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District Spotlight - November 10, 2016

posted Nov 13, 2016, 7:51 AM by Erin Mountain

From The Superintendent [Twitter: @WestSideSupt]

  • Veterans Day, November 11, is a holiday for students and staff.  Student groups, including the Middle School and High School bands, will participate in the Veterans Day Parade at 10:00 a.m. (starts at St. Thomas School).

  • Congratulations to the WSHS Field Hockey, Boys’ Soccer and Girls’ Volleyball teams on excellent seasons!  Good luck to WSHS teams competing in post-season this weekend: Football, Girls’ Soccer and Boys/Girls Cross Country!

  • As part of my efforts to gain a better understanding of the teaching and learning in every school, I have assembled a team approach to building walks.  On a regular basis, I am joined by fellow central office administrators (including Mr. Connor and Mrs. Marcus) and building-level administrators to walk through classrooms and observe instruction and learning.  These walks give me the chance to work with administrators to calibrate our understanding of Depth of Knowledge, Learning Conversations, and Student Engagement.  It also serves as an opportunity for me to “observe” building-level administrators in their work so that I can provide them with the appropriate guidance and support in their work.  The experiences have been quite positive and, not surprisingly, I am always impressed with the work that our faculty are doing with our students!  Below are a few pictures from a recent walk at Fausey. (photos: below left - Mrs. Marcus; below right - Ms. Rivers in Ms. Pichey's room at Fausey)

Ms. Pichey’s classroom at Fausey.



Asst. Supt. Mr. McQuillan celebrates his birthday at the Lee Lang Luncheon at Mittineague on November 10.

Alumni News

In honor of Veterans Day, we are proud to highlight some of the WSHS alumni who are currently serving in the Armed Forces.  Thank you to ALL veterans and those serving in the military!

Air Force:

  • Jack Taylor ‘11 is a knowledge operations manager/AFOSI stationed in Saudi Arabia.

  • Chelsea Kidman ‘12 is a military police officer stationed in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

  • Cameron Green ‘13 is a network intelligence analyst stationed in Virginia.

  • Justin Moriarty ‘15 is stationed in New Mexico.


  • Zachary Sullivan ‘11, 2nd Lt., is a signal corps platoon leader in the 25th Infantry Division, stationed in Hawaii.


  • TJ Newhouse ‘14 is a military police officer stationed in Japan.


  • Michael Bonafilia ‘12, Petty Officer 2nd Class, is a construction mechanic in the Navy’s Seabees, stationed in Sicily for the past three years.  He will soon be headed to Guam for the next two years, where his battalion will be attached to a Navy Seals unit.

  • Peter Marino ‘12 is stationed in Japan, where he works in a F/A-18 squadron.

  • Jesse Brawsay ‘13, Petty Officer 3rd Class, is a military police officer stationed in Virginia Beach, VA.

  • Ariel Marquis ‘10 is a machinist mate 2nd Class at a submarine maintenance facility stationed in Norfolk, Virginia.

  • Joel Tessier ‘90 recently retired as a Commander stationed in Coronado, CA.  He served 22 years in Naval aviation.

  • Kenneth Martinez ‘13 (pictured below) Petty Officer 3rd Class, is an aviation ordnanceman on the USS Gerald R. Ford, one of the Navy’s newest supercarriers.  

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Memorial School [Twitter: @WSPSMemorial]

  • The school’s new playground is slowly being assembled.  Now that the footings are in and safety zones are established, the photo above presents a clearer idea of how it will look. (photo below left)

  • The food drive for the Parish Cupboard is progressing nicely, and Memorial is very committed to reaching its goal.  Please drop off any cans or boxes at our school and remember to bring an item as your  “admission” to Family Math and Literature Night on November 17 - thank you.

  • Grade 4 teachers and paraprofessionals worked diligently during professional development day.  It was wonderful to hear their ideas to support students and enrich their writing experiences.

  • Students receiving Title I Math enjoyed subitizing dominoes on a number line. (photo below right)

  • Class of 2027 students are using mental math to add 2 two-digit numbers with and without regrouping and are sharing their strategies during number talks.

  • Third graders in the class of 2026 are studying Pilgrims and Native Americans. They created a flip book as well as a poster comparing and contrasting themselves with a Pilgrim or Native American child.

