Home‎ > ‎

District Spotlight - September 16, 2016

posted Sep 19, 2016, 7:09 AM by Erin Mountain   [ updated Sep 23, 2016, 8:49 AM ]

From The Superintendent

  • The elementary schools hosted Open House events on September 15.  Check the district calendar on wsps.org for the dates or click this link.  

  • The CARE Coalition met on September 12.  Follow CARE on Facebook and Twitter -- 01089cares.  Be sure to look for CARE informational pamphlets at our Open House and other district events this year!

  • The West Springfield Partnership for Education (WSPE) received $5,000 from Alden Medical, LLC this week through their Alden Cares matching gifts program.  Please visit this link to read the news release.  

  • West Springfield Day at The Big E is Monday, September 19!  Students ages 6-18 will receive vouchers on Monday.  The School Committee and CARE Coalition will be marching in the parade.

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

John Ashley School

  • John Ashley students continue to earn bear paws for following school and classroom expectations (PBIS). Keep up the good work!

  • Some students are signing up to say the Pledge of Allegiance, be library helpers or games with our counselor Mrs. Ricardi. These are a few of the rewards earned for filling up their bear paws.

  • Room 17 learned about their Prefrontal Cortex (PFC) and how it helps us make decisions.

  • Room 3 uses deep belly breathing to calm their bodies throughout the day.

  • Soon Seniors from the Senior Center will be visiting room 2 to read to/with the students.

Coburn School

  • Open House was Thursday, Sept. 15, from 6:00 - 7:30 p.m.

  • Teachers have been assessing their students to collect baseline data in order to make instructional decisions for their students.

  • Teachers met with Steven Lucey, Educational Technology Coordinator regarding using technology in the classroom.  

  • Coburn received additional chromebooks for our Imagine Learning program in our ELL classrooms.

  • The Bridges Program started up this week with the senior citizens coming to Coburn School to work in 3rd grade.  The seniors will begin their work in Katherine Kraver’s classroom and rotate to the other third grade classrooms throughout the year.

  • Students in Mrs. Cosentini’s 4th grade class walked over to the 9/11 Memorial on the town green to learn about the events that took place on September 11, 2001 and the impact it has had on our country.


  • Coburn’s first Crystal Apple Award winners for the month of September went to Lori Gendreau, Onix Cruz, Roman Kouzmouk, Keshav Sanyasi - Congratulations to our office staff and custodians for getting the school up and ready for staff and students.

Cowing Alternative School

  • Open House will be held on Tuesday, September 20 from 5:30 - 6:30.

  • The students have practiced all of our emergency drills in order to be prepared for any emergencies.

  • Mr. Bialek continues to hold mindfulness practice in all classrooms so that students can learn calming strategies when they are feeling heightened.

Cowing Early Childhood

  • Room 4 students are learning about PBIS and making good choices!

  • Room 2 made “All about Me” booklets that included self portraits and information about each student.

  • Ms. Bailer came to read in our classrooms this week a book called Too Many Carrots to reinforce our PBIS expectations of Taking Care of Each Other.

  • A Community Screening for three and four year old children will be conducted on Friday, Sept. 16.

  • Next week, on September 20 from 5:30-6:30, Cowing will host an Open House for the parents and children.

Fausey School

  • Fausey Falcon Newspaper: Fourth and fifth graders met this week, and will be meeting for 75 minutes twice a week after school.  They will also continue working on their stories throughout the month using Google Docs.  Mrs. Martin  will monitor them as they share their articles with other staff members and their advisor for feedback, comments, editing, and revising ideas.  Communications are ongoing - many hours a month are devoted to composition and collaboration resulting in 10 issues a school year.  This month, although they are very secretive about their articles, there will be an article spotlighting one of the new teachers at Fausey.

