Volume 4 - Issue 4 December 1, 2018
Happy Holidays! I can’t believe it’s December already. I hope that all of our families impacted by the gas disaster have had their heat and hot water restored and their appliances replaced. Did the gas event cause you or someone in your family stress, and you’re not sure what to do? Please join us for a free stress workshop with Gina-Marie Bonanno, LMHC, School Psychologist and Trauma Intervention consultant, on how to identify and address signs of stress and trauma. (See Did You Know - below - for times and location).
Congratulations to our Marching Band who won a gold medal at Lawrence Veteran’s Stadium on November 4 with a score of 91.3. On November 17, our robotics teams from both NAMS and NAHS hosted another successful competition at NAHS. Additionally, our annual winter choir concert will take place on Thursday, December 6 at 7:00 pm in the NAHS Auditorium.
The Understanding Our Differences (UOD) program has been presenting at many of our schools’ assemblies this past month. UOD is a nationally recognized, educational program that teaches elementary school children to develop understanding and respect for fellow students and others with physical, sensory or developmental disabilities. UOD is an interactive disability awareness curriculum that North Andover Elementary Schools teach to 3rd, 4th and 5th graders. Each year, students participate in 2 to 3 sessions introducing various kinds of disabilities. The program's goals are to foster respect, acceptance and compassion for people of all abilities as well as increase tolerance and reduce bullying. It reinforces North Andover’s RAISE values. Understanding Our Differences is always looking for parent volunteers. If you can volunteer, please sign up here. No experience is needed to help out.
A large contingent of North Andover football fans witnessed an exciting and historic event on November 30, as the NAHS football team won the Division II Super Bowl at Gillette Stadium (home of the New England Patriots) and were crowned State Champs. Our marching band played a stirring rendition of the National Anthem, and their halftime, on-field performance sounded amazing. The Cheer Team was outstanding, and our fans were terrific. On December 2, the Boston Herald ranked NA football as the number 1 team in the Commonwealth. Additionally, Coach Dubzinski was named the "New England Patriots Coach of the Year. "
On December 4, our Scarlet & Black Singers from NAHS will be singing at the State House, along with Andover and Lawrence students as guests of Governor Charlie Baker for the Governor’s Annual Tree Lighting.
These are just a few of the exciting things happening here in the North Andover Public Schools. Please visit individual school websites at northandoverpublicschools.com to see all of the other amazing things our students are doing across town and in the classroom. Lastly, thanks to all those who participated in my entry survey and/or attended the meetings. I will be presenting my findings to the School Committee on December 20 and will complete an official report in February. I hope you enjoy the winter recess.
DID YOU KNOW
The events of September 13 brought adversity and hardship to many in the Greater Lawrence Area. This continues to be a challenging time, and access to support, including mental health and crisis services, is an important step in the recovery process. North Andover Public Schools is working with Columbia Gas Company to help families address possible signs of trauma as a result of the gas explosions and displacement of families.
Two meetings are scheduled on December 5. The first will be held at the Stevens Estate on Osgood Street at 10:00 a.m. and the second will be at the High School from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. Gina-Marie Bonanno, M.Ed., CAGS, LMHC, a licensed school psychologist and trauma intervention consultant with over 25 years experience in public schools and private clinical practice, will be there to explain signs of stress, the mental health impacts and answer questions.
Department of Children and Families Needs Foster Homes
Is there room in your home and heart for a foster child? The Department of Children and Families is actively recruiting foster parents for children coming into care from North Andover, MA. We are searching for individuals or families with the love and patience to help foster children. You can be single, married, partnered, divorced or widowed. You can own your home or rent.
We need homes for children aged 0 to 22 which include sibling groups, children with special needs, medically involved children, and infants born exposed to
drugs. We are looking for long-term foster homes but also have a need for emergency and respite homes which involve a shorter time commitment on the part of a foster family. Our goal is to provide our foster children with a supportive and healing environment in a home in their own community until they can be reunited with their families or another plan can be made on their behalf. The rewards of providing daily care, guidance and acceptance are immeasurable.
If you are thinking about becoming a foster parent, you can learn more about the application process and the supports provided by the Department by contacting Brenda Fitzgerald, Family Resource Recruiter at Brenda.Fitzgerald@state.ma.us or at 978-557-2721.
