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District Spotlight - December 9, 2016

posted Dec 12, 2016, 8:53 AM by Erin Mountain

From The Superintendent [Twitter: @WestSideSupt]

  • 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.

  • The CARE Coalition encourages 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.

  • This week the Town Council recognized the Division 1 Western Mass Champions: Girls Soccer and Boys Cross Country.  Thank you for your support of our teams!

  • A contingent of middle school and high school students and chaperones attended the Massachusetts Youth Summit on Opioid Awareness  in Lowell on December 6.  The event, presented by the Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation, featured various speakers (including sports celebrities), the short film “If Only,” and a focus on how students can help fight the opioid epidemic.  Special thanks to the CARE Coalition and the Mayor’s Office for supporting this excellent collaborative field trip.

  • Today members of the School Committee joined me for a brief visit to the high school, middle school, Fausey, Ashley, Coburn and Cowing.  A future date will be scheduled to complete the tour of schools.

  • The next School Committee meeting is December 13, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. in the Municipal Office Building auditorium.  One agenda item is the recognition of high school students: 2017 National Merit Commended Student, students who earned a 5 (perfect score) on 2016 Advanced Placement exams, and the John and Abigail Adams Scholarship recipients.


Town Council recognition: Girls Soccer, Boys Cross Country.   Student Advisory Council/Mittineague.


Display at Youth Summit.  WSPS contingent enjoyed the Summit!          PBIS Lunch at John Ashley

  Mittineague [Twitter: @WSPSMittineague]

  • The Superintendent met his new fourth and fifth grade advisory council members on Wednesday. They shared a working lunch and spent some time getting to know each other while gathering ideas and suggestions about ways they could help Mittineague School on its mission to “Be the Change.” (photo above!)

  • Multiplication in its many forms can be observed in classes throughout Mittineague School!  Students working with arrays, working on whiteboards, timing each other for fact fluency, multiplication with decimals, estimating with multiplication, multiplication and its role in division, and even multiplication through skip counting are just some of the many “multiplication superpowers” that can be evidenced around the school! (photos 1,2, 3 and 4 below)

  • This week, the students had a visit from a musician who also happens to be a former Mittineague  student.  Mrs. Linda Payne plays several different instruments and performs at many different venues throughout the northeast.  The highlight of the performance was when Mrs. Payne had the students and staff involved in a rousing rendition of The Twelve Days of Christmas. (photo 5  below)

  • The Principal’s Cabinet, a group of excited fourth and fifth grade students met this Thursday to discuss their ideas about how to promote more school spirit as well as to work together to make a difference in our school and community.  

  • Three fourth grade students were awarded handprints this week! (Alexis Silva-Cassidy, Molly Markham and Lamara Taksilova). They were awarded this recognition for perseverance and always putting forth excellent effort, for outstanding kindness to others, and for never-ending stamina and a desire to succeed at all times!  #Mittineaguepride (photo 6 below)

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Tatham School [Twitter: @WSPSTatham]

  • Tatham Students were invited to sing at the Rotary Meeting on Tuesday.  They certainly got the members into the holiday spirit! (photo 1)

  • In PE, Students are learning to jump rope.  As a warm up, she had students review their multiplication facts by having them shape the rope to create the products.

  • Officer Johnson visited our first graders to read a story about how dogs help people. (photo 2)


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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. Playgroups will also be offered on Fridays starting in January at the same time and place. This group is free, drop in and will focus on movement or STEM activities. Stay tuned!! (photo 1)

  • 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/Child Date Night: The Polar Express December 9, 5:30-6:30, at the West Springfield Boys and Girls Club.  Come celebrate this literary classic with a storytime, crafts and cookie decorating.  All participants receive a copy of the Polar Express. Free. Registration required.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.  Visit. IMG_1009.JPG

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Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment [Twitter: @WSPSCurriculum]

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  • The West Springfield High School Building Data Team worked this week learning the extensive data tools offered by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.  The team will spend this year collecting, analyzing data and developing a draft action plan to be shared with the entire faculty and staff.  The team is engaging and learning the The Data Wise Model  format of data structure. The next Data Team meeting is December 19.


English as a Second Language Department (ESL)

  • Students in Mrs. Duggan's grade 2 ELL class have been working to improve their “Within The Text” understandings during guided reading.  After reading a text, groups are using a graphic organizer with a word bank to help facilitate a learning conversation that summarizes the text.  Then, they use graphic organizers as a resource for writing a summary in their reading response notebooks.  Students are also gaining fluency with the correct use of capitals, end marks, transition words, and spelling strategies when completing their written response.

