Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Welcome to 2018!

It’s a new year at Barnard School and Mrs. Moran’s Kindergarten and First Graders report that Tuesday, January 2, when we returned, was day 77 of our school year!  Despite the deep freeze, classes are underway and we are settling in to the midpoint of our second trimester.

December was an active month as always highlighted with a wonderfully attended and performed Holiday Concert.  There were performances by every grade level, band, and chorus followed by a whole school grand finale performance of Shalom Chaverim. Many thanks Ms. Dozet who put on another amazing presentation and to the entire staff for their support with preparations and helping supervise students in the stands on the night of the performance.  The evening included our annual very successful PTA Book Fair, PTA refreshments and an exciting drawing to support the Grade 8 trip to DC.  Many thanks to all who attended to support the students, band, chorus, and Grade 8!

In addition to the concert there were other annual community events with Santa’s Breakfast on December 9 and Santa’s Big Ride, which was postponed to December 23 due to the weather. Student Council sponsored Pajama Day in all grades with a K-5 showing of “Prancer.”  We celebrated the last day before vacation with our “Students of the Week and Month” recognitions followed by a staff Ugly Sweater competition featuring Mr. Szeliga as the overwhelming student favorite.

NHDOE Commissioner Frank Edelblut visited SAU 21 on December 18, and he made his last stop here in South Hampton.  There was much going on in each of the classrooms and the Commissioner was very impressed by our individualization and commitment to rigorous learning and instruction.  We all know that our school is very special place and it was great to have that recognized by such a distinguished visitor.  We look forward to continuing to share our successes with the DOE and the Commissioner. 

Looking forward to January and beyond, our Basketball team is well into their season and will continue with games throughout January and perhaps beyond, depending on the weather. In the spring we look forward to a second successful Spring Track season.  The PTA Ski and Snowboard Program began another season on January 2 and we have the largest group of participants I have had the pleasure of skiing with in several years! 

Early Release Friday, January 12, SHPD will be meeting with the staff to present ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) in order for us to be better informed of the latest techniques to address potential school intruders.  At this point there is very little to share since we are just getting this information for the first time.  Once we have this initial communication session we anticipate that we will have more to present and look for guidance as we proceed.  There will be significant opportunities to seek administrative, board, and parent input as we move forward to provide for school safety in the current environment.  More info can be obtained at https://www.alicetraining.com/ and we will see what will be needed to adapt this program to our unique (as I said before) school and community.

During the remainder of the early release day we are sharing our impressions of shared readings of Breaking with Tradition (The Shift to Competency Based Learning in PLCS that Work) and Grading Exceptional and Struggling Learners.  The faculty has made a commitment to continue our study of Competency Based Learning and how it applies to our classrooms.


That’s a quick snapshot of what is happening here, MLK day is January 15, Progress Reports go home January 17, and second trimester Parent Conferences will be on Tuesday, January 30.  As always, please continue to visit our website, Twitter, Facebook, teacher, and principal pages, and Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

First Trimester, Holidays, and a New Year!

December 1 is day 61 (including our first weather cancellation on October 30) of our school year, meaning we have completed the first trimester here at Barnard School. Grades closed on November 21 and report cards were sent home November 29.  The Holiday Season brings performances and activities, while families recover from Thanksgiving feasts and prepare for our Holiday Break December 23-January 2.

November reminds us of our colonial heritage with the Thanksgiving Holiday, and Grades K-3 make it an annual tradition to visit that history in a live community presentation and a feast! After much practice and preparation with research to review the origins of the holiday, Grades K-3 entertained the school and several parents, younger siblings and other visitors with recitations, songs and displays of artwork on the morning of Tuesday, November 21. Following the presentation the students celebrated with a feast of turkey roll-ups, cranberry sauce, gluten free and regular corn bread, homemade applesauce, homemade butter (hand shaken), and individual pumpkin pies for dessert! Thank you parents for helping with preparations and a special thank you to Mrs. Pruett and Mrs. Moran for carrying on this important annual tradition!

