations on a fantastic season!  Cross Country State Championship meet is Sunday, November 18 at 11:00 at Stanley Park in Westfield; Cheer State Championship meet is also Sunday.

  • The next School Committee meeting is Tuesday, November 27, 2018 at 7:00 p.m., in the Municipal Office Building auditorium/2nd floor.

  • The West Springfield High School indoor track will be available to the community on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, from 5:30-6:30 a.m., beginning November 27.  Please see the details here.

  • The Community Outreach Team meeting has been postponed until Monday, December 3.  The group will meet from 6:00-8:00, in room B221 at West Springfield High School.  The conversation will be driven by indicators in the District Improvement Plan.  Meetings are open to anyone wishing to be part of this school-home-community collaboration!  Childcare will be provided by WSHS Key Club students, should there be a need.

  • Two parent representatives are needed for the district’s Bullying Task Force committee.  Composed of district administrators, faculty/staff, WSHS students, parents, and community members, the group will meet a few times each year, for one hour, at 3:00 p.m., at the high school.  The first meeting is December 3. Please email mrichard@wsps.org if interested.

  • The Superintendent’s Office is seeking updates on WSHS alumni for inclusion in this blog.  Alumni are encouraged to complete this short form.  

  • The Partnership for Education (WSPE) presents “West Side Rocks with Rock 201,” a fall fundraiser featuring a band, buffet dinner, cash bar, and raffle prizes.  The event is November 30, 2018 at Wyckoff Country Club in Easthampton, at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 (includes entrance and entertainment) and they are available at the School Department and from any WSPE board member.  Click here for flyer.

  • In the Spotlight” airs on Channel 15, on Monday and Tuesday at 6:00 p.m., and Thursday-Sunday at 8:00 p.m.  This week’s guest: Social Emotional Learning Coordinator Jen Brennan.  Next week’s guests:  Mayor Will Reichelt and Chris Reichelt. The entire playlist is on this link.

  • The Commissioner’s Weekly Updates are posted on this link.  

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Cowing Early Childhood

  • The November parent/child play day theme was fall, and there were a variety of centers for students to choose from, including fine motor, ELA, and STEM!  (Photos 1-4)

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John Ashley School [Twitter: @WSPSAshley]

  • Brina Fondi visited John Ashley school to help the students learn all about Fire Safety.  (Photo 1)

  • Mrs. Narey’s classroom collected 76 pairs of socks for the West Springfield Fire Department.  They did this in connection with Citizenship Day/Constitution Day and their study of community helpers in the K-2 Curriculum.  The socks were presented after the Fire Safety Presentation.

  • Mrs. Materas’s classroom has their construction centers up and running.  Students are planning with blueprints and working together in dramatic play!  (Photo 2)

  • John Ashley School celebrated student hard work with a Drop Everything and Fun Day.  This day was focused on being kind, and involved students being able to play different board games cooperatively with friends in other classrooms.  (Photo collage 3)

  • Students and staff got together for an All-School Meeting that highlighted the learning that is happening in Mrs. Ramistella’s and Mrs. DeForge’s classrooms.  Students in these classrooms shared a song and made pictures that showed what they are thankful for. (Photo collage 4)

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Community and Family Engagement [Twitter and Facebook: @westspfldcfce]

  • The Ages and Stages questionnaire is now available online.  ASQ is a free questionnaire for parents of children 1 month to 5 ½ years that provides a snapshot of a child’s development.  Please contact Rebecca Burgos for the questionnaire link: rburgos@wsps.org or 413-246-3411. (Photo 1)

  • Playgroups for children ages 0-5 and their parents/caregivers is ongoing at the West Springfield Boys and Girls Club, Wednesdays and Fridays, from 10:30-11:30.  Free. Drop in. Registration not required. (Photo 2)

  • To register for any programs, please contact Rebecca Burgos, the new Community and Family Engagement Coordinator, at rburgos@wsps.org or 413-246-3144.

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District/School Counseling Program

  • On November 14, the Western MA Counselor Association recognized their counselor of the year, West Side’s own, Dina Sibilia.  With this recognition, Mrs. Sibilia will be in the running for the MASCA Counselor of the year honor. If you are interested in writing a letter in support of this honor for Mrs. Sibilia, please email Mrs. White at white@wsps.org. (Photo1 - Mrs. Sibilia pictured with Sen. Welch)

  • The School Counseling Department is working on GEAR UP Massachusetts events.  The events will happen on November 19 and 20. On November 19, many colleges representatives will work with our students to secure admissions and provide merit aid.  On November 20, students will have time to complete applications, get financial aid information, and complete their essays.

  • The high school counseling department is seeking community involvement for a School Counseling Advisory Council. This year, the commitment would be two sessions of 1-1 ½ hours each. The dates and times are not yet determined, but parent and community involvement is a required part of the council.  Please email Shamis White (white@wsps.org) with any questions or to express interest.


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English Learners

  • Mrs. Landers' (Mrs. MM'S) ESL Kindergartners are working on an "All About Me" unit.  They are learning how to identify and discuss personal characteristics, and are also practicing how to use I, me and my when talking about themselves.  After Reading the book We Are All Alike...We Are All Different, they identified and discussed the characteristics of themselves that were the same as their friends and which ones were unique to themselves.  They are creating an All About Me book which challenges them to draw a portrait of themselves portraying their own personal characteristics (eye color, hair color, skin color, etc.). They all did an amazing job!  The students will bring their books home as a gift to their families for Thanksgiving!

 

Health Services [Twitter: @WSPShealth]

  • Currently, Massachusetts is experiencing a crisis in the misuse of opioid medications.  The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has reported between 130-190 opioid related fatalities per month in 2018.  In 2017, opioid incidents generated 4588 ambulance responses, including 89 in West Springfield. West Springfield school nurses, as a part of the response to this crisis, conducted 548 SBIRT screenings in the Middle and High Schools, with 16 referrals made and completed.

  • SBIRT screenings are one way in which school nurses play an increasing role in prevention and optimal functioning for all students.  

  • WSHS nurses are preparing for grade 9 SBIRT screenings in December 2018.


Fausey School [Twitter: @WSPSFausey]

  • VETERANS DAY OBSERVANCE  It’s never too early to understand the importance of saying thank you to our veterans.  Ms. Kauffman’s first grade class did so by making a beautiful collage. (Photos 1 and 2)

  • LEAF THERAPY -  Mrs. St. Peter’s class is always learning, and using their energy in a fun way!  Photos are on this link.


Social-Emotional Learning (SEL)

  • West Springfield Public Schools fosters a school environment where family and community partnerships support students as they learn to be compassionate, empathetic, and healthy citizens.  Work is based upon five core competencies:  self awareness, self management, social awareness, relationship skills, responsible decision making.  For information, please visit this link.


High School [Twitter: @WSPS_WSHS and @WSHS_guidance]

Weekly Review:

Upcoming:

  • November 19 - Winter Sports Parent/Athlete Night at 6:00 p.m., in the Auditorium

  • November 19 - 21 - Spirit Week

  • November 19 - 20 - Dodgeball Tournament at 2:15 p.m., in the Gym

  • November 20 - Homecoming Dance at 7:00 p.m., in the Gym


Click on link:


Athletics [Twitter: @wshsterriers

  • Fall Sports Tournament Updates:  

    • Girls Soccer  - Competed in the Division 1 State Semifinals against Wachusett on November 14 -- congratulations on an excellent season!

    • Boys/Girls Cross Country - State Championship meet is Sunday, November 18, at Stanley Park in Westfield.  

    • Cheer - State Championship meet is Sunday, November 18.

  • Winter Sports Parent/Athlete Night is November 19, 2018 at 6:00, in the HS auditorium.

  • Family ID registration for winter sports is open.  Register on this link.

  • Please visit the MIAA Schedule on the athletics web page for sports schedules.  

  • Reminder - the Terrier Pride Banner Campaign is ongoing -- details are on this link.

   

Special Services  

  • The next SEPAC (Special Education Parent Advisory Council) workshop will be presented on January 24, and the topic will be on supporting your child’s executive function needs.

  • The SEPAC Leadership is looking for new members!  Anyone wishing to get more involved with setting up Special Education parent workshops and support groups is welcome to join!  Please call 263-3276 if interested. The Leadership Committee meets monthly with the Director of Special Services to find out what is happening in Special Education and to plan upcoming activities.

  • This month, both the Director and Assistant Director of Special Services have been visiting all of the schools in the district in order to provide an opportunity for staff to ask questions and find out about new initiatives that have begun this year. This has been a great opportunity to hear about the successes and concerns of our wonderful educators.


Middle School [Twitter: @WSPSMiddle]

  • Cookie Dough will be delivered to students next week on Tuesday, November 20.  If a student has more than two orders to bring home, it is suggested that they arrange for a ride!  The Cookie Dough Cash Prize Pull will take place on Monday, November 19, during school!!

  • The WSMS Student Council has once again teamed up with Rock 102’s Mayflower Marathon Food Drive!  The annual goal is to fill the bed of Mr. Gillen’s truck with non perishable food donations. Please consider donating an item or two to support this great cause!


Cowing Alternative School

  • Parents:  Please remember that CAS school banking day is on Tuesday mornings.  Students should bring their bank bag and their money to school each week.

  • A BIG thank you to Mr. Tim Shea, Cowing custodian, for cleaning up after the first snowstorm of the season.  THANKS for your hard work, Mr. Tim!!

  • Wishing all of you a very HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

                     

Memorial School [Twitter: @WSPSMemorial]

  • Memorial was fortunate to celebrate McTeacher’s Night at the Riverdale Street McDonald’s.  Families and friends joined our Memorial staff members for a night of relaxation and great food. Owner Dan Ashburn, Area Supervisor Jorge Pedraza, and General Manager Lisa Trimboli, welcomed staff, students, and families into their beautifully renovated facility.  Memorial wishes to thank McDonald’s for donating 15% of the three-hour profits to the school - can’t wait to purchase items to support Memorial students. The photo collage highlights this fabulous evening! (Photo collage 1)

  • The kitchen staff works diligently each morning to prepare breakfast and lunch for Memorial students. They serve healthy and appetizing food in a festively decorated environment.  Thanks to the kitchen staff for all of the little things they do, as well as their flexibility when events take place at school! The Annual December Family Holiday Luncheon will be here before you know it!  (Photos 1-2)

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Coburn School  [Twitter: @WSPSCoburn]

  • Coburn School’s McTeacher Night was Thursday and was an absolute blast!  Teachers and administration served food, took orders, made french fries and worked the drive-thru window.  It was nice to see so many families dine at McDonald’s to support the school. Coburn ended up raising $263. (Photos 1-3)

  • Don’t forget to check out Coburn School’s newsletter for November HERE.

