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District Spotlight - October 14, 2016

posted Oct 17, 2016, 7:30 AM by Erin Mountain

From The Superintendent [Twitter: @WestSideSupt]

  • October 20 is K-5 parent conference day and early dismissal for students in Gr. 1-5 only.  No school for EC/Ashley students.  

  • The Partnership for Education Mini Grant reception is October 17.  We look forward to hearing about innovative enrichment projects from several West Springfield educators!

  • National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is Saturday, October 22 from 10:00-2:00 in the Municipal Office Building lobby.  We join the CARE Coalition in encouraging people to dispose of unwanted/expired medications and prescription drugs!

  • Mark your calendar - the WSHS Annual Punkin’ Chunkin’ contest is Oct. 28, 2:30 at the HS!

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

Cowing Early Childhood

  • Cowing EC held a Parent/Child Play date last Friday.  A big thanks to Educational Technology Coordinator Steve Lucey for helping to set up the Chromebook with the Smart TV to integrate our music and movement activities.  Below are some pictures from this event..

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  • On Friday Cowing EC will hold a Community Screening with 18 three and four year old children.  This screening has three parts: developmental, vision, and hearing.

Fausey School [Twitter: @WSPSFausey]

  • Chorus: Correction from last week: Mr. Augusti began his Chorus lessons, which will be held on Thursdays from 7:30-8:15.  Sorry Mr. Augusti!

  • Smencils! The first offering of Smencils was a huge success on October 7.  Thank you to the parents who volunteer each month to sell the pencils, markers and stickers!

  • PTO Meeting: Fausey’s PTO met on Tuesday, 10/11 at 7 pm.  Mrs. Lubas was the teacher host for this very active and well-appreciated group.  The PTO minutes will be uploaded onto the Fausey website in a few days.  The next PTO meeting will be November 15, 2016.

  • Fausey’s Picture Day: Thank you to all the parent volunteers who helped out.  Over 450 pictures were taken!  


  • Bear Hole Visits - Class visits at Fausey 10/17; Mrs. Cameron’s and Mr. Bailey’s field trip Tuesday!

  • BOX TOPS - First collection date is October 21 (to support PTO).  The class that collects the most Box Tops for Fausey at the end of the year gets to challenge staff to a kickball game!

  • Kids night out - PBIS presents a Mad Science SPOOKTACULAR EVENT October 26, 6-7:30 p.m.  Cost is $5/child; space is limited (sign up soon).  Proceeds will benefit the Parish Cupboard.

  • 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:


  • 10/19

    • Grade 9 Math & ELA Benchmark Assessments

    • Grades 10 & 11 PSATs will be administered at WSHS

    • Grade 12 Jostens Senior Meeting

  • 10/20 Grade 10 Jostens Ring Assembly

  • 10/21 Picture Retakes

From the Principal:

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Pathways to Prosperity:

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Department Notes:

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Athletics [Twitter: @wshsterriers]

  • Please follow @wshsterriers on Twitter for daily WSHS Athletics updates of scores and highlights

  • Also for smart phone (Android and Apple), get the free MIAA app so you can follow your favorite team

  • Please refer to the High School's Weekly review section for scores and awards

  • Please visit the MIAA Schedule on the athletics web page

  • The Art Department is designing Athlete of the Week T-Shirts and a Sportsmanship Sign

  • Owen Breck was Boys Cross Country Athlete of the Week

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

  • Currently all of our teams either qualified for postseason play or still have a chance to do so

  • Upcoming Senior Nights are as follows:  Boys/Girls Cross Country 10/18 (at Holyoke/Ashley Reservoir), Field Hockey 10/19, Boys Soccer 10/20, Volleyball 10/27, Football/Cheer with Band and Color Guard 10/28, and Girls Soccer 10/31

Alumni News

Below are updates on a few of our WSHS alumni:

  • Emily Taylor ‘12 is a PE teacher at Palmer High school and Palmer Field Hockey coach.

  • Jess Taylor ‘13 is majoring in psychology and playing field hockey at Mount Holyoke College.  Jess landed a great internship in Sen. Warren's office over the summer.

  • Courtney Lefebvre ‘11 is a 3rd grade teacher in the Springfield Public Schools.

Memorial School [Twitter: @WSPSMemorial]

  • Memorial School celebrated "Spirit Week" with great success. This event promoted the PBIS program with renewed emphasis.  A whole school assembly was held to gather together as a school community and to celebrate this special week.  Students were extremely excited to see their peers participating and it also encouraged children to prepare for the next event each evening, sometimes coordinating with friends.  Participating students were eligible to be entered in a raffle to win great prizes daily.  Sports/Team & School Apparel Day, Crazy Hair Day, Twin Day and Bees Pride Day were celebrated. Each day, participation was greater than the previous day, which displayed an invigorated school spirit!