I do speak frequently about the assessments we administer and how analysis of the results drives instruction, and as we approach midyear, there is real evidence of how it all comes together, particularly this year.  AIMSweb is a Pearson product we have used for years to assess Reading and Math skills and monitor progress in grades K-8. This year we have upgraded to aimswebPlus, a fully digital version of the assessment.  Pearson, the provider, defines their product as follows:  “aimswebPlus is a powerful and proven tool that informs instruction and improves student performance. Use its standards-aligned reading and math measures to screen and monitor progress for grades K-8.”  Courtney Peterson is participating in a yearlong online tutorial to fully understand how to best use this valuable tool and has committed to administer the product and share what she learns with the staff.  We have also added MAP Skills to our NWEA (Northwest Evaluation Association) assessment and they define their program as:  “a skills mastery and progress monitoring assessment that helps teachers drill down to the specific skills each student needs to learn. Use it between MAP Growth administrations to see exactly what struggling students are missing and advanced students are ready to take on—then adjust instruction in the moment and monitor student progress.”  Drew Szeliga has taken the lead with this new addition and has made the same commitment to work with Grades 3-8. Using these augmented assessments and the accompanying instructional enhancements will greatly help with our transition to a Competency Based model. Thank you Ms. Peterson, Mr. Szeliga and the entire staff for your commitment to these programs on behalf of our students!

Speaking of assessments, in late September, Spring 2017 Smarter Balanced Testing results were sent home for review.  This information allows us to access grades 3-8 student proficiency in Mathematics and English Language Arts, individually, and with the ability to compare scores within our population and statewide performance.  Not long after, we sent home NECAP (New England Common Assessment Program) science results for last year’s students in grades 4 and 8 with similar proficiency and comparison data.  Smarter Balanced Testing and NECAP will be replaced in the spring of 2018 with a new program entitled “NH Statewide Assessment System.” On November 8 I attended a daylong workshop presentation to unveil these assessments, which will be administered for Grades 3-8 in English Language Arts and Math and Grades 5 and 8 in Science. One major improvement from previous tests is the availability of baseline and interim online assessments to allow students to practice and provide feedback to teachers in order to prepare students to perform at their best once the actual assessment is administered.  The tests are all online and adaptive, meaning the questions adjust to be more or less difficult as the students proceed, providing very accurate and valid results.  I will provide more information in future reports as it becomes available.

As reported previously, all grades are attending live performances at Epping’s Leddy Theatre.  On November 8, Grades K-3 attended Roald Dahl’s (I didn’t realize he was the author!) “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.” In addition to attending the performance, classrooms spent time reviewing other versions of the play and other Dahl works.  On December 8, Grades 4-8 will see Dickens’ (I did know he was the author!) “ A Christmas Carol,” and classrooms will likewise see other versions and other works by this famous author.  In the spring we still have plans to go to Strawbery Banke and Lowell Mills with a whole school trip still in its planning stage with perhaps a trip to a major sporting event. 

December is our month for the annual Holiday Concert scheduled for December 12, weather permitting (yes it’s that time of year that we need to keep an eye on the weather!). PTA is planning their Book Fair for the same night and a couple days before. The annual Holiday Sale, also PTA sponsored, will be on December 7 and 8. Not soon after, we will be ready for Christmas and the break, which will bring us into a New Year!


That’s a short summary of what’s been going on and there’s always more to see and hear about.  Please continue to visit our website, Twitter, Facebook, teacher, and principal pages.  Best wishes on a joyous Holiday Season and a Happy New Year!

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Parent Conferences, Volunteer Recognition, Field Trips, Staff Training, and a lot more!!!

