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District Spotlight - December 2, 2016

posted Dec 5, 2016, 7:06 AM by Erin Mountain

From The Superintendent [Twitter: @WestSideSupt]

  • December 6 is a district half-day (early dismissal) for students.  Faculty and staff will engage in professional development activities/workshops.

  • The indoor track at the high school will be open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:30-6:30 a.m. beginning December 6, 2016.   Please note that the track will not be open when school is not in session.

  • The CARE Coalition is asking members of the community to take this brief survey by December 16 to help inform promotion and programming of events.  The data collected will assist in the identification of issues influencing our community.  Please support the CARE Coalition at the Dining for a Cause fundraiser on December 12, from 5-9 p.m. at the Ninety Nine Restaurant (1053 Riverdale Road).  A voucher must be presented (paper or electronic version) to the server to ensure that CARE receives 15% of the guest check!  Click this link to access the voucher.

  • The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education recently developed an educator licensure public lookup tool on its website that allows people to find basic information about the licensure status of educators who have a Massachusetts license.  All information on the site is a matter of public record, and the new public lookup is designed for very basic inquiries.  If you have any questions about the information contained in the public lookup tool or about licensure, please do not hesitate to contact the Licensure Call Center at 781-338-6600.

  • Attorney General Healey established a new hotline for residents to report bias-motivated threats, harassment, and violence that will be managed by attorneys and staff in the AG’s Office. The hotline number is 1-800-994-3228.  Any Massachusetts resident who has witnessed or experienced bias-motivated threats, harassment or violence may call the Attorney General’s hotline or fill out a civil rights complaint form at this link.

  • Thirty-seven (37) West Springfield High School juniors/seniors were inducted into the National Honor Society last night.  Joining me in delivering remarks were Mayor Reichelt and Dr. Perrone; Mr. Pettengill was the keynote speaker.  I congratulate these accomplished students for their dedication to scholarship, leadership, service and character.   

  • I am happy to report that all of the schools have formed a Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council.  This week I met with Coburn’s Advisory Council.  I enjoyed talking with these students over lunch, and I look forward to my Superintendent’s Student Advisory meetings at many of the schools this month and throughout the year!   

Jessica Weissman, NHS president addresses the audience.    This year’s NHS Inductees!


Ms. Bailer joining students in their work    Coburn Student Advisory Council!

in Mrs. Maloney's class (Cowing).


   Elks Dictionary presentation at Fausey with Mrs. Johnson and Mr. Rossmeisl (pictured on right).

Middle School [Twitter: @WSPS_WSMS]

  • Last Wednesday’s half day featured a Camfel motivational presentation for all grades.  Themes included focus, positive choices, and goal setting.   

  • A Grade 6 American Pickers Quality Fair was held last Tuesday afternoon.  The community turnout was tremendous for this event that featured ncredible projects that utilized Science, Math, ELA, and Social Studies in selecting, researching, and repurposing an artifact.  

  • On December 5, a group of WSMS students will meet as part of the Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council.  These 8 students in grades 7-8 completed an application and were selected to meet with Superintendent Richard to offer insight into the student experience at WSMS.  

  • Next week, on Tuesday, December 6, teachers will continue their work on developing rigorous common assessments during the early release day.  

  • Also, on December 6, a group of students will attend the MA Youth Opioid Awareness Conference in Lowell, MA in conjunction with the CARE Coalition.    

  • On December 8, Gr. 8 students will visit Springfield Symphony Hall for a show in conjunction with their ELA classes.  


    Above is an example of a Gr. 6 Pickers Summative Project!     Auditorium set up for Camfel Presentations before break!