  • Students in grade 4 class of 2025 began creating their own “Book of Knowledge” to continue building stamina when working with complex texts.  They also are practicing open response questions in math by showing computations and explaining their steps to their solutions.    

  • Class of 2024 students are improving their number sense, multiplication, and division skills by solving problems using compatible numbers, estimation and various mental math strategies.

  • Students in Mrs. Doyle’s class are continuing their work on finding parts of words they know in order to figure out unknown words, and they are working towards building fluency by reading familiar text.

  • Art students are using their knowledge from studying the spectrum and color wheel to add color to their art work.

  • Coming up: Family Math & Literature Night, Thursday, November 17 from 5:30-7:00 - all are welcome!

Middle School [Twitter: @WSPS_WSMS]

  • This week WSMS held a mock election which included varied classes counting for electoral votes.  This was led by our Grade 8 civics class and included all staff and students within the building.  

  • On Election Day, WSMS was both a polling place and a professional development site.  Staff participated in training on common assessment development, safety care, and mindfulness trainings.  

  • Grade 6 students began their signs of suicide prevention workshop this week with adjustment counselors.  This work will continue into next week as well.  

  • Grade 8 Students took a survey to help our district work with students on healthy choices and prevention trainings.  This took place on Thursday and was led by our nursing department.

  • Monday, November 14 is picture retake day.

  • Report Cards are scheduled to be issued on Wednesday, November 16.

  • Gr. 8 students in Modern World classes begin a series of field trips to area colleges and universities on Wednesday, November 16.

Mittineague School [Twitter: @WSPSMittineague]

  • Mittineague School is excited to have received a Stars Grant enabling Tom McCabe to work as an ‘Artist in Residence’ who will be working with Mittineague students on the writing process.  He will also spend time with staff during his tenure here.

  • Ms. Becker's students have been creating multiplication games to aid in fact practice and understanding. (pictures below)

  • Students from the class of 2025 are completing inquiry projects about earth's changing land.  Mrs. Penna's class is embroiled in several science activities meant to deepen their understanding of the effects of weathering and erosion on earth's surface.  One activity involved students using the Chromebook to find out information about different types of fossils while connecting their understanding of weathering and erosion to how fossils are formed.  In another activity, the group used the sedimentator, a model that shows how small and large sediments are constantly being moved by water on earth's surface. They recorded and compared observations. The last activities were hands-on experiments with sandstone and limestone that helped students see the effects that rocks have on one another and also helped strengthen their understanding of how powerful a force of nature that water is on our land/environment.

  • Last year's fifth graders created a stepping stone for the friendship garden/buddy bench area. The stone was just laid into the stone chips in the path!  Each year, the outgoing fifth grade class will make a stepping stone for the garden path. (picture)

  • The Family Literacy Night, "Bingo for Books" style was great fun! The night was filled with vocabulary words, books, fun and wonderful families (over 120 attended!).  Students earned raffle tickets just by participating.  Jackson Lacienski (class of 2028) and Tarae Washington (class of 2024) were the lucky winners of new Kindle Fires! (Prizes purchased from funds raised from a staff dress down day)          

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Tatham School [Twitter: @WSPSTatham]

  • The Student Council asked their classmates to donate any extra Halloween candy to our troops. They donated over 120 lbs of candy!

  • The PTO Election Day Bake Sale was a huge success.  Thanks to all bakers and volunteers!  

  • Tatham’s annual Thanksgiving Luncheon is next Thursday.  It is always great to see everyone come to this popular event!

  • Science Night was a huge success!  Students travelled to seven different classrooms and did a variety of investigations. Topics included: electricity, air, polymers, and chemical reactions. Students and and their families had a great time.

  • Mrs. Morgan is getting our students ready for our annual holiday concert, Thursday, December 15. Watch for the flyer.

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.

  • The Storywalk on Saturday was a major success!  Thank you to everyone that participated.

  • Parent/Child Date Night is Thursday, November 17 from 5:30-6:30 at the WS Boys and Girls Club

  • Thanksgiving Memory Book Ages 5-8

  • 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

Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment [Twitter: @WSPSCurriculum]

  • Beginning with this edition of WSPS Spotlight, I will be including a section entitled Great Read. In this section, I will highlight articles from professional journals that illustrate the work we are focused on acrossed the district.  

