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District Spotlight - December 16, 2016

posted Dec 16, 2016, 10:03 AM by Erin Mountain   [ updated Dec 20, 2016, 9:10 AM ]

Note:  The next District Spotlight will be posted January 6, 2017.

From The Superintendent [Twitter: @WestSideSupt]

  • As a reminder, the WSPS Bullying Prevention & Intervention Plan is available on this link, and wsps.org under ’About WSPS - School Safety,’ and also under ‘Quick Links - Parents.’

  • The application window for Administrator of Special Services closed today, December 16.  The application review and interview process will begin in early 2017.

  • The indoor track at the high school is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:30-6:30 a.m.  Please note that the track will not be open when school is not in session.  Visit wsps.org for more info.

  • Today is the last day to take this brief survey for the CARE Coalition; the survey will help inform promotion and programming of events.  

  • On Thursday, we held a conference call with the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) to review enrollment projections for the Coburn School project.  I was joined by Mayor Reichelt, Assistant Superintendent Kevin McQuillan, School Committee and PCC member Pat Garbacik, Town Council member Bruce Gendron, and PCC member Doug Mattoon.  We benefitted by learning about the process and formula associated with making enrollment determinations.  Among the items discussed were: the District’s Master Plan, the impact of immigration and refugee resettlement, the impact of the MGM Casino in Springfield, and the consolidation of other schools - including Cowing.  A vote by the Town Council is expected in January for the appropriation of Feasibility funding.

  • SAVE THE DATE: January 26, 2017 - CARE/Park & Recreation/Lions Club collaborate to present a free community event at West Springfield High School.  Highlights include pasta dinner (5:45), “The Secret Lives of Teens” with parenting expert/mental health counselor Jon Mattleman (6:30), and supervised activities for youth/teens while adults attend the Jon Mattleman presentation.  Supervised activities include activities/homework help (6:30-8:00), movie night - The Secret Lives of Pets (6:30-8:00), and open swim/pool games (ages 7 and older) (7:00-8:00).  Attendees at the Jon Mattleman presentation will be eligible to win a great door prize -- a large flat screen TV (donated by Ormsby Insurance/Toomey O’Brien/Costco)!

  • This week, I met with Student Advisory Councils at Fausey, Memorial, Tatham and Cowing Alternative School.  See photos below; the Cowing photo was not available at the time of publishing.


CARE - Dining for a Cause.      Recipients of Adams Scholarship; AP “5” score at SC meeting.


Student Advisory Councils: Fausey…..         Memorial…..



Tatham School [Twitter: @WSPSTatham]

  • Tatham Student Council collected 125 gifts and wrapped them.  These gifts will will be given to needy families in West Springfield.

  • Ann Connors returned this week with her Dog Duffy, her therapy dog!  The Read to Rover program is a way to help students with fluency.

  • Grade 3 is learning about forces and motion. They used what they learned about strength and direction to solve a real world problem.

  • As Part of Tatham’s PBIS initiative, students used their Tatham dollars to enter into a daily raffle through the month of December. Grade one student, Nora Keane

           won a movie ticket!

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

  • Parent Cafe - Simplify Your Life: Valerie Smart (www.the413mom.com) will offer tips on how to make life easier this holiday season. December 19, 6-7 p.m., West Springfield Public Library.  Free; registration not required.

  • Community Playgroup has moved to the West Springfield Boys and Girls Club.  Held every Tuesday from 10:30 to 11:30, the activity is free (snack included), and drop-ins are welcome.

  • Kick Off for the new Friday Playgroup will be January 20 from 10:30-11:30 at the West Springfield Boys and Girls Club!  Come join us for music, movement and play!  Free.  Snack included.

  • Now accepting registrations for a new Raising a Reader group Thursdays, 12:30-1:30, starting January 5 at the West Springfield Public Library for 7 weeks;12 spots available.

  • Parent ESL Classes are up and running at the Merrick Station.  Monday and Friday mornings from 10:30-12pm and Monday and Thursday afternoons from 3-4:30.  Child care is available.

Thank you to all who came to the December Parent/Child Date Night!  Everyone had so much fun reading and creating!                                                                 

  • Community and Family Engagement and community partners will launch the Read Aloud 15 campaign to encourage parents to read aloud just 15 minutes with their children everyday.  

