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District Spotlight - September 30, 2016

posted Oct 3, 2016, 6:52 AM by Erin Mountain

From The Superintendent

  • Our final Open House was held on September 29 at John Ashley.  

  • Thanks to the generosity of Paul DiGrigoli, CEO of DiGrigoli Salon/School of Cosmetology, Memorial School will receive 1,200 books over the next three years through the Link to Libraries program.  Click this link to read the 9/29 article on MassLive.com

  • The Fire Department is hosting an Open House on Saturday, October 8 from 12:00-2:00 at the Fire Station on Van Deene.    

  • On Tuesday, September 27, I gave the School Committee a quick briefing on our most recent Accountability Status.  A more comprehensive report will be provided at a School Committee meeting in early October.

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

Ms. Amy Green’s class at John Ashley

   Art rules at John Ashley    Ms. Pam Leonard’s class at Cowing

Ms. O’Neill’s class at Cowing Cowing Alternative student using DreamBox

Coburn School

  • The after-school program at Coburn started on Monday.  Approximately 50 students are participating in this eight-week program.

  • The fall fundraiser kicked off this week and will run through October 10.

  • On Monday, 5th grade students got an opportunity to participate in the MCAS 2.0 Learning Lab where they were able to test out potential questions for the ELA MCAS 2.0.

  • The School Council met on Monday to review and update Coburn’s School Improvement Plan.

  • The faculty meeting on Wednesday included team-building activities.  The culminating activity allowed faculty to create a visual symbol of how Coburn Staff come together to support students and help them grow (image below).

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  • On Thursday, Lori Gendreau and the Coburn PTO met to discuss the fall fundraiser and events that will take place during the year.

  • Congratulations to our Golden Ticket Award Winners:  

    • Michaela Timircan for following the safety rules at Coburn School

    • Svetlana Lavrinenko for always completing each and every assignment to the best of her ability.  She is a very hard worker.

    • Samuel Enciu for always following the Coburn respect rules and helping others when needed.

    • Manish Gurung for always following the Coburn respect rules and helping others when needed.

Coming Up

  • Grade 5 will go to Bear Hole next week

Cowing Alternative School

  • Two Cowing staff, Ms. Lindsy Canuel and Mr. Ryan Jaskulski, have been Safety Care certified.  This is an important skill for the staff at CAS; Cowing staff continue to work with students about de-escalation techniques.

  • Mrs. Messier’s class is getting excited to meet a community helper: a firefighter from the WSFD will be visiting soon!

  • Mrs. Cassidy’s middle school class and school nurse, Mrs. Sitler, have taken on the task of putting together the Tower Garden for Cowing School.  The plants have sprouted and are currently placed in the Tower Garden.  CAS students and staff can’t wait to see what it produces....and to eat all of the yummy vegetables!

Cowing Early Childhood

  • This week Cowing EC received two beautiful bright blue benches that complement the new animal carpet in the welcoming entrance/sitting area.  This area also includes a Parent Center that contains pamphlets and information for parents of preschool children translated into many of the languages we have encountered at Cowing. This parent waiting area was purchased with CFCE funds.

  • The students in Ms. Maloney’s class were excited to have Mrs. Bailer read to their class.

  • Mrs. Leonard in Room 3 says, “We have enjoyed sharing our “All About Me” bags.  What a great way to learn about our new school friends!”

Fausey School

  • Summer Reading Celebration:  Fausey students celebrated their hard work with  Mr. Tim Harty leading the event, which began with an assembly for all 164 participants who handed in their summer reading logs.  During the short assembly, each child received an award and a pencil.  Each name was also submitted be picked for an extra special gift certificate.  A Barnes & Noble gift certificate was granted to one winner in each class.  The final part of the celebration was the long-awaited extra recess time!!  The 164 participants included:  24 first graders, 29 second graders, 36 third graders, 30 fourth graders, and 45 fifth graders!  Thank you to Mr. Harty for once again putting much effort for another meaningful Fausey event!

  • Fausey Data Team Meeting:



  • Mrs. Pichey:  Gr. 3 Teacher, Mrs. Petit: ELA Interventionist, Mrs. Rogers:  Head Clerk

Mrs. Brach:  Gr. 4 Teacher, Mrs. Altman:  Math Interventionist, Mrs. Cameron:  Gr. 5 teacher

Ms. Feeley:  Gr. 4-5 Special Education Teacher, Mrs. Morneau:  Vice Principal, and Ms. Ulloa-Skolnick:  Principal

  • The Fausey Data Team met for the first time on Monday, 9/26, guided by Tim Connor (Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment), Zach Smith and Christine Shea (both from DSAC).  The next steps are for the team to focus on specific data to review and organize, to be shared with the entire school in the near future.

