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District Spotlight - August 26, 2016

posted Sep 4, 2016, 7:11 AM by WSPS Announcements
Well, it's official - summer is over for the faculty / staff / administration / students of the West Springfield Public Schools.  It's been 67 glorious days of vacation for many/most, but on Monday we all are back to work!  We are anxious to gather our faculty/staff/administration for the opening day Convocation at the high school on Monday, August 29.  Breakfast will be served from 6:45 - 7:55 in the high school cafeteria, and Convocation begins at 8:00 a.m. in the auditorium.
Please see school and department updates below.
West Springfield High School 
  • Student Chromebook distribution began this week and will continue through August 30
  • Class of 2020 and New Student Orientation took place Wednesday, August 24.  
  • The WSHS State Champion Div. 1 Baseball team received jackets and rings at a special event on August 24.
  • Fall Sports are in full session with approximately 330 athletes registered to play.  Our practice schedule is posted on the school website and any changes with be posted on Twitter (@wshsterriers).  
  • Starting next week, coaches will inform athletes of their weekly schedules.  A coaches meeting was held on August 24 to go over fall schedules, contracts, and rules updates.      
West Springfield Middle School
  • We've re-furnished 3 Science Labs and our Large Conference Room and outfitted our Modern World Civics class with new furniture orders. Currently, our SmartBoards are being upgraded into BrightLinks projectors on new whiteboards.  
  • Next week, we will undertake Professional Development on: Depth of Knowledge, Strategic Reading Inventory, and Mindfulness with varied staff members.  
  • Staff have already begun arriving and preparing classrooms and curriculum.
  • The building is cleaned, repaired, and prepared for students on their first day.  This includes installation of a new bike rack for students to safely lock and store their bikes.  
  • Administration has been hard at work preparing opening faculty activities, hiring new staff, and implementing our new rotating bell schedule.  This has included establishing more inclusive and co-taught classes at WSMS - specifically in the areas of Special Education and ELL.
Coburn School
  • We have been getting ready for the first day faculty meeting
  • We conducted walkthroughs to see progress made and/or needs of the building.
  • We are fine-tuning our plan for intervention/enrichment that we will introduce to the teachers/specialists on the first day.
  • Met with some of the new teachers to show them around and address their concerns/questions.
  • We have enjoyed connecting with the teachers who have come in to start setting up their classrooms over the past week.
  • Events taking place at the school:
  • August 30th - Meet and Greet for K and 1 students and families 2:00 - 3:00 p.m.
  • Instruction and Curriculum Practices:
  • ELL Grades 1-5 will be using Imagine Learning this year.
  • All grades will plan intervention/enrichment teaching into their daily schedules.
  • Teacher/student highlight:
  • I'd like to highlight our school secretary, Lori Gendreau and our custodians, Onix Cruz, Roman Kouzmoor and Keyshev Sanyasi for working tirelessly to get the school ready for opening day.
Cowing School
  • Mr. Tim Shea, our custodian, has worked very hard to get the building in tip-top shape for all of the students.
  • The teachers have set up their classroom and everything looks ready to welcome our students.
  • During the first week of school we will be working hard to get to know all of the new students and setting the tone for the year regarding our school-wide PBIS rules.
Fausey School
  • When the new Grade One students arrive, each new ‘Fausey Falcon’ will be gifted with a goodie bag that includes a Grade One pencil, a snack, and the ever-famous Smencil! 
Memorial School
  • Teachers and staff members have been excitedly preparing their classrooms for their new students.  It has been energizing, renewing and refreshing to catch up after the summer and talk about plans for the upcoming school year.
  • We have been busy enrolling new students and calling parents to inform them of room assignments.
  • All rooms are labeled with HS graduation year and we look forward to referring to students by that special year.  
  • A great deal of work has been done at Memorial this week.  All of the boxes and furniture have finally been removed from the gym and placed in classrooms. All rooms look shiny and new and the new furniture is of very high quality.
  • It was a pleasure to be able to show the participants of the school tour the wonderful work that has been done at Memorial over the summer. We are SO thankful for our new floors, expanded parking lot, better drainage, new furniture and rugs!
  • Next Week at Memorial
  • Tuesday, 8/30, we will have a Grade 1 Orientation beginning at 1:30.  We can't wait to meet new students and catch up with existing students when school officially opens next Wednesday!