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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 events

  • All nurses received renewed nasal naloxone training

  • Christine Viens, CARE Coalition program director, attended The Massachusetts Youth Summit on Opioid Awareness with a group of students from the middle and high schools, CARE Coalition members, and guidance/adjustment counselors.

Information Technology

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Start talking to your Chromebook!   You can use your voice to do things like search,  get directions,  and create reminders.  Enable “OK Google” by going to settings (click in the clock area) and scroll down to the SEARCH section.        More Info.

  • HelpDesk Status

  • 965 HelpDesk tickets received from 8/29/16 - 12/9/16  ( + 55 this week)

  • 733 of those HelpDesk tickets have been closed. ( + 40 this week)

John Ashley School [Twitter: @WSPSAshley]

  • Mrs. Busiere's Kindergarten class utilized their new pond, learning about frog life cycles!  All classes are learning about animal habitats, how they live, life cycles and special requirements that are needed to live. (photo 1)

  • Ava from room 17 brought in hundreds of bottle tabs!!! These bottle tabs are brought to the Shriners Hospital for Children in Springfield by Mrs Narey. (photo 2)

  • Rooms 2 and 4 helped the school celebrate “KINDNESS” this week.  Each class took a letter of the word and created a poster with a kind thought, word or gesture.  This is evident at John Ashley -- we take care of ourselves, others and our things.

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Coburn School [Twitter: @WSPSCoburn]

  • On Tuesday, December 6, teachers participated in Professional Development during the early release and curriculum day.  

  • The staff at Coburn School celebrated the retirement of Kathy Stadniki during lunch on Tuesday.  Kathy will retire at the end of December and is wished the best of luck in the next stage in her life.

  • Students in grade 3 have been watching the plants and vegetables grow in the Tower Garden.  They were able to enjoy a salad made from the lettuce produced in the Tower Garden! (photos 4 and 5)

  • Students in Mrs. Gavioli’s kindergarten have been learning the names of the parts of the body and they have also been practicing their handwriting skills using the Handwriting Without Tears curriculum.  Students are getting lots of practice by “Rainbow Writing” their letters.  (photos 2 and 3)

  • In physical education, students are working on basketball knowledge and skills to prepare them to be able to use those skills when playing in a game.

  • Art teacher Mrs. Lewis worked with the kindergarten students on creating a snowman portrait.  Students used their drawing skills as well as cutting and pasting.  Pictures of the beautiful creations can be found below. (photo 1)

  • In computer class, the students in grades 3, 4, and 5 have been working with Mrs. Finn on Hour of Code and internet safety. (photo 6)

  • The Coburn School Winter Concert is December 19.  Students in music have been practicing songs for the winter concert.

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Cowing Alternative School [Twitter: @WSPSCowingCAS]

  • Mrs. Aubin is back!!  She sends her gratitude to all the staff and students for a wonderful job done in her absence.

  • A GREAT BIG THANK YOU to Mrs. Susan Mulvaney for substituting at Cowing in Mrs. Aubin’s absence.

  • Students of the month for November are: Andre Descheneaux and Jovonni Gonzalez.  These boys have exhibited mindful behavior, are working hard in all academic areas, and have been leaders in their classrooms.  Congratulations!

Cowing Early Childhood

  • Mrs. Maloney’s class started talking about nursery rhymes this week.  They practiced reciting Little Jack Horner and took turns re-enacting the nursery rhyme using the correct pronoun for girl or boy.


  • Cowing Early Childhood will hold a Community Screening next Friday, December 16.

Fausey School [Twitter: @WSPSFausey]

  • Mrs. Florek - Hour of Code:  Students participated in the Hour of Code this week (12/5 - 12/11) with Mrs. Florek.  By learning coding skills through interactive activities, they are honing their skills for the jobs of the future.  There will be a follow-up parent outreach activity for participants of the Boys and Girls Club (see below).  Fausey School encourages families to explore the wonderful activities on the Hour of Code website:  https://code.org/learn

  • Mrs. Sousa - Fourth Grade:   Historical Fiction Reader' Theater parent presentation. It was a supplement to our study of the Historical Fiction genre in reading.  (Picture #1-2).

