January is a month to get back into classroom routines after the Holiday Season, which begins around Thanksgiving and ends after the much enjoyed (despite the lack of snow) Holiday Break. Teachers complete evaluations and prepare for second trimester Progress Reports and Parent Conferences and it is a great time to adjust instructional practice to accommodate student performance and individual needs.
Mission, Vision, and Goals:
We have scheduled staff meetings on the second and fourth Wednesdays and the first order of business in our January 13th meeting was to review our mission, vision, and goals. As a staff we renewed our commitment to visit these important documents on a regular basis, reflect on their implementation, and be prepared for review and revision as needed. In the coming months we will be looking at next year’s schedules, class times, the length of the school day, staffing, and ways to best utilize our Professional Development.
Speaking of Professional Development, Friday January 15 was our second of three in-house Early Release Days. We devote the Fridays of Columbus, Civil Rights, and Memorial Days to our own agenda while November 6 and April 1 are shared with the other schools in the SAU for District-wide collaboration and training. Teachers elected to use that day to increase their knowledge of Readers and Writers Workshop, how it is implement in the classroom, how it progresses along the grade levels, and how it connects to College and Career Ready Standards and focus on reading and writing in Content Areas.
On January 20 we held this year’s second “Parent Q & A Night,” which was well attended by parents representing students in Grades K-8. As promised we reviewed the Mission, Vision, and Goals and there was very thoughtful participation in the process. We will continue to make them part of every event. The plan is for us to have these nights on the third Wednesdays of November, January, March, and May to promote this process of dialogue with and feedback from parents. Other topics included Honor Roll, recess, staffing, instructional programs, and the length of instructional periods and the school day.
On the morning of January 15, we held our annual Spelling Bee! Congratulations to Ben Laverty, 3rd Place, Skylar Dennis, 2nd Place and especially to Sully (Jon) Burchette our Winner!! Sully will be representing us in Statewide Competition and perhaps even beyond. Thank you Ms. Donabedian and Ms. Macdonald for judging and special thanks to Ms. Casassa for organizing the competition.
We are continuing the process of looking at our school web page and Social Media to get our message out and improve communication with parents and others interested in our school. With the help of Kelly Parker, the SAU’s IT specialist, and David Hobbs, WHS Technology Integrator, Ms. Casassa and Mr. Hanson, and I are looking at ways to update our web page with a more user-friendly contemporary look. We hope to re-launch the website with links to new Barnard Facebook and Twitter accounts in the coming months. Please stay tuned for these exciting developments!
- • Skyline Roofing has repaired exterior leaks to roof vents in the Gym and main building, we will be waiting for warm weather to complete the other necessary repairs.
- • Snow removal and clearing of walkways and entrances continues to be a priority during storms thanks to the efforts of Brunet Landscaping.
- • Thankfully the mild weather and lack of snow has kept our roofs relatively clear. We will continue to monitor snow depth to keep our buildings free from excessive weight and potential damage and will arrange for them to be cleared as needed.
- • On the morning of Wednesday January 20 I attended a meeting with Mrs. Molin, Board Chair, Mr. Hickey SAU 21 Business Administrator, Mr. Verge, South Hampton Building Inspector, Mr. Knapp, who was an integral part of the construction of all our facilities, and representatives from ARM, the consultants on our roof systems. A long-range plan is in the developmental stage to investigate the best ways to maintain our roofs and plan for those necessary expenses.
I have decided that these monthly reports are great ways to recognize staff the same way we do for Students of the Week (K-5) and Month (6-8). This month I would like to commend Ms. Casassa, Mrs. Cestrone, Ms. Macdonald, and Mr. Szeliga for their initiative and effort to review and make suggestions to revise some Board Policies. This was a collaborative process involving the entire staff. I am proud to work with them, as I am all of the members of our Barnard family.
That’s about it for now! Please be sure to visit staff and my web pages for happenings, pictures, and events. We are looking forward to the 100th day February 5th (unless we get the snow I’m hoping for) and field trips to the Newburyport Firehouse Theatre.