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Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment [Twitter: @WSPSCurriculum]

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English as a Second Language Department (ESL)

  • The students in Mrs. Connaughton’s grade one ESL classroom are working hard on writing personal narratives. The students are writing stories with a beginning, middle and end and are learning to improve their writing by adding more details. After they have finished writing for the day, a few students each day sit in the author’s chair to share their writing. The rest of the class listens and then they ask the author any questions they have. They turn this into a conversation about how the students can go back to their writing and add these details, helping them to better describe what is happening in their story by answering the questions that were asked. Students are also learning to use transition words in their writing and to check the word wall to make sure that all of their sight words are spelled correctly.  

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Health Services [Twitter: @cmviens]

  • Stay informed about the 2016-2017 Flu season

  • WSPS Nurses would like to share the following important information about E-cigarette Use among youth with the community:

This report confirms that there is no acceptable level of nicotine when it comes to our kids. It notes that e-cigarettes are often a delivery system for nicotine, a highly addictive substance that can harm the developing brain. The report also confirms that the aerosol from e-cigarettes is not harmless. It can contain chemicals and particulates that are dangerous to the person using these products (“vaping”) and to anyone who may inhale that aerosol second-hand.

Information Technology

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Know Where Accessibility Features Live

Chromebooks have a menu of accessibility features suited for students with visual disabilities or those who have trouble typing. You can find these features under “settings” and then “show advanced setting.” There is an “accessibility” section in which you can select “enable spoken feedback.”

  • HelpDesk Status

  • 1,017 HelpDesk tickets received from 8/29/16 - 12/16/16  ( + 52 this week)

  • 790 of those HelpDesk tickets have been closed. ( + 57 this week)

Coburn School [Twitter: @WSPSCoburn]

  • Mobile Dentist came to Coburn School on Tuesday.  They were able to provide dental services such as cleaning and filling to many of our students.   

  • The students in Mrs. DeLong’s grade 3 ELL classroom worked through the writing process to complete a Personal Narrative about a small moment during the Bridges Program.  It was also the last day with the Seniors from Bridges.  The Bridges Program was brought to the grade 3 classrooms by Mrs. Lavelle and Mrs. Albro-fisher, Reading Specialists at Coburn School.  Mrs. Brown and Mrs. Murca helped different groups of children through their writing process.  Students had the opportunity to read their writing and share their illustrations with their Bridges friends while having refreshments. (Photos 1-3 below)  

  • Ms. Becky Connolly, the adjustment counselor at Coburn School, has been teaching students the difference between a big problem and a small problem.  Students are learning how they can solve small problems on their own.  The mantra used in this lesson is:  "we're smart enough & we're strong enough, to solve it on our own!"  Below you will find a group of students who earned lunch with Ms. Connolly for being good “problem solvers”.  (Photo 4 below)

  • The Coburn School band held a concert performance for grade 3 students on Wednesday afternoon.  This concert allowed grade 3 students to see the older students perform and get them excited about the opportunity to learn how to play an instrument and join the band next year!

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  • Coming up next week:

    • Coburn’s holiday concert for grades K-3 is on Monday


Cowing Alternative School [Twitter: @WSPSCowingCAS]

  • On Wednesday, December 14, the Cowing Alternative School band students participated in the band performance at Coburn School with the Cobun band students.  Thank you Mr. Rovero for including the CAS students!  All of the students did a phenomenal job!

  • On Thursday, December 15, WSPS Superintendent, Mr Richard, met with the Student Advisory Council.  The students presented a well-planned agenda and shared their thoughts and ideas with the Superintendent.

  • The students in Mrs. Messier’s class are learning about different holidays through reading, interactive videos, and hands-on projects.


Cowing Early Childhood

  • Mrs. Christofori’s class is playing different instruments.

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  • Cowing School held a Parent/Child Play Date last Friday.IMG_1785 (1).jpg

Fausey School [Twitter: @WSPSFausey]

  • RYLIE GEARING - THIRD GRADE:  Rylie Gearing was highlighted on Channel 22 (WWLP), as an inspiration for child who suffer from Juvenile Diabetes.  Rylie and her grandmother worked for months to prepare holiday themed items for a craft show at Grace Lutheran Church.  The family has held various fundraisers for 3 years.  Way to go Rylie!!  

Please use this link the link to view the video.

