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District Spotlight - October 7, 2016

posted Oct 11, 2016, 6:39 AM by Erin Mountain

From The Superintendent

  • Open House events will be held on Saturday, October 8 at the Fire Department from 12:00-2:00 p.m. (Van Deene) and the Community Police Merrick sub-station (774 Main St.) from 1:00-3:00.   

  • A comprehensive report of the district’s accountability status will be provided at the October 11 School Committee meeting (6:00 p.m. in the Municipal Office Building Justin Morgan Auditorium - and on livestream).  PARCC and MCAS results were released to students on October 6.  Please contact the school principal or counselor if you have specific questions.

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


Cowing Alternative School

  • The 5th grade students enjoyed their SEEC field trip to Bear Hole.  Ask your children what they learned in this outdoor science classroom.

  • Dreambox Math is well underway.  Educational Technology Coordinator Steven Lucey met with the teachers at the October faculty meeting to teach a few tricks: assign specific lessons to students, look at class and individual data, and how to control what the students can do.

  • The CAS Tower Garden is growing!  The students in Mrs. Cassidy’s class and school nurse, Mrs. Sitler, continue to keep the tower garden up-and-running.



Cowing Early Childhood

  • Ms. Maloney’s and Mrs. Christofori’s classes learned about Fire Safety this week. Here are pictures of Ms. Maloney’s students enjoying the Dramatic Play area of their classroom.

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  • The teachers at Cowing School hosted a Parent/Child Playdate today.  Everyone enjoyed the “Fabulous Fall Language Activities.”

  • Next week, on Friday, Cowing will host its second Community Screening of the year.


Fausey School

  • DreamBox Webinar:  Teachers in the co-taught classrooms attended a webinar in preparation for launching a Math software entitled DreamBox.  Students in those classrooms will use the software in school and at home to practice their math skills in an individualized manner.  More information to follow.

  • Mad Science:  On Wednesday the students enjoyed a presentation from a Mad Scientist!!  The presentation was done during lunches to promote the upcoming Fall After School Programs which will begin on October 19 and run for 12 weeks.  Flyers will be sent with the students.   

  • Faculty Meeting:  Fausey’s MCAS and PARCC spring assessments resulted in a Level 1 status for the school.  Individual scores were sent home to this week.  Congratulations to parents, Fausey staff, and to our hard-working students!  The teachers met to discuss the data that culminated in achieving that level, to plan for another successful year for our students.  The faculty also discussed the minutes from the Fausey Crisis Team meeting last Friday.  The intent is to prepare for any emergency situation at Fausey through discussion, readiness and consult with district leaders and responders.

  • Student Council:  Mr. Harty, Mrs. Murray and Mr. Navone are staff volunteers this year, and they have enlisted 22 excited fifth graders to be part of the very active Student Council!  The purpose of the John R. Fausey Elementary Student Council is to encourage leadership in an effort to promote respectful citizenship within the school and greater community.  The first meeting will be Thursday, 10/13.  They’ve already started their first project: launching the monthly collection for the Parish Cupboard, which began today.   Much more to come from this group of student leaders!!   

  • Chorus:  Mr. Rovero began his chorus lesson, held on Thursdays from 7:30-8:15.

  • Smencils!  These popular items will be sold during lunches, once a month, starting 10/7.  Proceeds are used to promote PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support) activities at Fausey.  

  • UPCOMING:  PTO Meeting on Tuesday, 10/11 at 7 pm.


High School

Weekly Review:


Upcoming:

  • 10/12 Financial Aid Night 6 PM in Auditorium

  • 10/13 School Council Meeting

  • 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


From the Principal:

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Department Notes:

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Athletics

  • 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.

  • Our Art Department is in the process of designing 2016/17 Athlete of the Week T-Shirts and a Sportsmanship Sign for Fan Behavior.


Alumni News

Below are updates on a few of our WSHS alumni:

  • Nicholas Greguoli and Alex Wright ‘11 are managers at Enterprise

  • Amanda Butler ‘11 is a chef at Canyon Ranch in Lenox, MA

  • Brittany Gage ‘11 is a PE teacher at Putnam High School in Springfield

  • Nikki Madamba ‘07 is a medical tech at Quest Diagnostics

  • Gianna DiClementi ‘11 is an RN at Glen Meadows Retirement Community


Memorial School


  • On Wednesday evening, Memorial had very productive PTO and School Council meetings with good representation from parents and staff members.  Jen Brennan attended our faculty meeting to discuss Educator Mentor specifics (formerly Outreach).  Big E parking for the WSHS Band and Memorial concluded last weekend - it was a very successful partnership - see photo above!

