Category: From the Principal

Principal’s Weekly Update

A Bubble presentation occurred last Friday.  It was an amazing event for all our students.  Thanks to the Leif Family for facilitating this wonderful event.

Our annual Halloween Party is coming up this Saturday at 4pm.  I hope to see you there!

Responsive Home Workshops will be offered again this year by the Social Emotional Learning Department.  Click HERE for more information.

Enjoy your week!

 

Principal’s Weekly Update

Office Dawn Fleming of the Newton Police Department conducted a bike safety presentation with all students over the past two weeks.  Her message included various ways to stay safe while biking, including wearing a helmet at all times. Ask your child what he or she learned from Officer Fleming.

Communication is one our school’s Core Values.  At a recent All School Meeting we discussed the important elements of this skill.  We focused on “using your words” (sharing feelings with others) and “listening” (using your eyes, ears and body).  We will be focusing on communication this year and how it can benefit our entire school community (students, teachers and families).

Principal Coffee – Memorial-Spaulding Sped PAC (Parent Advisory Council) to meet this Friday – October 20th @ 8:30 am in the Cafe. All parents of current special education students are invited to attend.

Facilities Update: The arrival of our new front doors and benches have been delayed due to various national weather issues (hurricanes and flooding).  I have been informed the new doors should be installed over Thanksgiving break.  The benches have arrived and should be installed within the next couple weeks.  During the month of November we will have several trees planted in the front of the building.

Although it was a bit chilly this morning, it sounds like our beautiful weather will continue throughout the week.  Not too hot, not too cold – good weather for learning!  Have a delightful week.

Principal’s Weekly Update

This year, the Newton Public Schools will provide interested elementary school families with opportunities, information and resources on talking to children about issues of race, culture, and identity. Upcoming meeting Oct 10th. Click HERE for more information.

Principal Coffee – Memorial-Spaulding Sped PAC (Parent Advisory Council) to meet on October 20th @ 8:30 am in the Cafe. All parents of current special education students are invited to attend.

Sodexo, our Food Service Company, would like your feedback.  Click HERE to complete the online survey.

Smile! School Picture Day is coming up – October 10th.

Principal’s Weekly Update

TOMORROW (WEDNESDAY, 9/27) IS AN EARLY RELEASE DAY (12:30) FOR ALL STUDENTS 

***NO ASCA CLASSES IN SESSION ON WEDNESDAY OF THIS WEEK***

Open House is coming up Wednesday!  Click HERE for details.

Looking for a parent volunteer for School Site Council.  The Council consists of 2 parents, 2 teachers and the school administration. The primary responsibility of the Council will be developing of the School Improvement Plan – using data from last year’s Vision Forums.  We will meet a total of 6 times throughout the year. Please email me if you are interested.

Covered bike parking is available at school.  With the front lawn project, the PTO generously donated a bike rack which has been placed in the front of the school. See picture HERE.  We are planning Bike Safety presentations for early October. If your child wishes to bike to school, please review appropriate safety rules and ensure he/she has a helmet to wear.

Principal Coffee – Memorial-Spaulding Sped PAC (Parent Advisory Council) to meet on October 20th @ 8:30 am in the Cafe. All parents of current special education students are invited to attend.

Obstacle challenge coming up at Memorial-Spaulding – Saturday, October 7th. Details HERE To register: https://form.jotform.us/72515927033152

Unsure if you need a new CORI this year? Check with Francie (617-559-9600) or francie_sheehan@newton.k12.ma.us  You may not volunteer without an up-to-date CORI on file.

Need to change dismissal plans during the school day?  Please call or email Francie. Teachers may not have the opportunity to check email during the day.

Principal’s Weekly Update

Memorial-Spaulding Families,

I am happy to report that morning arrival continues to go extremely well. The hallways are calm and students are quickly transitioning to class and getting into their school day. Teachers report being able to take care of incidental items with students (such as visiting classroom library, morning lunch count, etc.) and embarking upon morning meeting promptly at 8:30 – 10 minutes earlier than last year. As a result teachers and students are reporting they feel less rushed and able to actually engage in the community building work and the academic preview/reinforcement embedded in morning meeting time. Thank you for supporting us – and your children – during implementation of this new policy.

Open House is coming up next week!  Click HERE for details.

Please refrain from taking your child away on vacation during school days. Absences create learning gaps that can be quite challenging for a child to overcome.

Your child came home talking about difficult moments at school…now what?  Check out this helpful resource for parents.  Click HERE

Obstacle challenge coming up at Memorial-Spaulding – Saturday, October 7th. Details HERE To register: https://form.jotform.us/72515927033152

Kindergarten students who are staying after school to play on the playground must be supervised by a parent or other caretaker.

Unsure if you need a new CORI this year? Check with Francie (617-559-9600) or francie_sheehan@newton.k12.ma.us

Need to change dismissal plans during the school day?  Please call or email Francie. Teachers may not have the opportunity to check email during the day.

