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District Spotlight - November 18, 2016

posted Nov 18, 2016, 1:31 PM by Erin Mountain

WSPS District Spotlight - November 18, 2016

Note:  No District Spotlight next week!

From The Superintendent [Twitter: @WestSideSupt]

  • Next Thursday is Thanksgiving, a day on which we pause to give thanks for our blessings.  I am thankful to work with people who give so much to so many - educationally, socially, emotionally!  We are so fortunate to work in a community that supports everyone!  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    • Reminder: Wednesday November 23 is a ½ day for all students, faculty, and staff in West Side.

  • Chalk Dust & Friends perform their 3rd Annual “Rock for the Cause” concert tonight from 5:00-10:00 p.m. at the Dante Club (1198 Memorial Avenue).  Tickets are $10 (proceeds will be donated equally to the Boys & Girls Club After-School program at the middle school and Rays of Hope.  Come enjoy great music, delicious food, and support the cause!

  • The CARE Coalition is asking members of the community to take this brief survey to help inform promotion and programming of events.  The data collected will assist in the identification of issues influencing our community.  Please consider taking a few moments to complete the survey by December 1.  In addition, the next CARE Coalition meeting is November 29 at 2:15 at West Springfield High School, Room B221 - come one, come all!

  • Work began on the Middle School roof earlier this fall to address areas with moisture in the insulation.  Flat sections received a coating product that extends the life of the roof (everywhere except the roof over the classrooms) and other sections received treatment as well. The work was completed today.    

  • The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education recently released the Coordinated Program Review findings for West Springfield Public Schools.  The findings, which are available on the DESE website (www.doe.mass.edu), focus on Special Education, Civil Rights, and English Language Learners.

  • Below are some highlights from various schools and departments…

Ms. Heroux (and Ms. Sheridan). Grade 5 - Memorial School.

Memorial School [Twitter: @WSPSMemorial]

  • The Memorial School community has collected approximately 493 items to donate to the Parish Cupboard. Thank you to all of the generous families and staff members who have donated.  Fourth graders from Room 11 continue to work on collecting, packaging, tallying, and graphing donations toward our Food Drive.  The school is VERY close to the goal of collecting 500 items - there still is time to accept more donations before next Wednesday…

  • The entire student body created heartfelt cards for Conor McCormick. In the photo, we have a sampling of the beautiful cards from each grade level.  Go Team Conor - our prayers are with you for a full recovery - you are AMAZING!

  • Mrs.Shanna Schnur and her son Noah in the class of 2025 organized a “School Appreciation Day” for all staff.  Mrs. Schnur baked and decorated an amazing array of cookies and cupcakes.  It was such a nice treat and we all appreciate the kind words and thoughts the Schnur family sent our way.

  • The playground shows major progress from last week and the school hopes to be able to begin enjoying it after Thanksgiving or by the beginning of December (see the latest photo on Twitter @WSPSMemorial)

  • Students in class of 2028 have been investigating the phases of the moon. Fairy Tales have been introduced and students have been making predictions about what will happen next. They have also been learning about the President of the United States and what his job entails.

  • Mrs. Duquette’s class of 2027 welcomed Ms. Bunnell, a student teacher, from Westfield State University, Ms. Bunnell, taught the class a lesson on landforms and extended learning through the use of a landforms bingo game in which children worked in pairs. They had learning conversations in order to discover which landform was being defined. Second graders have also been learning how to use math strategies such as subtracting tens and finding parts of 100 to subtract mentally. They shared different ways of doing mental math during number talks.


  • The grade five class of 2024 has been comparing three types of rocks to various candy bars!  This will assist students in making connections to their learning.

  • Students in Mrs. Doyle’s class have been recognizing and understanding consonant blends.  They have been using known words and word patterns to learn new words.

  • Grade 1 students in Mrs. Meara’s class read The Mitten and they had an opportunity to act out the play to practice expression and phrasing in reading.  Students will soon be performing the play for the entire school!

  • Students in Mrs. Kearing’s reading class have been practicing games and activities for our Peanuts themed Family Math & Literature Night.  LLI groups are working on reading comprehension strategies.

  • Art students have been working on learning diverse color families and using them to complete their drawings.


  • The grade 3 class of  2026 will be practicing and reinforcing their place value knowledge by creating treasure hunt games with numbers of their choice!

