Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Classes Resume at Barnard School

Happy New School Year!!! I know it's been a while but here's the latest.  On August 19 I sent the following letter to the South Hampton Community.  Now that the staff and students have returned stay tuned for more.
Mr. "D"

August 19, 2013

Dear Community Members,

          As we approach Labor Day it’s time to tune up the school bus, finish dusting, washing, waxing, trimming, and painting every surface and field in and outside the school and welcome our new and returning students and staff here to Barnard School.  This year’s Kindergarteners will be our class of 2022 (High School class of 2028!) and we are all looking forward to having them join our Barnard Family as much as we are happy to have their schoolmates in Grades 1-8 return.

          It is with pleasure that I introduce you to new members of the Barnard School staff.  Ms. Aline Donabedian will be serving as our Special Education Director replacing Stephanie Robinson who left us in the spring to fulfill her desire to spend more time in the classroom and with her family.  Aline has a wealth of knowledge and joins us from the Chelmsford Mass. School District where she has had many responsibilities in all facets of Special Education, most recently as director of their Early Childhood Education Program.  Mr. Frank Brunette, one of our most respected and tenured staff members, has taken a one-year sabbatical to pursue his dream to help schools with bullying by presenting weeklong Artist-in-Residence programs.  We wish Frank well and look forward to hearing about and sharing his success in that endeavor.  Ms. Erin Hoy will be serving as World Language and Spanish instructor replacing Mr. Brunette in that capacity this year.  Erin has most recently served as long-term substitute fir World Language at our sister school in North Hampton and comes highly recommended.  She has taught for several years at schools in New Hampshire, Colorado and Mass, and we look forward to having her join our Barnard Family.  Mrs. Sara Casassa has been hired to fulfill the Grades 5-6 Language Arts portion of Mr. Brunette’s responsibilities. Sara currently has been teaching Language Arts in Grades 7-8 and serves as our school’s Webmaster and we are all very excited to have her bring her talents and experience to the rest of the Middle School.   The last replacement for Mr. Brunette is yours truly, teaching Social Studies to Grades 5 and 6.  Before becoming an administrator I had taught in middle schools in Laconia and Tilton, the last 2 years of which were in grade 6 Social Studies, Science, and Math.  Lastly, Mrs. Karen Bucyk will be joining us as Classroom Assistant in Grades K-4 this year replacing Mrs. Krolikoski (Mrs.”K”) who retired in the spring.  Karen, in addition to being parent to 3 sons who have been Barnard students (one still now entering Grade 5), has been a long-time volunteer in our classrooms and has a teaching degree and considerable experience working with children. 

          Some restructuring for instructional groupings and homeroom assignments was done in the last year and will continue. Before last year Kindergarten students were formerly taught as a single class. Beginning in the 2012-13 school year, K-1 students have been taught in a multiage grouping in the morning. After kindergarten students are dismissed at 11:55, Grade 1/2 students are taught in a multiage grouping for the afternoon. This configuration has proven to be successful with teachers providing differentiated rigorous Reading, Writing, and Math core instruction in the mornings with Grade 1-2 multi-age Science, Social Studies, Technology, and Related Arts in the afternoons.  Results of testing of these students reinforce the success of this change and we have every reason to expect that the trend will continue.  Grades 5-6 and 7-8 will still have combined homerooms to promote student interaction and free up a teacher for morning recess.  In 2012-2103 we also began the practice of having lunch in the Gym on Mondays and Fridays and it has been very popular to get all the students together twice a week and will continue.  Thanks to the PTA we have pizza available on Mondays and subs on Fridays.  In addition to these changes we have instituted a Student of the Week recognition program and we gather every Friday morning in the “Compass” area of the school for announcements, the Pledge and presentations.

          During the summer we greatly enhanced our relationship with the South Hampton Library through the development of our 2013-2017 Library Plan requesting Alternative Compliance to the State’s requirement that we have a separate dedicated school library.  The town library had decided to convert their circulation to online access and under the Plan Barnard’s collection will also be made available.  This partnership allows us to give state-of-the-art access to students and will eventually allow Community access to our collection.  Thank you Carole McCarthy,  South Hampton’s librarian, Sue Harter, our Library Consultant from Seabrook Middle School, and the Barnard Staff for their hard work on development and implementation this plan.

          New students who have recently moved to South Hampton may be registered by calling Denise Jones (394-7744) at the school. Grade K-8 Barnard School students will begin the new school year on Tuesday, August 27. School hours are from 8:20 until 2:30. Kindergarten hours are from 8:20-11:55. There will be four early release days (11:55) this year. The dates are Nov. 8, Mar. 5, April 4, and June 5. On these days students eat lunch at school before dismissal.

          Breakfast is available for $1.00 per day and is served in homerooms from 8:20-8:30. White and chocolate milk may be purchased for snack (K only) and lunch at 30 cents per carton. Students bring their own lunches clearly marked with their names. We urge parents/guardians to help their children pack healthy choices for snacks, lunches, and school parties.

          When considering what to pack/wear to school…except for emergencies, cell phones must remain off in school, on the playground, and on the bus. Students should dress according to predicted weather conditions. For your child’s safety, be sure footwear is appropriate. Tops (no skimpy ones!) and bottoms must overlap. Shorts and skirts must be fingertip length or longer. Clothing with inappropriate language or graphics, including reference to alcohol, drugs, or tobacco should not be worn. Sorry - no hats, hoods, bandanas, etc. in the school buildings except on designated spirit days. Sneakers (in addition to those worn to school) and appropriate dress are required for physical education classes on Wednesdays (grades 1-8). Check our website at www.sau21.org/barnard (click Calendar or School Resources – General Files) for monthly updates of events and activities, many of which have been scheduled for the upcoming school year.  For now, we invite you to add the following events to your August/September calendars:

ü  August 27                   8:20 a.m.         Barnard’s first day of school!
ü  Aug. 30/Sept. 2                                   No School
ü  September 3                                        First day of school at Amesbury High
ü  September 3                5:30 p.m.         School Board Meeting
ü  September 18              4:30-6              Community Cookout
ü  September 18              6-7 p.m.          Open House

          Extracurricular activities include coed grade 5-8 cross country and separate girls’ and boys’ grade 5- 8 basketball teams. We are looking at the possibility of adding Spring Track to add our offerings.  Other before/after school clubs may include band for grades 5-8, technology, math club, and cooking. More opportunities may arise as the year progresses.

          It is quite lengthy, but please be aware of the District's current Pupil Safety and Violence Prevention policy (JICIB) which can be read in its entirety from the SAU 21 website (http://www.sau21.org). Definitions, reporting, consequences, procedures, and requirements are clearly stated.  During the last school year we instituted a modified version of the PBIS (Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports) program and it has produced admirable results to improve school climate.

          State law has mandated that school policy on absenteeism and truancy reflect legislative changes. Please read policy JH which is included with this packet. Note well what is considered an “excused absence.” Parents of students whose attendance rate is 90% or below will be notified so that through a home/school partnership, the attendance rate can be improved.

          First Student is our transportation provider. Students should be at the bus stop five minutes before the scheduled pick up. The first bus run starts at Rte. 150 at 7:20 and drops students off at Barnard School by 7:45. The bus then leaves for its second run north on Main Ave. and drops students off at Barnard School by 8:20. Midday the kindergarten bus will leave school grounds at 11:55. In the afternoon the first bus run for grades 1-8 leaves Barnard at 2:35; the second bus run leaves by approximately 3:10.

          For added security and safety the following are in place: 1) All school doors are locked; we have video monitoring and a buzz-in system at the school entrance.  2) We will continue to conduct drills when students and staff are present in order that all can practice procedures for such events as fire, lock downs, intruder in the building, etc.  3) We will enforce no parking in fire lanes. When dropping off children before school or picking them up after school, do so quickly and do not get out of your car.  Please do not drive onto the circular part of the driveway where buses enter/exit.  4) If you need to sign a child in or out, park your car in a marked space in front of the school or near the gym. Thank you for not idling.

          We love our volunteers! Please consider getting actively involved in the program by contacting the principal or a member of the PTA. High school students, don’t forget that you can earn community service hours through volunteerism at Barnard School. “Designated Volunteers” will be required to undergo a background investigation and a criminal records check (See Policy GBCD). A “Designated Volunteer” is defined as a volunteer who  1) comes in direct contact with students on a daily basis, or  2) meets with students on a one-to-one basis, or  3) meets with students without a staff member present, or  4) is so designated by the School Board or Superintendent.  Barnard will bear the expense of background checks.

          The school will follow State of NH recommendations for mosquito and tick control. To protect yourself and your family use insect repellent, wear protective clothing, avoid outdoor activity at dawn and dusk, stay away from tick-infested areas, and perform tick checks regularly. Remind children to be mindful of proper hand washing and other measures to prevent the spread of influenza and virus. For more information contact NH Dept. of Health and Human Services (271- 4496 or www.dhhs.nh.gov).

          The first day of classes at Amesbury High School is Tuesday, September 4. South Hampton’s AHS students board the school bus from 219 Main Ave. at 6:50 AM. At the end of the school day, students board Amesbury buses (no transportation fee applies). They are transported to one of the following bus stops in or near South Hampton: Woodman Rd./Paige Farm Rd., Midway on Rte. 150, or the South Hampton Hilltop area. Students should check with their homeroom teachers for bus number assignments. There may be some delays and confusion during the first few days of school. When Barnard School is not is session, there is no transportation to AHS for high school students. This applies to in-service days, snow days, and delayed starts. Parents are responsible for transporting their children to high school on those days. If Barnard has a 2-hour delay and Amesbury does as well, the South Hampton bus will transport as usual in the morning- just two hours later. High School students should not rely on Barnard's after school 2nd bus run; however, they may use it with permission and must adhere to Barnard School rules and guidelines. No cell phone use! Guests are not allowed to ride the bus. Keep our release days and field trips in mind.

          Thank you all again for your kind support and friendship in this my first year.  I want to also thank my esteemed predecessor, Mrs. Knapp, for all she has done to prepare a wonderful place for us and to acknowledge that, lest I be accused of shameless plagiarism, I got the bulk of the essential format and content of this annual letter from her previous correspondences.  Please be reminded that the school is always open to everyone in the South Hampton Community and watch our school sign and website for announcements and events.  I am available any time if you have suggestions or questions and can be reached by phone at school (603) 394-7744via email kdarsney@sau21.org, or just stop by.  We are all looking forward to another great year!

Yours truly,

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

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