  • Students across all grade levels are learning math strategies for solving multiple step problems and explaining their thinking in math.

  • Students are writing personal narratives and engaging in learning conversations about their field trip to the Big E.

  • In grade 4, students are working to discover the ways in which authors reveal characters through description, dialogue, thoughts, and actions. They are learning to visualize and verbalize as they read, creating a picture in their mind.

  • Grade 1 students are learning spelling strategies for unknown words.  

  • To enhance science learning, students in grade 5 have submitted projects on such topics as: phases of the moon, planets in our solar system and climate.

  • Four teachers will attend Singapore Math training in order to gain valuable insights into more math strategies and modes of instruction.


Middle School

  • 7th graders took a field trip to Skinner Mountain to study both its geological formations and the local history connected to the region.

  • The annual PBIS Cookie Dough fundraiser kicked off on Thursday and runs for the next few weeks.  Please support this cause and purchase some delicious Otis Spunkmeyer cookies!!

  • Late buses began running on Tuesday and, with that, many clubs and activities began this week.

  • A team from Narragansett Middle School came to visit WSMS on Friday to study our PBIS program as they begin to implement the work in their school.  

  • Next Tuesday, Lisa Dieker will visit WSMS to examine inclusionary practices within the building.  This work is connected to our School and District Improvement plans around growing inclusion.  We’re excited to have Lisa visit and provide feedback to our team.

  • On Thursday, 10/13, Local Veterans will visit WSMS in connection with the VFW’s “Patriot’s Pen” Project.  WSMS and the VFW have partnered on this for the last 3 years.  A panel of local veterans will speak to students, answer questions, and review essays that students wrote in connection to the VFW’s essay contest.  The VFW will announce prize winners from that contest as well!


Mittineague School  

  • Brett Ralph from the Horace Mann Insurance Company purchased a book for every student in our school for our newest “All School Read” initiative! The book we will read is Robert Kimmel Smith’s “The War with Grandpa!”  We are excited to begin this new reading adventure and we are fortunate to have Brett support Mittineague and the students in such a meaningful, thoughtful and generous way!

  • Wednesday was National “Do Something Nice Day.”  In conjunction with ‘kindness,’ (our “Character Word of the Week”), one member of the class of 2024 started the day by listing  characteristics about their peers that made them special -- a great start to the morning!

  • Students from the class of 2028 are learning to create “Small Moment Stories” with interesting leads! They are working hard and are eager to share their writing with anyone who goes into the classroom!

  • Teachers met to create EnCore (enrichment) groups, and to begin planning for our first session!  The groups are multi-aged and broken up into smaller groups.  The students in the grade 3-5 groups will be working on Science topics with an emphasis on research, technology and engineering and the students in the grade 1-2 groups will be focusing on reading and responding and writing! We are excited to get this year’s EnCore groups underway.

  • Miss Mantoni’s class invited school Principal Mrs. Doe to take part in their review of addition and subtraction of decimals. The students from the class of 2024 all had a career, a salary and myriad purchases to make, including a home, a car and a college education; and in true “Game of Life” style, there were the perks and pitfalls of bonus cards!  The students were engaged and excited throughout the lesson and had some interesting thoughts to share as they debriefed!

  • Kaleigh Goldberg was recognized with a handprint for outstanding work ethic and leadership while Jayden Fernandez and Xavier Page were recognized for showing respect and outstanding manners! Congratulations to all of them for exemplifying our school respect rules!

  • Mittineague School is lucky to have two grandmothers who come in a few times weekly to work with our young students. The picture this week is of Mrs. Norma Cagney, grandmother of Angela and Amanda Caldwell. She is reading with one of our first graders, Malyn Sayward.

  • 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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Tatham School

  • Tatham School is participating in Costco Wholesale’s Volunteer Reading Program. Two volunteers are coming in on Fridays to help some of the third graders with their reading skills.

  • Tatham is grateful to Dave’s Soda and Pet Food City for helping to encourage good attendance.  Every month, two students from each classroom with perfect attendance get a free beta fish.

  • Students in Mrs. Ramos’ fifth grade class measured shadows throughout the day as they learn about the earth’s rotation in science.  

  • School picture day was Thursday.


Community & Family Engagement/Outreach

  • Welcome Wendy Rua! Wendy will conduct playgroups and literacy groups this year.  Families can meet her at one of the many Community and Family Engagement programs.

