Fiske Weekly News
5/24 9:00AM - American Symbols on Parade
5/27 NO SCHOOL: MEMORIAL DAY
5/29 9:00 - Chorus Band Concert
6/2 LHS Graduation
6/6 Field Day
6/13 Field Day (rain date)
6/17 Move Up Celebration Grade Five 12pm
6/18 LAST DAY: Half Day for Students
Elementary and Middle School Redistricting: Update & Information Sessions
Since the start of our elementary and middle school redistricting project in February, Advisory and Working Groups were formed and have begun their work. They have established redistricting criteria that will be used to evaluate and revise potential redistricting plans. The process also included a review of school capacities, enrollment, housing and town land use, student transportation and school committee policies, among other information. To view the details of this work, you can visit the redistricting webpage at: http://bit.ly/RedistrictBlog
Interested in learning more? We will offer public information sessions on June 5th at 8:00 AM and 6:30 PM. Both sessions will be held in the Estabrook Meeting Room at Cary Hall, 1605 Massachusetts Avenue. These sessions will include background on changing district enrollment, an overview of the process and timeline and key takeaways from analysis complete so far. Participants will also have the opportunity to ask questions. We will not have revised school assignments maps completed at this time.
If you are unable to attend on either of these dates, the same presentation was given to School Committee on May 21, 2019. This meeting was recorded by LexMedia. When available, a link to this recording will be included on the redistricting website, along with presentation materials.
This work is still expected to culminate with a preferred redistricting plan to be presented for public comment early this fall. Following a review of community feedback and any needed revision, a final recommendation will be presented to School Committee for vote. Approved maps will be implemented for the 2020-21 school year.
Fiske Diversity Book Project: The Why and How
Over the course of the past year, our school and district have been working to make sure that our schools understand and respond to diversity, equity and inclusion in ways that help meet the needs of ALL students, staff and families in our community.
Additionally, we also know that many children's books, while well written and engaging, do not always represent people of diverse backgrounds.
As a result, when we were presented with a Community Grant through LEF (Lexington Education Foundation), our local education foundation, we seized the opportunity to celebrate and promote diversity, families, and diversity in literature! This project was also inspired by a similar project that was done at our local high school a little over a year before. We're extremely grateful for the funding for this project AND for the inspiration from Lexington High School!
Here is a short overview of the project below!
- Each grade level has its own unique book highlighting characters that may not otherwise always be highlighted in children's literature.
- The books also highlight some of the cultures from students at Fiske.
- Every student at each grade level is getting their own copy of the book for their grade. They get to keep the book for their own, personal copy.
- Teachers are getting a copy as well and engaging students with an interactive and guided read aloud with questions developed by one of our literacy specialists.
- Books will then be sent home to families and we're encouraging family reading and discussion about the books.
- We'll hold a family-student book club evening for each grade this spring where families can come in and discuss the books with one another.
- Families and students will be provided a link as well to share their connections and thoughts about the books and characters. Their input and feedback will be shared on our Diversity Book Blog.
See the blog HERE
Holidays and Diversity in Lexington
Each season of the year brings dates of holidays and celebrations observed by our diverse community. This spring season includes not only the holidays of Easter and Passover, but Ramadan as well. Lexington has a number of students and families who will be celebrating Ramadan from the evening of May 5th through the evening of June 4th. Throughout our school communities, we welcome families who celebrate Ramadan and are interested to come to school and share family traditions and information about the holiday, much like families do with Divali, Hanukkah, Lunar New Year, and many other holidays throughout the year. In addition, our classrooms and libraries are contain literature and information about the diversity of families and people, and these resources are often woven into our classrooms as an integral part of the student experience.
In connection with the upcoming Ramadan holiday that includes daily fasting, or for any holidays that your family celebrates, we encourage you to reach out to your child/ren(s) principal if your child/ren need(s) an accommodation related to the holiday, including a separate location from the cafeteria during lunch. It is our goal for everyone to feel welcome, comfortable and safe in our school.
Size of the Problem
Over the course of their school career, students encounter a variety of personal situations which may cause problems for them. Our school counseling staff, along with counselors in other schools, work with students to try and determine their feelings, the impact of the "problem", and how big the problem actually is. We use a variety of tools, which include discussion, mindfulness, and also visual aids that help students identify feelings and how to cope.
