Friday, May 5, 2017

Spring is in the Air (Along with a little more testing!)

As we enter the month of May, it’s hard to believe that we are approaching the final few weeks of 2017-2018 school year.  Although April was interrupted by a much-appreciated Spring Break, I have much to report of current and planned activities and events.
During this school year the staff has continued discussions regarding Extending the School Day. Realizing that the only way to accomplish this would require an increase in our hourly Educational Associates’ day means that the budget will be affected by this change. In May, the staff will be asking for Board permission to begin discussions in the community and development of a committee of stakeholders to investigate the costs and benefits in time for the fall budget season in preparation for the 2018-2019 school year.
As I reported last month, during April and May Barnard students in Grades 3-8 are participating in the third year of Smarter Balanced Testing in English Language Arts and Mathematics.  The assessment is computer adaptive and most of the testing is done in our Computer Lab with some individualized locations in classrooms, offices, and the Conference room.  Assessments include summative achievement and performance tasks. Getting the schedule developed is a whole school effort coordinating regular and special education teachers and teaching assistants.  A letter was sent home and the schedule has been posted on my Principal’s Page.  There was a last minute schedule change to accommodate Grades 3-5 and notice of the change has also been sent home to keep parents informed and promote family support for optimum student performance in this important measure.  I am pleased to report that the first sessions of Grades 3-5 went very well and we are currently completing the remainder through May 10th.  The instructional schedule has been modified to provide for the daily Related Arts instruction and additional time for academics.  Homework and other tests are reduced to allow students to perform best with all needed time to complete the assessments.
For the first time Barnard School has added Spring Track and Field for Grades 5-8, in an effort to have 3 seasons of extracurricular sports offerings.  We have joined the Seacoast Track and Field League and this season we will be competing in 6 meets split between Exeter and Winnacunnet High Schools followed by a qualifying meet at Portsmouth and Championships at Exeter.  Grades 5-6 and 7-8 compete in different age-specific meets and boys and girls collect points individually as they compete in chosen events.  With 15 athletes representing all 4 grades, we all thank Kira Duford, our school nurse and Courtney Peterson, Grades 4-5 teacher for stepping up as coaches in our inaugural season.
In the morning of Friday, April 7, PTA graciously invited Ken Aspeslagh of Code and Circuit to do hour-long robotics workshops with Grades 4-5 and 6-8.  The students unanimously agreed that it was an awesome activity and we connected with Ken to develop a working relation using his creativity and expertise. We are also looking forward to having Curious Creatures who will be visiting Grades K-3 on June 13.  Thank you PTA for your generous funding and especially Irene Mahoney for making arrangements and coordinating with the staff! We are also looking forward to the 7th Annual Blaze the Trail 5K on Saturday, May 6. 
       During our April 7 Early Release, the Faculty reviewed our K-8 Social Studies curriculum sequencing as it aligns to state and national standards. The process began by reviewing what is currently being taught in all grades to look for overlap and possible gaps in the instruction across the grade levels. We all would like to extend many thanks to Ericka Swett for facilitating the process.  The next step will be to create Units of Study so satisfy the Standards. During the day, special educators took some much-valued instruction with Assistive Technology
Looking forward we have the Grade 8 DC Trip for May 30 to June 2 and they thank everyone for their continued support. Lastly we’re planning a K-8 trip to the Museum of Science on Tuesday June 6. Please continue to visit the school and staff web pages, blogs, Twitter, and like us on Facebook. 

Thank you all for your continued kind support.

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