  • Students in 3rd grade are learning the difference between weather and climate. They are developing their observation skills by looking at pictures to determine if it is an example of weather or climate. (Photos 4, 5)


Mittineague [Twitter: @WSPSMittineague]

  • The first graders at Mittineague School traveled back in time to celebrate the 50th day of school on November 12. The day started with a variety of reading and writing activities centered around 50: What will you look like in 50 years? Can you write 50 words?  In Social Studies, they talked about how items used today have changed through the past 50 years -- phones, music, and tv. In Math, they did many activities, from counting to graphing with the numbers up to 50. The students even participated in a few physical challenges, such as How many times can you twist or hula hoop in 50 seconds?  The day was topped off with a catered lunch from Classic Burger! (Photo collage)

  • Mittineague students are mathematicians -- what’s your Superpower? The fourth graders working with Mrs. Lancour learned four different methods to multiply (an array, using the expanded algorithm, using the standard algorithm and using the area method).  The “I can “ statement was: “I can solve a multiplication problem in four different ways because I am a rock star!” The very focused and engaged group was able to to show and explain the different methods used as they worked together to teach Mrs. Doe! (Photo collage)

  • A new “Staff Shout-out” board was established to have a place for all staff to recognize each other and/or to share news and special events that are happening.  Many thanks to Kristen Hogan for creating and erecting the boards! (Photo collage)

Tatham School [Twitter: @WSPSTatham]

  • On Thursday, Tatham hosted the Annual Thanksgiving luncheon.  All Tatham families were invited to eat turkey and all the fixings with their child(ren).  It’s always great to see so many take time off in order to attend this event! (Photo 1)

  • The Student Council is once again sponsoring the “Giving Tree.”  A tree is tagged with gifts for needy families. Parents take a tag, buy the gift, and return it to school.  The student Council will then wrap the presents. The gifts will be distributed to local families around West Springfield.  (Photo 2)

  • The PTO is holding a wreath fundraiser. Anyone who would like a wreath can call the school to place an order. ($10.00 for plain or $15.00 with a bow.)

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Alumni Update

Alumni are encouraged to fill out this brief survey to help WSPS highlight their news, accomplishments and updates!  (A few entries didn’t get posted in last week’s blog honoring military alumni - apologies!)

  • William Manley ‘93, U.S. Army / Air National Guard.

  • Mark Wilson ‘15, U.S. Marine Corps - Lance Corporal Aviation Mechanic, is stationed at Cherry Point, North Carolina.

  • Kayla Gallagher ‘06 is the local Massachusetts Air National Guard Recruiter.

WSPS District Spotlight - November 9, 2018

posted Nov 9, 2018, 12:53 PM by Erin Mountain   [ updated Nov 13, 2018, 7:24 AM ]

WSPS District Spotlight - November 9, 2018


From The Superintendent [Twitter: @WestSideSupt]     

  • Lockdown drills took place at several schools this week, as well as the Lower Pioneer Valley Educational Collaborative (LPVEC).  These training exercises are a critical piece of the district’s commitment to ensuring a safe teaching and learning environment.  Thanks to the WS Police Department, especially School Resource Officers (SRO) Wise, Johnson and King - Officer King is the new SRO at LPVEC.  (Photo 1)

  • A day-long architectural planning meeting took place on Tuesday at the high school to examine and get input on the proposed architectural plan for the new Coburn School.  Representatives from the design firm TSKP Studio met with a number of district administrators, including Mr. McQuillan, Mrs. Beaumont and me, and Coburn administrators and staff, including Ms. Heil, classroom and specialist teachers (PE, art, music), ELL and reading/math intervention teachers, and nursing staff.  (Photos 2-3)

  • Boys Soccer beat Commerce on Saturday, played Pittsfield in the quarterfinals on Monday, and won 1-0.  They faced a tough loss to Longmeadow in the Western MA semifinals yesterday at Central HS.   Girls Soccer beat Westfield in the semifinals on November 7.  The girls will face Minnechaug in the Western MA Div. 1 finals on Sunday, November 11, at 1:15 p.m. at Westfield State University.  Cross Country Western MA Championship meet is Saturday, November 10 at Stanley Park, Westfield.  Div. 1Girls race is 11:00; Div. 1 Boys race is 12:20.

  • Veterans Day holiday is Monday, November 12 (no school).  The Veterans Day Parade is Saturday, November 10 at 11:00 a.m., beginning at St. Thomas School and ending at the American Legion on Park Avenue (across from Town Common).

  • The Community Outreach Team will meet on Wednesday, November 14 from 6:00-8:00, in room B221 at West Springfield High School.  The conversation will be driven by indicators in the District Improvement Plan.  Meetings are open to anyone wishing to be part of this school-home-community collaboration!  Childcare will be provided by WSHS Key Club students, should there be a need.

  • The district will host a free screening of the award-winning Screenagers film on Thursday, November 15, at 6:30 p.m., in the high school auditorium.  The film examines the struggles with social media, video games, and academics, and it offers suggestions on how families can help kids navigate the digital age.  (Photo 4)

  • Two parent representatives are needed for the district’s Bullying Task Force committee.  Composed of district administrators, faculty/staff, WSHS students, parents, and community members, the group will meet a few times each year, for one hour, at 2:30 or 3:00 p.m., at the high school.  Please email mrichard@wsps.org if interested.

  • The Superintendent’s Office is seeking updates on WSHS alumni for inclusion in this blog.  Alumni are encouraged to complete this short form.  

  • The Partnership for Education (WSPE) presents “West Side Rocks with Rock 201,” a fall fundraiser featuring a band, buffet dinner, cash bar, and raffle prizes.  The event is November 30, 2018 at Wyckoff Country Club in Easthampton, at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 (includes entrance and entertainment) and they are available at the School Department and from any WSPE board member.  Click here for flyer.

  • In the Spotlight” episodes air on Channel 15, on Monday and Tuesday at 6:00 p.m., and Thursday-Sunday at 8:00 p.m.  This week’s guest: Director of Veterans Affairs Chris Lizotte. The entire playlist is on this link.

  • The Commissioner’s Weekly Updates are posted on this link.

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Alumni Update

Alumni are encouraged to fill out this brief survey to help WSPS highlight their news, accomplishments and updates!  This week, in honor of Veterans Day, we salute WSHS veteran alumni and alumni currently serving in the military.  Thank you for your service! Click on blue active links below.

  • Richard Borgatti ‘65, U.S. Army - Served as a Dog Handler-Canine Corp in East Windsor, CT during the Vietnam War years.

  • John Gallant ‘93, U.S. Army, retired.

  • Christopher Dutton ‘96, U.S. Army - Served 11 years as a Military Police Officer and received a Purple Heart after being injured in Iraq.  He is obtaining a Masters in Education (Health Promotion and Disease Prevention) from Springfield College, and he currently works for the CT Department of Corrections in administration.

  • Zack Sullivan ‘11 (Syracuse University ‘15), U.S. Army - 1st Lt., is currently the G6 Network Operations Officer, directly providing the Commanding General's communications.  He is stationed at Schofield Barracks, in Oahu, Hawaii.

  • Jack Taylor ‘11, U.S. Air Force - Special Agent in the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, stationed at Robins Air Force Base in Georgia.

  • Michael Bonafilia ‘12, U.S. Navy - Navy Seabee Construction Mechanic with a rank of E-5, stationed in Guam for the next year (two years total). (Photo 1)

  • Anthony Mountain ‘12 (US Air Force Academy ‘17), U.S. Air Force - 2nd Lt., is in pilot training at Vance Air Force Base in Enid, Oklahoma.  He is currently on a fighter jet track, training in the T-38 twin engine supersonic jet trainer.  He will graduate from pilot training in February 2019 and continue training in the T-38 for about another year before being assigned to an aircraft. (Photo 2 - after solo in T-6)

  • Jesse Brawsay ‘13, U.S. Navy - E5 Petty Officer Second Class, is a Master at Arms stationed in Virginia Beach, Virginia. (Photo 3)

  • Jack Breck ‘14 (UMass Amherst ‘18) - U.S. Army - 2nd Lt., is working as a Gold Bar recruiter for the UMASS Minuteman Battalion Army ROTC program, until he reports for follow on Field Artillery Training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma in January, 2019.

  • William Cone ‘15, U.S. Air Force - Security Forces Specialist, was recently promoted to senior airman; he is also taking basic college classes.

  • Mark Wilson '15, U.S. Marine Corps - Lance Corporal Aviation Mechanic, stationed at Cherry Point, North Carolina.

  • Dylan Avery ‘16, U.S. Army - Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear CBRN specialist, was stationed at Fort Polk Louisiana (2nd Battalion 2nd Infantry under the 3-10 Mountain Division) before deploying to Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.  For his time in country, Dylan received the Army Achievement Medal with attached "C" Device, the Inherent Resolve Campaign Medal, and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.  In training he received two awards: the Army Service Ribbon, and the National Defense Service Ribbon.

  • Dominic Centracchio ‘17, U.S. Air Force - Crew Chief, stationed in South Korea.  (Photo 4)

  • Zakary Cervone ‘18, U.S. Navy.

  • Adam Taylor ‘18, U.S. Air Force - Currently in first week of Basic Military Training at Joint Base San Antonio Lackland, in San Antonio, Texas.  


