Friday, April 13, 2018

In Like a Lion!!!

The first few days after our winter vacation were very lamb-like as our K-1 class reported that March 1 was day 110 of our school year, but the next day showed us there is likely to be plenty of winter yet to come.  The result of all that March “in like a lion” activity created 3 more snow days and the postponement of the March Board meeting.  That being said, Mrs. Moran’s updated report for April 2 puts us at day 129, so we still got 19 days in despite the weather!

This report brings some very sad news. In January, our beloved Reading Specialist, Carol Dugan, became seriously ill and took some time off to recover.  On Wednesday, March 14 her son and daughter-in-law informed us that Carol’s condition had taken a turn for the worse and that she had passed away.  Through the help of Mrs. Knapp, Barnard’s former principal, and many others, we were able to connect with AEFI (Amesbury Education Foundation Inc.), which has set up a fund in Carol’s honor. A lovely tribute to Carol’s life was celebrated on Sunday, March 25.  She will be greatly missed by all who had the privilege to know, work with, or be taught by her.

Even before March, winter weather has had its effect on our Second Trimester scheduling with 3 of our 7 snow days, 2 unprecedented weather-related early release days, and 2 delayed openings, interrupting instruction in our classrooms.  In order to accommodate these distractions, the faculty decided to move the dates for closing grades to Wednesday, March 14 and send report cards home the following Wednesday, March 21.  This allowed for additional instruction and assessments in order to allow students to have the best opportunity to show what they have learned and provide more accurate feedback to parents.  Parent Conferences were held, as is the current model, during mid-terms at the end of January to provide early information to parents regarding progress, recognition for exemplary work, and areas for improvement.

As we approach spring, the Statewide Assessment System (SAS), the NH replacement for Smarter Balanced and Science NECAP (New England Common Assessment Program) window runs March 13- June 8.  Grades 3-8 will be assessed in Reading, Writing, and Mathematics, and Grades 5 and 8 will also have Science testing.  This system promises to have a shorter turnaround with results and provide more accurate information regarding student learning, and eventually over the years, progress.  The program also allows for Benchmark and Interim testing so teachers can better predict student outcomes and use results to drive instruction.  We will begin testing during the second week of April and plan to have testing completed by our trip to the Red Sox on Wednesday, May 2!

We have had some staff changes during the mid-year. Sherry Jepson has joined our teaching staff as .6 Special Education teacher. Dawn Tobin also joined us in February as a long-term substitute filing in as reading specialist for Carol Dugan during her illness and passing. Dan Collins, one of our part-time custodians, continues to be experiencing extended illness and we have been fortunate to hire Bill Flynn as a temporary replacement. Welcome to our amazing staff, and thank you for helping out with these difficult additional needs and vacancies !!

Spring is also time for Field Trips and this year is no exception.  As long as I have been at Barnard School the staff and students have always raved about the incredible trip to see the Red Sox in 2010 (I found out the year from students in grade 8, who were in Kindergarten at the time!).  This year we have been able to arrange a repeat performance attending a 1:05 p.m. game on May 2 vs. the KC Royals! This is a special STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) day with exhibits, demonstrations and a special opportunity to get inside Fenway Park at 10 a.m. so we can participate in STEM activities and bring in lunches and drinks.  Regardless of the length of the game we will be leaving at 4 to beat the traffic and get the students home at a reasonable hour. There will be no cost to the students for admission and transportation due to the availability of funds in our Student Activity account.  Students in Grade K and 1 are able to be accompanied by a parent due to their age and the length of the day.  Additionally Grades K-3 are planning a trip to Strawbery Banke on April 26, and Grades 4-8 will be traveling to the Lowell National Historic Park on May 22. We are so looking forward to learning about our rich New England seacoast and manufacturing heritage. 

PTA continues to support us and Neal Nichols “The Geography Guy” was schedule to be joining us on March 14, but was rescheduled to April 11 due to inclement weather. For the day there will be several grade level specific performances, and we look forward to souvenirs of his visit to display in the school.  For more information visit:  PTA also plans to resume their after school activities like LEGO, games, 4-square and others as soon as weather and scheduling permits.  I again want to thank them for the opportunity to participate in the Ski and Snowboard program.

This is another short summary of what has been happening at Barnard School, and what our students and staff do in and out of the classrooms. There’s always more to see and hear about.  Please continue to visit our website, Twitter, Facebook, teacher, and principal pages.  

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