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  • Depth of Knowledge

  • Building Data Teams

  • Social/Emotional Learning

  • Cultural Competency

  • On November 8, WSPS held its third full-day professional development day.  The schedule included a host of activities focused around our current District Improvement Plan.

  • The “One Book One Community” committee met again to continue discussing and planning this wonderful event.  It is a wonderful collaboration between the West Springfield Public Schools, local business, Red Thread, West Springfield Boys and Girls Club, West Springfield Park and Recreation, West Springfield Public Library, and the West Springfield Art Council.


English as a Second Language Department (ESL)

  • Parent ELL classes will be offered beginning on Monday, November 14, 2016 for any parent of an ELL or former ELL student in West Springfield.  Four classes will be offered each week - two during the school day and two after school hours.  Babysitting will also be available for any parent with small children who wishes to attend these classes.  The classes will be held at the Community and Family Engagement Center located at 389 Main Street.

Health Services [Twitter: @cmviens]

  • The CARE Coalition sponsored Bach Harrison Prevention Needs Assessment Survey was administered in grades 8, 10, and 12.

  • All district nurses attended a professional development conference, The Impact of Culture on Health and Learning, in Marlboro MA.

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

    • High School: along with float nurse, implemented SBIRT screening along with vision and hearing screenings for students in grade 9, participated in a DPH concussion protocol survey.

    • Middle School: Grade 6 Signs of Suicide (SOS) prevention programming, health screenings

    • Fausey: Mobile Dentist, before school chorus coverage, preparing for LPN to begin on 11/15

    • Mittineague: Grade 1 fire safety lesson, school fire safety tips

    • Memorial: screenings, fluoride, crisis team, Mobile Dentist, Fluoride Mouthrinse Program (FMR)

    • Coburn: screenings, Mobile Dentist, continuing education program Working with Iraqi Families in Schools

    • Cowing: continuing education program Working with Iraqi Families in Schools, working with students on tower garden, open house at Baystate Partial Program

    • Ashley: DPH Kindergarten immunization survey, lead testing compliance

Information Technology

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At the bottom or side of your Chromebook screen, you'll see a row of apps, called the shelf.  To pin (add a shortcut) for a website to the shelf, first visit the website you want to add, then click the menu button (three vertical dots) at the top-right corner of the Chrome window, point to “More tools,” and select “Add to shelf.”  Voila !

  • HelpDesk Status

  • 754 HelpDesk tickets received from 8/29/16 - 11/10/16  ( + 27 this week)

  • 586 of those HelpDesk tickets have been closed. ( + 29 this week)

John Ashley School [Twitter: @WSPSAshley]

  • Peer learning at its best!  Under Aileen Lever’s guidance, teachers and paraprofessionals learned about a new writing rubric during the Professional Development on Tuesday and worked collaboratively to score their students writing.

  • John Ashley has a full School Council in place!  Wednesday evening, four parents, four teachers and two community representatives discussed Ashley’s diverse population, heard about the Cultural Competency training on Tuesday and brainstormed ways to help our young learners understand different cultures.  27.5% of the school population speaks another language other than English in the home and there are 16 different languages represented!

  • Room 17 is spearheading John Ashley’s food drive.  Donations from room 17 and the school community have been accumulating in the donation box.  Non-perishable food items will be accepted until November 21, 2016 and will be donated to the Parish Cupboard.

  • Ashley staff are feeling very thankful this month and celebrating Thankful Thursdays as a staff.

Coburn School [Twitter: @WSPSCoburn]

  • The Coburn School Student Leadership group has been chosen and will meet next week to kick off their responsibilities.  The Leadership group is comprised of 5th grade students who consistently show exemplary behavior and follow the PBIS rules.  Students had to go through an application process if they were interested in being considered for this elite group.

  • The School Council met on Monday, November 7 and discussed our School Improvement Plan, upcoming events, interventions being put in place for our students, and professional development for our teachers.

  • Classrooms across the school engaged in activities and projects to learn more about Veterans Day;  the Coburn community is proud of and thankful for our veterans.  

  • The Coburn Reading Specialists put on a well attended Family Literacy Night.  We had over 100 people engaged in literacy activities.  Families were provided with various activities to encourage reading at home.  A special thanks to Mrs. Agostino, Mrs. Newell, Mrs. Lavelle, Ms. Lozinski, and Mrs. Albro-Fisher for organizing this great event.

