Principal's Corner


Conferences are well under way here, they started yesterday, and continue today and tomorrow. They are such an important way for parents and guardians to her directly about their students as learners and members of the school community. Thanks you for taking the time to participate in your child’s education.

I’m going to repeat a couple things that went out in an email earlier this week:

-MCAS testing for students in grades 3-6 will start after vacation, on Tuesday, 4/23. We’ll send a complete schedule home. Please try as much as possible to have your student in school those days, it’s challenging for them to have to make up the test.

-Please keep students under adult control when walking in the parking lot. It make take a minute or two more, but it’s worth the time in peace of mind.

-The 5/6 class, along with Laurie Pike and me, will be in Washington next week, leaving early Monday and coming back late Friday.

Next week is an early release on Wednesday, 4/10. Thanks again for your understanding with the schedule switch this Wednesday. After that, it’s vacation, and I hope you have a good one.

Though we are required to have our students take th3 MCAS tests, we feel they are only one snapshot of our students as learners, and try not to have them stress about them. Here’s a link to a related article:


The first week of April will be busy here, with Family Conferences Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, April 3, 4 and 5. Wednesday is a 1:50 release, and conferences are from 1:50-6:10. On Thursday and Friday, students are released at 12:30, with conferences from 12:30-3:10. Check with Laurie to get a conference time with your students' teachers.

We are starting MCAS testing next week, the 3/4 and 5/6 classes will be taking their ELA tests, on Tuesday and Wednesday, April 2 and 3. As with any assessment, we try to keep the stress level to a minimum, because stressed students don't test well. Please remind your students that they will be promoted to the next grade no matter what their MCAS score is and that the test is as much a measure of the way the teachers have been teaching as it is a test of their knowledge. They should try to get a good night's sleep before the test, eat a good breakfast, and try not to worry. Standardized tests show only a small part of them as a student.

The 5/6 class is heading to Washington, D.C, on Monday, April 8, returning Friday, April 12. It should be an exciting trip!

I usually include a link to an article of some kind at the end of each column, but I wanted to share a quote from the book (and movie) Wonder I really liked. We stress it with the students regularly, but I think it pertains to all of us in our dealings with other people, andourselves, every day. The quote is: "When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind". When you add my other favorite aphorism, "Assume best intentions", it offers the possibility for a pretty positive day (or


Spring is finally here, though you wouldn't know it by looking outside. It looks like it'll be getting a little better over the next week or so, but still have your student bring appropriate clothing for going outside, meaning boots and snowpants for the time being.

Thanks to everyone who came out for the Spaghetti Supper, a great meal and it raised money for a great cause. A special thanks to Mr. Beebe, Mrs. Lively, and Mrs. Barnes for organizing, and to all the volunteers who prepped, cooked, served, and cleaned up.

The first week of April will be busy here, with Family Conferences Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, April 3, 4 and 5, and Kids In Concert happening at the same time. Check with Laurie to get a conference time with your students' teachers.

I found an article entitled "Teachers Weigh In: What I wished parents asked at conferences". I hope you find it interesting:


You wouldn't know from looking out the window, but the official first day of Spring is less than a week away, but one never knows up here on the hill. We're making plans to get the students working outside when the weather permits, and planning to build on the work the students have been doing in Science (and other classes). Please make sure your students have appropriate clothing to be able to play and study outside no matter what the weather.

I hope you can join us for the Spaghetti Supper, next Wednesday, March 20. In addition to the delicious meal, this event is an important fundraiser for the 5th and 6th grade field trips to Washington, D.C. (this year) and Nature's Classroom(next year). Please come and enjoy a great meal and support a good cause.

Please look for the letter coming home today that details some changes we are instituting at dismissal time to make it less chaotic and more pleasant for all of us. The biggest change for parents and guardians picking up students will be that we'll be asking you to stay on the gym side of the lobby, and let the bus students line up before you leave with your student. The letter has more details, let me know if you have a question.