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Cowing Early Childhood

  • Room 4 watched monarch butterflies emerge from their chrysalises. “They are dancing,” remarked one student.  (Photo 1)

  • Pizza shop in room 5.  (Photo 2)

  • “The room 5 welcome wagon showered staff with kindness this week handing out scented crayons and letting them know they were “sens-ational.”  (Photos 3-4)

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John Ashley School [Twitter: @WSPSAshley]

  • Mrs. Vedovelli’s classroom has begun a unit in construction.  The students are working in the sand table with vehicles, a crane, rocks, and signs.  (Photo 1)

  • Kindergartens are creating self portraits in Mrs. Carter’s Art class using watercolor crayons.  (Photo 2)

  • John Ashley School held a grand opening for our brand new playground.  Students, staff, and community members gathered together to celebrate all the hard work that went into creating a beautiful new play structure.  Thank you to Mrs. Connor and Park and Recreation, Mr. Colson and the DPW, Mr. Mr. Moore and Mr. Manley from Central Maintenance, and Mayor Reichelt, for helping make this a reality for Ashley students, families, and the community.  (Photo 3 collage)

  • John Ashley will be having a food drive for the Open Pantry during the month of November.  Please send in non-perishable food items from November 12-16. Any contributions are sincerely appreciated!

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Community and Family Engagement [Twitter and Facebook: @westspfldcfce]

  • Parent/Child Date Night: November 15th 5:30-6:30 pm at the West Springfield Boys and Girls Club 615 Main St. Theme: Gratitude, Read aloud “Bear Says Thanks” create a thankful jar. Registration required and limited to 12 families.

  • Playgroups for children ages 0-5 and their parents/caregivers is ongoing at the West Springfield Boys and Girls Club, Wednesdays and Fridays, from 10:30-11:30.  Free. Drop in. Registration not required.

  • To register for any programs, please contact Rebecca Burgos, the new Community and Family Engagement Coordinator, at rburgos@wsps.org or 413-246-3144.


District/School Counseling Program

  • On Wednesday November 7, WSHS held the first ever Academic Pep Rally.  At this event, various groups of high achieving students were recognized.  The many students included Artists of the week, John and Abigail Adams Scholarship recipients, AP Scholars, National Merit Scholar Commendation recipients, students who received an invitation to National Honors Society, and all seniors with a GPA of 4.01 or higher (the top 10% of the class).  See photos.

  • The School Counseling Department is working on GEAR UP Massachusetts events.  The events will happen on November 19 and 20. On November 19, many colleges representatives will work with our students to secure admissions and provide merit aid.  On November 20, students will have time to complete applications, get financial aid information, and complete their essays.

  • The high school counseling department is seeking community involvement for a School Counseling Advisory Council. This year, the commitment would be two sessions of 1-1 ½ hours each. The dates and times are not yet determined, but parent and community involvement is a required part of the council.  Please email Shamis White (white@wsps.org) with any questions or to express interest.

                      

English Learners

  • The EL program brought back beloved EL presenter and Lesley College professor, Meg Burns on Tuesday’s PD day, to share with Coburn teachers and paraprofessionals the importance of embedding oracy activities to raise the level of cognitive and language demand of the task.  Oracy is the oral language needed to successfully engage with text. Oracy builds literacy! Meg led the teachers in fun, interactive, and practical activities and experienced how emerging English learners can participate in authentic academic conversation.  (Photo 1)  

  • Secondary educators took an in-depth look at The Collaboration Tool with Theophilia Afful and how it can impact their lesson planning with a language focus in mind.  At Coburn and the Middle School, the ESL teams collaborated on developing Focused Language Goals (FLGs) for their yearly units!

  • For your reading awareness:  Reading 101 for English Language Learners

 

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Language Word of the Week:     read in Gujarati -  વાંચવું       pronounced:  Vān̄cavuṁ


Health Services [Twitter: @WSPShealth]

  • This link contains great tips for starting drug prevention conversations for youth.

  • A University of Pittsburgh study found that young adults who use electronic cigarettes are more than four times as likely to begin smoking tobacco cigarettes within 18 months as their peers who do not vape.

  • Be informed about the new look and types of vape products which have become the new nicotine initiation devices for teens.


Fausey School [Twitter: @WSPSFausey]

  • PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT  Fausey’s staff immersed themselves in meaningful adult learning which will impact students’ learning.  Teachers and paraprofessionals participated in great offerings districtwide, or were able to engage in self-guided learning such as ‘Master Teacher’ and collaborative meetings.  All Fausey staff also participated in Close Reading professional development, which helps students to master complex text. Close reading stresses examining meaning thoroughly and methodically, and therefore encourages students to read and reread deliberately.  The presentation by Dr. Nancy Boyles will be followed up by grade level discussion and implementation of the concepts. Photos on this link.

  • GARBAGE IS MY BAG!  Dr. T visited Fausey on November 8.  The assemblies were great, and the message so important.  In this award-winning show, Jack Golden is the comedic expert, Dr. T.  With a Ph.D. in Garbology, a zany and irresistible personality and a marvelous Trash-to-Treasure recycling machine, he juggles and jokes his way through a world of waste, while sharing his knowledge that rubbish is a resource too good to throw away.  A special thank you to the Springfield Materials Recycling Facility (MRF) Advisory Board (MAB) through collaboration with West Springfield’s DPW Director Rob Colson, for providing this show for an appreciative audience. Photos on this link.

  • GEORGIA O’KEEFFE -  Mrs. Carter and her fourth grader students are very engaged in creating still life chalk pastels inspired by Georgia O’Keeffe.  Photos here.


Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment [Twitter: @WSPSCurriculum]

  • WSPS is very excited to report that the West Springfield Adult Education Program is off to a wonderful start with over 10 participants to date.  The students are ages 18-22 years old who are working on credit recovery to earn a West Springfield Public School Adult Education diploma. We are extremely proud of the students for their re-energized commitment to their education.


Social-Emotional Learning (SEL)

  • West Springfield Public Schools fosters a school environment where family and community partnerships support students as they learn to be compassionate, empathetic, and healthy citizens.  Work is based upon 5 core competencies (below). For information, please visit the following: Massachusetts DESE Social and Emotional Learning 5 Key Competencies

    • Self Awareness

    • Self Management

    • Social Awareness

    • Relationship Skills

    • Responsible Decision Making

  • The High School SEL team just finished an Integrating SEL Into the Classroom Conference with Dr. Brady.  Watch this amazing video that displays effective SEL integrated student engagement and effective group work skills at the high school level.  This and many other techniques were learned!

  • Central Office Team will meet with our partner at UMASS this week to begin a PBIS audit.


High School [Twitter: @WSPS_WSHS and @WSHS_guidance]

Weekly Review:

Upcoming:

  • November 10 - West Side Photography Show Art Walk @ Mt. Tom’s Ice Cream

  • November 13 - Mr. West Side at 7 p.m., in the Auditorium (rescheduled)

  • November 15 - America Recycles Day Art Show

  • November 16 - Trivia Night at 6 PM in Cafeteria

  • November 14 - 20 - Dodgeball Tournament at 2:15 p.m., in the Gym

  • November 20 - Homecoming Dance at 7 p.m., in the Gym


Athletics [Twitter: @wshsterriers

  • Fall Sports Tournament Updates:  

    • Boys Soccer - Faced Longmeadow in the Semifinals on November 8, losing 4-1.  Congratulations on a fantastic season!

    • Girls Soccer  - Western MA Div. 1 Finals - WSHS vs. Minnechaug - Sunday, November 11, at 1:15 p.m., Westfield State University.

    • Boys/Girls Cross Country - Western MA Championship meet is Saturday, November 10, at Stanley Park in Westfield.  Girls Div. 1 race is at 11:00 and Boys Div. 1 race is at 12:20.

  • Winter Sports Parent/Athlete Night is November 14, 2018 at 6:00, in the HS auditorium.

  • Family ID registration for winter sports is open.  Register on this link.

  • Please visit the MIAA Schedule on the athletics web page for sports schedules.  

  • Reminder - the Terrier Pride Banner Campaign is ongoing -- details are on this link.

   

Special Services  

  • Check out this research based resource for parents and families.

  • This month the SEPAC, Special Education Parent Advisory Council, has delayed their currently scheduled workshop in order to encourage parents to attend “Screenagers,” which will be shown next Thursday, November 15 at the high school (6:30 p.m.).  The next Workshop will be presented on January 24, and the topic will be Executive Functioning.

  • The Special Education Spotlight Teacher this week is Liz Lubas.  Liz is the teacher of Essential Life Skills (ELS) classroom at West Springfield Middle School.  Liz teaches students in her program foundational academic skills, adaptive life skills and pre-vocational skills.  Previously Liz served as a teacher in the Developmental Learning Program at Fausey. (Photo 1)

  • This past Tuesday the District hosted a variety of Professional Development Opportunities. One of these sessions was taught by Dr. Deborah Brady from Ribas and Associates, who presented an informative session for our teachers on Supporting Executive Function Skills for our Students. Dr. Brady will be presenting a similar workshop for Parents in January, stay tuned for more details about the workshop.

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Middle School [Twitter: @WSPSMiddle]

  • 6th Grade Students participated in the “Signs of Suicide” program.  This annual program helps sixth graders identify steps to help themselves and others when facing difficult situations regarding harming behavior.  Put on by adjustment counselors, this program encourages the use of the acronym “ACT” to support students to acknowledge, care, and tell a trusted adult.  Mr. Hanscom and Mr. Chasse led students through this presentation this week.

  • All eighth graders took field trips to area colleges this week.  Students toured UMass, STCC, Mount Holyoke, or Yale University. They were able to learn about the admissions process, requirements for various majors, and tour the campus.  The tremendous program is led by Mr. Chotkowski through his Modern World classes! The photo below shows students viewing Mt. Holyoke’s Library!

                         

Memorial School [Twitter: @WSPSMemorial]

  • During Professional Development Day, paraprofessionals enjoyed exploring many options on the Master Teacher ParaEducator Online Training site.  This platform afforded everyone the opportunity to expand their knowledge base.  Additionally, paraprofessionals could pause and discuss ideas to support all children.  Memorial is very thankful that the district purchased this! (Photo 1)

  • First grade students in Room 8 worked cooperatively to find  information in a text. Students used that information to explain their thinking in their writing. Memorial is so proud of the progress they have made since the beginning of the year - they’re becoming writers!  (Photo collage 2)

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Coburn School  [Twitter: @WSPSCoburn]

  • Check out the November edition of the Coburn School Newsletter HERE.

