SEPTEMBER 25, 2016
Hello Veterans' Families,
I hope that all of you had a very nice weekend. It really feels like fall doesn't it? I am already halfway through a bag of candy corn, I probably should have eaten an apple instead.
It was great seeing so many parents and guardians at our Meet theTeacher Night last week. Your presence at these events is not lost on your children. You have shown your children in a very real way that you value their education and that you know how their classroom operates and are interested in building a partnership with their classroom teacher.
I hope that all of you have read the email from Dr. Safier with regards to the meeting on Monday night at East Gloucester School to discuss the possibility of a new building project that will combine both Veterans' Memorial and East Gloucester Elementary Schools into one new building. As parents of students at Veterans', your input is very important to this process so we hope you will attend, especially parents of students of kindergarteners and younger. The meeting begins at 6:30PM and is being held in the East Gloucester Elementary School auditorium.
Also this week, individual picture day is going to happen this Tuesday, September 27th. We do have some vouchers for picture packages if you are having difficulty affording these photos. Please see either Claire or myself if you are interested.
Also this week, last year's PARCC scores are being released to the public. Parents of students in grades 4 and 5 will be receiving their scores over the next few weeks. Because this is a new type of test, the scores cannot effect our current designation of a level 2 school. This year, the PARCC test is not being given, rather, the State of Massachusetts is going to be giving the next generation MCAS exam. These tests in math and english language arts are given every spring to the students in grades 3,4 and 5. Grade 4 students across the state are going to be taking the MCAS exam on computers. To that end, we are going to be purchasing a typing program for our students. It will start with our fourth graders and move down to grades 3 and 2 eventually so that we are training our students to be adept at keyboarding.
Our students are continuing to work very hard during the day and are staying engaged in the classrooms. Please make sure that your children are arriving on time to school (9:00). Our new attendance policy is very stringent this year especially for students and parents that have over 6 absences or tardies within a trimester that are unexcused. You will find all of this information in the student handbook that was sent to you last week. The student handbook is a very important read for parents. Please fill out and send in the form that states you have read and understand the handbook as well as the acceptable use policy for the internet and computers at school.
It is going to be a great week for our students to really dive into their learning. All teachers have their scheduling done and their groups figured out. The students understand the school and classroom rules so we are ready to go. Go Red Sox, Go Pats.
Have a great week,
“Give us wings, and we will soar!”
August 23, 2016
Dear Veterans’ Families,
I hope that all of you had a wonderful summer and that you are beginning to think about heading back to school, which for grades 1 through 5 will be in just two short weeks. So much has gone on here at Veterans’ over the summer. While you were out enjoying the beach, the faculty and staff were working very hard (and going to the beach!!).
There are several new staff members that are joining the Veterans’ School family. We are so excited about all of them as they represent the best candidates that were out there. There were also changes to existing faculty/staff positions as well.
Grade 5: Special Education teacher Jane Brancaleone is moving from her grade 2 position to work with our 5th graders.
Grade 4: Kristie Lambert is now our grades k-2 interventionist. She will be working with our kindergarten teachers and grade 1 in their literacy and will be working with grades 1 and 2 in mathematics also. Amy Clayton is now going to be the regular education teacher at Grade 4 and we have hired Ms. Jessica Coons to be the special education teacher.
Grade 3: Rachel Aldridge is the new special education teacher
Grade 2: Rachael Phelan is our new special education teacher
Kindergarten: We are excited to welcome two new Kindergarten teachers!! Elizabeth Coughlan and Suzanne Thomas.
Substantially Separate Classroom: We are so excited to welcome Arlene Evans and her staff and students to our school. They will be in Janet Allen’s old classroom which is a wonderful space for our students prek – kindergarten.
Physical Education: Our beloved “Coach” has reluctantly accepted a new job in Southbridge MA. This is very close to where he lives and will be an excellent opportunity for him. Our new PE teacher is Ms. Kathryn Hubeny! She comes to us with a wealth of experience in both the college setting and in Project Adventure. She is eager to get working with our students!
We have moved the title one offices out of the library and we are in the process of restoring the library to its former glory. It is a beautiful space for students and teachers to work and read. You will be impressed when you see it.
Our kindergarten classrooms are now going to be across the hall from each other! This will allow for greater collaboration and expand our opportunities for co-teaching.
Our Annual Ice Cream Social is happening out on the back courtyard on August 25th beginning at 6:00PM. DO NOT BUY A BACKPACK FOR YOUR CHILDREN!!! We have had over 400 backpacks donated from Walgreens with school supplies in them. We will be giving them out at the Ice Cream Social.
Well that’s all for now, I told you we were busy!! I can’t wait to see all of you again, and to our new families, welcome! You are going to love it at Vets. You are Eagles now!
Dear Veterans' Families, Guests and Friends!
Happy New Year! We are still coming down from the excitement of our level 2 designation, but that doesn't mean that the work stops here at the Veterans' school. We have a lot of really great things going on here.
