Wednesday, May 8, 2013

"May Days" come to Barnard


May brings many events and activities here at Barnard, and, as always there is much to report.  It’s hard to believe but we have completed over 150 days of our school year!
On the morning of Monday April 29, Kyle Aarons and Nicole Jones from Children’s Stage Adventures arrived at Barnard with the promise to cast, rehears, and produce “The Princess and the Pea” in one week with a performance on Friday Evening May 3.  As I write this, the cast has been selected (involving every student) and rehearsals are ongoing.  It looks like we will have an amazing week with an incredible experience for our whole community with a show that promises to pack the house.
            If that doesn’t keep us busy enough our PTA’s Blaze the Trail 5K Run is scheduled for Saturday May 4.  Much work has been done in preparation for this event and the PTA got some help from Mr. Szeliga in charting a new course (thanks to some enterprising beavers).  
Kindergarten Open House is from 5:30-6:30 on May 7, and invitations have been sent to the families on our census.  We are looking forward to meeting the parents and students, giving a tour, and presenting all that Barnard has to offer to the newest members of out family.
Progress continues to be made on the Facilities Planning Committee comprised of community members, parents, staff, and school and SAU administration.  We are currently focused on our current and future needs for a science lab facility that meets the Common Core National Standards and is accessible to students in all grades.  As the committee progresses we will look at our Library Plan and other investments that will impact student learning, community needs and increased demands for our students to continue to be competitive and  prepared for high school, continued education and beyond.
Grades 4 and 8 will be participating in the Spring Science NECAP during the month of May.  The test consists of three sessions, two testing sessions with multiple choice and constructed response questions followed by a third inquiry task lab-type session.  Mrs. Moran and Mr. Asbell have been working all year to provide varied instructional and lab activities that prepare students to perform at their best.  We are looking forward to results that traditionally have been significantly better than the state averages.
We have a number of trips scheduled before the year comes to an end; some I have already reported on and others that have been added.  The entire school will be going to The Isles of Shoals on May 28 for a comprehensive tour and information on the rich history of the islands.  My wife, Helen, and I will be leaving on the morning of June 3 with the eighth grade boys to join Haverhill’s Whittier Middle School on a week-long trip to Washington DC. On June 12, grades 5-8 will be venturing to Portsmouth to sail on their Gundalow, with a full day of activities related to these important vessels and their contribution to the history and the economy of NH.  Finally, grades K-4 will visit the Manchester Millyard on June 18 participate in programs, and visit exhibits that highlight the history of the textile business in our state. 
We continue to meet every Friday morning in the “Compass” area to recognize Students of the Week.  Students gather for the Pledge, announcements and recognition from nominating teachers and teams.  We are in the process of developing a web page with pictures and other information regarding this very well received initiative.
The Living Lab Garden Irrigation and Rainwater Harvesting Project continues in the planning stages with the first major purchase and delivery of a 750-gallon storage tank.  Mrs. Moran, Mr. Asbell, and their students are looking at the best ways to gather water, the best place and method to bury the tank, and how to get the water to the garden once it is harvested from the gym roof.  They already have calculated how much water to expect from the roof based on the amount of rainfall and will soon be looking at the needs of the garden.  Ways to pump the water (including using a bicycle) are being investigated along with the best ways to deliver water to the plants. An extra capacity tank was selected to anticipate future growth of our garden and other needs for the harvested water.
Lastly, I’m pleased to announce that our own Mr. Asbell has applied for and been selected to participate in A Forest in Every Classroom “(FFEC,) which is an award-winning professional development program for K-12 teachers of all disciplines, offering stimulating, thought-provoking experiences designed to refresh your mind and passion for teaching! Across habitats and through the seasons, educators learn how to "read"--and teach--in the landscapes of Vermont from some of the best education and natural resource professionals in the state. They explore how using place-based learning and education for sustainability make the Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards both more practical and meaningful. FFEC is based on an approach to teaching and learning called place-based education (PBE). PBE helps students learn about and connect to their place through real-world field experiences and on-going classroom work. At the heart of FFEC is the belief that students who are immersed in the interdisciplinary study of their place will be more eager to learn about and be involved in the stewardship of their communities and surrounding lands.”
            That’s the latest from here and beyond.  As I am nearing the completion of my first wonderful year here at Barnard I am so grateful to be working with such remarkable young people and their equally remarkable families.  I owe this year’s success to the unparalleled support of the Board, community, staff, and SAU.  During the summer I will be attending the NH Principals and National Elementary Principals Conferences to make the effort to confer with peers and investigate cutting edge best practice.  I will continue to seek your guidance and support to promote programming that provides the best educational, social, and physical opportunities for our most precious students.  Here’s looking forward to a successful end of the year and a productive summer.

Respectfully submitted,

Ken Darsney, (Mr. “D”)
Barnard School Principal

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