As we enter the third month of the school year and the Holiday Season, Mrs. Moran’s Kindergarten and First Graders report that the month of November begins on day 41 of our very busy school year. Here a few highlights of what has been going on and what we have to look forward to.
Staff meetings are scheduled for the first 2 Wednesdays every month and the agendas include preparing for and reflecting on events like Open House and Parent Conferences, trainings, field trips, and addressing staff concerns.  Every meeting also has standing reports on District-wide Professional Development and Seacoast Education Association news. For the October 4 meeting we traveled to Seabrook Middle School for MLP (My Learning Plan, the software used to track professional development and staff evaluations) and again on November 1 for Title IX, Bullying, and Harassment training.  The purpose of joining other schools in these mandatory trainings is to ensure that the staff receives a consistent message throughout the SAU.  October was also a month for Inservice Trainings with our first session in house on October 6, and we invited Dr. Cadarette to present “Competency 101” with discussion and Q&A followed by additional work on MLP carried over from the previous training and development of individual goal setting around our commitment to learning all we can with regards to the competencies.  On October 27, our second Inservice is SAU-wide for a presentation by nationally recognized Lynn Lyons and “Managing Anxiety at School and Home.” The entire teaching staff and our educational associates are joining together to learn about this important issue.
Field trips are an important part of our learning program and we have been reviewing our plan for the year at staff meetings.  All classes will be attending live musical performances at the Leddy Center for the Performing Arts in Epping.  Grades K-5 will see Roald Dahl’s “Willy Wonka” on November 8 and Grades 6-8 will see Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” on December 8.  We are delighted to be able to offer these performances and look forward to extending out learning about the stories and authors in our classrooms.  Experiencing local history will also be included in late winter or early spring with trips to Strawbery Banke (yes that’s the correct spelling) for Grades K-3 and Lowell Mills for Grades 4-8.  Both locations have presentations, tours, and interactive exhibits that fit well into our Social Studies curriculum. We are still in the process of reviewing a whole school trip like recent excursions to the Museum of Science, Currier Museum, Fischer Cats Game, Isles of Shoals, and the Aquarium.  We are always open to suggestions from the community and will keep you posted as we consider our options and the best experience for our students. 
October 24 and 25 were our first round of Parent Conferences for all grades.  Depending on the grade level, 15 or 20-minute appointments were arranged and I’m please to report that 68 such meetings took place thanks largely to the efforts of Mrs. Jones, who not only took calls, but also reached out to parents.  This is a continuation of our mid-trimester plan in order to provide feedback before grades close.  Parents are reminded that teachers are available any time to discuss student concerns and additional time is available at a different date if the blocks seem to short.
Budget season has begun and classroom teachers have submitted their individual requests.  This is a thorough, detailed process of reviewing inventories and student population projections in order to predict needed instructional materials and supplies for the 2018-2019 school year.  The budgets are reviewed and combined with technology, maintenance, office, and other miscellaneous needs.  That information is combined with administrative requests for materials and personnel for review by the SAU in preparation for presentation to the School Board.  We are on track to be on schedule for proceeding with this important responsibility. 
Volunteerism is alive and well here at Barnard school and throughout the state as demonstrated at the NH Partners in Education Celebration of Volunteers Breakfast in Concord on October 25.  Drs. Sullivan and Cadarette, along with all of the SAU 21 administrators and a number of volunteers joined over 250 attendees at this gala event.  Commissioner Edelblut was the keynote along with performances by PSU’s Dr. Trish Lindberg and the University’s internationally renowned, Emmy-winning, TIGER (Theatre Integrating Guidance Education & Responsibility) troupe. South Hampton’s PTA was awarded The Gold Circle Partnership Award, and Barnard School was again recognized with the Blue Ribbon Achievement Award on behalf of our army of selfless, dedicated, volunteers.  Continuing on the subject of volunteers, PTA, in partnership with South Hampton Recreation had another successful Fall Festival on Saturday, October 14.  This incredible community event included chili and soup, raffles of student artwork, music, and a bouncy obstacle course as a wonderfully entertaining and community building fundraiser to benefit student enrichment programming.  Thank you PTA also for providing cider and donuts during Parent Conferences.
Cross Country season came to an end with the Seacoast League Championship Meet on October 11 and Grade 5 Championship on October 18.  As I said earlier, this is the largest team we have ever fielded and we are so grateful to the athletes who represent us so well, the parents, grandparents, and siblings who cheer them on and especially Coach Casassa for her continued devotion to our kids.  Soon we will be looking forward to Basketball, stay tuned for more details.