The classroom teachers and I have just finished up our winter round of data for literacy. It was noticed that so many of our students are making above average or "Ambitious" gains in their ability to read words. We are further along with our students this year than last year at this time and all the numbers are going up. Make sure you tell your kids how proud we are of the work they are doing and make sure you keep reading to and with them every night.
Last Monday, we unveiled something new to the students at our Monday Morning Meeting. We are calling it "Portraits of Greatness". These are people that against great odds and in the face of criticism went on to do amazing things. We are hoping that our students can be inspired by these people. The first person we are learning about is the African American choreographer, Alvin Ailey. He was born in Texas during the depression, moved to Los Angeles where he was exposed to dance. He ended up combining his Baptist upbringing with Modern Dance to create the groundbreaking choreography in his dance entitled "Revelations". Which is still performed to this day. He was really an amazing person.
I am happy to say that we have installed two more Apple televisions in Grade 4 and Kindergarten. This means that we only have two more classrooms to get this wonderful technology into. Speaking of technology, we just purchased a new video camera for the school thanks to the generosity of a donation from Shaw's Supermarkets. It is awesome and we are hoping to start our own Veterans' School channel.
Coming soon from my office will be the PARCC schedule for parents of students in grades 3,4 and 5. The testing will be occurring in the month of May. Please review this schedule and make sure that your family is not going on any vacations or extended absences during this time. I thank you in advance for your consideration.
Also coming soon will be our new Title One Website. Stay tuned.
Have a great week.
December 8, 2015
Dear Veterans’ School Families,
I have some very exciting news to share with all of you about our school. Each year the State of Massachusetts sets an accountability rating on every school in the commonwealth based on our results for standardized testing. This standardized testing you may know as the PARCC or the MCAS tests. I am extremely proud to say that the results from the PARCC exams that our students took last spring are in and we now have an accountability level of 2!! This is thrilling news as it puts us in a category of sustained and improved growth as well as puts us on an equal level with the other schools in our district. These results are a testament to the hard work and effort that the students are giving to their school work and to these tests.
Standardized tests are given in the spring of every school year to our students in grades 3,4 and 5. The results are tabulated and each school is given an accountability level. Since 2012, the Veterans’ School has received a level of 3 and prior to that, we were in corrective action as far back as 2006. Level 3 put us in the lowest 25% of schools in Massachusetts and as a result reflected negatively on the school and the hardworking staff and students that learned here. When I became principal of this school, it was my goal to reach LEVEL 2 status within 5 years. To do it in only two years is astounding.
I want to recognize the efforts of the entire Veterans’ School faculty and staff who have gone through tremendous changes over the past several years with new curricula and the co-teaching model. Anything that is asked of them they do and they do it well. I am honored to be their principal.
It is my firm belief that we can become a LEVEL 1 school because we have hard working students, dedicated faculty and staff and parents that are supporting their learning at home (reading, assisting with homework and creating structure) each and every day. It is this combination that will help our students reach their full potential.
Please feel free to share this news with EVERYONE!!
October 28, 2015
Dear Parents and Guardians,
Can you believe that we have been in school for almost two months? It’s hard to believe that in two more months it will be Christmas! The school year really seems to fly by. We have so much going on at Vets these days that I wanted to send out this letter to keep you updated on all that is going on!
This Friday is going to be the Veterans’ School annual Halloween parade. The parade will start at 1:30PM. We will walk through the hallways and then outside onto the courtyard in the back of the school. It is here that you can get that all important “photo opportunity!!” We ask that you send your child to school with their costume in a bag and not worn by the student. Make sure that the costume is uncomplicated. i.e. no makeup or accessories that your child can’t put on by themselves. As you know, the Veterans’ School Halloween Hop is Friday night and that would be when your child can wear their full costume!! We also stress that students should not be bringing any fake swords, guns or other weaponry to the school even if it is part of their costume. We also ask that you refrain from any gory or overly scary masks. We will confiscate any costume items that are inappropriate. As always, this is a really great time to celebrate our school spirit and the kids have a great time.
The Veterans’ School PTO is putting on our annual Halloween Hop from 6:00PM to 7:30PM this Friday night. This is sure to be a great time. Remember, this is not a “drop off” event. All students must be accompanied by a responsible adult. We hope to see you there.
Our Everybody Reads At Home program is in full swing. Those ERAH forms are due in to Ms. Delisle for the month of October on November 4th. Those students and their families will be recognized at Monday Morning Meeting for their hard work and dedication to reading together as a family.
For the parents of students in fourth and fifth grade, you may remember that your child took the PARCC exam last year in March and in May. You are probably wondering what the results were. We have not received the results for the Veterans’ School yet. I believe that they should be coming in the month of November at some point but school districts around the State have not received them.