    Mittineague [Twitter: @WSPSMittineague]

  • Do you know that Mayor Reichelt once offered to trade his brother for a puppy?  That was one small piece of information he shared in an interview with Mrs.Bartolucci’s third graders last week!  The class of 2026 composed a list of questions for the Mayor and he answered all of their questions, delighting them with stories about himself! (Photos 1 and 2)

  • Twice a week, on Wednesday and Friday, Mittineague School is fortunate to have volunteer grandparent, Mrs. Joan Pearsons, spend time with first graders.  For the past three years she has volunteered her time to read with students, ask them questions about their reading and do activities for a few hours each day that she visits. (Photo 3)

  • The Massachusetts Cultural Council’s STARS grant has made an Artist in Residency featuring Tom McCabe possible at Mittineague. This week, he began his work in the classrooms.  “Don’t know what to write about?? Find a problem”! “Writer’s write about their problems.”  He has enchanted and entertained students from grades 1-5 while teaching them some strategies about writing.  Mr. McCabe is pictured below in Mrs. Gerardi’s first grade and in Mrs. Penna’s fourth grade. (Photos 4 and 5)

  • Grade 1 and 2 students in Mrs. Canon’s room are working with the Model Curriculum Unit literature study on fairy tales.  They have just begun to track the characteristics from this genre on an anchor chart. Pictured below are Julia Salman, Maddie Minalga and Kieran Burke. (Photo 6)

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   4  IMG_0263.JPG    5  IMG_2234.JPG   6  IMG_2246.JPG

Tatham School [Twitter: @WSPSTatham]

  • Tatham students hosted the town’s Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony on the Town Green December 1.  Mrs Morgan worked hard with the students to ensure a great performance.

  • The third graders are reading and writing about  extreme weather. Jacob Wycoff, a meteorologist  from News 40, will be visiting them as they finish up this unit in science.

  • Both fifth grade classes are enjoying reading the book Wonder by Rachael Palacio. It’s wonderful to see them enjoying a good book.  

  • The fourth grade is getting ready to see the stage production of A Christmas Carol in Hartford.  This is the ninth year that Tatham students will see this live performance.  

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

  • 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.

  • Parent Cafe: Cooking Matters - Learn to Shop and Cook on a Budget. Participants receive a $10 gift card to Big Y.  To register for the above programs please call Jen Brennan at 413-519-2511 or email brennan@wsps.org.

  • 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.

Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment [Twitter: @WSPSCurriculum]

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  • Depth of Knowledge vs Bloom's Taxonomy

  • Together We Learn

  • Teaching the Whole Child

  • This week we planned for the launch of our new data platform entitled Mastery Connect. Teachers in grades 3-5 will be trained on December 6, 2016, and grades 1 and 2 on March 9, 2017.

  • The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has released the following update in the area of MCAS testing and revised standards:

    • On November 29, the Board of Education released for public comment drafts of revised curriculum frameworks for English language arts/literacy and Mathematics. The drafts and a survey on the proposed revisions will be available next month.

    • The Department has named 44 pre-K–12 educators, higher education faculty, and community members to serve on the panel that will recommend revisions to the 2003 History and Social Science learning standards. To support the work of the panel, ESE is seeking input from educators and others on ways to update and improve the current standards. Additional information regarding the revision of the standards is available online.

  • Board votes to extend existing grade 10 MCAS as graduation requirement:

    • The Board voted on October 25 to extend the existing 10th grade MCAS to the class of 2020. This means that the first class of students to take the next-generation grade 10 MCAS in ELA and Math will be the class of 2021, this year's eighth graders, who will take the grade 8 next-generation MCAS in spring 2017.


English as a Second Language Department (ESL)

  • At the high school, students have begun an interdisciplinary project in their history and English classes.  In this project, students write narratives about their experiences as immigrants to the United States, using information gathered in interviews conducted with family members.  Once completed, the narratives will be compiled into a book, and students will present the narratives to their peers.