In addition to the academic learning we work with the students on every day, we also work with them on social-emotional learning: how to be a good friend, a positive member of the school community, how to be their best self. We have been a bit more explicit this year, speaking to the students about the importance of being kind, and how it feels when someone is excluded. If you're interested in continuing the work at home, contact your student's teacher for suggestions. Here's an article that has some simple suggestions:


Another crazy weather week! March certainly came in like a lion, let's hope it knows enough to go out like a lamb.

A few families had questions about how the decision is made to cancel school, have a delay, or to have school as scheduled. We are on the same bus contract as Mohawk, so typically when Mohawk has school, we have school, and when they have a cancellation or delay, we do too. The Mohawk Superintendent, Mr. Buoniconti, or his busing coordinator, Robin Pease, is in touch with the Highway Departments in all of the hilltowns, including Rowe, to make sure it is safe for the buses to travel on the roads, and if it weren't, they would cancel school or call for a delay until the roads were safe, as they did this week. Keeping our students safe is our top priority. Let me know if you still have questions, and I'll do my best to answer them.

5th and 6th-grade parents, we're going to need all of your help at the Spaghetti Supper, the big fund-raiser for the trips to Washington, D.C. (this year) and Nature's Classroom. The students act as waiters, and traditionally, the parents do the prep and cooking. We'll be in sending information home, but please plan on helping out on Wednesday, March 20th, it helps keep the costs of the trips down for everyone.


One of these weeks, we'll have a full day of school. I guess winter isn't going away entirely. Looks like another possible storm Sunday into Monday, we'll keep you updated. Please make sure your students have appropriate clothing to be able to play outside no matter what the weather.

I hope you can join us for the Spaghetti Supper on Wednesday, March 20. In addition to the delicious meal, this event is an important fundraiser for the 5th and 6th-grade field trips to Washington, D.C. and Nature's Classroom. Please come and enjoy a great meal and support a good cause.

The next School Committee meeting is Thursday, March 21st at 4 p.m., the next PTP meeting is Wednesday, March 6th at 8 a.m., I encourage you to join us and learn more about what's going on at the school.

We have been working with our friend, Ted Watt from the Hitchcock Center for the Environment on science and Project Based Learning this year, and the students and teachers have enjoyed the time, and we've all learned a lot. He'll be coming back four more times this year, thanks to a STARS Grant. Ask your student what they like about Mr. Ted. The Hitchcock Center is open to families and the community second Saturdays of the month, thru June, from 9am-1pm. Stop by and join them for free Saturday Family Science Programs from 10-11am on the second Saturday of each month. Learn more and register by following this link:


Play and such...

We have been having some crazy weather, I'm sorry that I have to be the bearer of bad news (or good news, depending on your perspective). We always send the cancellation or delay message out by phone and email, if you're not getting one or the other, please let us know. We also post it on the Rowe School Community Facebook page, list it on Channels 22 and 40, and give the information to WHAI and WIZZ radio stations.

A couple quick schedule notes: The all-school Valentine's Dance is Friday night, information has been sent by email, and a phone call is coming Thursday late afternoon. Next Wednesday is Outdoor Science day, students will be spending the day outside doing science related activities. Ted Watt, our friend from the Hitchcock Center, will join us, please send your student prepared to be outside for most of the school day. It is a 1:50 release, and after-school childcare is available.

Yesterday was Global School Play Day, and we participated at Rowe School. It was a great day, with students learning how to make safe and fun choices, and how to be kind, in the context of a day of play. "Play is critical for children’s development...when children play, they engage with their environment in a safe context in which ideas and behaviors can be combined and practiced", according to We'd be interested in any feedback you have, or what you heard from your student about the day. Here's a link to the complete article:


It's been a little chilly...

It certainly has been one chilly week, even for Rowe! Hopefully, the weather will cooperate and we can have a full week of school and our last day of skiing next Thursday. The K-6 Blizzard Bags were due today, and Preschool Blizzard Bags are due Monday. It's possible another one will come home next week to turn Thursday's cancellation into a Blizzard Bag day. Stay tuned.

Sorry that our sleepover didn't work out last Friday, but the potluck and movie night was delicious and fun. We'll try it again in a few months, hopefully at a time when more families will be able to come!

I'm interested to hear any feedback you have on report cards. Our goal is to accurately and sensitively tell you about your student as a learner, let us know how we're doing on that task.