High School

Weekly Review:

  • 9/23 M.I.A.A. recognized WSHS with Tournament Hosting Award. Read more here.

  • 9/26 WSHS Soccer scored victories over Westfield - Boys 1-0, Girls 5-0.

  • 9/26 WSHS Field Hockey tied Greenfield 3-3.

  • 9/26 WSHS Volleyball bested Chicopee Comp 3-0.

  • 9/27 Cross Country vs. East Longmeadow Girls 28-31, Boys 18-39.

  • 9/28 WSHS Boys Soccer outscored Northampton 3-0


  • 10/1 SATs will be administered at WSHS.

  • 10/3 Blue Out for Bullying.

  • 10/5 PSAT registration closes.

  • 10/13 PSAT will be administered at WSHS.

From the Principal:

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Department Notes:

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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

  • 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

  • This week’s Athletes of the Week are Everest Rainville (Freshman Boys Soccer) and Alisa Kotorobay (Girls Cross Country); last week’s were Jackie Koziol and Andrea Gotta (Field Hockey).

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

  • Please visit the MIAA Schedule on the athletics web page.

Alumni News

Below are updates on a few of our WSHS alumni:

  • Kelsey Mantoni ‘10 is attending UMass Medical School

  • Kelly Murphy ‘10 owns a hair salon

  • Laura Sarkis ‘10 is a Gr. 4 teacher at Memorial School

Memorial School

  • The PBIS Team met last week and discussed several exciting plans including “Spirit Week,” beginning on October 17.

  • After 29 years in West Springfield, Memorial School bid farewell to School Adjustment Counselor, Mr. Panzanaro.  The school community wishes him a wonderful retirement.

  • The October PTO & School Council meeting is Wednesday, October 5 at 5:30 p.m.

  • BAS testing across grade levels continued this week.

  • Grade 1 students have been learning about the seasons and weather patterns; in social studies, students are exploring different kinds of maps.

  • Grade 2 & 3 students are learning various addition strategies, rounding to the nearest tens and hundreds as well as AVMR subitizing activities (Subitizing is the ability to 'see' a small amount of objects and know how many there are without counting. Subitizing is what tells you what number you roll on a six sided dice – most adults no longer have to count the pips after playing board games for a while).  They are also creating maps.

  • Grade 4 students have been accessing Google Classroom and constructing responses using Chromebooks.  They are beginning to build skills and understanding associated with self-reflective practice.

  • Grade 5 students are deciphering between literature & poetry and discussing the structure of realistic fiction.

Middle School

  • Scholastic Reading Inventory assessments were given to all 6th and 7th graders this week to garner a baseline assessment of their reading level.  Remediation and reading intervention strategies will begin next week for targeted students.

  • The Mass. School Building Authority conducted a walkthrough of WSMS with Mr. Gillen on Thursday morning.  The roof continues to be WSMS’ biggest structural need.  Plans for repairs are underway.  

  • Guidance Counselors hosted a social for all students new to WSPS on Friday afternoon.  Mrs. McKinnon, Mrs. Ralph, and Mrs. Royer collaborated to host the event designed to welcome and support our new students and families.

  • Gr. 7 teachers created a virtual field trip to prepare students as they embark on a visit to Skinner Mountain next week.  The video, was created at the mountain by Ms. Logan, Ms. Savoy, and Mr. Boutilier and allowed students to preview the trip and focus in on geological and historical components of the area.

  • WSMS’ annual PBIS Fundraiser kicks off next week.  The Cookie Dough sales fund almost every trip and student activity that occurs during the school year.  Please support this fundraiser!

  • Late Buses begin on 10/4.  Many clubs and activities begin next week!  

Mittineague School

  • Fifth grade classes (class of 2024) experienced some environmental education classes both in the classes and outside by visiting the Bear Hole Watershed area. The students were fortunate to have science educators - Nancy Condon and Kevin Kopchynski - lead them through their discoveries!

  • School pictures took place on Friday, September 30.

  • All classes had a (CASA) homework assignment on Monday to participate in a family activity.. (ie.. spend time together) and report back out on Tuesday morning. Students reported that they did a range of things from cooking together, going for a walk, building a puzzle and reading together.  The pictures below show student writing from grades one and three about their family time...baking cookies and mom’s first time on a ferris wheel!