  • FAUSEY STUDENT COUNCIL  Led by Mrs. Murray and Mr. Harty, the Fausey Student Council continues meeting for the multitude of leadership activities which improve the school and their community!  (Photo 1)

  • BOYS AND GIRLS CLUB - Hour of Code (see above):  The Boys and Girls Club is collaborating with Fausey School to hold an outreach to all Boys & Girls Club parents on Tuesday, December 13.  The students will share the skills they learned at school during Hour of Code this week.  When parents pick up their child, we hope that the adults can learn a thing or two from the coding experts….their children! (Photo 2)

  • STUDENT ADVISORY COUNCIL:  The Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council met with the Superintendent for the first time on Monday.  The discussion included lunches, increased recess, more access to technology and the prevention of bullying.  (Photo 3)

They prepared for the meeting by working with Art teacher Ms. Green to design a Fausey Council logo:

Grade 4 members include:  Ainsley Kearney, Darby Poe, Drew Pomeroy and Hazell Poulin.  Grade 5 members include:  Anthony Curran, Kaelyn Harrison, Charlie Daggett and Ava Methe.  

  • ANIMALS AT FAUSEY:  Mrs. Martin’s menagerie is well known at Fausey.  She supports PBIS by allowing students to ‘rent’ a small animal.  Mrs. Skolnick also has a few hermit crabs in her office that have befriended some of the students, such as Deegan (Photo 4)

  • HOLIDAY VISITOR!:  Mrs. Mulvaney visited Fausey this week, and enjoyed the office decorations set up by Mrs. Rogers and Mrs. Crump.  (Photo 5)

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       Photo 3:  Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council   Photo 4:  Hermit Crab


Photo 5:  Holiday Visitor

  • BARNES & NOBLE  Fausey School PTO will be holding an event at Barnes & Noble, along with dinner at Red Robin on December 15.


High School [Twitter: @WSPS_WSHS and @WSHS_guidance]

Weekly Review:

  • December 12-13 - HS spring musical auditions occurred.

  • December 15 - Winter Concert in Auditorium.


  • December 19 - NHS-sponsored Blood Drive in HS Auditorium.

  • December 20 - Alumni Panel for juniors/seniors.

Department Notes:


WSHS Winter Concert featuring the HS Marching Band, Concert Band and Color Guard, performed a free concert on December 15.


The school store was able to send a check for $900 to the Conor McCormick Foundation for Team Conor shirts sold during the fall. The Intro to Entrepreneurship classes are creating a résumé and cover letter and preparing for a mock interview. Officer Wise will bring a presentation on constitutional rights and due process to Business & Personal Law students who are working on units in criminal law.

ELA and Math:

Do you recognize these top scholars? The West Side High School community is celebrating students who have shown the most growth, since their eighth grade year, on the 2016 MCAS in ELA or Math. From a list of 100 students, randomly selected students will receive Amazon gift cards  and one lucky winner will receive a tablet!  Nineteen (19) of the students have demonstrated top growth in both subjects!  Congratulations to West Side students!

Foreign Language:

World Language Club met on December 14 to hold officer elections and celebrate the winter holidays of many different cultures. Photos from the night of Italian Opera.


AP Science Saturday was December 10.

Student Support Services:

Terrier Buddies met Wednesday, December 14 after school in Mr. Marcus’s Room.


Athletics [Twitter: @wshsterriers]

  • “Life of an Athlete” slideshow -- this link.

  • Please follow @wshsterriers on Twitter for daily WSHS Athletics updates of scores and highlights

  • Please visit the MIAA Schedule on the athletics web page

Alumni News

  • Kelley Dickson ‘08 is an athletic trainer at Framingham State University.

  • Brendan Culver ‘06 was hired as a firefighter/paramedic in the West Springfield Fire Department in 2011 after completing EMT, Fire Protection & Safety Technology and Paramedic training.   

  • Evan Culver ‘11 was hired as a firefighter/paramedic in the West Springfield Fire Department in 2015 after completing EMT, Fire Protection & Safety Technology, Paramedic training.

Memorial School [Twitter: @WSPSMemorial]

  • On Tuesday, Mr. Richard & Mrs. Calabrese met with the Memorial Student Advisory Council which is comprised of grade 4 and 5 students.  It was a very productive meeting and we are so very proud of our students and their ability to continue to make our school community the best it can be.  