  • Observance of 9/11:  Fausey students reflected on the significance of this tragic event.  Mr. Dave Tierney, one of our custodians, placed a wreath and flags at the 9/11 memorial in the front of the school.  The memorial was originally erected to honor Melissa Harrington, who perished in New York on that fateful day.  She was the aunt of Cooper Harrington, a 3rd grader at Fausey.

  • PBIS Meeting:  The PBIS Team held its first team on Tuesday.  The Team discussed PBIS lessons to be shared this year with our students, along with planned activities for this year.  More to follow!  

  • PTO Meeting:  New Executive Members were voted in, and events for the year were discussed on Tuesday.  Please check the PTO minutes, which will soon be posted on our website for your review.  PTO needs many volunteers in many capacities to make great things happen at Fausey!


  • Constitution Day:  Fifth graders will participate in an assembly on Monday, September 19.

  • Summer Reading Ceremony:  Led by Mr. Harty, Friday, 9/23.  All reading logs are due by Tuesday, 9/20.

High School

Weekly Review:

  • 9/9 Boys Varsity Football triumphed over Longmeadow 21-14

  • Students named to new leadership positions

  • 9/13 Meagan Burke presented to the School Committee


  • 9/22 Senior Picture Day

9 Student Leaders You Should Definitely Meet: Click image below

9 student leaders.png

WSHS Department Notes: Click here


Fall 2016 Student Athletes of the Week: Cross Country Samson Cohen, and Field Hockey Sarah Weissman & Lindsey Frosch.  The  WS Athletic Department is pleased to offer a Fall Season Pass - $25 for students and senior citizens, $30 for adults; and a Year-Round Pass - $40 for students and seniors, $50 for adults.  The Full Year Season Pass will allow admission to soccer, field hockey, football, basketball, wrestling and lacrosse events at West Springfield High School.  The Season Pass allows entrance to home events, and excludes Ice Hockey, Indoor Track, Thanksgiving Day Football Game and all tournament events.  Passes can be obtained at the Athletics Office; call Glenn Doulette or Janis Sawyer at 263-3475 with any questions

  • West Side had some big wins the past week with Boys Cross Country remaining undefeated, Girls Soccer beating Pittsfield, and Boys Soccer beating Amherst 2-1.  Our Football team beat Longmeadow 21-14 and will next play Minnechaug tonight at 7pm.  

  • 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

Alumni News

From time to time, and as news comes in, we will include updates on our WSHS alumni.  We are pleased to learn about what they’re up to!

  • Shelby Hall ‘14, a junior at Smith College, did brain research over the summer, and is a goalie on the soccer team.

  • Patrick Huse ‘12, is a field coordinator for the Democratic National Committee in Florida.

  • Sarah Maloney ‘12, is embarking on a doctoral program in chemistry at UNC-Chapel Hill.

  • Anthony Mountain ‘12, has returned to his sideline duties as offensive signaler for the Air Force football team; he is a senior at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO.

  • Sharlotte Pernice ‘15, was women's soccer conference (CCC) player of the week at Endicott College.

  • Jackie Motyl Navaero ‘03, has been named assistant field hockey coach at Worcester State University.

  • Petr Vitkovskiy ‘12, graduated from Yale University and recently began his first year at Stanford Medical.

  • Robert Wise ‘01, is the new School Resource Officer at his alma mater.

Memorial School

  • Paul DiGrigoli, Memorial School’s Links to Libraries school sponsor, stopped by for an inspiring and motivating whole school assembly.  His positive messages about kindness, passion, energy and good habits had the entire student body and staff completely engaged.  He also stressed the school message, “Respect the Bees” as well as promoting the love of learning, reading and constant improvement.  As always, Paul inspired Memorial School students and staff to be able to take on any challenge!

  • AVMR groups have begun to work on ways to make quantities of 6, 7 and 8 using red and yellow counters.  Forward and Backward number sequence and number ID will be the focus in Gr. 1.

  • Students are identified for LLI  and Reading Recovery groups.  New students are being tested for BAS.