  • Students from the class of 2027 are taking part in a math pilot of the newest Envisions program to see what changes have been made. Both Ms. Shypula and Mrs. Canon will be delving into this newly revised program to see what it has to offer.

  • Students in grades 1, 3 and 4 are also participating in the new National Geographic Science Pilot. The teachers had their first PD from the company this week.

  • What is it you think your child would wish for?  On “Wishing Well Wednesday,” Mrs. Banks-Pearson’s students told it like it was as they let their innermost thoughts be known.

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Tatham School

  • Teachers in Grades 3,4,5, are piloting a new science program, and they received training this week.

  • Tatham’s first school-wide math activity is being planned for October 28.  Lunch monitors are getting things ready for this event.

  • School Pictures are next Thursday, October 6.

  • First Graders are finding all the different ways to make 10.

  • Grade 5 students are doing lots of hands-on activities to deepen their understanding of decimals (photos below from Mrs. Lunney’s class).

Community & Family Engagement/Outreach

  • Parent/Child Date Night with Amy Green was held this week.

  • Welcome Wendy Rua! Wendy will be conducting 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.

  • The Educator Mentor program is up-and-running for Coburn, Memorial, John Ashley, Middle School and Mittineague schools.  Staff can make referrals using the Google Form named Outreach on WSPS forms.

  • 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

  • One Book One Community planning is in full swing.  We would like to thank the Big E for their generous donation of $3000.00.  Please follow click on the link to learn more about One Book One Community One Book, One Community | Programming & Exhibitions.  If you are interested in making a donation to this venture, please contact Mr. Tim Connor (connor@wsps.org)

  • Fall is here and it’s time for our annual Grade 5 Student Environmental Education Classroom trip to Bear Hole. Our grade 5 students across the district will spend a day in our very own Bear Hole taking what’s learned in the classroom and applying in their own community.

  • The grade 1-5 National Geographic Pilot Team will have their first training on the new science program. This program will be evaluated throughout the pilot and, and there are plans to make a recommendation to School Committee in December.

English as a Second Language Department (ESL)

  • ELL Open House will be on Thursday, October 6 at 6:00 p.m. at the High School.

  • More than ever, ELL students are involved in extracurricular activities...Boys’ Soccer especially!

  • ELL and Special Education staff and administrators across the district are in the beginning stages of forming a team to help support our dually designated students.

  • This past week one of the district’s Somali/Swahili speaking parents was hired as a much-needed translator to help communicate with Somali/Swahili speaking parents!

Health Services

  • Beginning of the year work to meet student medical and safety continues

  • Student screenings have begun in some buildings

  • District CPR classes have begun in Ashley and EC in order to support NAEYC accreditation

  • Nurses attended two field trips with students to the Big E

  • Support for building-based crisis teams with plan refinement

  • Next week:

    • CARE Steering Committee meeting

    • Nursing coverage for before-school activities and field trips

Information Technology

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Is your Chromebook text too small ?  As you browse, try pressing the ctrl key and + or ctrl key and - while you are on the page

  • HelpDesk Status

  • 454 HelpDesk tickets were submitted between 8/29/16 - 9/30/16

  • 199 of those HelpDesk tickets have been closed… The IT Department is working hard to catch up and patience is appreciated!

  • All Middle School Epson Brightlink projectors are installed!   The IT staff are very appreciative of assistance from the Central Maintenance Department and Whalley Computer Associates.

John Ashley School

  • Playing the “Name Game” with Ms. Bailer.  Ms. Bailer spent Wednesday and Thursday mornings in each classroom entertaining and engaging with students.

  • Open House at John Ashley was Thursday, featuring the Scholastic Book Fair sponsored by the PTO.

  • Room 18 was visited by seniors from the Senior Center who read a story and did a project for Open House.

  • Room 17 started a kindness tree. Random acts of kindness are pulled off the tree, given to students and they pass it along.

  • John Ashley will be starting “All-School Meetings,” gatherings in which different accomplishments within our school and our classrooms are celebrated.  Some examples of things that will be celebrated during all school meetings are birthdays, classroom learning and the Pledge of Allegiance.  Rooms 16 and 18, along with Mrs. Morgan, have been working the past few weeks in preparation to lead this meeting. This will encourage students to be members of a learning community and teach leadership skills in their young lives.