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  • On Thursday, November 10, Coburn held a PBIS event sponsored by Home Depot for students in grades 3-5.  The 86 students who chose to “buy in” with their Coburn Coupons enjoyed constructing sailboats.  Each student also had the opportunity to give their boat a special name!

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Cowing Early Childhood

  • The Cowing staff are feeling very thankful this month, celebrating Thankful Thursdays as a group.

  • The Cowing faculty on Tuesday during professional development worked with the district literacy coach Karen Diaz on supporting students in beginning reading and writing.  Exiting work resulted in ways teachers can observe and assess their students in these early literacy tasks.

  • Many of the classes are talking about nutrition. Room 3 has a new grocery store. The children choose their food, check out, travel to home and cook their food.  Room 2 learned a fruit salsa dance and are sorting fruit.

Fausey School [Twitter: @WSPSFausey]

  • West Springfield Science Center:  Mrs. Morneau, Ms. Feeley & Mrs. Chalero took a field trip to the Science Center at Cowing Alternative School to meet Ester Donohue, our district's elementary science guru.  They reviewed the many kits available for students to do hands-on science activities.  

  • Veterans Day Observances:  With a multitude of activities, Fausey School students recognized the importance of Veterans Day as a time to honor those that have served in our this country’s armed forces.  Fausey School was honored by visitors, who read a related book to the students, and/or shared their experiences (below).  Thank you to the valued visitors for their visit and their service!

Mr. Mustafa Thompson, active member of the Army National Guard, visited his daughters’ classrooms.  He first met with Addison’s Grade 1 classroom (Mrs. Andre), and then shared with Kennaide’s Grade 3 classroom (Mrs. Glidden). (photos below)

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Mr. Christopher Thompson, active member of the Air Force, visited  his daughter Aryanna’s Grade 3 classroom (Mrs. Pichey). (photo below)

Mr. Norman Gilbert, retired member of the U.S. Navy - and paraprofessional at WSHS - also visited his daughter Zoey’s Grade 1 classroom (Mrs. Andre). (photos below)

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Pumpkins ~ Mrs. Lubas’ Applied Academics students (Sam and Ozy) getting crafty with their very colorful pumpkins! (photos below)

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  • Writing Rubric Calibration: Grade 2 teachers and paraprofessionals from throughout the district met at Fausey to calibrate their scoring of actual student work.  Their collaboration during this professional development will aid in a more cohesive assessment of our students!


  • PTO Scavenger Hunt - will be held in the Spring.

  • Tuesday, November 15: Channel 40 Meteorologist Janna Brown will visit Fausey’s 4th Graders

  • Wednesday, November 16:  Harlem Ambassadors will visit with our Grades 3-5 for a bullying prevention program.

  • Tuesday, November 22:  Mayor Reichelt will visit our first graders.

High School [Twitter: @WSPS_WSHS and @WSHS_guidance]

Weekly Review:


From the Principal:

I commend our student athletes, coaches, teams, and athletic director for their efforts this fall.  Every team made post-season playoffs!  While this is an amazing accomplishment, I don't want it to overshadow the academic efforts of our students and teachers.  The first quarter has come to a close and everyone is eagerly awaiting report cards; they will be distributed on November 16.  The report cards take a snapshot in time and reflect the evaluation of the hard work of our students, the excellent instruction of our teachers, and the strong rigor of our curricula.  I challenge everyone to reflect on their work from the first quarter and identify areas where improvements can be made in learning and enhancements in instruction.  Have a great day and GO TERRIERS!!

Student Spotlight:

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Department Notes:

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Athletics [Twitter: @wshsterriers]

Please see below for fall sports tournament information -

  • Football versus Westfield in the Div. 2 WMass Finals on Saturday, November 12 at 10:00 a.m. at Holyoke HS.

  • Girls Soccer versus Ludlow in the Div. 1 WMass Finals on Sunday, November 13 at 2:15 p.m. at Westfield State University.

  • Boys/Girls Cross Country WMass Championship meet is Sunday, November 13 at Stanley Park in Westfield.

  • Parent/Athlete Night for Winter Sports - Thursday, November 17, at 6:00 p.m. in the H.S Auditorium.  Winter Sports tryouts begin November 28.

  • 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.