Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Winter is Still Hanging On!!!

      As we enter the weeks following the Winter Break, things are settling into consistent routines here at Barnard.  Mid-year assessments are complete and classrooms can look forward to six weeks of instruction with few interruptions with the exception of the occasional snow day. 

      Our PTA sponsored Ski and Snowboard Program has come to a conclusion and I was able to join the participants for 5 of the 6 weeks on the snow.  Numbers have been unfortunately declining of late and I plan to be working with the students, staff, and parents to see what can be done to renew interest in this great activity to get the kids out and active in the winter months (I know I’m a little biased!). In addition to this the PTA continues to meet regularly to plan events and activities to support our school including their signature Blaze the Trail 5K scheduled this year for Saturday May 3.

      I am pleased to announce that, through the efforts and support of Jay and Sharon Gordon (first grader Jackson’s parents), Intermec Corporation has again awarded us a grant, this year in the amount of $3,000!  The monies are earmarked for furniture in a laboratory classroom and there is no deadline for its use.  This is great seed money for our project and will be a welcomed relief, sparing the need to burden the community with this portion of the expense. Thanks Jay and Sharon!

      Spring is field trip season is approaching and we have much in the works.  Grades K-4 will be visiting Strawbery Banke (the “r” is omitted on purpose) on March 21 and have an extensive program planned for the day to accommodate all ages.  Grades 5-8 will be touring the Freedom Trail at a date still to be arranged. We are planning to take a guided tour from Boston Commons and will include visits to Faneuil Hall, the Old North Church, Bunker Hill, the Constitution and much more.  The whole school has tickets to a 10:30 Fischer Cats game on Wednesday May 14 and we are all looking forward to cheering on our NH team vs. the Reading Phillies.  The teachers will be planning learning activities in and out of the classroom to promote the learning aspects of these important educational experiences. The trips are part of our multi-year field trip plan, which we will revisit, as we always do, at the end of the school year.   
From Ms. Donabedian:
“The Special Education Department is creating a Sensory-Motor Room in the main building (across from the Conference Room) in order to have a convenient space in which to provide therapy and give students opportunities for sensory breaks throughout the day.  Currently, students are taken to a room off the gym, which is not time-efficient, and requires more staff support.  We are excited to be able to provide therapists, educational associates, and classroom teachers with this more accessible option to help build student success.  We hope to have the room completed by the end of March. Many thanks to Mrs. Jones, Mr. Pierce, and Mr. Cote for clearing out the supply closet and to Mr. Cote for a great “spackle” job and for giving the room a fresh coat of paint.” 

The purpose of a Sensory Motor Room:
“A Sensory-Motor Room offers a nurturing, student-centered sensory supportive environment.  It is used to facilitate self-organization, self-regulation, relaxation, and sensory awareness in order to integrate a student back into the classroom.  The goal of the individual’s program in the room is to address the primary senses of sight, touch, smelling, hearing, vestibular (balance), and proprioception (awareness of one’s body in space).  The level of child’s arousal, either too high or too low, should match the degree, intensity, type and frequency of sensory input.”

      That’s about all for now.  Please continue visit our school website along with webpages and blogs by the staff and myself for updates, event photos, and examples of student work.  As the snow begins to melt and buds are showing we look forward to field trips, more outdoor recess, and even P.E. classes in the playing field.  Here’s to a successful continuation of a great school year!

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