Thursday, October 6, 2016

Festive Fall Happenings!!

As hard as it to believe, we have completed our first month of another school year.  We are fully staffed, classrooms are settling into routines, and serious learning is underway!  
Assessments are an important tool we use to provide feedback to parents and students regarding academic progress.  Analysis of individual and whole class results also allows teachers to develop individualized and whole class learning plans based on strengths and areas of need.  September is a month to develop baselines for measures that will be administered at other times throughout the year to monitor progress.  This is particularly important to Barnard since many of the tests provide statewide and national norms so helpful for our small population.  NWEA MAP Testing (Northwest Educational Association Measures of Academic Progress)  was administered to all students in Grades 1-8 in mid-September.  Grade 1 takes reading and math tests designed for primary grades.  Grades 2-8 take more advanced tests in reading, language usage, and math, and in addition Grades 4-8 take a science assessment.  The beauty of these computerized tests is that they adjust the difficulty/ease of questions in real time as students provide answers, providing a very accurate measure of academic ability.  In addition, at various grade levels, we use Fountas and Pinnell, Gates-MacGinitie, Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA), and AIMSweb for additional reading assessment. AIMSweb also has math and spelling measures and Words Their Way also has a spelling component.  Our teachers use these and other informal assessments to drive instruction and provide feedback and often collaborate and compare results with colleagues to get the best picture of our students’ performance.
Speaking of assessments, Smarter Balanced testing results for students in Grades 4-9 were mailed on Monday, September 26, along with NECAP Science results for students in Grades 5 and 9. Explanatory materials were sent with the scores and teachers and I are available to help with interpretation of these and any other assessments we administer.  The faculty reviews all these results on an ongoing basis and we plan to use our October 7 Early Release to analyze further and reflect on progress and areas for improvement.  
September also was an active month with our annual Summer Reading Celebration on the 24th and a field trip with Grades 4-8 to the UNH Ocean Discovery Day on the 16th.  Our Open House and Cookout was well attended on Tuesday September 20th with classroom presentations in all grades and the opportunity to meet our new staff. We welcomed Mrs. Swett, Grades 4-8 Math and Grade 6 Social Studies, Ms. Peterson, Grades 4-5. Ms. Oliver, World Language/Spanish, Ms. Lindsay, Art, and Ms. Dozet, Music, Band, and Chorus!  Thank you PTA for providing refreshments as always!!!
In October we will be looking forward to the PTA Harvest Festival on the 15th, Parent Conferences on the 25th, and our Halloween Parade on the 31st.  More information and scheduling for conferences will be coming soon.

  • Not long after school began it was discovered that the Venmar EVR was not circulating air, as the classrooms seemed unusually warm.  Breen and Sullivan discovered that a centrifugal fan had failed and recommended rebuilding and replacement of both fans and motors as they were beyond their life expectancy.  That work has been completed and the system is expected to be fully operational in time for the heating season.
  • Custodians noticed water staining in the ceiling of the maintenance closet in the Vanbokkelen wing.  Steve Balsavage of Precision Roofing came right over and traced the leak to the plumbing vent and repaired it.
  • The gym roof has a minor leak in the center about 15 feet from the south end of the building.  This is the oldest tape seal. Mr. Balsavage will be up to fix it as soon as the weather and his schedule permit.
  • The custodians have developed a schedule of daily work and division of responsibilities and the buildings continue to be maintained for cleanliness far above acceptable levels.
That’s a summary of our first very successful month! Be sure to visit our school webpage for updates, check out teachers and my blogs and web pages, and be sure to look for us on Facebook and Twitter.  There are daily updates of classroom activities, assignments, student progress in the upper grades, and pictures.  Our staff loves to share!!

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