 

 

Principal’s Weekly Update

Memorial-Spaulding Families,

We are off to a good start with our new arrival plan. Teachers are starting Morning Meeting right at 8:30am. Please ensure your child is at school on time each day.

Administrative Policies and Procedures are outlined in the Student Rights and Responsibilities Handbook. Should you have a question – you may find the answer here.

Do you have a 4th grader who likes to visit National Parks?  Check out this great way to have great experiences and save money!  Click HERE

Instrumental music is a great way to grow as a musician, thinker and a collaborative team player. All 4th grade students are eligible to learn a wind instrument.  More information HERE and HERE

A new math curriculum is coming!  Newton Public Schools has adopted Investigations. This new program will be implemented in grades 3 and 4 this school year.  Click HERE for a letter from Jennifer Shore, our Math Coordinator.

Flu clinic coming to Memorial-Spaulding on Sept. 26th.  Click HERE for more information.

All bus riders should complete the Bus Behavior Contract.  Each bus rider was given a copy of the contract to read and sign. If your child rides the bus and has not yet completed the contract. Please click HERE to download – and send to school with your child.

Our afternoon buses are nearly full.  Therefore there is no room for additional “hop on” riders.  If your child is planning a play date with a friend, please make sure you arrange for transportation – other than the school bus.

The First Six Week of School is a component of Responsive Classroom that allows students to fully learn routines and expectations, as well as develop a sense of classroom/school community.  A letter explaining our work is available HERE.

Are you CORI’d?  If you are wondering if you are on the approved CORI list, please ask Francie (sheehanf@newton.k12.ma.us or 617-559-9600).  If you need to complete a CORI form, please see Francie in person and bring a valid ID (drivers license or passport).

The tree near the Art Room is not for children to climb after school.  The tree is sustaining damage from children climbing – and we have had a few children injured.  The school is not liable for any injuries sustained while climbing the tree.

Do you wait for your child at the front door for dismissal?  If so, please stand back from the doors – several teachers are dismissing from this location.  Thanks in advance for your help.

Glass water bottles are not ideal for school.  Broken glass bottles can create a safety hazard.

Thank you for helping to create a smooth transition for your child and a great opening of an exciting new school year. I look forward to seeing you at Back to School Night on Wednesday, September 27th!

 

 

Principal’s Weekly Update

Dear Memorial-Spaulding Families,

Today was a spectacular first day of the school year at Memorial-Spaulding.  The positive energy and excitement in the building was palpable.  I am grateful to be your principal and I look forward to an outstanding school year!

The remainder of this message is a repeat of information sent on Monday morning.  Below are some items to help you prepare for the new school year.

Arrival Changes: Families will be permitted to walk students into the building during the first week of school. Beginning Sept. 11th, all students will need to say goodbye to parents at the doors. Extra personnel will be available at both the front and back entrances to greet at assist parents and children.  

Dismissal: Your classroom teacher will provide information on where to meet your child afterschool (grades 1-3).  Grade K dismisses at their exterior doors by the playground. Grades 4 and 5 dismiss students directly from the classroom. Please inform your child’s classroom teacher how your child will be dismissed each day (bus, parent pick up, Extended Day program, etc.).

Blue Zone:  Our Blue Zone has been expanded once again.  The yellow curb access point was removed over the summer.  Remember Blue Zone is for quick drop (or pick up) and go. Drivers should not exit their cars in the Blue Zone.  There is a Blue Zone on Brookline Street in front of the school and near Oak Hill Street in the opposite direction.  You may also drop/pick up students at Clifton Path behind the school.  

Elimination of crossing guard:  The guard position at Dedham and Oak Hill Streets has been eliminated due to lack of use.  Please see NPD letter HERE.

School Bus:  Students will receive a bus pass.  If your child is slated to ride the bus, we will put him/her on the bus unless we have written notification (delivered to the classroom teacher) that plans have changed.  For last minute changes please call Francie (617-559-9600).

Summer upgrades:  New concrete work in front of the school which has been designed for functionality, better aesthetics and easier access into the building.  New front doors are on the way and should be installed sometime in September.  Three new benches were donated by the 5th grade class of 2017 and will arrive within the next couple weeks.  

Thanks to Jon Sneider for designing and planting new landscaping!  A big thanks to Robin Welch, Katharina Elbert, Margie Ross-Decter and the entire Beautification Committee for their hard work on this project.  Weston Nurseries provided new plantings at a big discount.

Other summer upgrades include: newly painted cafeteria, auditorium ceiling re-painted, hard-top on playground painted (thanks to the PTO).  New equipment in the art room.  

I have just discovered new LED lighting will be installed in the kindergarten hallway this coming year.  