  • Family Math and Literature Night will be highlighted next week as well as our visit from

Mrs. Martha Tighe of the Parish Cupboard!

Middle School [Twitter: @WSPS_WSMS]

  • Grade 6 “Signs of Suicide” awareness work continues this week and next with teams.  Adjustment counselors with support from Behavioral Health Network counselors worked with students.  

  • First quarter Report Cards were issued to students on Wednesday, November 16.

  • November 22 at 3:30, grade 6 will be hosting it’s annual Quality Fair showcasing student work from its’ American Pickers themed unit.  

  • Camfel motivational presentations about healthy choices and academic focus will be presented to students on November 23.  This annual event is a great way to leave for the long weekend.

  • Guidance Counselors met with the Rotary Club this week to discuss our Rotary Mentoring program!


  • Students in grade 8 Modern World visited UMass, Springfield College, and Western New England University on Wednesday.

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Mittineague School [Twitter: @WSPSMittineague]

  • The class of 2024 hosted the Annual Lee Lang Thanksgiving Dinner on Thursday.  The fifth graders set up the tables and dinnerware, greeted their guests, served the luncheon, and managed the cleanup, too! During the meal, there were roving photographers, animated conversations and even a few friendly games of Tic Tac Toe!  This event is one of the highlights of being a fifth grader at Mittineague! (photos 1 and 2)

  • “Thanksgiving Follies” was the entertainment provided for the event!  First and second graders sang songs, told a story of Thanksgiving, and delighted the guests with some Thanksgiving jokes! (photos 3 and 4)

  • The students in Mrs. Gerardi’s room and Mrs. Canon’s room celebrated the 50th day of school on Monday by dressing as if they were from the 1950s!  During the day they explored the number 50 through various math activities and  completed some 50th day writing activities, too!  The highlight of the day was celebrating the fifties experience with lunch at Classic Burger! (photos 5 and 6)

  • Four students received handprints this week for respect, consistent work habits, striving for excellence, and exceptional kindness. #MittineaguePride  (Aidan LaFleche, Kyan Jacobson, Caitlin Olinski and Anish Gautam)

        Lee Lang 1.JPG      Lee Lang 2.JPG        canon 2.JPG            gerardi follies.JPG    IMG_2179.JPG     IMG_2184.JPG

Tatham School [Twitter: @WSPSTatham]

  • Tatham’s Annual Thanksgiving luncheon was held on Thursday. It’s great to have our families take the time out of their busy schedule to come and have lunch. Thanks to our kitchen staff for preparing all the extra  food!

  • The Student Council is busy getting ready to help needy families in West Springfield by collecting gifts to be distributed in December.

  • The Winter Concert is coming together. Save the Date! December 15 at 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

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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  • My visit to Memorial School: Students collaborating to solve math equations!!


English as a Second Language Department (ESL)

  • Mrs. Cameron’s ELL Kindergarten worked hard throughout the month of October learning their shapes! In alignment with the CCSS, Kindergarten students learn to “Identify and Describe Shapes (circle, square, rectangle, triangle, hexagon)”. This beautiful bulletin board shows us that these little friends really know their stuff!  (Photo 1)

  • Students in Mr. Granger’s grade 3 ELL classroom culminated their unit on map skills and the state of Massachusetts by creating an edible, physical map. Students identified, located and labeled cities and towns including Boston, Worcester, Springfield, West Springfield, Holyoke, Westfield, Agawam and Chicopee as well as the Connecticut River, Berkshire Hills, Quabbin Reservoir, Cape Ann and Cape Cod. (Photo 2 and Photo 3 below)

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Photo 1

Health Services [Twitter: @cmviens]

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

  • Completed SBIRT and scoliosis screenings on 9th grade

  • Grade 6 SOS programming continued

  • Screenings continue throughout the district

  • Planning for future CARE forums and SAFE Team student prevention program

  • Fausey welcomed and orientation began for new LPN, Theresa Martinson

  • IEP/504 Meetings and individual student health plans

  • Physical exam and immunization compliance

  • Some nurses attended a November 15, 2016 conference on Protecting Developing Brains: What Health Care Providers Need to Know About Sport-Related Concussion

  • Planning for Mobile Dentist and field trips

  • Various staff and student education activities

Information Technology

Tip of the Week.png

By default, all Chromebooks automatically go to sleep if left inactive for 6 minutes when unplugged (it's 8 minutes if it is plugged in). And while you can adjust the brightness level of the screen,  you cannot tweak display timeout settings on Chrome OS. That is, you cannot do so without a Chrome Extension, like Keep Awake. By following these instructions, you'll be able to keep your Chromebook from going to sleep.