Some important dates for everyone to remember:
October 30th 1:30PM Halloween parade (meet us out at the courtyard)
October 30th 6:00PM Halloween Hop in the gymnasium
November 1st ~ Daylight savings time! Turn your clocks back one hour
November 3rd ~ No School for all students (Faculty and Staff development)
November 4th ~ ERAH (Everybody Reads At Home) forms are due in to Ms. Delisle
November 5th ~ 12:00PM Early Release for parent conferences
November 11th ~ No School for all students ~ Veteran’s Day!!
November 25th ~ 12:00PM Early Release for Thanksgiving Holiday
November 26th and 27th ~ No school Thanksgiving break.
There are so many great things going on here at the Vets! The kids are working hard and I am so proud of all of them. Keep it up! We learn best when we struggle!
This year, the Veterans’ School faculty and staff have begun a school-wide behavior program. So far we have seen wonderful results from this work and we are excited to be moving forward with the second part of our implementation of this plan.
In order to provide faculty/staff with an appropriate consequence for students that either end the day on Orange or Red or they are found by Mr. Fusco to be in excessive violation of the recess and cafeteria rules, the Veterans’ school is going to be instituting a ½ hour detention.
When a student ends their day on Orange or Red, or they have misbehaved at recess or in the cafeteria, they may be assigned a detention. Once a detention is assigned, the parent or guardian will receive a phone call from the teacher or Mr. Fusco. They will be given all the information about the infraction(s) that were committed by the student and a day will be chosen that is mutually agreeable for when the detention will be served.
Detention is going to be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays of every week (except for holidays and early release days) from 3:00-3:30PM. The Committee felt that it was extremely important that either a parent or legal guardian picks up the student from the detention. We believe that the detention will have more meaning and impact to the student and their parent(s) if they are picked up from detention by a parent or legal guardian. We understand that with working parents it can be difficult, but we will work with you to choose a day that is convenient for a parent or guardian pickup. . During the student’s time in detention, a faculty member will be working with the student on pre-determined, grade level appropriate assignments designed to help students reflect on their indiscretions and to create a plan of action so that this does not happen again.
It is important to note that children will not be given detention for incomplete homework or other academic issues. Those are dealt with through our grading system and report cards.
Please speak with your child(ren) about this new policy. We will be speaking with your child(ren) as well. While it is only for a ½ hour, we believe that if we all take detention seriously, and that we show our children that detention is a serious consequence for inappropriate behavior, our students will take it seriously and it hopefully will be a good deterrent against poor behavior.
Detention is set to begin next Tuesday, October 20th.
As always, if you have any questions, comments or concerns, please give me a call.
Veterans’ Memorial School
October 8, 2015
Dear Families and Friends of the Veterans’ School,
Things have been going great here at Vets for the first full month of school. Our new behavioral system has already shown signs of great progress and acceptance for our students. Disciplinary referrals are down for this month. Please remember to ask your child what color they are on when they come home from school.
In the morning everybody starts on the color green which means: Ready to learn. From there they can go either up or down depending on their behavior. Even if a student goes down the color chart, they can still have the opportunity to turn it around by the end of the day and end up on Green or even better. The best part is that students will keep track of their own colors everyday and keep a chart of how they have been behaving. Your interest in their color for the day is great motivation for them to behave their best. The biggest thing is that behavior and discipline are all about learning and teaching. Students everyday are learning how to get along with others, problem solve and show empathy. These are all traits that everyone needs in order to be productive citizens in our society. Here are the colors: If your child ends the day on Green or above, you should be pleased.
PURPLE ~ “Great Choice”
BLUE ~ “Good Choice
GREEN ~ “Ready to Learn” (Where everyone starts..)
YELLOW ~ “Warning”
ORANGE ~ “Consequence”
RED ~ “Referral to the Principal’s office”
These colors are based on five classroom rules that all students should follow. They are:
Rule 1 ~ Follow directions quickly
Rule 2 ~ Raise your hand to speak
Rule 3 ~ Raise your hand for permission to leave your seat
Rule 4 ~ Make smart choices
Rule 5 ~ Make your dear teacher happy!
Playground and recess fall under the responsibility of the principal. Therefore any issues that occur out at recess and in the cafeteria are referred directly to me by our noon supervisors and paraprofessionals.
I am reminded that word "discipline" is derived from the word "disciple" which means one that is taught. That is what discipline is, whether by a parent or teacher, they are teachable moments.
By the end of this month, the Veterans' school will be instituting a 1/2 hour detention on Tuesdays and Thursdays as a consequence for students that end their day on orange or red. Or if their behavior out at recess or in the cafeteria warrants a consequence. You will be receiving information on that shortly.
Our students are really behind the new code and they have bought into it. We are very excited to have the same code going on in all of the classrooms at Veterans.
Don't forget that Monday is a holiday. Enjoy the day off and the beautiful fall weather.
We also have an incredible website that explains the new Math program that we are implementing this year. It is called Math In Focus. Make sure you check it out!