That’s a short summary of what’s been going on and there’s always more to see and hear about.  Please continue to visit our website, Twitter, Facebook, teacher, and principal pages.  Best wishes on a Happy Thanksgiving and a joyous Holiday Season!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Fall Arrives and School is in Full Swing!!

With a month of school behind us, the staff and students are very much into their daily routines and the serious work of student learning here at school.  Although, as of the October Board Meeting, we will have completed only 25 days of school, there is always much to share.

During the final days of vacation and first days of classes, the teachers, teaching assistants, service providers, Mrs. Jones, Ms. Donabedian and I fine-tune the daily student and duty schedules.   These adjustments provide for the best delivery of academics, Related Arts, (Music, Art, PE, World Language, Health, and Technology), and services, along with providing coverage for our 4 recess periods and lunch. Even with these adjustments in place we are always aware that the schedules are a work in progress and adjustments are made for special events and assemblies, and early release and delayed opening days.

We continue to develop our knowledge of Competency Based Learning in NH. Jon Vander Els, Director of Innovation Projects at The NH Learning Initiative and keynote speaker spoke at our September 6 staff meeting.  Mrs. Pruett and Mrs. Wright attended “Transforming Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment in New Hampshire: Preparing to Lead Your District in the next Stages of Your Competency Journey” on September 25 and 26 along with several others from SAU 21.  We will continue to keep you posted as we progress with our learning and planning in this important statewide initiative.

Smarter Balanced results from Spring 2017 testing in ELA (English Language Arts)/Literacy and Math were released to families by all schools in the District during the week of September 18-22. Included in the mailing was a letter of explanation and several pages with explanations to help interpret the results along with links to web sources.  The reports include a scaled score and level report from 1-4, with levels 3 and 4 representing students whose scores meet or exceed state standards. I’m please to announce that Barnard students in grades 3-8 scored 80% proficient or better (Level 3 or 4) in ELA/Literacy and 73% in Math. This compares to statewide score for 2015-2016 (latest statewide results not yet released) of 61% in ELA and 49% in Math.  Although this is only one measure and we use several to measure student progress, it’s reassuring to see how well our students do compared to a large sample.  Congrats to students and teachers for all your work to “show what you know!”  We will be using this information and many more other sources to drive instruction and provide valuable feedback to students and parents.

Continuing on the subject of testing, September is the month we develop baseline and growth data for students in Grades 2-8 with NWEA MAP (Northwest Educational Association Measures of Academic Progress) testing in Reading, Language Usage, Math, and Science (Grades 4-8).  These important tools help provide data for individualization of instruction and feedback to teachers and students on strengths and needs for improvement.  This is particularly helpful providing large group norms for our small school size.

Open House September 19 was another very successful evening despite the challenging weather, thanks to the remains of Hurricane Hugo.  We moved our PTA sponsored hotdog picnic indoors and served over 100 dogs and dozens of Cider Hill donuts! After dinner the teachers delivered presentation in packed classrooms and parents and students were able to see how well we are prepared for another school year.  Thank you PTA for refreshments and to our amazing classroom, special education, art, and music teachers and support staff for their efforts to welcome new and returning families and make this annual event such an overwhelming success!!!

Cross Country season has started and Coach Casassa has a record roster of 12 boys and 10 girls representing athletes from grades 5-8.  We have been competing in meets and the team can boast some impressive boy and girl finishes!  The highlight of the season so far is our second year of sponsoring a home meet hosted by Stateline Field and Stream Club.  Many thanks to Angela Racine, who coordinates for the Club, and Coach Casassa and Athletic Director Szeliga, and, of course, the Club and parent volunteers who make this important community building event a success!  We look forward to reporting more on the team as they progress through the season and on to the Championship Meet.