  • HelpDesk Status

  • 816 HelpDesk tickets received from 8/29/16 - 11/18/16  ( + 62 this week)

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

Special Services [Twitter: @wspsspeded]

  • The first meeting of the West Springfield Special Education Parent Advisory Council (PAC), led by Ivonne and Christopher Hall, was held this past Tuesday evening at the West Springfield Middle School. At the meeting, parents discussed various topics that they would like to have addressed this year.  On Jan. 17, 2017,  Karen Mowery from the Federation for Children with Special Needs will discuss basic parental rights per state and federal special education regulations.  All are encouraged to attend this workshop to gain a better understanding about parental rights and the special education process.

  • In support of the ongoing district initiative to increase inclusive opportunities for students with disabilities, nine special and general education teachers attended a full day inclusive teaching workshop led by Dr. Lisa Dieker, a nationally-recognized expert in inclusive teaching practices.  This workshop, entitled “Creating Inclusive Schools and Classrooms While Embracing Higher Learning Standards For All” provided participants with an overview of the seven effective strategies for including students with disabilities in the general education setting grounded in the art and science of co-teaching. The day focused on practical strategies for co-teaching teams related to co-teaching: from developing a collaborative culture to scheduling to staffing to data collection of co-teaching outcomes.

  • Representatives from the Special Services department, West Springfield Middle School, and West Springfield High School participated in the first meeting of the Inclusive Practices Network.  This network includes representatives from multiple school districts who share the common goal of equitable inclusion of all students.  These meetings will explore the culture, structure, instruction, and assessment practices of inclusive schools.  This month’s keynote speaker was Bill Henderson, an experienced educator in inclusive practice and author of The Blind Advantages.  The team will meet again in January.

John Ashley School [Twitter: @WSPSAshley]

20161115_130922.jpgRoom 18 Mrs Busiere’s class making corn bread.

  • Rooms 2 & 18 are celebrating with a feast!  Room 2 Mrs Narey’s class made cranberry sauce for the celebration.

  • Volunteers from the Senior Center are still coming to read and do other activities with students and will be joining Rooms 2 and 18 at the feast.

  • Thankful Thursdays are being celebrated through words, actions and activities throughout the John Ashley Community. Students have been donating can goods through the month of November and they will be donated this Tuesday to the Parish Cupboard on Main St in West Springfield.

  • Our vegetable garden is growing by leaps and bounds. It will not be long before we reap the harvest.

  • Let Science begin!  Students are learning how to work together to build a habitat for animals.

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This is a cave.

IMG_7244.JPGRoom 15 is building a woodland habitat in their drama center.

  • Mrs Ramistella’s class (room 15) is learning about tadpoles and frogs, and the class is building a woodland habitat in their drama center.

Coburn School [Twitter: @WSPSCoburn]

  • Coburn School leadership is up and running!  Students met and discussed the mission statement and what it means to be a leader in school.  They will support the school during arrival, dismissal and lunch times.  Congratulations to Aseel Flayeh, Josue Jimenez, Mackenzie Perry, Raisa Sirbu, Roza Azizova, Ilayda Basibuyuk, Basmalh Azzawi, Grace Argueta-Pancan, Fatima Manahi, Maab Elssir, Jayme Ray, Falak Kansara, Madison Daletto, and Sheldom Vasquez for being selected to serve as a leader for our school!  (See photo 1 below)

  • Some 5th grade students from Heather Piper’s classroom came to the school committee on Tuesday evening to read their essays on their field trip to Bear Hole.  The students put forth a great deal of effort in composing their essays and writing them on the Chromebooks.  A big thank you to Mrs. Heather Piper, Yasmin Vasquez, Anthony Lopez, Nathalie Aponte, Sean Barton, Grace Argueta-Pancan, and  Savannah Bernard.  