The Anne Bradstreet Early Childhood Center Mascot Has Been Named
In addition to the mid-term elections held throughout the country this November, another very important election took place in Norh Andover - the naming of the Anne Bradstreet Early Childhood Center mascot. Community members narrowed the field down to three choices: Bees, Bulldogs and Bears. The children throughout the community had an opportunity to vote at the Stevens Memorial Library; the ABECC
students voted during election week, and it's now official! The Bradstreet Bulldog was revealed at an unveiling ceremony held for students and staff at the ABECC on Tuesday, November 13. Principals Marylou Connors and Judy Rogers are pictured on the left, along with Gregg Gilligan, Superintendent of Schools, honored guest Andrew Maylor, Town Manager, and of course the Bradstreet Bulldog.
North Andover Middle School by Jorge Goncalves, Proud Principal
Thank you all for a wonderful start to the 2018-2019 school year at NAMS. Over the last few months, I have been able to meet and get to know so many wonderful students, parents, and community members. Walking around the building and visiting classes has provided me opportunities to see teachers who are experts in their craft demonstrating to students just how much they care. This is a special place, and I am very fortunate to be a part of it. November finds students becoming more engaged in both coursework and activities that challenge them academically and help develop their social skills. To the staff and parents who have helped in making this transition a success – I thank you!
NAMS Fall 2018 Activities
Bye Bye Birdie Musical
NAMS students, under the leadership of Andrea Liacos, continue to rehearse and prepare for the show scheduled for December 6, 7, and 8 at NAMS. We hope to see many of you at one of the shows in which you will see "teen heartthrob Conrad Birdie, who has been drafted, choose all-American girl Kim McAfee for a very public farewell kiss". Featuring a tuneful, high-energy score, plenty of great parts for kids, and a hilarious script, BIRDIE remains one of the most popular shows in schools across the country, according to https://tamswitmark.com/shows/ bye-bye-birdie- young-performers-edition/
NAMS held its 10th Annual Family Geography Night on Thursday, October 4, 2018. Many of our NAMS families were in attendance, participating in engaging, fun-filled activities and challenges such as the inflatable EarthView Globe, exploring the Giant South American Floor Map, viewing Cultural Performances and Dances, creating and eating Landform Cookies, and so much more!
Congratulations to NAMS 6th grade social studies teacher, Robert Poirier, who received an Official Citation from the State Senate for organizing the event.
NAMS Enrichment Program - Fall 2018
After Hours offers a variety of programs and activities to participate in after school. The courses are designed to give middle school students a chance to try something new, share an interest with others, or just to have a place to hang out after school in a safe, open environment. Thank you, Kathy Poor, for organizing all of these wonderful clubs and activities for our students. We are able to offer these enrichment opportunities for our students free-of-charge thanks to the generous contributions of the NAMS PTAC (Parent Teacher Advisory Council).
Annual NAMS Team-Building Trips
Our Grade 6 students and staff had an opportunity to get to know one another, foster friendships, and strengthen our 6th grade community by taking part in team-building activities at Stevens Pond and Weir Hill during the week of September 10. Students participated in various activities such as kayaking, paddle boarding, and cooperative games.
NAMS Grade 7 student teams and staff had the opportunity at the end of October to participate in an outdoor team-building day at North Andover’s ropes course on Dale Street. Through a partnership with the North Andover Youth Center, students worked together and challenged themselves to a variety of challenges.
Our Grade 8 teams of students and staff attended the annual trip to Nature’s Classroom for 3 days and 2 nights at the end of October. Ocean Park, ME provided students with opportunities to participate in activities and classes on the ocean and around salt water marshes. Students were able to forge new friendships, learn about science and nature in a hands-on environment, and strengthen the Grade 8 sense of community.
NAHS Library Ditching Dewey for Genrefication!
Repeated student questions like, “Where are the science-fiction books?” prompted NAHS library/media specialist Laura Harrington and Sargent/Thomson library/media specialist Courtney Ahearn to genre-fy the NAHS Library fiction collection late last school year. Genrefication has been a trend in school libraries for a while, arranging library collections by genre-like bookstores, allowing students to easily locate their preferred reading materials. Nonfiction collections have inherently been categorized by subject and now NAHS’s fiction is, too.
Fiction was divided into eight categories, color-coded, and reclassified in the Follett Destiny library management system by Laura, Courtney, and NAHS Library aides, senior students gaining experience in a discipline or field. Over the summer, Laura added new signage in the form of color-coordinated, vinyl wall decals.
Feedback from students, faculty, and staff has been receptive early into this school year, and circulation data from spring and fall of ‘18 show significantly more checkouts than the same timeframe during the past five years. Also, NAHS English teachers are increasing library circulation by incorporating independent reading choice and silent, sustained reading into their classrooms.
NAPS libraries continue to offer a host of technologies and 21st century learning skills, but reading remains one of the best ways to impart critical analysis, vocabulary and communication skills.
