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District Spotlight - November 4, 2016

posted Nov 7, 2016, 6:33 AM by Erin Mountain

From The Superintendent [Twitter: @WestSideSupt]

  • The WS Public Library presents an author and illustrator event in the Youth and Teen rooms on November 5 at 10 a..m.  WSHS student Vanessa Bonebo ‘17 organized the event through an internship at WSPL.  Check this link for details.

  • Mayor Reichelt joined members of the School Department and Central Maintenance Department to tour Coburn Elementary School.  The purpose was to identify any issues and make determinations about how to address them in the short- and long-term.

  • November 8 is a district Professional Development day for staff.  There will be no school for students.

  • Veterans Day, November 11, is holiday for students and staff.

  • Student groups, including the Middle School and High School bands, will participate in the Veterans Day Parade, which steps off from St. Thomas at 10:00 a.m. on November 11.

  • Below are some highlights from various schools and departments...


Athletics [Twitter: @wshsterriers]

  • The Boys/Girls PVIAC Cross Country Championship meet is Saturday, November 5 at Stanley Park in Westfield -- Girls JV - 1:00; Girls Varsity - 3:00; Boys JV - 2:00; Boys Varsity - 3:40

  • Girls Volleyball hosted Chicopee High on November 3, and they won!  The team will face Amherst November 8 at 6:30 p.m. at Williston in Easthampton.

  • Field Hockey traveled to Smith College to play Northampton on November 3.  The Terriers lost but deserve congratulations on an excellent season!

  • Football will travel to Chicopee Comp tonight, Friday November 4, with a start time of 7:00 p.m.

  • Girls Soccer earned a #1 seed and will host a quarterfinal game Monday, Nov 7 at 5 p.m.

  • Boys Soccer earned a #2 seed and will host a quarterfinal game Monday, Nov 7 at 7:30 p.m.

  • Daniel O’Toole recently represented West Side in the Golf State Finals.

  • Every Fall Team qualified for tournament play.  Quite the feat!  Go Terriers!

  • 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.

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

Alumni News

Below are updates on a few of our WSHS alumni:

  • Ally Stokowski ‘11 works in the crisis clinic at Behavioral Health Network.

  • Annie Walker ‘05 is an occupational therapist at Mercy Hospital.

  • Kenna Clark ‘08 is a PE teacher at Northampton Middle School.

Memorial School [Twitter: @WSPSMemorial]

  • Memorial School students and staff were very excited to see that the old playground was removed and our new playground equipment was delivered!  Thanks to Vicky Connor and Scott Moore for helping to coordinate this event smoothly. (photo below)

  • The school’s non-perishable food drive for the Parish Cupboard continues through November and all families and community members are encouraged to help Memorial reach its goals.  Please feel free to stop in to donate a box or can! (photo below)

  • The Memorial team held an Education Mentor meeting with Community and Family Engagement Coordinator Jen Brennan.  This collaboration will result in being better able to support families.

  • PTO and School Council meetings were very productive; events are planned in the coming months.

  • Staff members of the new school beautification committee have been working very hard on cleaning and organizing the stage to make it more accessible and available for other activities.

  • The After School Program is progressing wonderfully and it is terrific to see so many children engaging in cooperative learning activities.

  • Literacy Specialists Katy Brunelle and Marcie Kearing attended the “Literacy for All” conference. See the teachers below with Fountas and Pinnell; how exciting to meet these pioneering women!

  • Grade 1 students  in the class of 2028 were very excited to meet Pike and his companion officer Eric Johnson, who spoke about his community service. Students have been writing and editing personal narratives while learning about government. (photo below)

  • Second graders in the class of 2027 have begun planning and writing their “All About Book” related to something they feel they are an expert about.

  • Third graders in the class of 2026 continue to investigate the science topic of weather by conducting science experiments with a partner.  Students made a tornado in a bottle, observed the vortex, and learned to write a procedure after they completed the experiment. (photo below)

  • Members of Mrs. Weldon’s Class of 2025 welcomed Mrs. Duquette’s grade 2 class to enjoy an engaging and fun-filled active learning and listening experience.  The grade 4 students were great role models and grade 2 students demonstrated impressive listening skills.  All grade 4 students are demonstrating  impressive knowledge of multiplication by using break apart numbers to multiply 2-digit by 1-digit numbers.  In social studies they have been examining the features of maps.

  • Students in grade 5 in the class of 2024 are exploring text and graphic features in informational books they have been reading. They are considering how an author helps a reader understand a topic.

  • Students in room 6 have been reinforcing their place value knowledge and becoming word problem detectives by playing AVMR games.

  • Students in Mrs. Doyle’s class have been writing to a Pen Pal of their choice.  They drafted and revised letters to give or mail to a friend.  The students really enjoyed writing with an authentic purpose.

  • Art students have been continuing to learn about the properties of light and spectrum in order to use the color wheel to inform their use of color in their original artwork.

Middle School [Twitter: @WSPS_WSMS]

  • Lynda St. Jean and Megan Alaimo from the West Springfield branch of TD Bank visited Mrs. Zymroz’s 8th grade Math Exploration class on Tuesday to discuss financial literacy, math through finance, and its daily impact.  They plan on returning for future groups!

