Thursday, May 5, 2016

How Time Flies!!!

As we enter the final months of this 2015-2016 school year, freshly recharged from our Spring Break, we begin, as always, with reports from teachers:

From Mrs. Cestrone:
“Grades 6-8 are working on Energy, Electricity and Magnetism and Forces and Newton's Laws.  The students have been working on labs creating electromagnets, testing Newton's second Law with mass and acceleration with toy cars and comparing energy content and kinetic energy and height using clay, golf balls and tennis balls.
In grade 4-5 we are working on biome dioramas and "Letters to Mrs. Cestrone" from each of the students' biomes.”

From Mr. Szeliga:
Grades 6 through 8 continue to work on scale and measurement as they incorporate those skills into their table projects.  Most groups are slated to finish cutting sometime this week and groups will begin to put the tables together and have them finished and ready for completion for the May 17th Celebration of Learning!”

Classroom Blogs:
These are links on the newly redesigned web page that have been brought over from the original site.  I want to take this opportunity to recognize the following staff members and their links for using this technology to communicate with families and the general public, showcase their instruction and student work, and provide access to support Twenty-First Century Learning in and out of the classroom.

Mrs. Moran, K-1:         
Ms. Casassa Grades 6-8 Language Arts:
Ms. Casassa Grades 1-8 Tech Integration:
Mr. Darsney Library/ World Cultures:
Ms. Nelson Grades K-8 Art:                                                
Ms. Donabedian Special Services:         

Smarter Balanced, NECAP, and NWEA Testing
I am pleased to report that Grades 3-5 completed their testing just before the break and Grades 6-8 should be done by the end of the second week in May.  The entire school has been helpful with allowing access to the Computer Lab and other testing locations, being especially quiet while testing is going on, and most of all putting best efforts during sessions to “show what they know!”  Grades 4 and 8 will also participate in Science NECAP (New England Common Assessment Program) testing during the month of May.  The staff will be meeting to decide what, if any, NWEA (Northwest Evaluation Association) testing, which was administered to students in Grades 1-8 in the Fall, will be administered before school ends.

School Schedule
We are in the process of forming a committee of staff, parents, administration, and community members.  We will keep the Board informed and would be very grateful for their participation.

Technology Plan
Mr. Hanson has developed a first draft based on our current equipment and perceived needs and shared with Ms. Casassa and myself for review.  I have included the draft in the packet.  He took excerpts from the previous SAU 21 plan along with plans from other schools in the District.  The focus is to recap technological progress over the past several years with projections for 2016-2017 through 2018-2019 school years.  After meeting with Ms. Casassa we feel that the plan needs significant work and would like the summer to get staff and community input and support.  We would also like to allow Mr. Hanson more time to work with the systems and staff and help with projections of future use since he has only been with us for a few months. The plan will include annual or more frequent reviews with provisions to reflect on progress and to make revisions as needed.

Our incredible PTA continues to work to provide more for students and their families.  Their Tuesday Afterschool Programs continue to be a tremendous success with 14 students participating in Yoga in March and Legos has 26 who began tinkering on Tuesday March 29!  They even display their weekly work on the glass cases in the Compass! Thank you PTA for your generosity in hosting, and Mrs. Pruett and Mr. Szeliga for representing the staff (there is more in the planning). Blaze the Trail happens on Saturday April 30!  On Friday, April 15 the incredible Geography Game Show performed by Neal Nichols was presented in 3 performances to all grades.  Come see his work in the school hallways!

Web Page, Twitter, and Facebook:
We launched our new web page format on Friday April 1!  Due to the coordinated efforts of Ms. Casassa, Mr. Hanson and our designer Jim Kennedy we have a design that follows our school colors and has many of the same features as the SAU web page.  During this launch we have solicited feedback from visitors for ways to improve or possible glitches that need fixing.  Twitter will be linked immediately and I try to Tweet a couple times per week with Facebook coming soon.

  • On Thursday March 24, after dismissal, the custodians informed me that the sink in the first floor janitor’s closet had backed up and the toilet in the Music/Art room bathroom would drain very slowly when flushed.  There was also a foul odor in the lower hallway.  I called Bob’s Septic and they arrived Friday morning at around 8:30.  Overnight the sink and toilet drained, the sink was cleaned up, and the odor was gone.  After inspecting the lines they informed me that the blockage was between the building and septic, and contacted Drain King to come right away, no emergency but ASAP since everything was draining but a sink and a toilet.  Fridays there is art class but since there was no odor we simply closed off the bathroom and had class as usual.  At the end of the day Drain King had not arrived and the janitor’s closet sink was again backed up.  I called Drain King and the soonest they could come was Saturday morning and the clog was fixed before noon.
  • Gayle Porter and Paul Murphy from the WHS custodial staff have generously helped us out while we search for replacements.  Gayle has also offered to help with supplies, labeling compliance, equipment issues and training new staff.  We are very grateful for their assistance!
  • On Thursday April 14 Charlie Lanza, Project manager for Hampstead Area Water services, who maintains our water systems, Kim Molin School Board Chair, Lee Knapp South Hampton Health Officer and designer of our water system, Bill Hickey, SAU 21 Business Administrator, and I met here at school.  The purpose of the meeting was to review Hampstead’s progress and procedures in maintaining our water systems and consult with Mr. Knapp regarding any concerns or suggestions he might have in this regard.  There have been some problems with water pressure on a few occasions and some sediment in the system and we will be taking the necessary measures to resolve this.  During inspection it was determined that 4 arsenic filters in the system needed immediate replacement and a schedule for monitoring and replacement would be established.  The result of the meeting was Hampstead’s commitment to use Mr. Knapp as a resource, and keep him informed regarding maintenance and water testing.  
  • On Thursday April 21 Hampstead sent 2 technicians to flush the system and install 4 new arsenic filters.  We will continue to monitor system performance and will keep the Board informed.
I have 2 amazing individuals to recognize this month.  Carmelina Cestrone has worked tirelessly to get our new Science Lab to its fullest potential and invites teachers of all grades to join in!  She is also the first to contribute every month regarding goings-on in her classroom.  Gayle Porter has been our saving angel cleaning our classrooms and halls like never before!

That is it for now.  We are looking forward to trips to the Portsmouth Symphony May 3, Plimouth Plantation May 6, Field Day and the Grade 8 trip to Blue Man Group and The Red Sox May 25, Graduation June 16 and Last Day June 17! As of this publication I count 31 days of school left and I was even able to do it without help from Mrs. Moran’s or Mrs. Pruett’s classes!  

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