  • First graders are enjoying Imagine Learning on their Chromebooks.

  • In Writing Workshop, students are creating personal narratives & working to narrow a topic to a small moment and defining their purpose for writing.

  • Fifth graders enjoyed their classroom visit Tuesday to prepare for their Bear Hole field trip today.

  • All grade levels are tackling mathematical problems, looking for the vital information and defending mathematical thinking.

  • Last week, schoolwide Math Challenge began where students complete a take-home number challenge and receive a prize book.

  • Memorial School is eagerly preparing for parent-teacher conferences next week.

Middle School [Twitter: @WSPS_WSMS]

  • Dr. Lisa Dieker, from the University of Central Florida, conducted a full-day site visit to examine our Inclusionary Practices.  Administration and faculty debriefed with her after school.  She was complimentary of the school and offered some valued suggestions.

  • Members of the VFW and Veterans from West Springfield joined with 7th Graders on Thursday as a part of the “Patriot’s Pen” essay contest.  Creative Literacy teachers Mrs. Favolise and Mrs. Godden facilitated this event which included Veterans who work at WSMS.  Vice Principal Mr. Brown, 8th Grade Teacher Mr. Dufault, and paraprofessional Mr. Donais each joined in, speaking about their service.

  • The WSMS Guidance Department did a tremendous job in explaining and training all staff on the Instructional Support Team referral service.  The training aligned WSMS with state requirements for Special Education referrals and is a part of the district’s work in this area.

  • Wednesday was Bus Evacuation day at WSMS.  Students took part in bus evacuations on Wednesday morning.  

  • Next week, 6th grade students will take field trips to local antique stores as part of their “American Pickers” themed interdisciplinary unit.  Students will select and study antique items in ways that connect their item to Science, History, Math, and ELA standards.  

  • Next Friday, Richard Dubuisson will join teachers in the content planning time to continue to advance rigorous lessons and assessments.  This is in connection to the District Improvement Plan and the district’s work around using the “Depth of Knowledge” tool.  

Mittineague School [Twitter: @WSPSMittineague]

  • Miss Shypula’s students from the class of 2027 busily practiced the skill of subtraction using manipulatives and a ten frame. (picture below)

  • Mrs. Gerardi’s first graders made decorations for Bourque Realty’s window display.  They measured, cut, pasted and followed specific directions to create some “Franken Tacular” windows! (picture below)

  • The plants growing in our Tower Garden were started with seeds on September 7. One group of seeds was planted in soil with normal watering and light conditions. The other set was planted in rockwool in a controlled, self watering environment. The plants were moved into the Tower Garden on September 21st and the lights were set up on the 22nd. These two pictures below were taken of the lettuce plants, today, October 12. Wow! What a difference!

  • October is the Boys’ and Girls’ Club fundraising month at Ninety Nine Restaurant.  Ninety Nine gives the Boy’s and Girl’s club a percentage for all Boys’ and Girls’ Club menu items in October. Our Mittineague B&G Club group designed and decorated pumpkins to display and sell for this event!

  • Special events on the horizon are (mark your calendars!):

    • Family Science Night October 19 from 6-7:30

    • Parent/Teacher Conferences October 20/24 (11:00 dismissal)

    • Trunk or Treat Friday, October 28 6:00

    • Family Literacy Night November 3       

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  Total growing time for both lettuce plants -  36 days.

Tatham School [Twitter: @WSPSTatham]

  • Grade 5 had guest speakers to teach them about the watershed in preparation for their visit to Bear Hole.   

  • The Student Council is busy making thank you cards for our West Springfield Firefighters in honor of National Fire Prevention Month. They will be visiting the station at the end of the month to deliver the cards.

  • The PTO is finalizing plans for their annual Trunk or Treat event and Movie Night on Friday, October 21.

  • Mad Science started this week.  Students are excited to be super detectives as they learn about forensic science.    

  • Grade 3 is learning about text features of nonfiction. They are researching and learning about animals. (see picture.)                 

Community & Family Engagement/Outreach [Twitter: @westspfldcfce]

  • Community and Family Engagement ‘Meet and Greet’ is October 29 from 10-12 at 389 Main Street.  Come by and see what West Springfield CAFE has to offer.