  • Join Coburn School for McTeacher Night on November 15, from 4:00 - 7:00 p.m., at the McDonald’s at 352 Riverdale Street.  Fifteen (15) percent of all proceeds go back to the school! (Photo 1)

  • 2nd grade students working with Mrs. Piper, math interventionist, were engaged in number talk this week while learning about the difference between odd and even numbers. Students used math language to explain how doubles (4 + 4) make an even number.  (Photo 2)

  • 3rd grade students worked with Mrs. Gurau, one of our paraprofessionals, in a guided reading group this week. They used nonfiction text features to make predictions about a new book. Students used vocabulary, pictures and subheadings to make predictions prior to reading.  (Photos 3 and 4)


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Mittineague [Twitter: @WSPSMittineague]

  • November is Family Literacy month, and Mittineague School was filled with families of all shapes and sizes Thursday evening to celebrate!  In addition to enjoying their pasta dinner, students drew their favorite book characters on the paper covered tables, created fancy bookmarks, visited the book fair and enjoyed listening to local author, Eric Bennett of the Noodle and Albee series!  It was a great evening! Students also earned tickets to the basket raffle by completing every homework assignment this year. (Photo collage)

  • The West Springfield Lions Club prepared a Family Pasta Dinner to help the staff of Mittineague School raise money for a new sound system.  The dinner had three seatings and more than 150 people were served over two hours - a fun-filled, old fashioned type of evening where people sat and shared time and conversations with friends and family.  It was nice to notice that most people did not have phones or electronics out, and they just socialized together. Many, many thanks to the WS Lions Club for their generous help! (Photo collage)

Tatham School [Twitter: @WSPSTatham]

  • Tatham School is continues to support the community.  Staff and students are participating in the Mayflower Marathon Food Drive.  All food collected goes to local food banks. In addition, students donated some of their Halloween candy to support our troops.  Tatham collected close to 100 pounds of treats! (Photo 1)

  • Grade 5 visited Bear Hole on Wednesday for a hands-on day of science.  (Photo 2)

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WSPS District Spotlight - November 2, 2018

posted Nov 2, 2018, 1:49 PM by Erin Mountain

WSPS District Spotlight - November 2, 2018


From The Superintendent [Twitter: @WestSideSupt]     

  • Daylight Savings Time ends this weekend!  Remember to turn back your clocks on Saturday night before going to bed!

  • Boys Soccer (#6 seed) will host Commerce on Saturday, November 3, at 6:00 p.m., at Clark Field.  If the team advances, they will play Pittsfield in the quarterfinals on Monday, November 5 at 2 p.m. in Pittsfield.  Girls Soccer (#2 seed) will play winner of Westfield vs Belchertown in the Semifinals, tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, November 7, at Chicopee Comp, tentatively at 5:00 p.m.  Girls Volleyball lost a heartbreaker last night to Amherst (3 sets to 2).

  • The Bear Hole 10K Run for the Trails is Saturday, November 3, 2018, at Bear Hole Watershed in West Springfield. This is a great opportunity to spend time in a beautiful local resource and support the West Springfield Environmental Committee, which provides valuable conservation/environmental programs to WS elementary students!  Registration form and map are on this link.

  • Tuesday, November 6 is a Professional Development Day for staff; there is no school for students.

  • Veterans Day holiday is Monday, November 12 (no school).  The Veterans Day Parade is Saturday, November 10 at 10:00 a.m., beginning at St. Thomas School and ending at the American Legion on Park Avenue (across from Town Common).

  • Updates to the district’s Attendance Policy were approved at the October 23 School Committee meeting.  A letter was sent to all parents/guardians on October 24 regarding the policy; view the letter on this link. The policy [File: JE] can be found on this link.  

  • The district website (wsps.org) has a new feature - Coburn Building Project!  The button is in the center of the home page, next to the District Spotlight button.  Check it out here.  Thanks to Stephanie Straitiff (Central Information Technology) for bringing us up to speed with this important website feature.

  • This week I met with the Tatham Superintendent’s Advisory Council.  The conversation was lively and I learned a lot about what issues matter to upper elementary students.  (Photo 1)

  • The Community Outreach Team met on Monday.  The group will review the WSPS District Improvement Plan before the next meeting, which will either be November 14 or 19.  Meetings are open to anyone wishing to be part of this school-home-community collaboration! Childcare will be provided by WSHS Key Club students should there be a need.

  • The district will host a free screening of the award-winning Screenagers film on Thursday, November 15, at 6:30 p.m., in the high school auditorium.  The film examines the struggles with social media, video games, and academics, and it offers suggestions on how families can help kids navigate the digital age.  (Photo 2)

  • The Superintendent’s Office is seeking updates on WSHS alumni for inclusion in this blog.  Alumni are encouraged to complete this short form.  (Note: The November 9 post will feature news from our active/veteran military alumni.)

  • The Partnership for Education (WSPE) presents “West Side Rocks with Rock 201,” a fall fundraiser featuring a band, buffet dinner, cash bar, and raffle prizes.  The event is November 30, 2018 at Wyckoff Country Club in Easthampton, at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 (includes entrance and entertainment) and they are available at the School Department and from any WSPE board member.  Click here for flyer.

  • In the Spotlight” episodes air on Channel 15, on Monday and Tuesday at 6:00 p.m., and Thursday-Sunday at 8:00 p.m.  This week’s guest: Shamis White, WSHS Guidance and School Counseling Department Chair.  The entire playlist is on this link.

  • The Commissioner’s Weekly Updates are posted on this link.

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Tatham School [Twitter: @WSPSTatham]

  • Tatham School once again had the Annual “Arithme-Tricks” and Treats last Friday.  Every student works on Grade level math problems in our special pumpkin patch. Students solve the problems and exchange their solutions for a treat.  This is a popular event for the students. Special thanks to our 30 parent volunteers that help with this event. ( Photo 1)

  • Grade 5 students are preparing to go to Bear Hole Watershed.  Before the trip They learned the importance of having fresh clean drinking water. (Photo 2)

  • The Tanglewood Marionettes returned to present the Greek Myth Medusa. The students love these performances put on by professional puppeteers! (Photo 3)

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Cowing Alternative School (CAS)

  • As part of the PBIS monthly incentive, CAS had “Halloween Halls” on Friday, October 26.  The students had a great time!! (Photos 1-2)

  • CAS is pleased to announce the November Students of the Month:  Joseph, Johnathon, and Jackson! These boys have worked extremely hard and deserve this honor!  Congratulations!!

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Cowing Early Childhood

  • Several activities focusing on pumpkins took place this week: Sensory walk, pumpkin patch, and writing a plan to make the pumpkins roll.  (Photos 1-3)

  • WHAT LANGUAGE BARRIER?!  (Photo 4)

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John Ashley School [Twitter: @WSPSAshley]

  • Mrs. Rodriguez’s classroom earned 50 bears for taking care of themselves, others, and their things, and celebrated with a costume day.

  • John Ashley will be having a food drive for the Open Pantry during the month of November.  Please send in non-perishable food items from November 12-16. Any contributions are sincerely appreciated!

Community and Family Engagement [Twitter and Facebook: @westspfldcfce]

  • Playgroups for children ages 0-5 and their parents/caregivers is ongoing at the West Springfield Boys and Girls Club, Wednesdays and Fridays, from 10:30-11:30.  Free. Drop in. Registration not required.

  • To register for any programs, please contact Rebecca Burgos, the new Community and Family Engagement Coordinator, at rburgos@wsps.org or 413-246-3144.


District/School Counseling Program

  • Mrs. Shamis White, Department Chair at WSHS, appeared on In the Spotlight this week. Check out the segment here. The conversation covered important events in the college application and financial aid processes.

  • The School Counseling Department is working on GEAR UP Massachusetts events.  The events will happen on November 19 and 20. On November 19, many colleges representatives will work with our students to secure admissions and provide merit aid.  On November 20, students will have time to complete applications, get financial aid information, and complete their essays.

  • The high school counseling department is seeking community involvement for a School Counseling Advisory Council. This year, the commitment would be two sessions of 1-1 ½ hours each. The dates and times are not yet determined, but parent and community involvement is a required part of the council.  Please email Shamis White (white@wsps.org) with any questions or to express interest.

                      

English Learners

  • ELs in Mrs. M and M’s kindergarten class loved interacting with the story: It’s Okay To Be Different!  The story features higher-order questions and a wonderful message of acceptance that made the students happy!  Ms. Gavioli’s kindergarten ELs talked about how “it’s okay to be different” as they viewed other students’ art in the hallways.  (Photos 1-4)

  • On Monday, we welcomed Katherine Jussaume, our new SLIFE program teacher, who welcomed new students from Ethiopia on Tuesday!  (Photo 5)

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Language Word of the Week:     new student in Zulu -  umfundi omusha


Health Services [Twitter: @WSPShealth]


Fausey School [Twitter: @WSPSFausey]


  • FAUSEY’S STEM WEEK FINISHED OFF STRONG!  Pictures are on this link.

    • UV BEAD CATERPILLARS!  Grade 1 in Mrs. O’Brien’s and Mrs. Brogan’s students made ‘caterpillars’ out of UV sensitive beads and exposed them to the sun.  The beads change colors when exposed to UV radiation. The students quickly realized their caterpillars were getting sunburned when the beads began to change colors!  Students then put on their engineering caps: First they looked for a problem. (Their caterpillars were getting a sunburn). Then they brainstormed ideas to solve the problem. (Their caterpillars needed some sort of a shelter to be in while they were outside.)  Next they gathered some supplies and drew up a plan. After students had their plan and their materials they began to create! Students created a variety of shelters for their caterpillars out of recycled materials. Once their shelters were built, students needed to test their designs.  Students brought their caterpillars out in the sun to read to them, or just play in the sun. After their books were finished they checked on their caterpillars and then teachers and students discussed the following questions: What worked? What didn't work? What did I learn? How can I change my shelter to make it work next time?  Students had a blast designing, creating, and testing their shelters! (Having caterpillars that change color in the sun were pretty cool too!)