Tatham School 
  • Tatham will hold its annual first grade orientation Tuesday, August 30 from 1:30-2:30.  Teachers have been in all week setting up their classrooms!
John Ashley School 
  • This week our secretary Ellen King was busy gathering bus information for bus tags, organizing students’ folders, and receiving school supplies.  Teachers have been coming and going, setting up classrooms.
  • Meet & Greet for parents and students (opportunity to meet teachers, tour school) is August 31.
  • First day of school for John Ashley is September 1.
Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment
The teachers and administration have been working hard this summer leading up to another exciting year. The following activities were will help strengthen the instruction for of students:
  • PreK Math Curriculum Development: Four teachers participated in developing a new math curriculum using materials from Add+Vantage Math Recovery (AVMR) and K2 Math to meet the need of our earliest learners in mathematics. 
  • Add+Vantage Math Recovery (AVMR): Coburn teacher Emily O’Brien completed her last session of AVMR Champion certification. This will allow West Springfield to have their own AVMR trainer, saving the District thousands of dollars each year in professional development. 
  • Depth of Knowledge Leadership Team: The team met for two days this summer to plan the next step of DoK implementation. Mr. Richard Dubuisson and Tim Connor will be working with the middle school faculty in further review of strategies to bolster rigor within of lesson design.  
  • K-12 Visual and Performing Arts: Amy Green and Anne Charon will lead a training on using the arts in supporting literacy and math across curriculums. 
  • Social/Emotional Learning: The District will continue a focus on social/emotional learning as highlighted in the District Improvement Plan by introducing strategies of self-care. This work will focus on building a toolbox of strategies in helping students refocus, better manage stress/anxiety and strategies for self-soothing anger. 
  • Math Specialist: The K-5 math specialists will begin the year reviewing testing data and applying the findings to the Zimba Wiring Matrix. This work will clearly help us identify  areas needing support related to instruction of specific standards. 
  • Scholastic Reading Inventory (SRI) : The District has a focal point of implementing tools that will provide immediate benchmark levels and progress monitoring in the area of reading. On August 29, 2016, members of the middle school faculty will be trained on the SRI assessment tool. This year's implementation will focus on grade 6 and 7. The data from the elementary Benchmark Assessment System (BAS), will allow us to correlate those data results with the SRI reading levels and determine ongoing intervention. 
  • Elementary Writing Rubric: The Elementary Literacy Specialists spent the spring redesigning the writing rubrics to better align the skill sets with the instructional practices. The new writing rubrics will be rolled out to the teachers on August 29, 2016 for immediate implementation. 
  • Chromebook Distribution and Training: The District trained two teachers from each building to be the teacher leader of Chromebook support in their respective buildings. The PreK -8 teachers were provided four optional training days to receive their device and offered start-up training, 98 teachers participated. 
  • The administration from the high school and middle school met to discuss the latest preliminary math results. The data resulted in an extensive review of of grade 7-10 math sequencing resulting in additional interventions. Additionally, a  detailed plan of a progression of change to better support struggling math students has been put into place. 
English as a Second Language Department (ESL)
  • At Coburn School we welcome Leah Dow and Joanne Brown. Leah will be joining our kindergarten ESL team. She is a dually-certified early childhood/ESL teacher who has 3 years experience working with kindergarten second language learners.  Joanne Brown joins the ESL specialist team.  Joanne worked at Memorial School for 10 years and prior to that she was an ESL teacher in Springfield.
  • At the high school we welcome ESL teacher Oliva Ricks and ESL paraprofessional Nermeen Bushra. Oliva is a knowledgeable and experienced ESL teacher who has extensive experience co-teaching. In her position at the high school, Oliva will be working with ELL students in an inclusion model, co-teaching with biology/physics teachers.  Nermeen is very excited to join the ESL team and will be working with ELL students in both ESL and content classes.  Nermeen is also fluent in Arabic.
  • Three members of the ESL Team - Riki Landers, Sarah Pringle and myself - attended a DESE-sponsored one day “train-the-trainer” program last week to learn more about the Next Generation ESL Project: Model Curriculum Units. The team is very excited to share the ESL Model Curriculum Units along with the collaboration and curriculum development tools with the ESL and content teachers at throughout the upcoming year. 
​Here is a photo that was on MassLive on Thursday, August 25.  It shows the WSHS marching band at the Big E on September 17, 1982.  Just think, on September 19 of this year, our Marching Terriers will be back at the Big E to celebrate West Springfield Day!  ​