  • ASQ Parent Cafe: Ages and Stages Screenings for children ages 0-5 allow families to find out their child’s strengths in development.  Come learn more at this Parent Cafe at 389 Main Street on October 20 from  5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

  • Ongoing:

    • Community Playgroup for children 0-5 is every Tuesday from 10:30-11:30 at 389 Main Street. Free, drop in.  Snack included.

Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment [Twitter: @WSPSCurriculum]

  • Dr. Lisa Dieker from the University of Central Florida conducted a site visit at West Springfield Middle School in our quest to identify our district-wide status of our inclusionary practices.  The data will be compiled and consolidated with the 2015-2016 West Springfield High School. We will continue this practice through the elementary level to guide our thinking towards improvement for all students.

  • The Elementary Principal Committee is looking at the new state requirements of online testing for grades 4 and 8.  

  • Please visit my Twitter page to see some exciting work that is happening around the District!!

English as a Second Language Department (ESL)

  • Beginner ESL kindergarten students are eagerly learning to write and identify their names and the names of their friends.

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  • Michelle Kiah, the high school ESL-ELA teacher, participated in an Imagine Learning webinar and will begin using this exciting language and literacy program with her beginner ELL students.

Health Services [Twitter: @cmviens]

  • District nurses collaborated/coordinated in the planning activities for numerous initiatives including SAFE Team, SBIRT, SOS and student and staff fitness and wellness promotion

  • District wide nurses planned for safety and attended multiple field trips

  • EC nurse conducted preschool community screenings

  • Fluoride mouthrinse program in several elementary schools; planning for mobile dentist visits continues

  • Nurses attending numerous 504 and IEP meetings

  • Communication/educational activities through newsletters and Nurse’s Corner pages on school websites

  • Next week:

    • Staff flu clinics begin and will be conducted in each school over the next month

    • Elementary hearing and vision screenings continue

Information Technology

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 Google Docs now includes a COLUMNS format option for your documents!  (You’ll find it under “Format” menu in Google Docs.)

  • HelpDesk Status

    • 572 HelpDesk tickets received from 8/29/16 - 10/13/16  ( + 40 this week)

    • 307 of those HelpDesk tickets have been closed. ( + 71 this week)

  • The IT Department with assistance from Tim Connor, Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment has begun to plan for the technology that will be required, and to schedule IT support coverage for MCAS online testing in grades 4 and 8 next Spring.  

  • Last week, Google refreshed its branding.  Google Services are now known as Google Cloud and Google Apps is now G Suite.

John Ashley School [Twitter: @WSPSAshley]

  • John Ashley students went to Randall’s Farm in Ludlow, where they went on a hay ride, picked pumpkins, ate homemade apple cider donuts with apple cider and walked through a corn maze.  Thank you to the teachers, paras, and extra staff who made this a great time for all.


  • Pictured above:  Mrs. Vedovelli’s room and Mrs Dufresne’s classes enjoy the wonderful sunshine and warm weather on the field trip to Randall’s Farm.  Thank you to the John Ashley PTO who helped with the cost of the tee-shirts (every child received one) and the cost of the trip.

  • PBIS still rules!  Students are learning personal space, respect for each other and themselves.

  • The first Whole School Assembly was held on October 5, 2016.  It was great to see all the students enjoying the hard work exhibited by their fellow students in Ms Cannon’s and Mrs Busiere’s classes.

Coburn School [Twitter: @WSPSCoburn]

  • On Wednesday the PBIS team met to review SWIS data, and discuss the upcoming assembly and walk to support our local Rays of Hope and American Cancer Society.  The team also discussed different student incentives to introduce that will promote positive behavior.

  • Students at Coburn School practiced their bus evacuation on Thursday morning.

  • On Friday, grade 4 students traveled to Skinner Mountain for a field trip (pictures and information to follow next week!).  Students will be studying rocks and minerals, the effects of weathering and erosion, as well the history of this historic site.

  • The third grade has been discussing severe weather as well as instruments that measure the weather.  Students have been writing about different types of severe weather.  They have created their own tornadoes, hurricanes, as well as some of their own weather instruments and tested them outside!storms.jpgIMG_6931.JPGIMG_6934.JPG IMG_6933.JPG

Cowing Alternative School [Twitter: @WSPSCowingCAS]

  • Mrs. Aubin and Mrs. Messier attended a webinar about Imagine Learning.  CAS will be implementing a new reading program that the students will love -- it will be on their Chromebooks!

  • A BIG thank you to Mrs. Callini for all of the support she has provided for the CAS students.  She seems to appear out of nowhere every time we need help -- and it’s greatly appreciated!!