Monday, September 22, 2014

A New School Year Begins at Barnard


       As I was writing this, the students were just arriving for the second day of school.  Activities in that first day included extended homerooms to take care of forms and other materials that need to be sent home, a welcome assembly to meet new and returning students and staff, and extended class periods and meetings to go over rules, routines, and expectations.  All of this is combined with renewing friendships, recess, lunch, first homework assignments and all that makes a school day for our students and staff.
      
The staff has much to contribute in this my first blog of the school year:

Ms. Donabedian:
       “The Special Services Department is delighted to welcome Mrs. Erin Preston who has a Master's Degree from Lesley University and has done additional Educational Leadership Training at Bridgewater State University.  Mrs. Preston is certified as a Special Education Administrator, General Special Education Teacher, and K-6 Elementary teacher. She has worked as a Special Education Coordinator and teacher as well as a general education teacher. We are thrilled to have such a qualified and experienced teacher to work with our students.  We are also excited to welcome back both our treasured Mrs. Sherry Lamontagne, Speech and Language Therapist and Mrs. Tere Bowen-Irish, Occupational Therapist.  We are very lucky to have such a great dedicated, skilled, and experienced team!”

Mrs. Moran
       “The kindergarten and grade one students explored their new room with energy and enthusiasm. New friendships were started and old ones rekindled.  Most importantly, the children left with big smiles on their faces. This is going to be a great year.”

Ms. Macdonald:
       “I'm really excited to be working in a multi-age classroom with 4th and 5th graders. It is such a unique experience to work with students who range in abilities. I'm looking forward to using the workshop model as a way to help differentiate instruction as well as co-teaching in the core subject areas to help meet the needs of my each student.”

Mrs. Cestrone:
       “This year in grades 6-7 science, I will be teaching about Atmosphere, Weather, Climate, Earth in Space, Earth's Resources, Life's Structures and Classification, Heredity, Evolution and many other topics.  We will be having 1-2 labs a week and projects will be assigned throughout the year.  
       In grade 8, I plan on teaching Chemistry; specifically Inside the atom, Atomic Structure and Chemical Bonds, Chemical Reactions and Chemical Equations the first trimester.  The second trimester I will be concentrating on Biology; specifically circulation and immunity, digestion, respiration and excretion, support, movement and responses, the bones of the body and regulation and reproduction.  We will have several dissections that will go along with each topic.  I also plan on  labs 1-2 times per week and projects/presentations will be assigned throughout the year.  It seems as though the middle school students are as excited as I am to be here teaching science!!”

Mr. Szeliga
       “We will be starting the year with an upper-grade basic skills boot camp in order to solidify basic math skills.  Our social studies group is having a refresher on US geography and will then take a look at the United States election process.”

Mrs. Pruett:                                                                                                                                                      
       “The start of the new school year went smoothly.  The children were generally happy about being back (they may have wanted another day or 2 in the nice weather)!  They were also excited about the new schedule with science enrichment (we will be calling it STEAM for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) with Mrs. Cestrone and technology integration with Ms. Casassa.  They know we will still do science instruction in the classroom, but they were very pleased in learning they would go to the science room for lab activities.  I am looking forward to a very positive, happy year.

Ms. Casassa:
        The middle school is off and running! Be sure to look at the sneakers that will begin to line the halls that have each student’s goals for the school year and the ways they hope to "put their best foot forward."  In Language Arts this year, all the students have been challenged by Ms. Casassa to read thirty books by the end of the year! In The Power of Reading by Stephen Krashen, he " reveals that no single literary activity has a more positive effect on students' comprehension, vocabulary knowledge, spelling, writing ability, and overall academic achievement than free voluntary reading."  The goal is to create a community of engaged, life-long readers.  We are all to a great start!
       This year Barnard School has created two teams--the Black Hawks and Gold Hawks--all students received their team assignment on the first day, and participated in a Spirit competition.  Teams will earn points throughout the year in academic, athletic, spirit, and citizenship events.  The winning team will receive a trophy.” 
       Monday August 18 was New Staff Orientation Day with Ms. Lydia Macdonald Grade 4-5 teacher, Mrs. Carmelina Cestrone, Science and Social Studies, and Mrs. Erin Preston, Special Education case manager and teacher meeting the SAU Administration in the morning followed with afternoon meetings with Mrs. Jones and myself.  I am pleased to report that they are all set up with workspaces, computer and email access and all necessary materials and support to be fully functioning here.
       Thursday August 21 was the first day for staff and the days leading up to the arrival of students were literally crammed with activities.  We began the day at Winnicunnet High School with a Kickoff Assembly of the entire SAU 21 Staff and Administration.  This year was a little different because SEA president, John Croteau invited us all to attend the union meeting and it was a great experience of shared goals and expectations and the need for collaboration and open dialogue. In the afternoon, after a great buffet lunch together, the Staff met with a lengthy agenda of procedures, policies, forms, list, schedules, and whatever needs to be discussed on this the only day that our full and part-time staff are in the same room.  On the following day we met with the task of updating and finalizing our Building Goals and re-alignment of curriculum strands in Science and Social studies in light of the reconfiguration. Sometime in between the teachers were able to be in the classrooms to prepare for instruction, all to get ready for another epic launch of the new school year!

Here’s to another great year! Thank you again for your continued kind encouragement and support.

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