Congratulations to NAHS Librarian Laura Harrington who has been chosen to serve as the Northeast Area Co-Director on the 2018-19 Executive Board of the Massachusetts School Library Association.
ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT AND ENDEAVORS
"A World of Difference"
We are proud to share that 30 Grades 7 and 8 students have completed the Anti-Defamation League’s peer training program entitled “A World of Difference.” Ms. Blaney and Ms. Duchesneau are the program leaders for this program and also participated in the 4 days of training with students. Students in the program will now be meeting weekly with our program leaders in order develop skills so they can facilitate workshops for their peers that will provide participants with 1) the opportunity for inter-group dialogue 2) an
NAMS Peer Leaders
increased understanding of the causes of prejudice; 3) a fuller appreciation of racial, ethnic,cultural, and other individual differences; and 4) conflict management skills ot respond
positively when confronted with bias-related behaviors such as bullying and harassment. Then, starting in the winter our peer leaders will be going into 6th grade classrooms to run student to student workshops.
We were very fortunate to be able to bring this program to NAMS and will be scheduling workshops for our staff by members of the ADL in November and December. You can see some pictures of the students during the trainings tweeted on our website and on the Social & Emotional Learning district page found here.
Teacher Teams and the Data Room
The Sargent has a new “Data Room,” which serves as a place for our collaborative teacher teams to meet. The teams are organized by grade level and include special education teachers. Principal Karen Lahey and her faculty team identified key schoolwide goals on which faculty teams will focus this year. Teams are identifying student work and data that will inform teaching practice. Doug B. Reeves of The Leadership and Learning Center notes that:
We must be as diligent in measuring the work of leaders and teachers as we are in measuring the work of our students. Examples of adult measurements include the time we devote to academic subjects, the level of agreement among the faculty in
scoring student work, the accuracy of student grades, and the interdisciplinary reinforcement of literacy provided by every single teacher in the school (Reeves, Top Five Tips for Effective Data Teams).
The Sargent teacher teams will use weekly collaboration time to consider useful measurements, such as further coordinating the scoring of student work across grade levels and reinforcing literacy skills across subjects and measuring progress. Teacher teams will practice strategies that they identify as high impact, and their ongoing meeting time will allow them to reconvene and reflect on student outcomes and impact.
What's Happening at Stevens Memorial Library?
Take a break from holiday preparations at the Library. Regular programs like story time, Crazy 8S math, and book groups start off the month. Join us for some special events like a Sunday concert featuring Irish airs and Scottish songs about winter nights and snowy weather; watch 2018's movie Christopher Robin, or visit a photography exhibit about the endangered Sumatran orangutans.
In Town, during the school holidays? Remember it's Staycation at the Library.
If traveling, check out a travel activity bag in the Children's Room or plan a family story time with audiobooks while driving. And, remember you can take a stack of books to read without filling your suitcase using Overdrive.
Don’t miss out on other great events. Follow the Library on Twitter @StevensMemLib, Facebook, or the Library’s website.
School Committee cORNER
While many are busy decorating and preparing for the holidays, my thoughts continue to go out to those still without gas. It is difficult to fully embrace the season when so many are still displaced. For those affected, I hope you are able to find some joy in the form of a warm house very soon.
Last month, the school committee enjoyed a thorough, honest presentation by the principals of each of our elementary, middle, and high schools about their 2018 MCAS results. Each school’s results are measured by an average of the scores earned by all students and those earned by the school’s lowest performing 25%. This average then becomes that school’s accountability number. Principals are looking at the areas where they did not earn their maximum target points and determining ways to hit those targets. If you are interested in seeing the presentation, you can click here.
November also kicked off the year’s Understanding Our Differences programs. Students in grades 3 through 5 learn about various medical conditions and
learning differences. The program relies on parent volunteers, and it is a unique experience. If you have a couple of hours to give one morning, I recommend doing it. You do not need to know anything about the topic. You will be given a script to read, and there are training videos online. If you are reluctant to lead a group on your own, you can also shadow someone else. For more information, contact northandoverPAC@gmail.com.
This month, the committee will hear Dr. Gilligan’s official entry plan for his new superintendency as the budget process begins in January.
I also want to wish the best of luck to the high school football team as it plays in the Super Bowl at Gillette Stadium! Congratulations to all on a fantastic season!
Have a wonderful holiday season.
Holly Vietzke-Lynch, Chair
December School Committee Meeting Date
Thursday, December 20, 2018
566 Main Street at 7:00 p.m.
Tweet of the Month
Great time last night at our LYLEF fundraising dinner. We were extremely fortunate to have many volunteers and outstanding staff.