As we head for October, we will be having Early Release Days on Oct 6 and 27.  On Oct 6 several schools in the District will be working to improve our use of “My Learning Plan,” the program we use for goal setting, improvement of instruction, evaluation, and professional development. On Oct 27, there will be a District-wide presentation by Lynn Lyons with the following description:  “Lynn presents internationally to parents, therapists, teachers, and other helping professionals. Her programs and workshops offer solid information and strategies, including: Anxious Kids, Anxious Parents: How to Interrupt the Worry Cycle Preventing Anxiety and Depression: Skills We Can (and Should!) Be Teaching Our Children Managing Anxiety in the Classroom: An Approach for Schools and Parents Effective 504 Plans: Action over Avoidance Trainings range from 2 hours to full or multi-day. Lynn frequently provides consultation and professional development to school districts, including guidance counselors, nurses, teachers, and support staff.  This should be very beneficial to our staff and administrators!

Lastly, we will be looking forward to the annual Fall Festival on Saturday October 14 and Parent-Teacher Conferences on Tuesday, October 24.  Welcome to Fall!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

On Your Mark, Here We Go!!!!

The school year began on Tuesday, August 29, with all students and staff ready for another great year of learning, growing, and fun!  We gathered at the “Compass” at mid-morning to join in the “Pledge,” introduce staff and welcome all present to the 2017-2018 Barnard School year.
I am pleased to report that the year began with 79 students enrolled as follows:

K
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
6
9
11
5
8
13
9
9

I have included information regarding new staff in this and other reports.  Thanks again to those who have helped with the important selection of our new staff members. 
The final days before students arrive are very busy ones for us.  New teachers throughout SAU 21 have 3 days of orientation, which began Monday, August 21. We spent Monday and Tuesday mornings in a presentation for over 25 new classroom teachers and a number of student teachers to familiarize them with District policies and initiatives, communication, professional development, and teacher evaluation. The morning of Thursday, August 24 was the District-wide kickoff presentation at WHS followed by a welcome luncheon here for our staff and meetings in the afternoon to discuss schedules, duties, and all the details that need to be addressed before the students arrive.  We met again on the following Monday morning to present information to the staff regarding the Competency Design Studio Conference attended by Mrs. Moran, Ms. Peterson, and myself, along with hundreds of educators from across NH and the US.  At the meeting the staff decided that they needed to be better informed about Competency Design before deciding how to proceed and inform the Board and Community. Jon Vander Els, Executive Director of the NH Learning Initiative and keynote speaker and co-organizer of the conference, will be attending our September 6 staff meeting and I will have more information for the October Board Meeting.
Now that school has begun, there are already plans for September activities.  Mrs. Dugan, Mrs. Laverty and other staff have planned our Summer Reading Celebration for the afternoon of Wednesday, September 13. Ms. Casassa will continue to coach our Cross Country Team and I will be resuming my responsibilities coordinating the DC Trip. Mr. Szeliga has elected to resume his responsibilities as Athletic Coordinator. Our annual Community Cookout and Open House will be held on Tuesday, September 19.
NWEA (Northwest Education Association) testing is scheduled to begin on the week of September 6.  We will test students in Grades 1-8 in Reading, Language Usage, and Math.  Students in upper grades will also be administered the Science test.  We will be reviewing these results and those from the spring Smarter Balanced Testing to drive instruction and address the individual strengths and need of our students.
There have been some minor improvements in our course offering to improve students learning and provide for the diverse needs of our students. WIN (What I Need) has replaced Skills, Study Periods and Project Based Learning in the upper grades.  These periods will allow for time to work with students who need services, those needing help with organization and deadlines, instrumental instruction, and enrichment for those who are up to date in their studies.  All grades 1-8 will have Tech class with Ms. Casassa.  Spanish will be offered twice weekly to Grades 7 and 8. We have introduced a Fitness Class in addition to Physical Education in Grades 6-8 to promote current and lifelong health and fitness and Mrs. Cestrone and Mrs. Hayes (formerly Ms. Duford, congratulations) will be co-teaching Health separately to Grades 6 and 7-8. Lower grades will be self-contained, as before, with times in Grades 4-5 for Math and Science co-teaching by Mr. Szeliga and Mrs. Cestrone, respectively, and other times are scheduled for Mrs. Dugan, our Reading Specialist, in Grades K-5. Lastly a schedule for Science Lab use has been developed for K-3 classes.
Here’s to a successful 2017-2018.  I continue to thank the South Hampton Community and specifically the Barnard students, parents, and staff for their kind friendship and support.  As always I am always available for any questions or concerns.