Parents and families can use some of the same visuals we use at Fiske to create continuity of language and practice at home. Below are links to 2 of the tools we use in helping students understand the "size of the problem" when they encounter something they perceive to be a problem. One visual includes three questions you could ask your child when discussing a problem and the other includes pebbles, rocks, and boulders, using those to compare the size of the problem to. Feel free to print these out and use them at home. Our counseling staff is also available to talk with you if you'd like more information on how to use these visual aids with your children while helping them solve problems!
Click on the links below for visual aids to use with your child/ren.
Green Team Volunteers Wanted
The Fiske Green Team (parent volunteer group) is looking for help in working with Fiske Students during lunch to help compost and recycle post lunch waste. Any and all help is appreciated as the group moves to implement composting and recycling four days per week this year. You can sign up at the following link if you are interested in helping:
Big Backyard Overview
See the overview of Big Backyard and learn about the outdoor experiences that your children have with science at school!
Fiske ELL Newcomer Mentoring
Fiske School has been working with the support of amazing teachers and educators over the past several years to support new comer students at Fiske. These new comers often arrive at Fiske with little to no English language, which makes teaching and learning a challenge, not only due to being new and learning a new culture, but also needing to learn a new language. Below is a video showcasing the mentoring work that has taken place and has not only helped these students acclimate to the school and community, but has enriched the overall experience for everyone involved! Thank you to our new comer families and staff that supported the children! Amazing dedication in the Fiske School Community!
Fiske Global School Play Day 2019
This year, on February 6th, Fiske participated again in Global School Play Day. This day has been created and implemented around the globe, in response, to what educators and other professionals believe to be a decline in play by children. The underlying premise and concern around the decline of play, is that children actually learn a number of valuable skills and lessons through play. Below is a short TEDx video with Peter Gray about the decline and importance of play. We enjoyed our FULL DAY of supervised, undirected play on February 6th here at Fiske! Check out the album to the right!
TEDx Video: https://youtu.be/Bg-GEzM7iTk
Positive Behavior Supports (PBIS)
School Wide PBIS (Positive Behavior Intervention and Support)
Many parents may have heard their child talk about getting WHOO Cards, sitting in the “Owl’s Nest”, having lunch with the principal/assistant principal, or taking part in our school wide “dance party” every two weeks for earning 500 WHOO Cards. All of those things are part of our School Wide PBIS system.
PBIS stands for Positive Behavior Intervention and Support. It is a program designed to teach respect, responsibility, and safety at school. At Fiske, part of our job is to encourage students to continuously make good behavior choices through this program.
PBIS provides teachers and other school staff with information to help prevent behavior problems and make school a safe learning environment.
Research shows that the use of PBIS in school has resulted in increased time for instruction. It also increases positive behaviors school wide, and decreases disruptive behaviors.
How Does It Work?
A PBIS school teaches the expectations to all students and provides frequent opportunity to practice. A PBIS school provides a consistent, predictable, and fair use of consequences for all students. At Fiske we teach students what Respect, Responsibility and Best Effort look like in all school settings through our school’s PBIS matrix.
When we see students meeting those expectations, we give them WHOO Cards as a form of positive recognition, which also gives them a chance to participate in school wide incentives mentioned at the beginning of this newsletter article.
What Can Parents Do
- Read and discuss the Behavior Expectations Matrix found in the headlines section of our school website.
- Ask your child if they’ve earned any WHOO Cards and ask them why they earned them.
- Review the Behavior Expectation Matrix with your child if he or she experiences behavior problems in school
- Work on a plan to help them with strategies for appropriate behaviors
- Support teacher and administrative behavior decisions
- Discuss problems privately with staff
Click on this link to view our School Wide PBIS Expectations Poster: Fiske PBIS Poster
Back to School Night Thank You
A huge thank you to all the families that were able to attend our annual Back to School Night! We hope you enjoyed the visit, learned a lot about your child's classroom experience, and most importantly, we hope you left knowing how much our staff enjoys working with each child at Fiske School. Below is the "updated" staff video with our hopes for your children. I've been able to slow the video down a bit so you can read each staff members' hopes.
Fiske Student Twitter Center
See the Fiske November News with information about this initiative from Mr. Martellone and also check out the video below that was shared with students at our most recent All School Meeting! Fiske is sharing out the great things happening with the world!
Safe and Supportive Schools
The Lexington Public Schools strives to ensure that all students have full and equal access to all programs and services. Accordingly, the School Committee has amended its anti-discrimination policies to reflect the Act Relative to Gender Identity that went into effect in Massachusetts in July 2012. A key component of this law was the amendment of various Massachusetts statutes prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender identification. For further information regarding safe and supportive schools please go to the following web-address: www.doe.mass.edu/ssce/GenderIdentity.docx.