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District Spotlight - September 9, 2016

posted Sep 12, 2016, 6:50 AM by Erin Mountain

From The Superintendent

  • Today the entire district observed a Moment of Silence at 8:46 am to remember the World Trade Center attacks that took place 15 years ago on September 11, 2001.

  • Back to School/Open House events are happening this month at our schools.  The elementary schools will host Open House events on September 15.  Check the district calendar on wsps.org for the dates -- or click this link.  Thank you to the WS Park and Recreation Department for staffing a table at each Open House in order to help families more easily register for their programs!

  • The CARE Coalition will meet on September 12.  We’re looking forward to an excellent year of programming and initiatives.  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 School Committee will meet on September 13 at 7:00 p.m. in the Municipal Office Building Auditorium.  If you can’t attend the meeting, tune in to West Springfield cable Channel 15 or view the meeting on Livestream on this link: http://livestream.com/westspringfield.

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

John Ashley School

  • The Ashley students learned about taking care of each other from Principal Bailer this week through a special reading in their classrooms of Stick and Stone by Beth Ferry and Tom Lichtenheld.

  • Follow happenings at the school on Twitter @WSPSAshley and the 180 days of Kindness campaign.

  • Ashley students learned the school routines and where their classrooms are located - way to go!

  • Rooms 3, 7, 2, 8, 10 all earned 10 bears for following the school rules and earned extra recesses.

  • Room 10 has a class fish named Lala Blue.

  • Room 2 is starting a kindness journal to record acts of kindness large and small.

  • Faculty and staff are looking forward to beginning PLCs next week and our first School Council meeting and PTO meeting.

Coburn School

  • Teachers have begun reviewing classroom/school rules and expectations as well as all of the beginning of the year assessments so that data can be used to differentiate instruction and target student needs.

  • Staff Spotlight: Becky Connolly, the School Adjustment Counselor provided much support to students and staff, and also stepped up to the plate to assist with a busing situation and a young student.  

  • Student Spotlight: Austin Fillion was the first student at Coburn School to receive a Golden Ticket.  Austin is in 3rd grade and is new to Coburn School.  He was recognized for bringing an extra set of supplies for his classmate who didn’t have them.  Great job Austin!!!

  • Brett Ralph from Horace Mann Insurance will be coming to greet staff with a morning breakfast and the Crystal Apple Award winners for the month of September will be announced.

  • Open House is on September 15 from 6:00 - 7:30 pm.  There will be a scavenger hunt for families to complete.

Cowing Alternative School

  • The first 7 days of the new school year have gotten off to a great start!

  • Mrs. Susan Messier is now teaching the first, second, and third graders and she has done a fabulous job with these youngsters!

  • Looking ahead:  The CAS Open House is on Tuesday, September 20 at 5:30; stop by so you can see the DreamBox Math pilot program in action!

Cowing Early Childhood

  • There are new paintings on the walls depicting school rules.  The artwork was made by high school art students at the end of last year.

  • The artwork complements the beautiful new jungle rug in the entranceway; benches will be added soon and will complete an inviting parent welcoming area.

  • Every peer slot is filled and there is a waiting list to join the EC program at Cowing!

  • Next week Principal Bailer will visit classrooms to read Too Many Carrots to the students, a book about sharing.

  • Community screening will take place on Friday, September 16.  There are 50 children who wish to be screened through November!

Fausey School

  • Data Team Meeting:  A plan for the first upcoming Data Team Meeting was established, and all are very excited about the process.  Fausey will be starting the initiative at the elementary school level, which will then be extended to the other schools.  

  • Data Collection:  The staff is delving into the data collection process as they begin to get to know their students both academically and personally through much conversation as well as beginning of the year assessments.

  • Administrator on a Cart:  It seemed that last year the Fausey School administrators, Mrs. Morneau and Mrs. Skolnick, were spending too much time in their offices, frustrated with not being able to interact with students and staff.  This year, they have decided to increase their interactions by using a cart, decorated to reflect their own interests and kid-friendly prompts, so as to encourage conversations.  Mrs. Morneau has decorated her cart with a family picture, and will include some fun language or math related flip charts.  Mrs. Skolnick will reflect her South American culture, and will soon pique the students’ interests with Science and Math-themed prompts.  So far, some lessons learned from students include: the importance of snacks to our students, how Pokeman cards are crucial for happiness during recess, and how they love school, but miss summer relaxation.  Mrs. Skolnick has been able to touch base with staff in mini-conversations which are more personal when done face-to-face, and Mrs. Morneau  noted that the class and school bulletin boards are colorful and welcoming.  She will put together a slide show for the upcoming faculty meeting since not every teacher has the liberty to walk around the building. Both administrators will learn so much from these invaluable daily visits this year!

