Friday, June 3, 2016

Another Amazing Year!

As we enter the final month of this 2015-2016 school year, there is much to report on.  We begin, as always, with a contribution from the faculty:

From Ms. Macdonald:
“The fourth and fifth graders are putting themselves in the shoes of immigrants during the days of Ellis Island. They have learned about the push and pull factors of different cultural groups and are starting to put together profiles of their immigrant to prepare for their Ellis Island simulation that will be the first week of June. This has been a great cross-curricular unit that has involved all subject areas as well as other life skills. Students are even working hard to earn Immigration Dollars in order to buy their ticket abroad the steamship to Ellis Island and have to make sure they have enough to also take care of themselves once they pass through to America. Students are excited to set sail!” 

Field Trips and Other Events
May was a busy month for a number of travels and events here at school. We ended April with a visit from the “Whalemobile.” Thanks to a generous birthday donation from kindergartener David Cronin’s grandmother, this interactive presentation for students in grades K-3 brought an enormous inflatable whale to our Gym and students were able to appreciate its massive size both from inside and out.  On May 3 Grades K-5 took a trip to the Music Hall to attend the Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra’s sold-out performance of Peter and the Wolf and an incredible medley of music from Star Wars.  In the next week on the 13th, the same group traveled to Plimoth Plantation, Plymouth Rock and the Grist Mill.  I was able to go along both times and they were all both entertaining and an incredible learning experiences.  May 25 was a busy day with Field Day for Grades K-7 featuring tremendous leadership by students in Grade 7 helping with organization and PTA’s generous contribution of supplies, fruit, and water.  Also on the 25th Mrs. “D” and I accompanied our class of 2016 on a trip to Boston as a partial replacement for our annual DC trip.  We began the day with a train trip from Newburyport to North Station followed by subway to Boston Public Garden and The Theater District.  After a trip through the garden and a ride on the historic Swan Boats, we attended a matinee Blue Man Group performance, and a couple of the students even participated! Next, another quick ride on the Green Line to Kenmore Square for the historic Pregame Fenway Park Tour, followed by watching The Red Sox come from behind to beat The Rockies 10-3!  Finally we returned to Newburyport again via train meeting parents just before midnight.  What a great way to celebrate these wonderful kids and appreciate some of the best that our own exciting and historic Boston has to offer.

Celebration of Learning
Tuesday May 17 was our annual Spring Celebration of Learning.  The evening began with wonderful performances from our chorus, and beginner and advanced band.  Mr. Szeliga’s students in Grades 6-8 displayed tables that had been designed and constructed in his classes in the true tradition of “Most Likely to Succeed.”  After the performances the pieces were sold in a silent auction and raised over $300 for future DC tips.  To round out the first half of the evening, PTA also had raffle items and organized another successful Book Fair. Once we were done in the Gym families were invited to the school to see additional examples of student academic and artwork by all grades.   Our PTA, as always, provided refreshments for all to enjoy. 
Smarter Balanced, NECAP, and NWEA Testing
I am pleased to report that we have completed our state and federal mandated testing. Grades 3-8 have participated in Smarter Balanced assessments in Math and English Language Arts and Grades 4 and 8 also participated in Science NECAP (New England Common Assessment Program).  We will have NWEA (Northwest Evaluation Association) testing, which was administered to students in Grades 1-8 in the Fall, in selected grades and subject before school ends.

May 27 Teacher Inservice Day
The staff worked all afternoon to develop next year’s teaching schedule allowing for the addition of the newly reinstated World Language position and other instructional enhancements.  We also looked at the yearlong schedule to plan for events, trimesters, conferences, and other important dates for the 2016-2017 school year.

Facilities: 
  • The faucets in the boy’s bathroom in the gym have been replaced.  A recent lead test showed elevated levels within acceptable guidelines but the replacement was deemed necessary to eliminate any concerns.
  • At a the last Board Meeting questions were raised regarding our water testing as required by the Department of Environmental Services since we are considered to be a “public water supply.”  This is public information but gaining access can be somewhat challenging.  I have created a link to the reporting website on my “Principal’s Page” and I am pleased to report that all of our testing is up to date and has positive results.
  • Additional concerns were made regarding arsenic levels in our drinking water.  A sample was taken on May 13, outside the required scheduling, to check on the effectiveness of recently replaced filters.  Results improved from .004 MG/L results from the March 6 sample to “ND” meaning no measurable arsenic detected.
That is all I have to report in this final edition for the 2015-2016 school year.  Please continue to visit our school, Twitter, and Facebook web pages.  Many teachers and I are constantly adding to our Blogs, so please be sure to frequent them also.  Class of 2016 graduates on Thursday, June 16 followed by the last day of school on Friday.  Have a great summer and we look forward to beginning our 2016-2017 school year Tuesday, August 30!  Thank you all for your continued kind friendship and support as I complete my fourth amazing year here at Barnard! 
Respectfully submitted,
Ken Darsney, (Mr. “D”)
Barnard School Principal


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