    • LITERACY AND STEM:  The students in the Reading Center often discover new things, and it’s no surprise that literacy and STEM are connected.  What STEM professional doesn’t communicate his/her important findings to the world? The students in Mrs. Petit and Mrs. Kane’s classes dissected a pumpkin, counted the seeds (which made Mrs. Altman very happy), and shared their findings.

  • NOVEMBER IS FAMILY LITERACY MONTH - Mr. Harty launched Fausey’s Family Literacy Month on Thursday, November 1!  Each day, students will read the Word of the Day .  The words will be posted on a bulletin board for reinforcement.  Here’s the link for the month’s words.  As part of the month’s activities, Fausey will once more have a BLACK-OUT DAY on Wednesday, November 28.  On that day, families can agree to shut off their devices, and enjoy family life through literacy activities - or just enjoy each other’s company!  The pledge is attached above, and will be sent home as the date approaches.

  • PBIS DRESS LIKE A FAVORITE BOOK CHARACTER DAY:  It’s hard to tell if adults or children enjoyed this day more!  Pictures on this link: this link.

  • BIRTHDAYS SHOULD BE CELEBRATED!  What better way than with your friends and a matching  t-shirt? (Photos 1 and 2)

Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment [Twitter: @WSPSCurriculum]

  • West Springfield Public Schools presented at the Regional Instructional Learning Network on Tuesday, October 30, 2018. This presentation highlighted the inclusion design, planning and implementation of inclusive practices at WSMS. Teachers from WSMS presented their process as well as Mr. Gillen and Mrs. Manning.West Springfield Middle School was the focus of the discussion but a big congratulations to all of the great work across the district thats happening to become a more inclusive district.


Social-Emotional Learning (SEL)

  • West Springfield Public Schools fosters a school environment where family and community partnerships support students as they learn to be compassionate, empathetic, and healthy citizens.  Work is based upon 5 core competencies (below). For information, please visit the following: Massachusetts DESE Social and Emotional Learning 5 Key Competencies

    • Self Awareness

    • Self Management

    • Social Awareness

    • Relationship Skills

    • Responsible Decision Making

  • West Springfield Public Schools has received both Safe and Supportive School Grants and Systems for Student Success Grants to support SEL work this school year!  SEL task force members that started the work under these grants last year will support IST revision and other SEL related objectives of the District Improvement Plan.  Each building-based team will help support the following Goals and Objectives starting the end of November:

    • Review planning and progress of SEL goals indicated in building School Improvement Plans

    • Receive training on overview of SEL

    • Identify current and needed Tier 1 and 2 SEL interventions in conjunction with IST review and Data teams

    • Review effectiveness of current Tier 1 and 2 interventions

    • Participate in IST revision

    • Provide feedback and suggestions on needed SEL PD

    • Evaluate Progress and complete action plan for 2019-2020


High School [Twitter: @WSPS_WSHS and @WSHS_guidance]

Weekly Review:


Upcoming:


Click on image/link below:


Athletics [Twitter: @wshsterriers

  • Congratulations to Boys Cross Country athletes Gabe Medina and Jack Merck, who came in first place and fourth, respectively, in the PVIAC Cross Country Championship meet on Sunday!   Check out the article on this link.

  • Fall Sports Tournament Updates:  

    • Boys Soccer earned the # 6 Seed and will host Commerce on Saturday, November 3, at 6:00 p.m., at Clark Field.

    • Girls Soccer earned the # 2 seed and will play winner of Westfield vs Belchertown in the Semi’s, tentatively scheduled for next Wednesday, November 7, at Chicopee Comp, tentatively at 5:00 p.m.  

    • Girls Volleyball hosted and lost to Amherst last night. Congrats on a great season!

  • Fall Sports All Star Athletes:

    • Girls Volleyball: All-League: Jacqueline Paige, Ann Basa

    • Girls Soccer: All-League: Daesia Andrews, Chelsea Hoey, Makenzie Paulo, Emily Letendre; All-State: Daesia Andrews, Chelsea Hoey; All-New England: Chelsea Hoey

    • Boys Soccer: All-League: Quinn Serafino, Ian Alves, Shox Madjidov; All-State: Quinn Serafino, Shox Madjidov; All-New England: Quinn Serafino

    • Boys Cross Country:  Gabe Medina and Jack Merck - All League.

  • The Winter Sports Parent/Athlete Night date is being planned.  More to follow.

  • Family ID registration for winter sports is open.  Register on this link.

  • Please visit the MIAA Schedule on the athletics web page for sports schedules.  

  • Reminder - the Terrier Pride Banner Campaign is ongoing -- details are on this link.

   

Special Services  

  • On Monday, Oct. 19, Kathryn Mahony, Director of Special Services, and Laurie Bedard, Assistant Director of Special Services, attended the Massachusetts Administrators for Special Education Statewide Conference at Holy Cross College.  Jeffrey C. Riley, Commissioner, Massachusetts Department of Elementary and SEcondary Education, provided the Keynote address. Dr. Jean Lindquist Grady, Director of Clinical and Related Services, spoke about assessing threat risk and school safety.  Other workshops attended provided information regarding recognizing and responding to depression and suicide risk of students and social-emotional learning in diverse communities.

  • Last Friday, October 26, Kathryn Mahony, Laurie Bedard, and Educational Team Leader Janis Ruggiera attended the Fall Regional Meeting for Special Education Directors.  The focus of this meeting was on working with Early Intervention Programs and meeting the needs of special education students in institutional settings. Former WS Superintendent Dr. Russell Johnston provided the welcome address which outlined some of the new regulations.

 

  • On October 29, a group of both special education and regular education staff attended and presented at the Inclusive Practice Network (IPN) meeting held in Hadley.  The IPN gathers periodically to explore practices that address the educational outcomes for students with special needs and strive to build schools that offer equitable, inclusive and accessible educational opportunities.  WS Middle School Principal Pete Gillen provided an overview of inclusive practices at the school. The staff at WSMS presented on their inclusive practices within the sixth grade team. The Administration Team presented on the overall development of the co-teaching model.


Alumni Update

Alumni are encouraged to fill out this brief survey to help WSPS highlight their news, accomplishments and updates!

  • In honor of Veterans Day, the November 9 District Spotlight Alumni Update will feature active/veteran military alumni - please share your news by completing the survey and noting your military branch, rank, job and news!


Middle School [Twitter: @WSPSMiddle]

  • On November 1, WSMS convened another Bell Schedule Committee to begin the year-long process  

of examining the existing building bell schedule to suggest possible adjustments.  The team is composed of teachers, paras, and administrators who represent each program or department within the building.  This is the same process followed when the current bell schedule was created in 2016.

  • Next Tuesday, November 6, WSMS staff will participate in professional development.  The focal theme for WSMS staff revolves around inclusive classrooms and working with English Learner students.  

  • Next week, all sixth grade students will participate in the “Signs of Suicide” program.  This program is presented annually by WSMS adjustment counselors. The program helps students identify areas of concern in themselves and others, and works through the age-appropriate acronym of “Acknowledge, Care, Tell (ACT).”

                         

Memorial School [Twitter: @WSPSMemorial]

  • Memorial wishes to thank West Springfield Firefighters Brina Fondi, Sara Boucher, and Matt Sawyer for their very informative Fire Safety Assemblies for Grades 1-5 (in honor of Fire Safety Week). Students had the opportunity to participate in an interactive story, demonstrate how to stop, drop and roll, ask questions about fire gear, ladders, and equipment, view a video, and learn how firefighters reach people in high buildings.  Students also learned that the firefighters work in an ambulance for much of the week. Most surprisingly, the firefighters shared that they receive an average of 7,000 calls per year!  (Photo collage 1 and 2)

  • Fifth graders are looking forward to their field trip to beautiful Bear Hole next week!  During the classroom visits, students learned about the water cycle, how to keep water clean and the importance of the watershed.  After brainstorming why a watershed is at the base of a hill, students engaged in an activity. Everyone was given the opportunity to  create their own mountains and food coloring was added to their water which flowed down the mountain. This activity showed the effects of pollution and how contamination can work its way into our water samples.  (Photo collage 3 and 4)

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Coburn School  [Twitter: @WSPSCoburn]

  • Join Coburn School for McTeacher Night on November 15, from 4:00 - 7:00 p.m., at the McDonald’s at 352 Riverdale Street.  Fifteen (15) percent of all proceeds go back to the school! (Photo 1)

  • Mark your calendars - Winter Festival is December 13 this year!  More information to follow.

  • Coburn School had its first school-wide Museum Walk for this school year.  The theme was empathy and acceptance. Students read books related to these character traits and created displays that showcased what they learned.  (Photo collage)

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Mittineague [Twitter: @WSPSMittineague]

  • The West Springfield Church of Christ partnered with the Mittineague PTO once again to host a Trunk or Treat event for the students and neighborhood families.  The event was rained out on Saturday, so it was held on Sunday in the Mittineague parking lot. This was such a wonderful event with so many creative displays! There was even a special appearance from Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head in the Mittineague garden!  (Photo collage)

  • One of the third graders from Mrs. Bartolucci’s class has been working on a “graphic novel” and he gave the book upon completion to Mrs. Fonte and the school library.  Mrs. Germano, the town librarian and Mrs. Fonte, school librarian, gave the book a barcode and entered it into the system where others can check it out!! (Photo collage)

  • The fourth graders recently worked on research projects for school.  In addition to researching on the Chromebooks, they also went into the library and worked diligently together to find additional sources and information. (Photo collage)

                      


WSPS District Spotlight - October 26, 2018

posted Oct 26, 2018, 1:20 PM by Erin Mountain

WSPS District Spotlight - October 26, 2018


From The Superintendent [Twitter: @WestSideSupt]     

  • The high school cafeteria has a new look, thanks to vibrant artwork on the walls!  Check out the decor (Photo collage)

  • West Springfield will host a Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on Saturday, October 27, from 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m., in the Municipal Office Building lobby.  Safely dispose of expired/unwanted over-the-counter medications and prescriptions!  (Photo 1)

  • The next Community Outreach Team meeting is Monday, October 29, from 6:00-8:00 p.m., in room B221 at West Springfield High School.  Meetings are open to anyone wishing to be part of this school-home-community collaboration! Childcare will be provided by WSHS Key Club students.