  • On Tuesday, the Fire Department conducted a follow up inspection in which WSMS was in compliance with all fire regulations

  • Term 1 ended on Thursday, students received Term 2 schedules for the new quarter on Friday morning in their homerooms

  • Next Thursday, all Gr. 8 students will take a Prevention Needs Assessment Survey in either their Modern World, Spanish, or Reading class.  A letter went home to Gr. 8 students about this during the week.  The survey will help guide promotion of healthy choices and prevention measures as the year progresses.

  • Sixth Grade students will begin a Signs of Suicide workshop with our adjustment counselors next Wednesday.  One team at a time will meet with adjustment counselors for this workshop which includes support services, steps for helping a friend, and general mental health awareness work.  Individual support and services will be provided as well.   

Mittineague School [Twitter: @WSPSMittineague]

  • Officer Eric Johnson and Pike visited the class of 2028 to talk with them about rules and the community. (picture below)

  • Second and third graders are studying non-fiction with Mrs. Labonte. They have begun taking notes and creating posters to inform others about a topic. The topics will be presented to teach others about what they have learned. (pictures below)

  • Alexis Silva Cassidy (class of 2025) chose to spend her well-earned Paw tickets on a coupon that allowed her to read a story and spend time in a grade one class.  (picture)

  • Friday, October 28 was the date of the second annual Trunk or Treat at Mittineague School, sponsored by the West Springfield Church of Christ. Over 125 children participated! (picture below) Mittineague students collected over 150 jars of peanut butter, jelly and fluff for the Parish Cupboard in conjunction with this event! Siobhan Cote, Mason Hamel, Sophia DeBarge and Aiden Hettrick from Mrs. Gerardi’s class sit with the boxes filled with PB&J! (picture)

  • The Educator Mentorship initiative is off to a busy and positive start at Mittineague School. A team comprised of teacher leaders Nicole Labonte and Sara Bartolucci, under the direction of Jennifer Brennan, have already reached out to and have formed working relationships with several families.   

  • Upcoming events:

    • PTO Bake Election Bake sale - November 8  

    • Lee Lang Luncheon - November 10

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Tatham School [Twitter: @WSPSTatham]

  • On Friday, October 28th, we had our annual ARITHME-TRICKS and TREATS.  Each student worked on 16 math problems exchanged their answers for treats.  More than 40 volunteers assisted with this event!

  • Students whose birthdays were in October got to eat with the principal at a special table.   

  • The Student Council visited the WSFD and brought thank you cards made by all Tatham students in honor of National Fire Prevention month. (see photo)

  • Election Day Bake Sale - Tuesday, November 8!  Bakers and volunteers needed!

  • Family Science Night is Wednesday, November 9.  

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.

  • Celebrate Literacy Month on the Story Walk, featuring The Mitten - Saturday, November 5 from 10-12 at John Ashley.  No registration required. Come enjoy literacy, the outdoors and some warm refreshments!

Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment [Twitter: @WSPSCurriculum]

  • West  Springfield faculty and staff will participate in the third full Professional Development day of the year on November 8.  Using the District Improvement Plan as a guide, faculty and staff will work on such topics as Depth of Knowledge, Cultural Competency, Mindfulness and Self-Care, and content-related training.

  • West Springfield High School was trained in the use and structure of a building-based data team. The goal is to have every school in the district trained by the end of the school year.

  • Our new data platform, MasteryConnect was launched this week. The District trained math specialists from each of the Grade 1-5 schools. The specialists will carry this expertise back to their building for implementation. The benefits of having a data platform is the efficiency and pace of which teachers receive student level assessment data to make immediate curricular or instructional changes (photo below).


English as a Second Language Department (ESL)

  • Susannah Crolius, Coordinator of Outreach and Resource Development for the Western Massachusetts Refugee and Immigrant Consortium, will give a Cultural Competency presentation for all staff members on the November 8 Professional Development day.

  • Parent ELL classes will be offered beginning on 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]

  • This week, school nurses assisted in planning and preparing for many school, student and staff needs and programming: 504/IEP/Healthcare plans, concussion policy, field trip planning, safety and attendance on some trips, SBIRT, staff flu immunization clinics, student and family education and information.

  • School nurses are reminding people that it is time to get an annual flu shot.  Click here for CDC info.

  • Check school newsletters and Nurse’s Corner page on school websites for communications regarding health-related issues/educational activities.

  • School nurse programming for next week includes: Grade 9 SBIRT, Grade 6 SOS and CARE steering committee meeting.

Information Technology

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Your Chromebook automatically checks for updates, but you can also check for and install updates manually.  You can often resolve common issues by updating the Chrome OS.

  • HelpDesk Status

    • 727 HelpDesk tickets received from 8/29/16 - 11/4/16 ( + 48  this week)

    • 557 of those HelpDesk tickets have been closed. ( + 54 this week)

  • This week, the IT department has supported Special Services with the setup of devices in preparation for the expanded use of Q-Interactive, an online assessment tool.