Coming home next week will be information about two upcoming activities: Global School Play Day and Outdoor Science Day. Global School PLay Day is Wednesday, February 6, and is about raising the awareness of the benefits and necessity of play in school. Outdoor Science Day is when we spend an entire school day outside, doing science-related activities. Look for more information soon.

Our next PTP meeting is Wednesday, February 6 at 8 am, come and have input into the school dance, scheduled for Friday, February 8. This month's School Committee meeting is Thursday, February 21 at 8 a.m. in the school library. Please join us if you can.

There was an article in the New York Times about kindness, I'd like to share it with you:


Last ski day is next week

Next week will be our fourth and final Winter Enrichment Day at Berkshire East, and we're looking forward to it.

Tonight is our Potluck Dinner, Movie Night, and Sleepover! You are welcome to come to any or all of it: just the Potluck, just the Movie Night, just the Sleepover, or all three! For your student to the sleepover, they need a signed permission slip, and gear to sleep in. Students in grades PreK-2 must be accompanied by a chaperone. Please note, there will be no nurse at the school during the sleepover.

Reports cards are coming home today, with this newsletter, for grades K-6. Report cards went home Wednesday for Preschool. The depth of analysis and feeling our teachers give to each student's performance is always impressive. Let us know what you think!

Blizzard Bags are coming home today as well (and Monday for Preschool) to make Thursday a Blizzard Bag day instead of a snow day, so we will not have to make it up in June.

Here's an interesting article about the benefits of doing math at home, hope you enjoy it:



Ski Day #3 is in the books. A great day of skiing, lots of effort by gritty kids to try new trails, and work together with their classmates. Lots of effort, too, by our gritty chaperones. Thanks! Next week is the last week, then we’re back to our regular Thursday schedule.

Report cards go home next week (Wednesday for Preschool, Friday for K-6). The staff put a lot of thought and time into them, so please look them over thoroughly, and if you have questions, email, call or make an appointment. We want to give you as accurate a picture as possible of your child as a learner.

Next Friday is Pot Luck, Movie Night and Sleepover. The permission slip is coming home today (K-6) and Monday for Preschool. We hope to see you at some or all of it, whatever works for your family.

Our report cards are comprised of three parts: the evaluation of the students’ work based on Massachusetts state standards, teacher’s evaluation of students’ work habits and social development, and the narratives that explain more of what has been going on in the classroom, and a more detailed description of the student’s effort and results. Yjis link might help explain them a little better, I hope you find it useful:



Another great day of skiing yesterday. The conditions were great, and the weather wasn’t too cold (unlike today!). So many students tried new trails, and are proud of their development as skiers. Thanks again to the chaperones and staff who make the day possible, and to the PTP for the financial support.

I hope you’ll be able to join us for our Community Pot Luck, Movie Night, and Sleepover at the school on Friday, January 25. More information will be coming soon. Should be a fun night!

You should have received a link to a survey about your nneed for or interest in an after-school program at the school. Please fill it out when you have a chance.

January’s School Committee meeting was postponed due to illness. The meeting is rescheduled to Wednesday, January 16th at 4 p.m.

I saw an article about kids and screen time. I thought you might find it useful:



What a great day of skiing yesterday! We have a number of students who have never skied before, and it’s always exciting. Thanks to all the chaperones, we couldn’t do it without you. One note for next week: please make sure your students have warm gloves or mittens, and good, long (non-cotton) socks. Everyone has a better day when they are warm enough!

Our two SCA/Americorps members are starting next week, and will be with us through March. They’ll be running a Tuesday Afternoon Adventure Club after-school activity starting soon, look for the permission slip coming home soon. Also, watch your email for a survey about your families interest in a regular, weekly after-school program. We’re interested to see how many families would find it helpful, and how many days a week you would prefer.

We’re already working on the budget process for next year, and if you have suggestions, please let me know.

This week’s link is to a different kind of article, one that lists 24 things to do with kids during the winter. Enjoy!