  • The Bear Hole 10K Run for the Trails is Saturday, November 3, 2018, at Bear Hole Watershed in West Springfield. This is a great opportunity to spend time in a beautiful local resource and support the West Springfield Environmental Committee, which provides valuable conservation/environmental programs to WS elementary students!  Registration form and map are on this link.

  • Tuesday, November 6 is a professional development day for staff; there is no school for students.

  • The district will host a free screening of the award-winning Screenagers film on Thursday, November 15, at 6:30 p.m., in the high school auditorium.  The film examines the struggles with social media, video games, and academics, and it offers suggestions on how families can help kids navigate the digital age.  (Photo 2)

  • The Superintendent’s Office is seeking updates on WSHS alumni for inclusion in this blog.  Alumni are encouraged to complete this short form.  (Note: The November 9 post will feature news from our active/veteran military alumni.)

  • The Partnership for Education (WSPE) presents “West Side Rocks with Rock 201,” a fall fundraiser featuring a band, buffet dinner, cash bar, and raffle prizes.  The event is November 30, 2018 at Wyckoff Country Club in Easthampton, at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 (includes entrance and entertainment) and they are available at the School Department and from any WSPE board member.  Click here for flyer.

  • In the Spotlight” episodes air on Channel 15, on Monday and Tuesday at 6:00 p.m., and Thursday-Sunday at 8:00 p.m.  This week’s guest: Adam Jaber of Colorado Ski and Bike.  The entire playlist is on this link.

  • The Commissioner’s Weekly Updates are posted on this link.



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Mittineague [Twitter: @WSPSMittineague]

  • Tuesday night was Family STEM Night at Mittineague School, and the entire night was based on the school’s All School Read of The One and Only Ivan!  There were over 180 people in attendance, representing all grades and classes. Participants worked through a series of science and engineering challenges.  Some of these challenges included designing an elephant’s trunk that had joints and could move, a catapult designed to be able to throw food to lure an elephant into a cage, a cage equipped to transport a full-sized silverback gorilla safely across the country, a billboard tall enough to be seen from the highway advertising the Shopping Mall Gorilla, and a nest made from natural things found in your environment.  All participants completed at least two challenges and some were able to complete three! In addition, staff, students and family members stood up against a silhouette of a gorilla to see how they measured up! They then took that information and added it to a line plot. The evening was incredibly fast paced and fun - no one wanted it to end!! (Photo collages)

  • Last week, the students were also participants in a SAFE assembly with WSFD officer, Brina Fondi. The students watched a video on Fire Safety and participated in some lively conversations about staying safe!

  • Over the past week, several classes have been conducting research about gorillas, their habitats, and the care and protection of not only gorillas, but, all wildlife.  After reading The One and Only Ivan, the students felt so strongly that animals need to be treated with respect, dignity and kindness, that they decided the whole school will do a service project for the care and protection of wildlife.  Stay tuned to find out more!!


Tatham School [Twitter: @WSPSTatham]

  • Third graders took a to trip to the West Springfield public library.  Students toured the library and check out books. (Photo 1)

  • On Wednesday, our Student Council organized a walk for Juvenile Diabetes. Tatham raised over $800.00.  (Photo 2)

  • Mrs Martin and Mrs Gale teamed up their grade 1 and grade 4 classes to complete A STEM activity. Students had to design a container to hold an apple on their head. The fourth graders had fun working with the first graders!

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Cowing Alternative School (CAS)

  • The CAS staff would like to thank all of the families that participated in the parent-teacher conferences.  It was wonderful to see all of you and to share the wonderful things your children are doing in school.

  • Community lunch:  The Room 9 community invited the Room 11 community to a spaghetti and meatball lunch!  The students continue to practice their social skills while mingling. Fun was had by all!  (Photos 1-2)

  • School Banking:  remember to turn in your forms if you’d like to participate -- and bring in your deposit on Tuesday mornings.

  • Mrs. O’Shaughnessy and the CAS middle school students built structures as a STEM activity to protect hard-boiled eggs.  The students then dropped their eggs to see if they would break…..or survive the drop. (Photo 3)

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Cowing Early Childhood

  • Room 6 STEM pumpkins on a gate activity.  Inspired by the story "Five Little Pumpkins," students used playdough, straws and small pumpkin erasers.  (Photo 1)

  • Thanks to the support from the PTO, students were able to take home a pumpkin from the PUMPKIN PATCH!!  To get to the pumpkin patch, students had hop, jump, balance and count! (Photos 2-4)

  • Making gates for pumpkins in room 3!  (Photos 5-6)

  • STEM building -- the children wrote in journals, drawing what they would do to make a gate that could hold a pumpkin after reciting “Five Little Pumpkins.”  They built their gate then shared with the others what they did, then tried different pumpkins to see if the gate would hold them. (Photos 7-10)

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John Ashley School [Twitter: @WSPSAshley]

  • STEM week was celebrated in many different ways across the school.  Mrs. Vedovelli, Mrs. Rodriguez, and Mrs. Hildonen all had students participate in different challenges that involved building structures to support the weight of small pumpkins.  Students had the chance to be creative with a variety of materials, such as: straws, popsicle sticks, paper towel rolls, tape, and blocks. (Photos 1-3)

  • The PTO put together a Fall Fun Day for the students and teachers to enjoy.  On Monday, students sprinkled magical pumpkin seeds on an open field next to the school.  When students arrived to school on Tuesday, pumpkins grew in place of the seeds. With the help of LPVEC students and staff, kindergarteners were taken on a wagon ride around the field, and had the chance to pick the best pumpkin for them.

  • On Tuesday, Mr. Richard met with a group of students at lunch who have shown leadership qualities in their classroom to hear about how they have been enjoying John Ashley School.  Recess and math seemed to be the most favorite parts of their day! (Photo 4)

  • Ashley will be having a food drive for the Open Pantry during the month of November.  Please send in non-perishable food items from November 12-16. Any contributions are sincerely appreciated!

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Community and Family Engagement [Twitter and Facebook: @westspfldcfce]

  • Playgroups for children ages 0-5 and their parents/caregivers began September 12 at the West Springfield Boys and Girls Club, Wednesdays and Fridays, from 10:30-11:30.  Free. Drop in. Registration not required.

  • To register for any programs, please contact Jen Brennan at 413-519-2511, or email brennan@wsps.org.


District/School Counseling Program

  • Counselors were in early on Thursday October 25 to set up for the annual college fair at WSHS. Students in grades 11 and 12 were able to meet with representatives from more than 100 post-secondary opportunities including colleges, universities, trade school, and the military. Thank you to all the generous sponsors of the event. (Photos)

  • The high school counseling department is seeking community involvement for a School Counseling Advisory Council. This year, the commitment would be two sessions of 1-1 ½ hours each. The dates and times are not yet determined, but parent and community involvement is a required part of the council.  Please email Shamis White (white@wsps.org) with any questions or to express interest.

                         


English Language Learners

  • Coburn School welcomed so many families during parent-teacher conferences this week.  We are grateful for the large number of bilingual interpreters who devoted their time to support our families!

  • To date, the extraordinary ELL program teachers are currently teaching to the academic and language needs of the diverse group of ELs in the district!

    • 30+ ELs at Cowing

    • 233 ELs at Coburn

    • 60 ELs at the Middle School

    • 96 ELs at the High School

    • The SEI Endorsed teachers in the district’s other elementary schools are working hard to understand the teaching and learning needs of the 48 Opt-Out students.

 

Language Word of the Week:  Happy Birthday in Nepali:    जन्मदिन शुभकामना

(pronounced:  Janmadina śubhakāmanā)


Health Services [Twitter: @WSPShealth]

  • The FDA recently warned that middle and high school age youth use of e-cigarettes has reached epidemic proportions.  This is especially concerning to the FDA because the developing adolescent brain is particularly vulnerable to nicotine addiction.  Read more here.

  • This short article from Penn State News contains factual and informative details about the hazards or juuling and vaping (e-cigarettes)

  • Remember to get your flu shot before the end of October.  It is your best bet for avoiding and stopping the spread of the flu which can cause serious complications, particularly for young children, older adults and people with certain medical conditions


Fausey School [Twitter: @WSPSFausey]

  • Pumpkins!  Mrs. St. Peter’s class dissected pumpkins, and then looked at the seeds more closely through magnifying glasses.  The fact that the magnifying glasses look like ladybugs just helps with the exploration! Photos on this link.

  • STEM WEEK...so far!  Fausey’s students love STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).  The activities shared this week are just a few! More to come. Photos on this link.

  • PTO Party - Fausey’s PTO knows how to throw a party!  Students participated in full garb, decorated pumpkins and danced to a fantastic DJ.  Thank you again for all the work the PTO did to put an a great event, and to all the parent and staff volunteers!  Photos on this link.


Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment [Twitter: @WSPSCurriculum]

  • On November 6, 2018, the district will participate in a full professional development day.  Each of the three grade spans will have a host of PD activities to choose from related to the District Improvement Plans and School Improvement Plans.

  • West Springfield Public Schools has been identified by the Department of Educations District and School Assistance Centers for the progressive work of embedding inclusive practices at across the District. DESE/DSAC has asked the District and members of WSMS to present their work at the regional conference.  The focal point of the presentation will be the outstanding implementation work of the faculty, staff and administration of the inclusion model at West Springfield Middle School.


Social-Emotional Learning (SEL)

  • West Springfield Public Schools fosters a school environment where family and community partnerships support students as they learn to be compassionate, empathetic, and healthy citizens.  Our work is based upon 5 core competencies (below).  For information, please visit the following: Massachusetts DESE Social and Emotional Learning 5 Key Competencies

    • Self Awareness

    • Self Management

    • Social Awareness

    • Relationship Skills

    • Responsible Decision Making


High School [Twitter: @WSPS_WSHS and @WSHS_guidance]

Weekly Review:


Upcoming:

  • October 27 - ACT test

  • November 2 - Quarter 1 ends

  • November 8 - Mr. West Side


Click on image/link below:



Athletics [Twitter: @wshsterriers

  • Fall Sports Tournament Updates: Boys Soccer, Girls Soccer and Girls Volleyball will compete in tournament play.  Next week, seeding will take place; more information to follow!

  • Family ID registration for winter sports is open.  Register on this link.

  • Please visit the MIAA Schedule on the athletics web page for sports schedules.  

  • Reminder - the Terrier Pride Banner Campaign is ongoing -- details are on this link.

        

Special Services    

  • Last night, the Special Education Parent Advisory Council SEPAC presented a workshop called Bullying: How to Empower Your Child at WS High School.  For more information about upcoming SEPAC events please check their Facebook Page.

  • This year the Middle School transitioned to a co-taught model of instruction.  Each team has an assigned Special Education teacher who works collaboratively with the Regular Education Teachers on the team.  After several months, staff and students are settling in and have shared great enthusiasm for the model.

  • This year, the Special Services Department has hired Alex Hirschberg from James Levine and Associates to evaluate several of our district programs. This evaluation will provide valuable feedback to ensure that our programs are providing best practice of instruction to our students. First up will be the Cowing Alternative School and in the Spring we will take a look at West Side Academy.

           

Alumni Update

Alumni are encouraged to fill out this brief survey to help WSPS highlight their news, accomplishments and updates!

  • In honor of Veterans Day, the November 9 District Spotlight Alumni Update will feature active/veteran military alumni - please share your news by completing the survey and noting your military branch, rank, job and news!

  • Emily Horrigan ‘11 works at West Springfield High School with the Transition program.


Middle School [Twitter: @WSPSMiddle]

  • This coming Monday, WSMS will host eight students from Westfield State University as they conduct “Field Visits.”  These sophomore and junior Education majors are touring participating area schools to observe classes, meet with teachers, and develop their skills and interest in careers in education.  

  • Next Tuesday, a team from WSMS will present at the Inclusive Practice Network’s meeting in Hadley.  The topic will be regarding the school’s shift to inclusion. Panels composed of district- and school-based teams will meet with over 130 educators from Western Massachusetts to answer questions and share the process thus far!

  • Support the WSMS Second Annual Chipotle Fundraiser Night October 30, 4-8 p.m.   

  • WSMS is partnering with Westfield Bank to support a savings program for students called, “Ready, Set, Grow.”  Students will come home with information today in order to establish savings accounts through Westfield Bank. A minimum deposit of $1.00 is all that is needed to start an account.  A rep from Westfield Bank will be at WSMS each Tuesday during lunch to accept deposits. Additionally, Westfield Bank will match the initial deposit of up to $25! This program begins on October 30, and it will run throughout the year!

                         

Memorial School [Twitter: @WSPSMemorial]

  • On Friday, October 26, Memorial ended a two-week “PBIS Penny Wars” initiative.  Mrs. Flaherty has been facilitating the competition during arrival each morning.  Students have shown great excitement for this event. The objective is to raise money for PBIS incentives or to buy supplies for PBIS events.  This competition incorporates math and strategic thinking while solving real-world problems. The money will be totaled for each class and the winning class will be allowed to vote for their incentive based on a menu of choices.  Best of luck to all classrooms! (Photo 1)

  • STEM/STEAM Week proved to be extremely engaging at all grade levels.  Projects and experiments were thought-provoking, standards-based and engaging.  Student projects will be displayed throughout the school for other grade levels to view and enjoy.  Additionally, each morning during announcements, students learned about a new scientist or inventor.  Students also viewed videos and photographs and then were presented with a follow-up activity each day.  (Photo collage 2 and 3)

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Coburn School  [Twitter: @WSPSCoburn]

  • Join Coburn School for McTeacher Night on November 15 from 4:00 - 7:00 p.m. at the McDonald’s at 352 Riverdale Street.  Fifteen (15) percent of all proceeds go back to the school! (Photo 1)

  • Students in Mrs. Pringle’s 4th grade EL class have been engaged in activities for STEM Week. PBSKids.org was used to further expand their learning about earthquakes from STEMscopes. A challenge they enjoyed this week was building a structure to see if it could withstand an “earthquake” on the shake table.  (Photo collage pictures 1-3)

  • Coburn’s Student Ambassadors were available during conferences this week to escort families to classrooms. This is the first year Coburn has had student ambassadors. Thank you to the families of Svetlana Lavrinenko, Logan Kieter, Oleg Liventsov and Rachel Matteson for allowing them to assist after school hours!  (Photo collage picture 4)

                        


WSPS District Spotlight - October 19, 2018

posted Oct 19, 2018, 11:26 AM by Erin Mountain   [ updated Oct 19, 2018, 1:27 PM ]

WSPS District Spotlight - October 19, 2018


From The Superintendent [Twitter: @WestSideSupt]     

  • Twenty-one (21) mini grants were awarded to individual/small groups of West Springfield public/ parochial/private school teachers at the annual Partnership for Education Mini Grant Reception on Monday.  The grants fund innovative, creative projects that enrich the educational experience. Congratulations to all of the recipients!  Board members and mini grant recipients gathered for a group photo at the reception. (Photo 1)

  • This week, I met with Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council groups at the Middle School and Coburn.  (Photo 2 - Coburn students).

  • The School Committee will meet on Tuesday, October 23, at 7:00 p.m., in the Municipal Office Building auditorium/2nd floor.

  • Next week, parent-teacher conferences will be held on October 24 and 25 for Early Childhood (EC) through grade 5.  Grades 1-5 will have early dismissal on these dates, while there will be no school for EC and kindergarten.

  • The District has partnered with SchoolMessenger to create a mobile app.  While we are just in the initial stages, the hope is to have it available for Apple and Android devices before the end of 2018.

  • West Springfield will host a Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on Saturday, October 27, from 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m., in the Municipal Office Building lobby.  Safely dispose of expired/unwanted over-the-counter medications and prescriptions!  (Photo 3)

  • The next Community Outreach Team meeting is Monday, October 29, from 6:00-8:00 p.m., in room B221 at West Springfield High School. Meetings are open to anyone wishing to be part of this school-home-community collaboration! Childcare will be provided by WSHS Key Club students.

  • The Bear Hole 10K Run for the Trails is Saturday, November 3, 2018, at Bear Hole Watershed in West Springfield. This is a great opportunity to spend time in a beautiful local resource and support the West Springfield Environmental Committee, which provides valuable conservation/environmental programs to WS elementary students!  Registration form and map are on this link.

  • The district will host a free screening of the award-winning Screenagers film on Thursday, November 15, at 6:30 p.m., in the high school auditorium.  The film examines the struggles with social media, video games, and academics, and it offers suggestions on how families can help kids navigate the digital age.  (Photo 4)

  • The Superintendent’s Office is seeking updates on WSHS alumni for inclusion in this blog.  Alumni are encouraged to complete this short form.  (Note: The November 9 post will feature news from our active/veteran military alumni.)

  • MA STEM Week is October 22-26.  Check out this grant opportunity for teachers from A.C. Moore.

  • The Partnership for Education (WSPE) presents “West Side Rocks with Rock 201,” a fall fundraiser featuring a band, buffet dinner, cash bar, and raffle prizes.  The event is November 30, 2018 at Wyckoff Country Club in Easthampton, at 5:30 p.m. Tickets will be available at the School Department in the near future (also at the door on November 30).  

  • In the Spotlight” episodes air on Channel 15, on Monday and Tuesday at 6:00 p.m., and Thursday-Sunday at 8:00 p.m.  This week’s guests: DA Youth Advisory WSHS representatives: Devin Svec, Haley Riddles and Alleyna Pitaso; there was also a special supplementary episode with Philip Vitkovskiy discussing an “Open Mic” event on October 31 at the high school.  The entire playlist is on this link.

  • The Commissioner’s Weekly Updates are posted on this link.



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Coburn School  [Twitter: @WSPSCoburn]

  • Students in Mrs. Pringle’s 4th grade class and Ms. Gavioli’s kindergarten class have buddied up to foster a love of reading.  They meet weekly and share their favorite books. (Photos 1 and 2)

  • Students and staff participated in a Cancer Walk at school on Wednesday to support Rays of Hope and breast cancer awareness.  (Photo 3)

  • A reminder that parent teacher conferences are October 24 and 25.  If you have not scheduled a conference yet, please contact your child’s teacher or the main office.  Students in grades 1-5 will be dismissed at 11:00 a.m. both days. There is also NO school for KINDERGARTEN only.

       

Mittineague [Twitter: @WSPSMittineague]

  • The fifth graders from Miss Shypula  and Mrs. Ranstrom’s classes participated in an outdoor science, orienteering and team-building field trip at The Horace Moses Scout Reservation.  The students mades shelters, learned to kayak, climbed a rock wall, and participated in various team building exercises. (Photo collage 1)

  • The third graders took their annual trip to visit Miss Terri at the West Springfield Public Library.  The children learned about the library and excitedly scoured the shelves for both new and old favorites to be able to take home.  Miss Terri commented that the children were outstanding and represented their school and town beautifully!

  • Mittineague School was the lucky recipient of some bike racks for the school grounds!!  Chief Duffy found out that there was a need and set out to help! On his way home, he noticed some bike racks at St. Thomas School that were not being used, so he approached St. Thomas and asked if they would  be willing to share them. Yesterday morning, Officers Joe La France and Tom Price were kind enough to deliver the bike racks to Mittineague, to the delight of many students! Many thanks to Chief Duffy, WSPD Officers Joe La France, and Tom Price, and St Thomas School!!  (Photo collage 2)


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Tatham School [Twitter: @WSPSTatham]

  • Tatham School was awarded a Mini Grant through the Partnership for Education to have a family night with pizza and a puppet show.  This will be done late in February 2019. This grant helps defray the cost of this popular event.

  • On Friday, October 26, Tatham School will hold its annual Arithme-Tricks and Treats.  The students enjoy going outside solving math problems in our special pumpkin patch!

  • The Student Council is organizing a Walk for Juvenile Diabetes.  Students and staff will be doing laps around the building on Wednesday, October 24.



Cowing Alternative School (CAS)

  • School banking will begin next week!  The students are very excited and have already begun returning their forms.  Thank you to Westfield Bank for making the CAS students feel like a part of the local community…………our special theme this year.

  • Parent-Teacher conferences are scheduled for October 24 and 25.  Please look for an invitation from your child’s teacher. Also, please note that the students will be dismissed from school at 10:30.


Cowing Early Childhood

  • Parent teacher conferences are October 24 and 25.



John Ashley School [Twitter: @WSPSAshley]

  • Students and staff took part in our first “All School Meeting” on Wednesday.  The school community, all dressed in a sea of blue, came together to celebrate birthdays, hear about fire safety learning that is taking place in Mrs. Narey’s and Mrs. Busiere’s classroom, and sing songs led by Ms. Tucker.  It was a warm and welcoming school-wide event.

  • Mrs. Phelan’s classroom has been exploring and learning about pumpkins.  This week, they made “pumpkin slime,” which was a messy but fun experience!  (Photos 1 and 2)

  • Parent-Teacher conferences will be held on October 24 and October 25.  Please note that there will be no school for students on these days.


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Community and Family Engagement [Twitter and Facebook: @westspfldcfce]

  • Playgroups for children ages 0-5 and their parents/caregivers began September 12 at the West Springfield Boys and Girls Club, Wednesdays and Fridays, from 10:30-11:30.  Free. Drop in. Registration not required.

  • To register for any programs, please contact Jen Brennan at 413-519-2511, or email brennan@wsps.org.


District/School Counseling Program

  • The Western Mass Counselor’s Association has named DINA SIBILIA their school counselor of the year for 2018-2019. Mrs. Sibilia was nominated for this award based on her dedication to the field of school counseling, her strong focus on college and career readiness, and her ability to assist all students. Mrs. Sibilia will be honored at a dinner in November and will be in the running for the MA school counselor of the year.  (Photo 1)

  • The high school counseling department is seeking community involvement for a School Counseling Advisory Council. This year, the commitment would be two sessions of 1-1 ½ hours each. The dates and times are not yet determined, but parent and community involvement is a required part of the council.  Please email Shamis White (white@wsps.org) with any questions or to express interest.

  • On Monday October 15, counselors spent the day in 9th grade Modern World History class.  During the class time, students created accounts on MEFA Pathways and completed an interest inventory. They also looked at careers.  Parents can create an account on mefapathways.org to see what their students are doing.

  • On Wednesday, October 17, WSHS sent a team to the first workshop in a three-part series focused on College and Career Readiness.  Mrs. Panteleakis, Mrs. Howard, Mrs. Sibilia, and Mrs. White attended the full-day workshop. These workshops will assist the school counseling department

  • October is National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month.  Visit this link.  Stay tuned for the counseling program’s activities across the district!


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English Language Learners

  • Here are our new HS SLIFE program students learning verbs through an ESL teaching strategy called Total Physical Response (TPR).  TPR is a method of teaching language or vocabulary concepts by using physical movement to react to verbal input. The newcomer ELs, no matter the age, have an absolute blast and learn quickly with TPR. (photos 1-2)

  • As part of her lesson on the seasons, Ms. Page took the newcomers outside to identify the colors of fall and what a surprise to see a Great Blue Heron! (photos 3-4)

  • One of the High School Spanish teachers, Laurie Garcia, is taking on Mix It Up at Lunch Day, Oct. 23, which is an international campaign that encourages students to identify, question and cross social boundaries.  Let’s have other schools try it too!   Read about it in Teaching Tolerance.  (Photo 5)   

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Language Word of the Week:  toplum - community   (Turkish)

 

Health Services [Twitter: @WSPShealth]

  • The CDC recommends getting your flu shot before the end of October.  Here is a link to flu information from the CDC.

  • Thank you to all who helped make the CARE Coalition pancake breakfast on Sunday, October 14, 2018 a success!


Fausey School [Twitter: @WSPSFausey]

  • EVERYDAY SUCCESSES - Mr. Doyle congratulating a student for a another successful day.  Mr. Navone making sure the building is neat, students are safe, and shoes are tied.  (Photos 1-2)

  • ADULTS LEARNING FROM STUDENTS - Fausey students always keep adults on their toes, and this week was no exception.  Students modeled financial responsibility  (every Wednesday), patiently waiting to deposit their savings.  They also shared their learning with their teachers during a STMath professional development day.  Finally, Westfield State University students visited Fausey so they could learn about their upcoming teaching profession from mentor teachers and their students.  See photos on this link.

  • MINI-GRANTS - Fausey teachers received mini-grants from the Partnership for Education for upcoming projects.  A special thank you to the Partnership, and for the teachers for going above and beyond:

First grade team ~ Mrs. O’Brien, Mrs. Brogan, Ms. Kauffman and Ms. Pytka - The teachers will promote both family involvement and an awareness about the importance of early number sense through hands on Add+Vantage Math Recovery (AVMR) learning experiences through a fun filled math night.  AVMR NIGHT will be held on Thursday, November 29, from 6:00-7:00 p.m.  

Mrs. Altman - will organize a Family Math Night at Fausey to engage families in doing standard-based problem solving math activities with their children that affords them the opportunity to experiment and discover math concepts together in an environment that is festive and enjoyable.  More to come.

Mrs. Petit -  will provide students the opportunity to be introduced to the basic fields of Philosophy using picture books in a read aloud setting and to discuss philosophical questions among themselves as they think critically, respond to what others say, and explain their thinking.  Photos are on this link.

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Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment [Twitter: @WSPSCurriculum]

  • West Springfield Public Schools is in the process of reviewing and piloting the elementary math textbook series.  The current Envision Math series is copyright 2009. The 22-member pilot team will review and implement a portion of the Ready Math program for review.

  • On November 6, 2018, the district will participate in a full professional development day.  Each of the three grade spans will have a host of PD activities to choose from related to the District Improvement Plans and School Improvement Plans.

  • On October 29, 2018, 30 teachers from across the district will begin a four-day training on Responsive Classroom (RC).  Responsive Classroom is an evidence-based approach to education that focuses on the strong relationship between academic success and social-emotional learning (SEL).  The Responsive Classroom approach empowers educators to create safe, joyful, and engaging learning communities where all students have a sense of belonging and feel significant.  The vision for the district is to phase in the RC model over the next four years across all Grades 1-5.


Social-Emotional Learning (SEL)

  • West Springfield Public Schools fosters a school environment where family and community partnerships support students as they learn to be compassionate, empathetic, and healthy citizens.  Our work is based upon 5 core competencies (below).  For information, please visit the following: Massachusetts DESE Social and Emotional Learning 5 Key Competencies

    • Self Awareness

    • Self Management

    • Social Awareness

    • Relationship Skills

    • Responsible Decision Making

  • Stuck with behavior? Take a peek at these tiered interventions to try in your classroom PBIS World.

  • SEL Read of the Week: The Error With Teaching Growth Mindset Without Addressing Systems: An Interview with Angela Duckworth

     

High School [Twitter: @WSPS_WSHS and @WSHS_guidance]

Weekly Review:

Upcoming:


Click on Link:


Athletics [Twitter: @wshsterriers]

  • Fall Sports Tournament Updates:  

    • Nick DeMaio will compete Monday October 22, in the Western MA Division 1 Golf Championship at Westover Golf Club

    • Boys Soccer qualified for Tournament play with their win over Minnechaug

    • Girls Soccer and Volleyball are in a position to qualify as the regular season nears an end.

  • Family ID registration for winter sports is open.  Register on this link.

  • Please visit the MIAA Schedule on the athletics web page for sports schedules.  

  • Reminder - the Terrier Pride Banner Campaign is ongoing -- details are on this link.

        

Special Services    

  • This month, the SEPAC will be presenting a workshop, “Bullying: How to Empower your Child.”  This workshop will take place on October 25, at 6:30 p.m., at West Springfield High School.

  • Last year, a subcommittee of staff from Special Services evaluated and selected a new data management system.  Special Services is happy to report that the district is now up and running with Powerschool Special Services. Over the last few months, staff have been provided with training and coaching; although there have been some bumps in the road, staff are finding the program to be user friendly and efficient.

  • Students with disabilities ages 18-22 who do not receive diplomas are eligible to enter the West Springfield Transition Program.  The program is coordinated by Jeriko Perkins who is new to West Springfield but brings with her experience in a variety of public and private settings.  The students in the Transition Program have opportunities to explore the community, vocational settings, and they can even take classes through the ICEI Program at Westfield State University. (Photos 1-3)

  • Although West Springfield High School has been practicing effective Co-Teaching for several years, meetings have begun to discuss the expansion of the Co-Teaching model.  After reviewing MCAS Data WSPS has decided to put an emphasis on 9th and 10th grade Mathematics. (Photo 4)

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Alumni Update

Alumni are encouraged to fill out this brief survey to help WSPS highlight their news, accomplishments and updates!

  • In honor of Veterans Day, the November 9 District Spotlight Alumni Update will feature active/veteran military alumni - please share your news by completing the survey and noting your military branch, rank, job and news!

  • Emily Bonafilia ‘10 - graduated from the University of Texas in Arlington in 2015 with a BS in Business/Economics. She works for SouthWest Airlines at corporate in Dallas as a Senior Analyst.


Middle School [Twitter: @WSPSMiddle]

  • The Middle School Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council features 8th Graders Bella Carter and Eleni Kantos, as well as 7th Graders Savannah Thompson, Madison Reardon, and Colby Harrington.  This group met with Mr. Richard and Mr. Gillen on Monday to discuss highlights of the school year, discuss challenges, and share their goals! They look forward to meeting again later this year!

  • The Grade 7 Creative Literacy classes continued their tradition of partnering with the West Springfield VFW to participate in the VFW’s “Patriot’s Pen” essay contest.  This week, they hosted a panel of