  • During the recent curriculum day after school, teachers in grades K-2 created common writing assessments in the content areas which they will be able to take back to their classrooms and then look at the the data across their grade levels to plan next steps.  Grades 3-5 discussed what a guided math block looks like and how DreamBox as an intervention will fit within that model.  Teachers will participate in the DreamBox training this Friday.  (see photo 2 below)

  • Thanksgiving is coming next week!  Students at Coburn School are learning all about Thanksgiving and how we have come to celebrate this holiday with our families.  We are discussing what it means to be thankful and students are sharing what they are thankful for.  Students in Mrs. Agostino’s group were reading the story Cooking Thanksgiving Dinner in their guided reading group. (see photo 3 below)

leadership.jpg School committee presentation.png Thanksgiving.jpg

Cowing Early Childhood

  • We are pleased to welcome Nancy Flynn as our substitute clerk alongside Judy Hubbard.

  • Picture retakes are Monday, November 21.

  • The Cowing staff celebrated Thankful Thursdays with breakfast from Horace Mann. We are so thankful for their hard work educating our youngest learners!

  • Below is a picture of new Librarian, Donna Smart, reading to Mrs. Maloney’s class.IMG_1632.jpg

  • Mrs. Mulvaney, who is covering for Lisa Aubin upstairs with CAS, came down to read to the children in Mrs. Maloney’s class.


Fausey School [Twitter: @WSPSFausey]

  • WELCOME!  It’s a pleasure to introduce a very important new staff member, Ms. Theresa Martinson.  She will be assisting Mrs. Kavrakis in her role as LPN nurse.  

  • HARLEM AMBASSADORS:  The famous Harlem Ambassadors visited Fausey’s 3rd to 5th graders to share inspirational messages drawn from their personal stories.  Their messages were shared through ball-handling artistry and audience participation.  They shared the obstacles they’ve overcome and the good choices they made to become great athletes, strong students and kind adults.  Their final anti-bullying speech spoke to all participants:  the realization that bullies are really cowards, and that we need to stand up for ourselves and for others.  The event was a resounding success!  (See pictures 1-2 below)

  • JANNA BROWN, METEOROLOGIST:  Channel 40 Meteorologist Janna Brown visited Fausey’s 3rd graders.  The presentation supplemented the students’ weather studies in Science. Thank you to Mrs. Teri Rivers, Fausey paraprofessional, for making the arrangements for Ms. Brown’s visit. (See picture below)

  • ROBOTS IN ROOM 17!  Mrs. Chalero’s engineers completed a "Green Team" Unit. The students learned how to identify items that can be recycled, and then worked hard to build robots out of recycled materials so as to show how items can be repurposed. (See pictures 1-4 below)


  • Tuesday, November 22:  Book Swap, all grades

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

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Harlem Ambassadors entertain students at Fausey.

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      Janna Brown - Meteorologist Room 17 Robots...

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                                                                 Room 17 Robots

High School [Twitter: @WSPS_WSHS and @WSHS_guidance]

Weekly Review:


  • November 18 Class of 2019 Great Night Out fundraiser


Department Notes:

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Click Here

Athletics [Twitter: @wshsterriers]

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

  • Girls Soccer - The Western Mass Division 1 Champions played against Nashoba Regional High School in the Division 1 Girls Soccer State Semi-finals on November 16 at Nashoba in Bolton.

  • Boys/Girls Cross Country - The Western Mass Division 1 Champions will compete in the State Cross Country meet on Saturday, November 19 at 1:50 p.m. at Gardner Municipal Golf Course in Gardner.

  • 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.

Alumni News

  • Mark Wilson ‘15 is a United States Marines Lance Corporal, stationed in North Carolina.

  • Gina Orlando ‘11 works as an RN in Boston.

  • Brandon Charbonneau ‘11 is a sales associate at Bertera.

  • Alyssa Sawyer ‘11 works at the Key Program in Springfield.

  • Superintendent Michael Richard bumped into a group of alumni at a local restaurant after last weekend’s West Springfield - Westfield football game.  Pictured below are: Luanne Miles ‘ 74, Angela Cincotta ‘74, Laurie Simpson ‘74, Marilyn (Vincent) Harpin ‘74, Linda (Ferraro) Hanlin ‘74, Lois (Jasiewicz) Santillo ‘76, Lynn Amato Corrigall ‘73, Cindy Bovat ‘73, Sandra Bovat ‘72, Debi Edwards ‘74, Sheila Jasiewicz ‘73, Darlene Edwards ‘73, Liz (Pappas) Frogameni ‘73, and Josie Golfieri McConkey ‘74