  • Mrs. Morneau - November Academic and Citizenship Awards:  Students at all grade levels are nominated by their teachers for the monthly awards.  Mrs. Morneau presented the awards (and a neat bracelet!) to each of the notable students during their lunch period. Grade 2 (Picture 3), Grade 3 (Picture 4) and Grade 5 shown (Picture 5).


  • Calling all volunteers!!  Fausey School PTO will be holding an event at Barnes & Noble, along with dinner at Red Robin!  Looking for volunteers to help out from 4:30 - 8:00, even if it’s a portion of the time.  If unable to volunteer, please participate with your families!  Flyers were sent home.  

  • Boys & 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.  The hope is that adults can learn a thing or two from the coding experts….their children!  

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High School [Twitter: @WSPS_WSHS and @WSHS_guidance]

Weekly Review:

  • December 9-10 The Foreigner Drama Club performances in HS Auditorium


  • December 12-13 Spring Musical auditions in HS Auditorium

  • December 15 WSHS School Council Meeting.

  • December 15 7 p.m. Winter Concert featuring HS Band and Colorguard in Auditorium.

  • December 16 WSHS Spanish IV students perform story translations at the WS Public Library during preschool story hour.

Student Spotlight:  Click here Department Notes:  Click Here

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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

  • Ashley Puls ‘07 is a social studies teacher at Pathfinder Technical High School in Palmer.

  • Megan Patruski ‘14 is an associate at The Lift Salon.

  • Lauren Sandillo ‘11 is a manager at Marshalls.

Memorial School [Twitter: @WSPSMemorial]

  • Memorial was very fortunate to partner with Paul Johnson, the advisor for the Training Active Bystanders (TAB) program at West Springfield High School. TAB is the high school's anti-bullying initiative that began in 2012 through Quabbin Mediation Services in Orange, MA. Upperclassmen have been trained by Paul and a representative from Quabbin Mediation Services to then teach their new-found knowledge on bullying or harm doing to all students in the freshmen class.  Recently, they have trained 8th graders at West Springfield Middle School.  Once 8th and 9th graders have successfully completed the program, they have the opportunity as a sophomore, junior or senior to then become a student-trainer.  As of now, there are already 25 student-trainers!  Mrs. Calabrese was thrilled to see some of her former students participating in the program!

  • The Annual Family Holiday Luncheon in the cafeteria was full of the school’s wonderful families and happy children.  The PTO and paraprofessionals did an amazing job decorating the gym with beautiful student work.  The ladies in the kitchen prepared a delicious and festive lunch for everyone.

  • The playground is just about ready for an official unveiling!  The mulch is on the ground and the work crew is almost ready to say goodbye to a job well done!

  • PBIS Team prepared a holiday raffle for students.  Each student had an opportunity to shop with their earned BEE Bucks.

  • Under the guidance of Mrs. Mozolevskiy, the tower garden in Grade 1, Class of 2028, has been flourishing! Students have been able to pick the first crop of vegetables and share with staff.  


  • Grade 2, Class of 2027, has been wrapping up addition with regrouping.  

  • Students in Grade 3, Class of 2026, have been comparing and contrasting their lives with that of a Pilgrim or Wampanoag Indian.

  • Grade 5 Class of 2024 students have experienced a bullying prevention presentation from high school students through the TAB program.

  • Mrs. Heroux-Slachetka’s Grade 5 class presented projects about theme and author’s purpose supported with text.

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  • Memorial School is taking part in Computer Science Education Week.  The whole school will be programming using the Hour of Code Block Coding. They will solve challenges and program various characters to complete a wide range of activities.  The Memorial Dominators Lego League will be competing at the Agawam Junior High School from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, December 10.  They have been programming a Lego robot to complete various tasks.  Students will be competing against 25 teams.  All are welcome to attend.

  • Ms. Largey’s Art students have finished their watercolor paintings and color wheels this week.

Middle School [Twitter: @WSPS_WSMS]

  • On Tuesday, December 6, a group of WSMS students attending the MA Youth Opioid Summit in Lowell, MA with a group from the West Springfield CARE Coalition.  Students heard from former Patriots wide receiver Troy Brown along with local groups and families regarding important information about opioid use and abuse.  

  • On Tuesday, December 6, teachers continued their work towards aligning common assessments.  The district’s half day allowed for this work to continue.

  • On Wednesday, December 7, teachers continued training during their faculty meeting on using the workshop model of lesson planning and delivery.  

  • On Thursday, December 8, a group of 8th grade students attended a field trip to Symphony Hall.