  • In light of recent email phishing incidents this week, please consider your email account as a de-facto master password for your online identity. Most -- if not all -- of your online accounts are secured through your email. Remember all those "forgot password" and "forgot account" links?  Guess where they ultimately resolve to?  If someone controls your email account, they have nearly unlimited access to every online identity you own across every website you visit.  If you are asked to input your password as the result of reading or responding to an email, then something smells “phishy”, and you should check the source of the request before proceeding!

John Ashley School [Twitter: @WSPSAshley]

  • PBIS is still working its magic: respect, kindness, and friendships are blossoming.  

  • Teachers and staff are happy to see so many students using level one voices in our hallways and whole body listening in our classrooms. Great job!

  • The Tower Garden veggies are growing, cherry tomatoes, lettuce and cucumbers have all sprouted!  Can the basil and peppers be far behind?

  • 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.

Coburn School [Twitter: @WSPSCoburn]

  • The first grade classrooms are working on their narrative writing.  They are learning to expand small moments using transition words while developing a beginning, middle and an end.  In social studies, the students are learning about leaders in our government.  Mrs. Cirillo and Mrs. Hannoush’s first grade classrooms will take a walking field trip to the Mayor’s office to visit and speak with him. (Photo 1 below)

  • The fourth grade teachers have been incorporating chromebooks into their lessons in order to enhance their teaching and prepare students to take their online MCAS 2.0 assessments.  Heather Walker used the app Kahoot for her October Test Review.  Ms. St. George also participated in the review with the students. (Photo 2 below)

  • Students at Coburn School had their fall pictures taken on Tuesday.

Upcoming Events:

  • School Council meeting - Monday, November 7

  • Professional Development for staff - Tuesday, November 8.  No school for students.

  • Family Literacy Night - Wednesday, November 9, 5:00-6:00

  • PBIS - Home Depot Buy In for 4th and 5th grade - Thursday, November 10

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Cowing Alternative School (CAS) [Twitter: @WSPSCowingCAS]

  • CAS is proud to announce that two middle school students have prepared for a transition to the WS Middle School and they are taking a Unified Arts class beginning on Nov. 4.  Congratulations to Cory and Brandon!!

  • Cowing Alternative School welcomed Andy to Ms. Scibelli’s class on Tuesday, Nov. 1.  Welcome to CAS!!

  • Mrs. Messier’s class took a walking field trip to the Police Department and the Post office today as part of their social studies “Community Helpers” unit.

Cowing Early Childhood

  • All the EC children participated in a Fall scavenger hunt. Ms. Maloney’s class all wore googly eyes glasses for the event. (Photo 1 below)

  • Mrs. Christofori’s class is learning about eating healthy.  Let’s go shopping! (Photo 2 below)

  • In Room 2 , Mrs. Kania’s class, students filled the classroom bear jar as part of the PBIS group initiative. This special activity included a parade to the playground. Students made windsocks and played instruments.

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Fausey School [Twitter: @WSPSFausey]

  • November is Literacy Month ~ Mr. Harty, Mrs. Petit and Mrs. Kane began this year’s Fausey literacy activities with an opening proclamation on November 1.  On that day, they also shared the first ‘Word of the Day’ which was MARVELOUS!  The November Calendar with each ‘Word of the Day’ was shared with all staff and posted on a bulletin board.  Many more fun activities will be shared, with the Fausey student council also helping to plan some of the November celebration of reading and writing.

  • Full STEAM Ahead! The Art Room will be used for hands-on science activities on Mondays and Tuesdays.  Working with the support of our district’s Esther Donahue, the teachers and students will be able to use the Science kits more easily in the spacious Art Room.

  • Mobile Dentist:  Fausey students were able to visit the friendly Mobile Dentist this week. Thank you to the visitors and the PTO volunteers who supported the very important event.

  • Academic and Citizenship Awards:  During Monday’s lunches, Mrs. Morneau recognized Fausey students that showed strong academic effort and exhibited exemplary citizenship during the month of October.  The proud students were nominated by their teachers, and the specific reason for the recognition was duly noted on the students’ certificates.  This year, the students were also given a neat bracelet to go along with the certificate.  Congratulations to the Fausey scholars and good citizens!


  • Parents night out - Fausey PTO Scavenger Hunt FUNdraiser, November 10, 6:20 p.m.  All adults in the community welcome (teams of three or four - $50/team if registered by 11/9, or $60/team at the door).   Cash/ checks payable to Fausey PTO (please send in envelope marked "Scavenger Hunt, PTO").

High School [Twitter: @WSPS_WSHS and @WSHS_guidance]

Weekly Review:


  • Class of 2017 Cap and Gown orders are due ASAP, avoid late fees

  • 11/7 WEST SIDE HIGH SCHOOL VOTES 2016 Mock Elections

  • 11/8 Professional Development - No School for students

  • 11/10 “Mr. Westside” Pageant at 7:30 in Auditorium

  • 11/11 Veterans Day - No School

From the Principal:

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Student Spotlight:

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Department Notes:

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