Thursday, February 5, 2015

100th Day of School and Beyond!

  It’s hard to believe but we have passed the halfway point in this 2004-2015 school year here at Barnard!  Midterm progress reports for the upper grades are scheduled for Wednesday January 28 and our 100th day celebration is planned for Tuesday February 3, weather permitting. [As I write this on Monday January 26, with a major storm in the forecast, I’m thinking it will be a day (or more) later!]  As always, the staff has much to report as we are completing the first month of the new year.

From Mrs. Cestrone
      In Grade 8 the students are receiving their "baby simulators" for 48 hours this week since we just completed our chapter on regulation and reproduction.  We are beginning to work on the digestive, respiratory and excretory systems.  We will be conducting 2 "food labs" and at the end of the chapter we will be dissecting a pig's kidney.
  In Grade 6-7 we are completing our chapter on cell reproduction and we will begin "Heredity".  The students will be learning about Mendel, the "father" of genetics, punnett squares, genotypes and phenotypes, pedigree charts, incomplete dominance, and genetic engineering to name a few topics.  The students will also be assigned a project.”

From Mrs. Dugan
      “Barnard School will coordinate efforts with the NH-DOE so that Words Their Way spelling assessment results are recorded and graphed over time on their Performance Pathways site.”

From Mrs Sheckells
      “Visit the Artsonia site to see what the Barnard students are doing in art. From watercolors to pop art portraits, parents can view and share their children's artwork. Gifts can be purchased with the original artwork printed on a variety of items. A percentage of sales comes back to the art program.” 

From Mrs. Moran
      “Every Thursday afternoon during period five, students in grades one, four and five collaborate together on a project.  Recently, the older students helped the younger ones create a unique snowman and write descriptive sentences about it.  This is exactly the type of interaction that makes our school unique.     Older students get to build leadership skills, share their knowledge and kindness with the younger students, while younger students benefit from individual attention from the older children. I have to share that I am often stopped in my tracks during one of these classes, whether it is due to an uncommonly kind comment from an older child, or listening to an older child whom I know lacked confidence in their own learning, help a younger child, or seeing the pure joy on the younger children's faces. 

From Mr. Szeliga
      “Students in grades 6-8 are participating in a multi-disciplinary project in which they are developing a plan for their own Christmas Tree Farm.  Students have "inherited" a plot of land and have decided to grow Christmas trees.  Using a variety of concepts and disciplines to help support their actions, they must develop a plan and present their plan in a 10-minute presentation to a board of investors (Think "Shark-Tank").  Students are using area and accounting principles for mathematics, biology and climates for science, and of course reading non-fiction literature about trees as well as writing their ideas.”

From Ms. Donabedian
      Mrs. Moran and I are scheduled to visit Jackson Grammar School in Jackson, NH on January 29, 2015.  The purpose of the visit is to observe the combined Full Day Kindergarten/First Grade classroom and then consult and collaborate with the teacher and principal.  Jackson Grammar School is similar to Barnard in that they have multi-grade classrooms and have about the same number of students in Grades K-6.
  The Special Services Department offered screenings to all children in South Hampton between the ages of 3 and 5.  Almost all residents participated.  The district is required to reach out as part of Child Find to identify students early on who may need special education services.  In addition to identifying students who may need help, it was a great way to meet families of incoming  students and start to welcome families into the Barnard community!

      During our recent January 15 Early Release Day our teaching staff took advantage of the fact that other schools were in session all day and made some visitations.  Our Middle School teachers, Ms. Casassa, Mrs. Cestrone, and Mr. Szeliga spent the afternoon at Amesbury High School.  The purpose of the visit was to meet with teachers who were responsible for their respective subjects, observe classroom instruction, inquire about Barnard graduates’ preparedness, and gather information on course offerings in order to better refer students now and in the future.  This was a continuance of a past practice here at Barnard and we are committed to increase this collaboration with our High School of record.  We hope in the future to widen our scope and similarly reach out to Whittier Regional Vocational School, where we also send qualified graduates.  Mrs. Moran and Ms. Macdonald both visited North Hampton Elementary while Mrs. Pruett went to Marston School in Hampton.  This was a great opportunity to meet with other teachers, share ideas, and compare curricula.  At a recent staff meting we debriefed the experience and plan to make these activities a regular part of our Professional Development.

      That’s the latest from our staff and myself, as we look forward to the second half of another amazing year.   February continues with the PTA sponsored Ski Program on Tuesday afternoons and this year I have been sharing the time on the snow with Ms. Macdonald, (even though she is a snowboarder?!) and the kids have been loving it!  It is also the time for midyear AIMSweb and NWEA testing for selected students.  Based on the data collected from these assessments staff will be able to better differentiate instruction based on student growth, strengths, and needs. As we approach the 100th day of school we are looking forward to spring with field trips to Mounts Major and Monadnock, and our annual Grade 8 trip to DC.   Please visit our website and my blog for additional information, teacher websites and photos.  Have a fun and safe winter season.


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