Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Parent Conferences and Fabulous Fall and Early Winter Events!

       It’s November and that means that we have completed 2 months of our 2015-2016 school year. Students in Mrs. Moran’s and Mrs. Pruett’s K-3 classes report that Weds. November 4 will be the 43rd day of our 182 day school year. What it means to the staff is that we are past all the setting up of routines and assessments and are settled into some really serious schoolwork, and the business of teaching and learning.

As usual, I have much to report, but Mrs. Cestrone always has something to share:

“In grade 7 we are dissecting sea stars and have just completed a chapter on invertebrates.  We will begin writing technical lab reports with our current chapter.  Our next chapter will be vertebrates.  We will also be dissecting a yellow perch and writing a lab report.  Then we will prepare for an end of the trimester cumulative test.
In grade 6 we are finishing up atoms, elements and the periodic table and will begin rocks and minerals. We will have an end of the trimester cumulative exam next month.
In grade 8 we are continuing with chemistry and we will be completing our last chapter solving and writing chemical equations.  We will also have an end of the trimester exam as well.
In grade 4/5 we are working on the stages of life and inherited characteristics. We have learned the parts of the microscope and the scientific methods.  We will continue learning about the parts of a vascular plant, nonvascular plants, and the uses of plants.”

From Mr. Szeliga: 
“Students in grades 6 through 8 are about to begin a model United Nations in which they represent countries around the world to discuss and debate the refugee crisis in Syria.”

Please be sure to visit our school website frequently http://www.sau21.org/barnard/ and check out staff pages and my Principal’s Page for updates, classroom activities, assignments, and other school news.

We began the month of October with out first Early Release of the year on Friday, October 9 followed by our Columbus Day Holiday on the following Monday.  This important Inservice Day is one of 5 we have throughout the year, 3 of which are exclusive to Barnard School Staff on the Columbus, MLK, and Memorial Day Holiday weekends.  This was perfect timing considering that we have just completed NWEA (Northwest Evaluation) testing in Math, Reading, Language Usage and Science and had also received access to the Smarter Balanced Preliminary Results. The staff and I spent the afternoon familiarizing ourselves with access to results using the NH Department of Education’s “Performance Pathways” website.  This valuable resource gives staff and administrators access to all assessment results from multiple sources in one convenient location.  This is especially useful since no one measure should be used to determine student progress or data to drive differentiated instruction.  We will be having another Inservice Day District-wide on Friday, November 6, and I look forward to reporting on that in my December report.

On Friday, October 23, Bob Deschene, membership coordinator of the local Sam’s Club in Seabrook, came by with 2 colleagues to recognize our school at lunchtime with cake for the students, supplies for classrooms, and a $50 gift card for each teacher!!  Barnard School has been selected to be recognized in the Walmart/Sam’s Club “Teacher Reward’s Program.”  Each teacher was given $50 gift cards good at Walmart and Sam’s Club to purchase additional classroom supplies, recognizing over 90,000 teachers nationwide who, by estimates, spend up to $1,000 annually out of their own pockets.  Thanks you, Sam’s Club Seabrook, for your generosity!
On Monday, October 26 Scott Salvidio, our Systems Consultant from Systere Consulting, spent the day with me in our Computer Lab installing 18 new iMac Consoles.  The workstations that were replaced are in the process of being distributed throughout the school. Added to the 18 are 7 of our newest existing machines all of which had there imaging updated to bring the total to 25 in the Lab.  That means that the room can accommodate all students in every classroom and the entire Middle School, now and for the foreseeable future.  This is especially important for testing and class projects.  Replaced computers will be placed throughout the school to increase student access in classrooms and elsewhere.

As I write this we have just completed our first Parent-Teacher Conference of the 2015-2016 School Year on Tuesday, October 27 (with the exception of Ms. Macdonald who needs another night to accommodate all her parents!).  This year, after a unanimous request by the teaching staff, conferences were scheduled just after mid-term rather than at the end of the marking period.  The teachers feel that they would like the opportunity to report progress and provide feedback before final grades are set in order to allow families to put additional measures in place or reassure students that they are on the right track.  As the year progresses we will be reflecting on the process and will be looking to parents for a response to benefits of the change, or any other suggestions going forward.  Parents are reminded that they will be able to confer with teachers at the end of the term, if needed, or any other time that communication regarding student performance or classroom expectations is necessary.

Our PTA continues to be busy with the 3rd Annual Fall Festival that was very well attended as always.  I also want to take a minute to thank them for Monday and Friday pizza and sub deliveries we all seem to forget how much it entails!  We also look forward to working with PTA on artist-in residence and field trip plans as the year progresses, and the Annual Book Fair during the week of our Holiday Concert.

That is about it for now.  November begins with Board and Facilities Meetings November 4, Community Forum on the feasibility of Full Day Kindergarten November 9, Veteran’s Day November 11, Thanksgiving Recess November 25-29, and moves on to December with our Holiday Concert on December 15.  Here’s to a busy Holiday Season and New Year 2016, and, as always, I continue to ask you all to Think Snow!

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