  • UPCOMING:  Fausey Falcon Newspaper.  Led by fourth grade teacher Mrs. Elena Martin, students will be meeting next Monday to plan out their stories through Google Docs..  Keep tuned in for updates and upcoming issues!

High School

Weekly Review:

  • Dr. Perrone held meetings with each class - freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors.

  • West Side Showcase took place on Thursday evening.  There was a great showing, and attendees appreciated the new format!

  • Drama Club held auditions for their fall production of “The Foreigner”

  • First home games for Football (tonight - 9/9/16), Varsity Cross Country, Field Hockey, Golf, Girls and Boys Soccer, Girls Volleyball.


  • 9/16 School Pictures

From the Principal:

Office Heroes: Click image below

Office Heroes redirect button.png

WSHS Department Notes: Click here


  • The official 2016 season opened Tuesday with Volleyball and Golf on the road at Amherst.  The Boys and Girls Cross Country hosted Belchertown with Boys opening with a win and Girls almost pulling out a victory.  

  • On Wednesday night the Girls Soccer team hosted Minnechaug pulling out a 2-0 exciting win.  

  • Thursday marked home openers for both Volleyball (vs Agawam) and Field Hockey (East Longmeadow)

  • Saturday there is a full soccer schedule at Clark Field.  Girls Soccer vs Pittsfield H.S. 1pm JV, 3pm Varsity; and Boys Soccer hosting Mount Greylock 5pm JV and 7pm Varsity.  

  • Saturday 9/10 the Boys and Girls Soccer team will be holding a mum sale at Lapinski Farm Stand on Piper Road 8am to 12:30pm

  • Please follow Twitter at @wshsterriers 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

Memorial School

  • Students are impressing all staff and administration with their desire to learn, their responsible behavior and punctuality.  Classrooms are coming alive thanks to dedicated teachers and staff - the entire building has wonderful energy!

  • Teachers and students will be practicing evacuation and relocation exercises in the coming weeks.

  • Paul DiGrigoli, Memorial’s Links to Libraries sponsor, will be meeting with students next week for a special presentation.

  • Students have begun writing responses in their poetry journals as well as developing some strategies for independent writing.

  • Classrooms are discussing and charting what a Learning Conversation looks like and sounds like.  Students are also practicing Learning Conversations through modeling.

  • Teachers are modeling how to play several new AVMR math games.

  • Students have begun taking leadership of our morning class greeting and identifying themselves as independent readers while modeling what independent reading sounds, looks, and feels like.

  • Children reflected on what it means to have a growth mindset as they watched a brief ESPN documentary called “Catching Kayla,” a remarkable story of Kayla Montgomery--who, despite being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, has become one of the best young distance runners in the country.

  • Also, Mr. Quinn will be at Memorial on Monday to discuss the Reader to Reader Program (blogging with an Amherst College student about a shared book) with the fifth graders.     

  • Students of all graduating years are looking forward to interacting with numbers and other manipulatives to increase mathematical proficiency.

  • Class DoJo was introduced to staff as a behavior modification tool as well as a possible PBIS tie in.

  • Two Reading teachers have been attending daily Reading Recovery training sessions with Laurel Dickey and have been administering the observation survey to first grade students.

  • In Art, fifth graders used math and art strategies independently to solve artistic problems.

Middle School

  • The Middle School’s second faculty meeting focused on goal setting for the upcoming year and Community Outreach programming with Jen Brennan.  

  • Students and staff practiced their first Lockdown drill.  All went well and students and staff responded perfectly!

  • Administrators and teachers have begun conducting evaluation meetings to review goals, new indicators, and observation timelines for the new school year

  • Mr. Brown conducted a meeting with teachers new to WSMS to hear feedback, answer questions, and welcome our new staff to WSMS.  

  • The rotating bell schedule is in place and off to a great start!  Students have adjusted quickly and staff appreciate being able to see students at varying times of day.

  • School Picture Day - 9/13

  • The WSMS Technology team will meet on 9/14 to plan training for staff on using the new Brightlinks projectors and staff chromebooks.

  • Administrators will meet on 9/15 to review and plan interventions regarding state assessment data.

  • The annual PBIS Kick Off Tug of War is 9/16!  Staff and students will compete on the infield of the school track to open the PBIS events of the 2016-2017 school year.  

Mittineague School

  • Mittineague’s Crisis Team met for the first time this year to re-organize and plan for upcoming safety drills.

  • Mittineague welcomes Meg Largey as the new Art teacher.

  • Fifth graders were excited to learn about and begin to work with the Tower Garden, a new hydroponic garden initiative his year!

