Thursday, September 14, 2017

Busy Year End Finish and Summer!

Although the students left us on June 20, and the teachers a few days later, there is always much to report during the summer here at our school.  Before that there are a few updates to share since my last report in the beginning of June.  
On June 6 the entire student body and staff spent the day on a much-anticipated trip to Boston’s Museum of Science.  Students attended presentations and participated in hands-on exhibits throughout the facility.  After that the 8th graders stayed behind with Ms. Casassa and myself for a trip on the Duck Boat Tour and dinner at Fire and Ice followed by a train trip back to Newburyport. On Thursday, June 15 the class and I, accompanied by Mr. Bucyk, enjoyed a trip to Canobie Lake for the day (and I did go on some rides!). I’m proud to report that the class, putting extra effort into fundraising for their DC trip, with extra left over for a Class Gift, financed all these trips!  
On the evening of Monday, June 14 we celebrated a fond farewell to Barnard’s class of 2017.  In addition to the diplomas, awards, and fine speeches by the students the highlight of the evening was by far the personal tributes by the teachers.  Each of our eight graduates heard and received a framed personal tribute describing those qualities that made them such a special member of our student body over the years.  The evening was capped off with PTA refreshments and cake followed by the traditional limo ride.  We wish them all the best in their future pursuits and look forward to hearing of their much-anticipated success!
School ended as an Early Release on the following day and our amazing PTA again hosted their annual Staff Recognition Celebration featuring exciting games and a sandwich buffet capped off with incredible dessert offerings.  Each year we continue to be blown away with how much effort is put into this event.  The staff so much appreciates the overwhelming support we feel from our families and wish to again thank our PTA for their acknowledgement of our efforts on behalf of the students and families!
Summer is a time to brush up on latest trends and I began in late June by attending the NH School Principal’s Annual Convention featuring presentations from Education Commissioner Edelblut, and workshops on ethics and cyber-security to name a few.  This is an excellent opportunity to share successes and areas of concern with fellow principals and connect with members of the Dept. of Ed, Higher Ed, and other experts and vendors.  During the last week of July, Tara Moran, Courtney Peterson, and I joined a group of nearly 20 fellow SAU 21 teachers and administrators at the 3-day NH Competency-Based Design Studio in Nashua.  The conference brought together hundreds from NH and nationwide for keynotes, workshop presentations, and team time to help participants understand the change process to a competency-based school model. Dozens of expert presenters described ways to communicate the process, develop assessments and reporting instruments, based on their own successes in the process.  We look forward to work as a school and SAU to begin the journey towards this innovative way to deliver instruction and evaluate progress at all grade levels, designed to inform and involve all stakeholders at every juncture.
New staff members are on board and I’ll be providing more information in mid-August in my annual Opening letter.  In case you see some new (or not so new) faces around, here’s a quick list: Drew Szeliga returns teaching Math and Social Studies. Totally new to us include Haley Wright, Special Education (teaching summer school starting Aug. 1), and Marie Schwab and Stacey Wood, Teaching Assistants.  We are also in the final stages of hiring a school counselor and part-time custodian.  Welcome aboard!
 I’m pleased to report that classrooms and hallways are being scrubbed, we have a contractor to paint the hallways to be completed before classes resume, landscaping is scheduled for our before school cleanup, and we’re getting a load of wood chips for the playground.  Mr. Ashak is servicing and updating all of our computers, tablets, and projectors and we see the occasional teacher preparing for their return Thursday, August 24!  Mrs. Moran is planning her annual Kindergarten Gathering for Thursday August 17thfrom 10 to 11.  All that’s left is for the children to return on Tuesday August 29!!!  Can’t wait!!!!

Here’s looking forward to another great year (#6!) working with South Hampton’s wonderful students, incredibly supportive families, and the world finest staff!

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