Busy Year End Finish and Summer!

Although the students left us on June 20, and the teachers a few days later, there is always much to report during the summer here at our school.  Before that there are a few updates to share since my last report in the beginning of June.  
On June 6 the entire student body and staff spent the day on a much-anticipated trip to Boston’s Museum of Science.  Students attended presentations and participated in hands-on exhibits throughout the facility.  After that the 8th graders stayed behind with Ms. Casassa and myself for a trip on the Duck Boat Tour and dinner at Fire and Ice followed by a train trip back to Newburyport. On Thursday, June 15 the class and I, accompanied by Mr. Bucyk, enjoyed a trip to Canobie Lake for the day (and I did go on some rides!). I’m proud to report that the class, putting extra effort into fundraising for their DC trip, with extra left over for a Class Gift, financed all these trips!  
On the evening of Monday, June 14 we celebrated a fond farewell to Barnard’s class of 2017.  In addition to the diplomas, awards, and fine speeches by the students the highlight of the evening was by far the personal tributes by the teachers.  Each of our eight graduates heard and received a framed personal tribute describing those qualities that made them such a special member of our student body over the years.  The evening was capped off with PTA refreshments and cake followed by the traditional limo ride.  We wish them all the best in their future pursuits and look forward to hearing of their much-anticipated success!
School ended as an Early Release on the following day and our amazing PTA again hosted their annual Staff Recognition Celebration featuring exciting games and a sandwich buffet capped off with incredible dessert offerings.  Each year we continue to be blown away with how much effort is put into this event.  The staff so much appreciates the overwhelming support we feel from our families and wish to again thank our PTA for their acknowledgement of our efforts on behalf of the students and families!
Summer is a time to brush up on latest trends and I began in late June by attending the NH School Principal’s Annual Convention featuring presentations from Education Commissioner Edelblut, and workshops on ethics and cyber-security to name a few.  This is an excellent opportunity to share successes and areas of concern with fellow principals and connect with members of the Dept. of Ed, Higher Ed, and other experts and vendors.  During the last week of July, Tara Moran, Courtney Peterson, and I joined a group of nearly 20 fellow SAU 21 teachers and administrators at the 3-day NH Competency-Based Design Studio in Nashua.  The conference brought together hundreds from NH and nationwide for keynotes, workshop presentations, and team time to help participants understand the change process to a competency-based school model. Dozens of expert presenters described ways to communicate the process, develop assessments and reporting instruments, based on their own successes in the process.  We look forward to work as a school and SAU to begin the journey towards this innovative way to deliver instruction and evaluate progress at all grade levels, designed to inform and involve all stakeholders at every juncture.
New staff members are on board and I’ll be providing more information in mid-August in my annual Opening letter.  In case you see some new (or not so new) faces around, here’s a quick list: Drew Szeliga returns teaching Math and Social Studies. Totally new to us include Haley Wright, Special Education (teaching summer school starting Aug. 1), and Marie Schwab and Stacey Wood, Teaching Assistants.  We are also in the final stages of hiring a school counselor and part-time custodian.  Welcome aboard!
 I’m pleased to report that classrooms and hallways are being scrubbed, we have a contractor to paint the hallways to be completed before classes resume, landscaping is scheduled for our before school cleanup, and we’re getting a load of wood chips for the playground.  Mr. Ashak is servicing and updating all of our computers, tablets, and projectors and we see the occasional teacher preparing for their return Thursday, August 24!  Mrs. Moran is planning her annual Kindergarten Gathering for Thursday August 17thfrom 10 to 11.  All that’s left is for the children to return on Tuesday August 29!!!  Can’t wait!!!!

Here’s looking forward to another great year (#6!) working with South Hampton’s wonderful students, incredibly supportive families, and the world finest staff!