  • In Math across grade levels, students learned about numbers using the ten frame, they modeled related math facts using part-part-whole mats and manipulatives and they reviewed place value in order to compare and round numbers up to 1,000,000.  

  • During literacy activities, students are focusing on their ability to complete work independently during Guided Reading groups.

  • Students wrote small moment stories about their summer.

  • In their Earth Science unit, students analyzed google slides with images and definitions of weathering, erosion, and deposition.

  • Students engaged in learning about moon phases in a variety of ways including listening to a moon rap titled “Outer Space: Time to Shine,” interacting with a hands-on 3D model of the moon phases.  

  • In recognition of National Dot Day, students read the book, The Dot. Classrooms participated in a livestream with the author to discuss the theme and purpose of the book.     

  • Children are learning high-frequency words as well as recognizing and using consonant clusters. Beginning readers are learning about the silent “e” and CVC words.

  • Students are making and assessing predictions.

  • Staff is collaborating together to gather information in order to develop student support groups.

  • Children in all classrooms are learning to work together safely in small and large groups.  They are learning different ways to compliment their group on behaviors that help create an enjoyable learning environment during physical education.

  • All grade levels are learning to work independently and cooperatively in Art class.

  • The school Crisis Action Team met to plan for upcoming simulations and a recent  “Relocation Simulation” was beautifully executed by the well-behaved and serious students.

Middle School

This Week:

  • Middle School Administration presented their new initiatives for the 16-17 school year to the School Committee.  Included in the presentation were reviews of upcoming benchmark assessments, a review of new building schedules, and a breakdown, by content area, of curricular adjustments.

  • 8th graders presented to the School Committee regarding their new Civics class which incorporates college and career readiness, civics, and citizenship.

  • The WSMS technology team met to discuss and plan work around helping staff incorporate and utilize this year’s new technology.  

  • School Picture Day was on Tuesday!

  • The WSMS annual PBIS Tug of War was held on Friday at all three grade levels.  Teams competed in a fun and spirited contest to kick-off the school year.  The staff at each grade level even put together a team and maintained their undefeated record!

     Next Week:

  • On 9/20 and 9/21, Richard Dubuisson will join with teachers to work on developing benchmark assessments and unifying summative assessments in ELA, Math, Science, and Social Studies.  He’ll also work with teachers to incorporate the Depth of Knowledge tool to enhance rigor in the classroom.  

  • Our annual Back to School Night Open House is on Thursday 9/22, beginning at 6:30 PM.  This event is historically well attended and we look forward to another wonderful evening!

Mittineague School

  • This week was a week filled with testing…AVMR testing for our incoming first graders was completed, BAS (reading placement testing) for all of our students started and the district writing prompts were administered.

  • Constitution Day was observed officially on Friday, September 16, but students learned about the Constitution, the Preamble and the Bill of Rights throughout the week.  In addition, on Monday, Senator Welch will be here to distribute a “Pocket Constitution” to all of our students in the class of 2024.

  • Our Open House was interactive with friends and families playing a game of emoji Bingo as they learned about all the different supports the school has to offer.

  • One of the highlights so far this fall has been the new furniture that we received this summer. The students love the new swing chairs that all classrooms received as well as some Hokki stools that provide them with alternate ways of sitting as well as some movement. Each of our classes was able to get a standing desk (or two) which provides an option for students to stand while doing their work. There is also a foot rest that moves providing yet again another movement option. The pictures below show a few of Mrs. Gerardi’s grade one, class of 2028 students choosing to work at the standing desk, a few students working on Hokki stools and a fourth grader and three fifth graders working at the standing desks in their rooms.

  • IMG_1850.JPG    IMG_1853.JPG  IMG_1854.JPG  IMG_1856.JPG  IMG_1859.JPG

Tatham School                     

  • Tatham had a great turn out for Open House.  Everyone was pleased to see the renovated floors and the new furniture.

  • Tatham fifth graders will celebrate Constitution Day on Monday, September 19. Mayor Reichelt will speak and distribute pocket Constitutions to the students.

