Thursday, September 14, 2017

On Your Mark, Here We Go!!!!

The school year began on Tuesday, August 29, with all students and staff ready for another great year of learning, growing, and fun!  We gathered at the “Compass” at mid-morning to join in the “Pledge,” introduce staff and welcome all present to the 2017-2018 Barnard School year.
I am pleased to report that the year began with 79 students enrolled as follows:

K
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
6
9
11
5
8
13
9
9

I have included information regarding new staff in this and other reports.  Thanks again to those who have helped with the important selection of our new staff members. 
The final days before students arrive are very busy ones for us.  New teachers throughout SAU 21 have 3 days of orientation, which began Monday, August 21. We spent Monday and Tuesday mornings in a presentation for over 25 new classroom teachers and a number of student teachers to familiarize them with District policies and initiatives, communication, professional development, and teacher evaluation. The morning of Thursday, August 24 was the District-wide kickoff presentation at WHS followed by a welcome luncheon here for our staff and meetings in the afternoon to discuss schedules, duties, and all the details that need to be addressed before the students arrive.  We met again on the following Monday morning to present information to the staff regarding the Competency Design Studio Conference attended by Mrs. Moran, Ms. Peterson, and myself, along with hundreds of educators from across NH and the US.  At the meeting the staff decided that they needed to be better informed about Competency Design before deciding how to proceed and inform the Board and Community. Jon Vander Els, Executive Director of the NH Learning Initiative and keynote speaker and co-organizer of the conference, will be attending our September 6 staff meeting and I will have more information for the October Board Meeting.
Now that school has begun, there are already plans for September activities.  Mrs. Dugan, Mrs. Laverty and other staff have planned our Summer Reading Celebration for the afternoon of Wednesday, September 13. Ms. Casassa will continue to coach our Cross Country Team and I will be resuming my responsibilities coordinating the DC Trip. Mr. Szeliga has elected to resume his responsibilities as Athletic Coordinator. Our annual Community Cookout and Open House will be held on Tuesday, September 19.
NWEA (Northwest Education Association) testing is scheduled to begin on the week of September 6.  We will test students in Grades 1-8 in Reading, Language Usage, and Math.  Students in upper grades will also be administered the Science test.  We will be reviewing these results and those from the spring Smarter Balanced Testing to drive instruction and address the individual strengths and need of our students.
There have been some minor improvements in our course offering to improve students learning and provide for the diverse needs of our students. WIN (What I Need) has replaced Skills, Study Periods and Project Based Learning in the upper grades.  These periods will allow for time to work with students who need services, those needing help with organization and deadlines, instrumental instruction, and enrichment for those who are up to date in their studies.  All grades 1-8 will have Tech class with Ms. Casassa.  Spanish will be offered twice weekly to Grades 7 and 8. We have introduced a Fitness Class in addition to Physical Education in Grades 6-8 to promote current and lifelong health and fitness and Mrs. Cestrone and Mrs. Hayes (formerly Ms. Duford, congratulations) will be co-teaching Health separately to Grades 6 and 7-8. Lower grades will be self-contained, as before, with times in Grades 4-5 for Math and Science co-teaching by Mr. Szeliga and Mrs. Cestrone, respectively, and other times are scheduled for Mrs. Dugan, our Reading Specialist, in Grades K-5. Lastly a schedule for Science Lab use has been developed for K-3 classes.
Here’s to a successful 2017-2018.  I continue to thank the South Hampton Community and specifically the Barnard students, parents, and staff for their kind friendship and support.  As always I am always available for any questions or concerns.


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