Friday, June 16, 2017

An Amazing 2016-2017

As I am writing this, we have completed the first amazing day of the 2017 Grade 8 trip to Washington DC! In addition to our long but comfortable bus ride we toured the Baltimore Inner Harbor for dinner and later visited the Lincoln Memorial and Vietnam and Korea War Memorials capped off with a torrential spring shower.  We are all snug in our rooms resting for three more days of touring. In the meantime I have much to share, as always.

The spring has been a very successful one of test administration in Grades 1-8.  Smarter Balanced Testing in Math and Language Arts for Grades 3-8 began in April and continued through early May.  The staff spread the sessions over several weeks to allow students to have enough time to produce their best work and allow for the least disruption of academic instruction.  I’m please to report that the sessions went very well and the students, families and staff all worked together producing data to “show what they know” in order to drive instruction.  We will be analyzing results in early fall to reinforce programming and find areas for improvement both in the classroom and for individualization of learning on behalf of students.  Since they are not included in Smarter Balanced Testing, Grades 1 and 2 participated in NWEA (Northwest Educational Associates) national norm-balanced MAP (Measures of Academic Progress) testing in Math and Reading for both grades and adding Language Usage for Grade 2.  These adaptive assessments allow us to measure growth since the fall and results are immediate.  The growth results were significantly larger than predicted for many students and allow teachers to adapt instruction and key in on areas of improvement both in the classroom and for individual students.  Finally, Grades 4 and 8 participated in NECAP  (New England Common Assessment Program) testing in Science.  In 3 sessions, 2 multiple choice and 1 performance assessment, students reported that they felt well-prepared and we look also forward to viewing these results in the fall.

Barnard’s fifth Celebration of Learning was held on May 18 and families packed the school and gym in support.  Teachers displayed student work in classrooms and the hallways, chorus performed in the “Compass,” the Gym had walls covered in artwork and a live “Wax Museum!” Our amazing PTA provided refreshments and the second very successful Book Fair of the year. In addition to displays of work, several staff had “QR” codes and other visuals to allow electronic access to student presentations, and each classroom had videos of Music classroom performances.  Congratulations to the staff and PTA for another very successful event.

In last month’s report there was some preliminary information regarding the staff’s request to extend the school day. At the May Board meeting there were a number of questions such as impact to the student day both in and out of school, additional possible staffing expenses, transportation, and the length of days at other schools, among many others.  The staff and I are in the process of developing answers to these and many more questions and intend to provide more information in the fall.  The intent is to provide accurate data th present to the community before the development of the 2018-2019 budget. 

During our May 26 Early Release, the Faculty reviewed our Building Goals and made revisions for 2017-2018.  They also developed the schedule of events for next year.  Preliminary work has begun on our daily schedule and we hope to have a draft developed by the end of the week

It’s Wednesday morning and the kids, Mrs. Cestrone, Mrs. Casassa, and I were up very early to be first at breakfast!  Now we’re off the Arlington National Cemetery, Iwo Jima, The Holocaust Museum, some of the Smithsonian, and much more capped off with a cruise on the Potomac.  Tomorrow we visit more museums and memorials with photo ops at the Capitol and White House followed by a “Ghost Tour!”  Friday we head home with a stop at Fort McHenry to see the inspiration for the “Star Spangled Banner.”

May was also the month for Student Council Teacher Torture.  The big winners (or losers) were Mrs. Cestrone doing a silly dance, Mrs. Pruett having her thumbs taped, Ms. Peterson getting a very messy pie in the face, and yours truly being duck-taped to the office door.  Thank you Student Council, Mrs. Pruett, and Mrs. Moran for this lucrative fundraiser and spirit building activity!

May ended with Field Day, and June begins with our Volunteer Recognition Breakfast Monday morning June 5 and a much-anticipated K-8 trip to The Museum of Science on June 6.  Our Grade  8 Celebration will be Monday the June 19 at 7 p.m. followed by the last day Tuesday as an Early Release.

Lastly, I would like to again recognize Coaches Duford and Peterson and Barnard’s first Spring Track Team for an incredible season!

Thank you all again for another amazing year and for your kind friendship and support.