Friday, September 9, 2016

No Students, Still Very Busy!!!

The students and staff may have left for the summer but there continues to be much to report here at Barnard School.  The entire school is being scrubbed from stem to stern, with special attention given to stripping and waxing floors, cleaning surfaces, and making a more attractive and sanitized learning environment for students, staff, and visitors.  I would like to send major kudos to recognize the extra efforts of Gayle Porter, who has been serving temporarily as head custodian, while working full-time at WHS.  Thanks also to Barnard Alumni Kevin Syvinski, who will be working here 25 hours weekly once school starts, and Nick Fortuna who helped us out in the spring and the past 4 summers, and heads for college in the fall.   We are currently in the process of looking for a 20 hour weekly custodian to work with Kevin once the school year begins.

Before I continue with summer activities we were quite busy, as usual, during last weeks of school as the 2015-2016 year came to another amazing end on June 17, with Grade 8 Graduation the night before and student recognition assemblies on the last day.  This years graduating class of 3 boys and 3 girls are slated to attend Amesbury High School and, although we will miss them, we look forward to hearing about the success of their academic and other pursuits. 

Our staff again enjoyed a Recognition Dinner Celebration on the Monday following the last day of school.  As usual, the PTA outdid themselves again with a Cowboy theme including a gourmet barbecue, and fun, raucous, and intensely competitive Cowboy Games!  I cannot express how much the staff appreciates this incredible annual tribute.  Thank you again on their (and my) behalf!

Year-end is also a time of new staffing and Mrs. Donabedian and I have been taking staff input to screen applicants, conduct interviews, and check references. After an extensive process, including the involvement of several teachers and students and a classroom lesson, Mrs. Ericka Swett has been hired as Grades 4-8 Math and Grade 6 Social Studies teacher to replace Mr. Drew Szeliga.  We are also pleased to announce that Mr. John Ashak will join us as of August 1 as Computer Technician to replace Mr. Shawn Hanson.  Additional searches are in progress and I will keep the community informed as additional staff  are added as needed.

The teachers are here periodically working in their classrooms and Mrs. Jones is busy ordering supplies and equipment, writing purchase orders, and sorting out deliveries of supplies and equipment.  We expect to have everything in place in time for students to return on Tuesday August 30!

Summer is a time for enrichment and Tara Moran and Carmelina Cestrone again conducted a weeklong “KEEPERS” Summer Camp in the Batchelder Gym during the first full week of July, with an additional week added at Seabrook. KEEPERS stands for “Kids Eager for Engineering Programs with Elementary Research-based Science.”  We are so proud that these teachers have taken their own time to work with students, teaching assistants, and volunteers from all over the District. Thank you again Mrs. Barbara Hopkins, Assistant Superintendent, for you efforts in promoting the program.  We hope to continue some of the projects in the school year! 

Staff are also busy participating in trainings and workshops during the summer break to acquire additional skills and training to pass on to other staff and, of course, our students. Tara Moran and Lydia Macdonald attended the Summer Reading Institute at Columbia University, and Sara Casassa attended Creating Inspiring Classrooms that Challenge at UNH.  Lastly, I attended the Annual Principal’s Conference and I am again participating in the 3-day NH Statewide Summer Summit at UNH. We all look forward to sharing with the staff and community what we have learned and how we can continue to join together to continually improve on instruction on behalf of the students and their families

Facilities
  • As stated earlier all classrooms, offices, and common areas are being cleaned from top to bottom.
  • Landscaping and flowerbeds will be touched up and weeded in time for the return of students (The grass could use a little rain!).
  • The annual elevator inspection revealed that we need a dedicated phone line to the emergency call out on the elevator.  A new line has been installed and wiring is in the process of being completed.
  • The sidewalk paving has been scheduled for the week of August 15-19 also in time for students and staff to return.
  • The walk-behind floor washing machines in both buildings have been repaired and are in good working order for the time being.
  • We have a call into Steve Balsavage of Precision Shingling to have the gym roof inspected before the bad weather returns.
  • Some worn faucets in the classrooms will be replaced during the month of August, as will be the faucets in the kitchen that showed high levels of lead.
That is a quick summary of year-end and our summer so far here at Barnard.  We look forward to welcoming our new and returning students and staff for the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year in a few short weeks.  

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