  • Mrs. Banks-Pearson’s fifth graders answered the question… “The future of our world is in our classroom...How will you affect the future?”

Banks Pearsons.jpg

Tatham School                     

  • Tatham had its first official Fire Drill. All went well.

  • Students and staff practiced our first Lockdown training. Everyone responded accordingly.

  • In Math, Grade 1 is focusing on using a 10 frame, Grade 2 is practicing addition strategies and grades 3-5 are focusing on place value.

  • Teachers are focusing on Earth Science. Students are learning about Weather, Rock and Minerals, and Landforms.

  • Tatham School’s PBIS initiative is going strong. Students are earning Tatham dollars. The Tatham Trading Post is open for business!

  • Teachers have launched ELA routines, and our grade 1 students are practicing Workboard activities.

  • Tatham will host an Open House next Thursday, September 15, at 6:00PM.

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.

  • Educator Mentor was introduced to staff this week. Parent referral forms are also being translated and will be available during Open House next week.

  • Educator Mentor initial team meetings will take place this month.

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

  • Free Ages and Stages developmental screenings for children 0-4 are now being offered to children in the community.

  • Read 15 campaign is in the works. To learn more about Read 15 click the link here http://www.readaloud.org/ and ask how you can be a part of spreading this important message.

  • Bertera Subaru has generously donated school supplies and Costco has donated backpacks. Please email Jennifer Brennan (brennan@wsps.org) if you have a student in need.

  • Community & Family Engagement is seeking local businesses interested in working with teen volunteers. Please call or email Jennifer Brennan with any leads.

Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment

  • This week District administration and DSAC members finalized the training platform for implementation of the Building Data Team at Fausey School. The training will be refined and presented at each school by the conclusion of the year.  

  • On Monday, September 12, the K-5 Math Specialists will visit East Longmeadow Public Schools to view and discuss the effectiveness of the STAR data platform - one that is up for consideration to be implemented in West Springfield.

  • On Friday, September 9, K-5 math specialists reviewed the MasteryConnect data platform - another data platform being considered by the district.

  • On September 15, 2016, the administrative team will have a data review session using the preliminary spring PARCC/MCAS data. The objective of this session is to identify and peel away target areas by school to be addressed for immediate improvement.

English as a Second Language Department (ESL)

  • SEI teachers in grades 1-5 at Coburn School, along with grade 1 teachers from Memorial School, were trained last week in Imagine Learning. These teachers are excited to have their students begin using this research-based, instructionally-differentiated, engaging, and innovative computer program which builds both language and literacy skills.

Health Services

  • School health offices continue to process health records, acquire medications and orders, update food allergies, medications, action plans, staff training, track illnesses, and schedule crisis team meetings

  • The Fluoride Mouthrinse Program will begin in several elementary schools

  • Communications efforts include updating Nurse’s Corner page on school websites, creating newsletters, and sharing info with staff, parents and physicians and HS Open House

  • 504 meetings and care plan development for managing chronic illness issues in school and illnesses impacting education

  • Beginning meetings to prepare for Signs of Suicide (SOS) and Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) programming

  • CARE Coalition planning and research

  • Concussion related work: staff training, district policy and protocols

  • Next week:

    • CARE Coalition (full coalition) meeting at WSHS, LGI A218 on 9/12/16 from 2:15-3:05

    • Regional Planning Meeting for Community Education around the marijuana ballot question

    • Elementary Open Houses for elementary nurses

    • SBIRT and SOS planning continues for fall and winter implementation at WSHS

Special Services

  • In order to provide more effective case management at the Elementary level, 2 new Evaluation Team Leaders have been added to the special education staff. This will help provide the support that students and families require in order to address the diverse learning needs of students.

  • Co-taught classrooms at the Elementary, Middle and High School are up and running and training for staff is ongoing. Staff are excited to be meeting student needs by offering a continuum of service options.

  • Training for specially designed instruction in reading will be happening this month for new staff; refresher opportunities are available for current staff as well.

  • The Special Education Parent Advisory Council continues to look for parents that are interested in helping to arrange the workshop opportunities for this academic year.  If you are interested in serving, please contact Dr. Ryan Murray (rmurray@wsps.org)

  • Over the next two months, administration from the special education department will be attending faculty meetings at each school to provide the regular education staff with an updated training on special education regulations.

  • School Psychologists at all levels are now conducting evaluations using new and innovative techniques such as Q-Interactive. When employing this method of evaluation, students and psychologists use ipads as the primary method of of completing the evaluation.  Early indications suggest that students are more engaged in the assessment process and the psychologists have been able to obtain important data in a more efficient manner.