I want to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Happy Hanukah, a Happy Solstice, a Merry Christmas, and a Happy Kwanzaa, and I hope you all have a relaxing and fun vacation. I also want to thank all of you for trusting us with the education of your child, it is a responsibility we take very seriously. Happy New Year as well, and we’ll see everyone in 2019!



“Jesteśmy bardzo podekscytowani“, which means “we are very excited” in Polish. Our Polish performance is tonight, we’ve been rehearsing today, and the gym is decorated with beautiful art and animals that our students have been created. We can’t wait for you to see the gym and enjoy the performance. Everyone, students and staff, have been working so hard to get ready, with a special shout out going to Mr. Crean and Mrs. Kitchen for their efforts.

We hope you and your student can get here around 6:00 so you have time to walk through the hallways and the gym to see the work that your students have been doing during our study of Canada. Please keep your students with you during this time, it is not the time for them to be running around the hallways or the gym. Students must be in the cafeteria at 6:15 to get ready, and the performance will start at 6:30. Bring your dancing shoes, we’ve got some great Polish musicians (and one Rowe resident) joining us. We hope you “miłego przedstawienia“! (enjoy the show!)

We will be making a video of the performance and will try to share it through email, let me know if you are interested in getting a link to the video, or a copy of the performance.

Next week is a full week, there is NO early release on Wednesday, and we have a full day on Friday (lunch is served), and students will be making gingerbread houses (Thanks, Miss Kim!) on Thursday.

I came across this article about helping children and parents enjoy the holidays. I hope you find it interesting:



Our Cultural Study performance celebrating the music and culture of Poland is one week away! Next Thursday, we’ll be rehearsing during the day, and we ask that students and families arrive at 6:00 to view all the amazing artwork that will be on display in the gym, and at 6:15, students will go to the cafeteria to get ready for the performance, which begins at 6:30. We ask that students wear white (or light) tops and black (or dark) bottoms for the performance. We also ask that during the time when students and families are enjoying the art that they stay together, so parents and guardians can keep an eye on their students; it is not a time for students to be running and playing in the gym or the school. The students (and staff) have been working hard on all parts of this performance, I think you’ll be amazed and entertained.

It’s not too late to donate non-perishable food items at the school which will be brought to the Good Neighbors Food Pantry in Charlemont for their December distribution. Ask if you have questions.

I hate to be a nag, and I know mornings can be difficult, but it is important that your student be at school by 8:25 so they are ready to start their day with their classmates. The is a LOT of learning that goes on in the first section of the day, and by coming in late, your student can lose out on that learning and have a difficult transition to the school day. Everyone will benefit, including you, if your child starts the school day on time.

A few quick scheduling reminders: Wednesday, 12/12 is a Professional Learning Day, students are released at 1:50 and after-school child care is available. Our last day of school before the holidays is Friday, 12/21, it is a regular school day. There is an all-school holiday sing-a-long at on Thursday, 12/20.

Here’s a link to an article about alternatives to the standard ways we tend to praise students:



It’s almost December! There’s a lot going on at the Rowe School this month. Next week are Mini-Courses where students get to do cooking, crafts, and activities all related to our study of Poland. And the following week is our Cultural Study performance, on Thursday, December 13th. The show starts at 6:30, and students need to be at the school by 6:15 to get ready for the performance, but you’ll want to come early (anytime after 6:00) to look at all the amazing art our students have produced over the last few months displayed in the gym.

The Holiday Bazaar, sponsored by the PTP, was a big success! Students got to choose gifts for loved ones from hundreds of possibilities, and the n5/6 students helped wrap and label their purchases. It was fun to watch them working with the younger grades. Thanks to the PTP, and especially Wendy Norcross, for organizing such a great, and hopefully annual, event. The 3/4 class is collecting non-perishable food items for the Good Neighbors Food Pantry. Please send something in if you can.

Thank you for continuing to keep our students safe in the parking lot at arrival and dismissal by not passing buses when their red lights are flashing, only going one way around the parking lot, and keeping your student close to you as you cross the lot.

Lastly, it’s great to see students playing on the playground after school, but please make sure to close the gate leading from the playground to the parking lot (down by the slide) before you leave. Thank you!

Someone shared this post with me, about what children do at school each day, and I thought you might enjoy it: