Monday, December 16, 2013

Season's Greetings from Barnard School

       The holiday season is in the air here at Barnard School and, as we complete the first trimester, accompanied by the obligatory grading period, there continues to be much to report in and around South Hampton. 
Parent Conferences are scheduled from 3-6:30 on Wednesday December 4. We are continuing with our conference format in ten-minute intervals to provide for fixed schedules of appointments and meetings with multiple teachers.  This is an attempt to respect parents’ time and to allow teachers to know who will be attending so they can better prepare. There are provisions for those who need more time and teachers and other staff are available at any time when there are concerns about student performance or other issues.

From Ms. Donabedian
Homework Club- 
       “This year’s Homework Club will run on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, from 2:30-3:30 and began on Monday, December 2, 2013. Mrs. Joan Orlando, Special Education Educational Associate, will be the monitor again this year.  We have changed the protocol for Homework Club in order to target students who most need structure and support in order to complete assignments.  As a result, students were referred by teachers rather than leaving it as an open enrollment policy.
Since Homework Club is fully funded by Federal grant monies, we thought it wise to utilize the funds for students who demonstrated a true need for this service. Teachers in grades 2-8 referred approximately 15 students. We are looking forward to seeing students achieve more success with homework and academics.

       Barnard School is participating in a 90 day Mindplay Pilot along with the other schools in SAU 21. Mindplay Virtual Reading Coach (MVRC) teaches students to comprehend grade level text and to read that text fluently. An MVRC student first becomes proficient in phonological awareness and phonics skills if needed. When a student demonstrates accurate decoding skills, he also receives vocabulary and grammar and meaning instruction. Finally, MVRC delivers explicitly fluency training to improve silent reading rate. Improvement in comprehension and fluency are simultaneous goals. The interactive activities help students stay focused and accelerate their progress. MVRC uses methods and strategies of successful reading teachers and speech pathologists. Each student works toward 100% mastery at his or her own pace.
       As of November 25, 2013, Barnard students logged in over 90 hours on Mindplay.  Things are looking great! Of the 19 students, 37% have increased their scores in comprehension while 42% have increased their scores in fluency. This is amazing to see, and we’re seeing it with students who have been on anywhere from 4-8 hours! We are hoping to see these newly gained skills generalize to the general curriculum on a daily basis.  Every subject requires reading and our goal is to improve the reading skills of struggling readers. Much appreciation is extended to the teachers who provide time before and after school to supervise the Mindplay students and for other teachers who have been flexible in providing time during the school day. Thank you to the parents who are encouraging their children to log on at home as well.  Together, we can make a difference.”
From Mrs. Ryan
       “The Kindergarten and First Graders have been busy practicing their hearts out for our First Thanksgiving Day Play and making props.  We will be preforming a traditional play, in addition to singing Albuquerque Turkey, and Five Little Turkey song.  They have the entire play practically memorized.  We will be preparing food for our Thanksgiving Day Feast Celebration after the performance.  I'm proud of all of their hard work!”
From Mrs. Dugan
       “Three Barnard School teachers (Tara, Sara and Carol) are participating in a year-long book/study group open to the district.  Teachers are reading Tom Newkirk's The Art of Slow Reading a book, which compliments the Common Core's emphasis on close reading strategies across the disciplines. The author describes six practices that teachers can implement with students in their classrooms: performing, memorizing, centering, problem finding, reading like a writer, and elaborating. The hope is that teachers will gain insight from each other and offer the support needed to incorporate some of these effective practices into their work with students.”
From Mrs. Wooten
       “The musicians of the Barnard school are focused on preparing for our school-wide concert on December 9th.  This performance will showcase much of our learning this fall.  Students will be singing songs from various traditions, and playing instruments.  The school band will also perform.  This year students in grades 5, 6 and 8 have also been embarking on a new path of using music technology.  They are using “Garageband” as an editing program to learn about how music is composed, created, and enhanced using technology.  We also are discussing artists' rights and copyright issues of performers.  At our concert we plan to present a video compilation of these projects with a soundtrack composed and edited by the students.  Grades 1-4 are also playing xylophones, drums, and folk dancing to music of various cultures.”        
       During the week before Christmas break, due to the generosity of our PTA, we will be hosting Trashcan Lid Production’s “Sticks and Stones” anti-bullying program featuring our own Mr. Brunette. The program will involve students at all grade levels and will culminate with community performances on Thursday December 19 at 1 and 6, p.m. followed by a day of reflection on the experience.  We are greatly looking forward to allowing our students and community to come together during the Holiday Season to address this important issue.  Thank you South Hampton PTA!  Future events include our annual Holiday Music Concert (as reported by Mrs. Wooten) on Monday December 9th at 7 p.m. and community sponsored Santa Breakfast and Santa’s Ride on the weekend of December 14 and 15.  Christmas break will begin on Saturday December 21 with students returning Thursday January 2, weather permitting.
       Here’s wishing you a joyous and safe Holiday Season on behalf of the entire Barnard Staff.  Thank you all for your kind friendship and continued support.


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