  • The Memorial School Lego League (Memorial Dominators) competed against 24 teams from Western Mass last weekend.  FLL Challenge (First Lego League) tied for twelfth place.  The entire Memorial community is so proud of this STEM Program offered through the After-School Program.

  • Students participated in a PBIS raffle using their BEE Bucks.  This raffle is entirely sponsored by Memorial staff members and their families who donate items for children to win.  This photo shows some of the setup.


  • The playground is completely finished.  When it is a bit warmer outside, students will have an opportunity to play on the new equipment.

  • Grade 1, Class of 2028, has been studying light in science, and opinion writing.

  • Grade 2, Class of 2027, students have been working on adding dialogue to their realistic fiction stories.

  • Grade 3, Class of 2026, has been learning fact families for multiplication and division.

  • Grade 4, Class of 2025, students have begun creating fictional narrative writing through use of interdiction story structure as well as dividing.

  • Grade 5, Class of 2024, has been exploring elements of realistic fiction through a whole class read aloud of Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper.

  • Students in Mrs. Doyle’s class have been writing sentences summarizing information from a text as well as reading for meaning.

  • Below are photos from the Memorial School Family Luncheon.


  • Mrs. Kearing’s LLI students are learning how text features in an informational book can support the text and provide more information.

  • Art students are in beginning stages of preparing projects for African American History Month in January.

  • Friday was the After-School Program Showcase for Session 1.  Memorial is very proud of what the students accomplished, and the photos will be included next week.


  • The Band & Music Concert was postponed due to inclement weather last Monday.  This wonderful concert will be December 19, 2016, with a special treat from staff members!  

Middle School [Twitter: @WSPS_WSMS]

  • On December 13, the WSMS Outreach team met for training.  Mr. Gillen and three teachers will serve on this important team!

  • On December 14, the WSMS Technology team hosted an open house for training and support on using instructional technologies.  Teachers were able to stop in with tips and questions to further develop their ability to use the latest technology with students.

  • Next week, from December 19 to December 21, high school guidance counselors will be meeting and presenting to all 8th grade students in order to prepare for high school course selection and begin the orientation process for transitioning from middle to high school

  • Next week, on December 23, the WSMS staff will present its annual Holiday Show to students over 3 assemblies (45 minutes each per grade level).  This annual event is highlighted by performances by our staff rock band!


  Mittineague [Twitter: @WSPSMittineague]

  • Some students from Miss Becker’s multi-grade 3-4 classroom presented at the School Committee meeting on Tuesday. The shared the narrative planning and writing process with the audience, taking them through the writing process steps with explanations and examples of each piece. The presentation ended with one complete narrative that showcased all of those steps!  #mittineaguepride (Photo 1)

  • Artist in Residence, Tom Mc Cabe is finishing up his time with Mittineague students, working with them to revise and refine their writing. He facilitated a teacher workshop on Wednesday and worked with teachers on strategies to help students revise their writing. His time working with the children went by quickly and hopefully he will be back to work his magic again!! (Photo 2)

  • First trimester report cards went home on Wednesday and with them, the first term “Most Improved” awards. This terms recipients were: Jackson Lacienski, Sophia DeBarge, Dylan Morrissey, Jada Brunelle, Gia Marini, Alex DePina, Kelvin, Lubwama, Jordan Roberts, Asia Livingston, Alexis Rivera, Blake Pierce, Kayleigh Connor, Erin Jacobson, Roxana Ciocalau, Adien Guindon, Briana Fulton and Ethan Geddis.  These students have been recognized for all around improvement, to improvement in specific subjects (i.e. reading, math), improvement in behavior, etc… Congratulations to all of them! #mittineaguepride (Photo 3 - Jackson Lacienski and Aiden Guindon missing from photo)

  • Once again, Paul Johnson and his high school trainers brought the TAB (Training Active Bystanders) anti-bullying initiative to the fourth and fifth graders. They shared stories of experiences with various forms of bullying.  They had the students write about their own experiences, draw pictures and act out various bullying scenarios.  The students really enjoyed their guests and the time they spent with them.

  • Kindness Elves are working incognito at Mittineague School! Each class has been surprised by an act of kindness (or several) by some mysterious kindness elves!  Mittineague children show that they understand that the season is about giving… not receiving through acts of kindness! (Photos 4 and 5)

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