Friday, June 16, 2017

An Amazing 2016-2017

As I am writing this, we have completed the first amazing day of the 2017 Grade 8 trip to Washington DC! In addition to our long but comfortable bus ride we toured the Baltimore Inner Harbor for dinner and later visited the Lincoln Memorial and Vietnam and Korea War Memorials capped off with a torrential spring shower.  We are all snug in our rooms resting for three more days of touring. In the meantime I have much to share, as always.

The spring has been a very successful one of test administration in Grades 1-8.  Smarter Balanced Testing in Math and Language Arts for Grades 3-8 began in April and continued through early May.  The staff spread the sessions over several weeks to allow students to have enough time to produce their best work and allow for the least disruption of academic instruction.  I’m please to report that the sessions went very well and the students, families and staff all worked together producing data to “show what they know” in order to drive instruction.  We will be analyzing results in early fall to reinforce programming and find areas for improvement both in the classroom and for individualization of learning on behalf of students.  Since they are not included in Smarter Balanced Testing, Grades 1 and 2 participated in NWEA (Northwest Educational Associates) national norm-balanced MAP (Measures of Academic Progress) testing in Math and Reading for both grades and adding Language Usage for Grade 2.  These adaptive assessments allow us to measure growth since the fall and results are immediate.  The growth results were significantly larger than predicted for many students and allow teachers to adapt instruction and key in on areas of improvement both in the classroom and for individual students.  Finally, Grades 4 and 8 participated in NECAP  (New England Common Assessment Program) testing in Science.  In 3 sessions, 2 multiple choice and 1 performance assessment, students reported that they felt well-prepared and we look also forward to viewing these results in the fall.

Barnard’s fifth Celebration of Learning was held on May 18 and families packed the school and gym in support.  Teachers displayed student work in classrooms and the hallways, chorus performed in the “Compass,” the Gym had walls covered in artwork and a live “Wax Museum!” Our amazing PTA provided refreshments and the second very successful Book Fair of the year. In addition to displays of work, several staff had “QR” codes and other visuals to allow electronic access to student presentations, and each classroom had videos of Music classroom performances.  Congratulations to the staff and PTA for another very successful event.

In last month’s report there was some preliminary information regarding the staff’s request to extend the school day. At the May Board meeting there were a number of questions such as impact to the student day both in and out of school, additional possible staffing expenses, transportation, and the length of days at other schools, among many others.  The staff and I are in the process of developing answers to these and many more questions and intend to provide more information in the fall.  The intent is to provide accurate data th present to the community before the development of the 2018-2019 budget. 

During our May 26 Early Release, the Faculty reviewed our Building Goals and made revisions for 2017-2018.  They also developed the schedule of events for next year.  Preliminary work has begun on our daily schedule and we hope to have a draft developed by the end of the week

It’s Wednesday morning and the kids, Mrs. Cestrone, Mrs. Casassa, and I were up very early to be first at breakfast!  Now we’re off the Arlington National Cemetery, Iwo Jima, The Holocaust Museum, some of the Smithsonian, and much more capped off with a cruise on the Potomac.  Tomorrow we visit more museums and memorials with photo ops at the Capitol and White House followed by a “Ghost Tour!”  Friday we head home with a stop at Fort McHenry to see the inspiration for the “Star Spangled Banner.”

May was also the month for Student Council Teacher Torture.  The big winners (or losers) were Mrs. Cestrone doing a silly dance, Mrs. Pruett having her thumbs taped, Ms. Peterson getting a very messy pie in the face, and yours truly being duck-taped to the office door.  Thank you Student Council, Mrs. Pruett, and Mrs. Moran for this lucrative fundraiser and spirit building activity!

May ended with Field Day, and June begins with our Volunteer Recognition Breakfast Monday morning June 5 and a much-anticipated K-8 trip to The Museum of Science on June 6.  Our Grade  8 Celebration will be Monday the June 19 at 7 p.m. followed by the last day Tuesday as an Early Release.

Lastly, I would like to again recognize Coaches Duford and Peterson and Barnard’s first Spring Track Team for an incredible season!

Thank you all again for another amazing year and for your kind friendship and support.

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