  • Tatham PTO will hold its first meeting on Wednesday, September 21, at 6:00 PM.

  • The Reading Recovery intervention program has begun.

Community & Family Engagement/Outreach

  • Parent/Child Date Night featuring our very own Amy Green, award-winning Elementary art teacher, will take place Thursday, September 29 from 5-6pm, location TBD. Amy will work with families to create a fall masterpiece!  Now accepting registrations for children ages 6-9 and their parent(s).  Please call 413-519-2511 or email brennan@wsps.org. Twenty (20) slots are available for children.

  • Information on the Educator Mentor program will be available at Memorial, Mittineague and Coburn Open House this evening. We look forward to seeing you there!

  • Community and Family Engagement surveys will be made available to obtain interest of parent topics to be presented this year!

  • 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

  • This week, PreK -12 administration participated in a data review of the 2015-2016 preliminary data.

  • Elementary co-taught teachers will spend Friday morning video conferencing with Dr, Lisa Dieker to discuss the successes and challenges thus far.  

  • On Monday, September 19, 2016, WSPS will distribute Pocket Constitutions to each 5th grade students in alignment with the September 17, National Constitution Day.

  • WSPS have identified and plan to move forward with implementation of data analysis software Mastery Connect. The data platform will provide timely assessment data so teachers may make instructional decisions at the time of need.

English as a Second Language Department (ESL)

  • The ESL High School Open House will be held on Thursday, October 6. Translators will be on hand for families speaking Arabic, Nepali, Russian, Turkish and Spanish. This event is always well attended and helps parents to become familiar with the learning and expectations for their high school students.

  • Translators attended last week’s High School Showcase and supported parents and families at the Coburn School Open House.

Health Services

  • Elementary school nurses attend open houses for health information, prevention efforts and parent questions

  • School nurses continue to work with building crisis teams on planning and practice

  • Planning for prevention efforts including SBIRT, SOS and fluoride mouthrinse program

  • Preparing for individual student health needs on 504’s, IEP’s, home tutoring and individual health care plans

  • Staff training for student health needs, emergency care plans and EpiPen training

  • Increased office visits for acute and chronic illness and mental health issues

  • Planning and preparations for student safety and staff training for field trips

  • Community Early Childhood screenings

  • Next week:

    • CARE Coalition marching in the BIG E parade on Monday 9/19, West Springfield Day!

    • Prevention efforts planning continues

    • Cowing & Cowing Alternative School open house 9/20, Middle School open house 9/22

Special Services

  • As we kick off the 2016-2017 school year, WSPS is providing a variety of specially designed instruction and related services to approximately 850 students on Individualized Education Programs.  185 students are currently receiving classroom accommodations outlined in a 504 Accommodation Plan.

  • Special Services will continue to offer school-based counseling services provided by Behavioral Health Network (BHN).  This service targets students who are in need of counseling services but face obstacles that prevent them from accessing services at a clinic.  Last year, services were provided to over 110 students.  

Information Technology (IT)

  • This week the IT Department has installed several Epson BrightLink projectors at WS Middle School.  Now that school is in session, there is a short window of time to work in classrooms (the goal is to not interrupt class time), so the project is moving along slowly but steadily.

  • Since the opening of school, the IT Department has received 384 HelpDesk requests.  These requests vary in scope and complexity, but suffice to say IT staff are HOPPING busy!  If faculty/staff have submitted a HelpDesk request, please know that IT staff WILL get to those as soon as they can!  And for those who have a computer problem but haven’t submitted a HelpDesk ticket,  please know that work is prioritized based on HelpDesk tickets submitted.  

  • IT has been working at setting up as many of third party S-A-A-S (software as a service) systems as possible to synchronize automatically with PowerSchool via Clever so that data does not have to be uploaded to those systems every time a new student enrolls.  

  • High School Student Chromebook help is available in the High School Library periods 1, 4, 6, and 7.