  • 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

  • As a District, we continue to analyze the recently released PARCC and MCAS data. We have noticed some wonderful gains and continue to look at areas of improvement.  A congratulations to Memorial School for jumping from Level 3 status to Level 1 status.

  • The Elementary Science Pilot Team met last week for their first training. The team will continue the pilot through the early winter and provide feedback for a possible program adoption.

  • The District will move forward with the next wave of Add+Vantage Math Remediation (AVMR) training later this month. The goal is to have every elementary classroom and special education teacher trained in the AVMR Program of the next three years. For further information on AVMR, please visit https://www.mathrecovery.org/how-it-works/addvantaget


English as a Second Language Department (ESL)

  • ELL Open House was a huge success!!!  On Thursday night, ELL parents were given the opportunity to visit the High School to meet Dr. Perrone, Ms. Bard and their children’s ESL and SEI teachers. Approximately 20 parents attended the event. Translation was provided in Russian, Arabic and Spanish.

  • District Administrators  from Coburn, the Middle School and the High School attended the ACCESS 2.0 training presented by DESE at Holyoke Community College on Sept. 30.  ACCESS Testing will be administered between January 5 - February 8, 2017.

  • ELL Assistant Director Riki Landers attended the Western Mass ELL Leadership Network meeting on October 5.  Districts from the Pioneer Valley come together at these quarterly meetings to learn about new State initiatives, guidelines and regulations in the field of ESL.  It is also an opportunity for districts share concerns and collaborate with each other on how to best support our immigrant and refugee populations.

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 Parents and teachers at the ELL Open House



Health Services

  • Nursing staff facilitated a CARE Coalition steering committee meeting this week

  • Some district nurses attended an evening conference: pain assessment strategies for students with disabilities

  • Student screenings continue

  • Immunization compliance work and state immunization survey using the new state MIIS system

  • Nursing support for field trips and before school chorus at Fausey

  • Mobile dentist visits have begun for elementary students

  • Next week:

    • Fluoride mouthrinse program begins at CAS

    • Ashley field trips

    • Preparing for staff flu immunization clinics

    • Preparing for mobile dentist visits


Special Services

  • The Special Education Department recently received the results from the state audit and are proud to announce that there were no areas found to be "not implemented."

  • Training which outlines the rules and regulations of special education as well as the entire team process is occurring this month for general education staff.  Providing staff with a better understanding of special education will help bridge the gap and assist with meeting the needs of our students with disabilities.

  • The Mayor recently toured the Applied Behavior Program located at Coburn School. This program serves the needs of our students with autism and other developmental delays.


Information Technology


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  • HelpDesk Status

  • 532 HelpDesk tickets received from 8/29/16 - 10/6/16  ( + 78 this week)

  • 287 of those HelpDesk tickets have been closed. ( + 88 this week)

  • Mr. Lucey continues to offer classroom technology integration assistance, scheduling his time in each of the elementary schools during the week.  


John Ashley School


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  • Officer Eric Johnson and his dog Pike visit with rooms 2 and 18 to talk about his job, about Pike’s job and the relationship they have with  the community.

  • Room 3 has been discussing mindful and unmindful awareness. Being aware of where we are, what we are doing, how it is affecting others and what the reaction is.

  • Open House was wonderful.  Students were all smiles as they brought parents to their classrooms, proudly displaying the hard work and effort that went into showing off their new learned skills.  PTO Book Fair was a huge success - thank you to all who volunteered and participated!


Coburn School

  • Grade 5 students visited Bear Hole on Monday and Thursday to extend the learning taking place in science and social studies.  They especially enjoyed seeing the bear cage and finding rare Jefferson Salamanders.

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  • The three kindergarten teachers, Mrs. Cameron, Ms. Gavioli, and Ms. Dow, attended professional development at John Ashley School on the K2 Curriculum.

  • Coburn will work with Costco Wholesale volunteers to begin a reading program at Coburn School.

  • Golden Ticket Recipients this week  for going above and beyond

    • Meghan Flaherty - Trying her best with challenging tasks, never giving up, and finding success in all that we do.  She also answers all Learning Conversations each week for homework!

    • Julian Osowiecki - Coming in ready to learn, for trying his best with every task, and for constantly having a positive attitude throughout the day.

    • Sofia Scirocco - Always willing to help a friend in need. She has been working really hard in her studies this term.

    • Sammy Smith - Working very hard on his studies and having a positive attitude in class.

    • Eden Powell - Always having a positive attitude in class.  Eden has been a role model for the Coburn respect rules!

    • Yara Gabriel - Working really hard in her studies.  She is always willing to help her classmates in need.
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