We start the school year with 457 students in 22 classrooms (one additional 3rd grade classroom over what we had last year).  Our class sizes range from 18-24 students.  

Important Upcoming Dates:

  • Principal/PTO Coffees – Tuesday, Sept. 5th and Wednesday, Sept. 6th @ 8:30am.  All parents are invited – please stop by and say hello!  Location: Cafeteria.  
  • Family “Back to School” Picnic and Movie Night – Saturday, Sept. 9th at 6pm.  On the field beside the playground.  
  • PTO Meeting – Tuesday, Sept. 12th @ 7pm.  Please plan to join us!
  • Kindergarten Soccer – Saturday, Sept. 16th on the playing field at Memorial-Spaulding.  Look for more information to come on the PTO website.
  • ELL Parent Coffee – Tuesday, Sept. 26th in the Extended Day Room @ 8:30am.  This event is open to all families whose children receive English as a second language instruction!  
  • Back to School Night – Wednesday, Sept. 27th from 6-8pm.  This is an opportunity to meet your child’s classroom teacher and our subject-specific specialists – and learn about our curriculum!

All weekly updates will happen via this website.  You can self-subscribe to receive an email sent to your inbox each week.

Sincerely,

Tom Morris, Principal

Principal’s Weekly Update

Thursday is an early release day (12:30) for all students

Math MCAS testing is taking place this week for all students in grades 3-5.  If your child is testing this week, please ensure an on time arrival.

If you are visiting our school for anything more than a quick drop off – remember to sign in at the Greeter’s Desk or the Main Office.  All visitors to classrooms should be wearing a yellow Visitor Badge.  Please remember our greeters are volunteering their time in order to make our school a safer place.

Incoming Kindergarten Parent Information Evening – May 15th @ 7pm

Memorial-Spaulding has been awarded a Boston University grant in order to further our work with integrating the arts into curricular areas.  Congratulations to Art Teacher,  Alexandra Etscovitz and the entire Arts Integration Team for their commitment to this work!

Thursday is an early release day for all students.

Principal’s Weekly Update

The student placement process for the 2017-18 school year will begin in early May. Please read the Placement Letter and access the Parent/Guardian Input Form.

The Superintendent’s Forum: Talking with Children about Race was a success! If you would like to get involved and/or continue the conversation click HERE.  There is a broken link on this item regarding contact information.  That link is working HERE.

The Cape Town Youth Choir will visit us on Friday of this week. They will take up residence at Memorial-Spaulding for much of the day, visiting all classrooms to teach students about South Africa, and performing a concert for 3rd and 5th grade. You can check them out here: http://www.ctyc.co.za/

MCAS is going well!  Please be sure your child is well-rested and ready for testing day. Click HERE to check out the entire MCAS testing schedule.

Please let us know if your child will be absent from school: 617-559-9617 (Absence Line).

Students must be fever free for 24 hours before returning to school. For the continued health of all students and staff, please do not send your child to school when ill.

Have a wonderfully wet, rainy week!

Principal’s Weekly Update

Dear Families,

This year all third, fourth, and fifth grade students will take the new statewide assessment, MCAS Next Generation. This will replace PARCC, which students took for the past two years. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is requiring that all grade 4 students take the Computer-Based Test (CBT) with the goal of students in all grades taking the CBT by the year 2019. At Memorial-Spaulding, we elected to have students in grades 3 and 5 take the Paper-Based Test (PBT) this year.

With the adoption of another new test, we have been thoughtfully preparing students for success. We believe that the high-quality instruction we provide students each day is the best way we can prepare them for external assessments. That said the MCAS Next Generation test format and testing situation are different from students’ routine experiences and we have been working to familiarize students with the test format, the types of questions, and the vocabulary. We have taken this approach for test preparation, as we do not want to “teach to the test” and/or create unnecessary stress or anxiety.

Over the past few weeks, teachers in grades 3, 4, and 5 have presented practice tests to students and posed guiding questions to allow students to learn about and explore the test. Examples of guiding questions include:

  • What types of questions do you see?
  • What are you being asked to do?
  • What words do you notice?
  • Do you see any words that other kids might not know?
  • What do you notice as you tried to record/enter your answer?

After students had time to explore the tests, teachers spent some time in class teaching strategies to help students feel comfortable and confident during the testing situation. Strategies included reading test directions, unpacking questions, and using a reference sheet. Teachers have reassured students that throughout the year they have learned the content to help them be successful. To minimize stress, teachers will also share with their classes that the results of the assessment are used for multiple purposes such as, planning for growth in future years and determining if additional shifts in our curriculum are necessary.

Thank you for your continued support. If you have questions, please do hesitate to ask.

Upcoming MCAS testing dates: English/Language Arts – (Grade 3 = 4/3, 4/6, 4/7) (Grade 4 = 4/4, 4/5, 4/6) (Grade 5 = 4/3, 4/5, 4/7)