Health Services [Twitter: @cmviens]

  • Stay informed about the 2016-2017 Flu season

  • District nurses assisted in planning and preparing for many school, student and staff needs and programming including:

    • Screenings: Vision, Hearing, Height, Weight, Postural

    • Prevention Programming including SAFE Team and CARE Coalition

    • Student health plans, IEP’s and 504’s

    • Athletics including concussion and wrestler weights

    • Field trip safety and medication planning and attendance

    • Immunization compliance

    • Fluoride mouthrinse program

    • PBIS

    • Health and wellness awareness and teaching

    • CPR certification for staff

  • Next week: Youth Summit on Opioid Awareness with students from the middle school and high school.

Information Technology

Tip of the Week.png

Did you know that you can “right click” by pressing or tapping the trackpad on your Chromebook with two fingers?  Becoming proficient with the trackpad can free you from your mouse.   See this document for more trackpad gestures on a Chromebook.

  • HelpDesk Status

    • 910 HelpDesk tickets received from 8/29/16 - 12/2/16  ( + 94 this week)

    • 693 of those HelpDesk tickets have been closed. ( + 67 this week)

  • In addition to addressing HelpDesk requests,  during the month of December the IT Department will be applying basic PC maintenance routines to WSHS teacher/administrator computers.  Five computers each day will be collected, updated, cleaned, and repaired as necessary until all HP Revolve laptops have been refreshed.  

John Ashley School [Twitter: @WSPSAshley]

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  • On Monday,November 28, 2016, volunteers from Kohl's on Riverdale Street (Rt 5) in West Springfield came, picked up food donations and dropped them off at the Parish Cupboard on Main Street in West Springfield. We thank all the families for donating during our November food drive!

  • Rooms 7 & 8 are lighting up their classrooms with “kindness” for the month of December. Each light will represent a “kind” gesture, phrase, or thought among classroom community.



  • On Wednesday, the students experienced their first Drop Everything Day for doing such a great job following our school rules!  The focus of the day was on taking care of ourselves and helping others. The students made friendship necklaces, dog treat bags, cards for children at Shriners and bookmarks for Senior Citizens as well as participated in Yoga!

Coburn School [Twitter: @WSPSCoburn]

  • On Monday the students had an opportunity to visit a huge inflatable planetarium which came to Coburn School.  It was an amazing experience for the students!  They climbed inside the planetarium to see planets, stars, constellations, astronauts, and other things in space. (Photos 1,2,3 below)

  • The Coburn Student Advisory Council met on Tuesday during lunch to discuss the goals of the group, establish norms for the meetings, and begin an initial discussion about some of their ideas for Coburn School.  The students had a lot of great ideas and they enjoyed meeting with Superintendent Richard on Friday.

  • Students in Darbie Pettengill’s grade 2 classroom made play dough using KOOL-AID.  They wrote and illustrated a book, How To Make PlayDough to share with their families.  They also created a shared list of all the good things that playdough is good for:

  • Family time

  • Math skills (measuring)

  • Muscle practice (helps with handwriting

  • Building letters and numbers

  • Creative play (helps storytelling and writing)

The students’ books were sent home (translated) with a package of KOOL-AID for all to enjoy.  (Photos 4,5,6 below)

  • Lisa Delong’s third grade ELL classroom made Thanksgiving Day Cornucopia with a sequential order lesson. They have been working on sequential order in guided reading.  Joanne Brown and Lisa DeLong did an inclusion co-teaching model for this differentiated activity.  The differentiated activities were having to find sequential order terms (first, next, then, last), placing the steps in order when making a cornucopia, matching their vocabulary terms with pictures, and using poetry.  The final products were amazing! (Photos 7,8,9 below)

  • Coburn School decorated a Christmas Tree for the Yuletree Jubilee at Balise Toyota.  The Coburn tree was adorned with decorations from around the world which represent the diverse cultures at Coburn School.  Thank you to all of the staff and students for helping to create such a beautiful tree to represent Coburn school!  (Photo 10 below)

  • The first round of Coburn’s after-school program wrapped up with a family showcase on Wednesday night (Photos 11-13 below).  The students were proud to display their hard work and perform the skills they have learned during the after school program.

planetarium.jpgplanet - astronaut.jpgplanet - kids.jpgPlaydough - how to book.jpgPlaydough - vocabulary.jpgIMG_0695 (1).JPGcornucopia 3.jpgcornucopia activity 1.jpgcornucopia 4.jpg Decorated christmas tree - Yultree Jubilee.jpgIMG_2678.JPGIMG_2658.JPGIMG_2647.JPG

Cowing Alternative School [Twitter: @WSPSCowingCAS]

  • Interesting things are “shaking and erupting” in Mrs. Cassidy’s middle school classroom.  Students recently completed their study of earthquakes and have moved on to study volcanoes.  This week students created their own volcanoes.  They are now writing about them and look forward to watching them erupt soon!  

  • From the Counselor’s Corner with Mr. Bialek:  Elementary students are enjoying the use of GoNoodle for fun movement breaks and as a new way to learn relaxation techniques. Meanwhile, students at the middle school level have re-created their yoga break as a self-care break.  Students also continue to use movement to take care of themselves and are exploring relaxation using guided imagery and sound.

  • Staff and students look forward to Mrs. Aubin’s return to work on Monday, December 5!

Cowing Early Childhood

  • Mrs. Christofori’s students in Room 4 are sharing all about Family Holiday Traditions.  Its great to learn about each other and how we celebrate during the month of December!

  • In Room 3, Mrs. Leonard’s students are reading the Three Little Pigs fairy tale and constructing  the pigs individual houses with a variety of materials in their block play center.

  • Cowing School had visitors this week: School Administrators visited individual classrooms on Monday.

  • Mrs. Kania’s students are talking about family and creating their unique family shield with their parents as a home school connection.

Fausey School [Twitter: @WSPSFausey]

  • Falcon Focus - Please enjoy the November issue of the school newspaper on this link.

  • Mrs. Radon - First Grade -  First graders in Mrs. Radon’s class performed their first reading group readers’ theater on Tuesday.  Students presented a fairy tale play which correlated with the literacy focus on that genre this month. (Photos 1-2)

  • Mrs. Sousa - Fourth Grade - The students carried out an experiment entitled “Water Cycle in a Jar”.  Led by Stephanie Roy, student teacher and West Springfield alumni, the students reviewed the water cycle in preparation for a unit on weathering and erosion.  (Photo 3)

  • Mrs. Gibney - Fourth Grade -  Publishing Party - The students have worked hard drafting, revising, and publishing their Small Moment Personal Narratives over the past six weeks.  Their families were invited to listen to listen to the final presentation.  Fausey families are so welcome!  (Photo 4)

  • Mayor Reichelt - First Grade -  The Mayor visited first graders to talk about his job, as a tie-in to their Social Studies unit on leaders and their importance in our community.  (Photos 5-6)

  • Elks Presentation - Thank you to the Elks for presenting a dictionary to each third grader!  Thank you to Superintendent Richard and Mr. Connor for attending the ceremony.  (Photo 7 )

  • Indy 400 - A group of students met with Mrs. Morneau and Mr. Doyle as a reward.  They used the Indy 400 science kit to make their own vehicle.  (Photos 8-9)

  • Pajama Day - Students and staff dressed in their pajamas to support Parish Cupboard. (Photo10)

  • Friday, December 2 is Holiday Apparel Day & Parish Cupboard

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Mrs. Radon - Photos 1-2

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Mrs. Sousa - Photo 3 Mrs. Gibney - Photo 4

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Mayor Reichelt - Photos 5-6


Elks Presentation - Photo 7


Indy 400 - Photos 8-9

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Pajama Day - Photo 10


High School [Twitter: @WSPS_WSHS and @WSHS_guidance]

Weekly Review:

  • November 22 Homecoming Dance

  • November 23 WSHS Pep Rally & Powderpuff Game

  • November 24 Thanksgiving Day Football Game vs. Agawam

  • November 30 P2P (Pathways to Prosperity) Parent Night

  • December 1 NHS (National Honor Society) Induction Ceremony

  • December 1 Lions Club Speech Contest


  • December Service Projects: TAB & Terrier Buddies presents Toys for Tots Drive, Socksmas Drive

  • December 8-10: WSHS Drama Club Production, "The Foreigner"

Student Spotlight: Department Notes:

Click Here: Click Here

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Athletics [Twitter: @wshsterriers]

Please see below for fall sports tournament information and winter sports updates:

  • Winter Sports tryouts began November 28.  Mr. Doulette presented an informative slideshow, “Life of an Athlete” at Winter Sports Information Night -- here is the 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

  • Registration is now open on Family ID for Winter Sports and Ski Club.

Alumni News

  • Emily Roy ‘09, graduated from UMass Amherst with a Bachelors and Masters degrees in Microbiology.  She is currently a PhD candidate in the UMass Amherst Microbiology Department studying the coordination of group behavior in bacteria.

  • Ed Roy, Class of 2011, completed his Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from UMass Amherst and is currently working as a mechanical engineer at L-3 SSG building space-based optical systems.  He is currently pursuing a MS degree in Mechanical Engineering at Northeastern University.

Memorial School [Twitter: @WSPSMemorial]

  • Prior to the Thanksgiving break, Parish Cupboard director Martha Tighe came to speak with students and staff about the importance of donating, collecting and supplying food to needy individuals. Mrs. Tighe was very happy that Memorial school exceeded its food drive collection goal!

  • Family Math and Literature Night was a huge success.  We thank our children, families, staff, community members Mr. Alamed of Bumblebee Booths and Nancy Farrell of the School Committee for attending.

  • Mr. Rossmeisl of the West Springfield-Westfield Elks Club distributed dictionaries to all third grade students.

  • Paul DiGrigoli of DiGrigoli Salons visited to distribute Eric Carle bookmarks and school supplies to the children.  Paul is a wonderful Link to Libraries Sponsor!

  • The new playground slides have been installed.  The project was coordinated through the WS Park and Recreation Department and Vicky Connor.  Students can’t wait to begin utilizing the playground!

  • Grade 1, Class of 2028, has been investigating light sources in Science and continuing to develop learning conversation skills in all areas.

  • Grade 2, Class of 2027 have begun addition with regrouping.  They are learning new strategies for regrouping with 2 two-digit numbers.  To continue their math skills, they have also been helping to collect Nature’s Vision fundraisers.  Students are excited to see how much they have raised for our school!

  • Grade 3, Class of 2026 has started learning strategies for division.

  • Grade 4, Class of 2025, has been analyzing texts addressing similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge and to compare authors’ approaches.

  • Grade 5, Class of 2024 have  been exploring various types of soil through hands-on and virtual explorations.

  • Prior to Thanksgiving, Room 6 reading classes of all grades made a book filled with all of the things they are thankful for as well as “factor family feather” turkeys.  Students made many connections while completing works within the families.  They saw how numbers were related (i.e., there are many ways to get to a specific number).  Each factor family will serve as reference for future work. To discuss social skills and etiquette with others, students in Room 6 also enjoyed a mini Thanksgiving Day feast with Mrs. Martin and Mrs. Meara.

  • The first round of Instructional Support Team (IST) meetings has finished and the team is now looking into ways to provide more academic and behavioral support to students who need the help to close gaps.  

  • Students are working on mixing secondary and tertiary colors to make their work more interesting.  Younger students are also working on using warm and cool colors next to each other to make their work pop.  Older students are working on using complementary colors next to each other to make their work eye-catching.

  • Upcoming Events:

  • Annual Holiday Luncheon next week!

  • School Council and PTO meeting - December 7 beginning at 5:30.