Update from Lisa McManus: Conference, Budget Meetings, MCAS, Book Fair, Impt Dates

Dear Memorial-Spaulding Families,
I hope everyone had a fun and relaxing vacation.  As our Spring parent-teacher conferences approach, we look forward to talking with you about the progress your child is making academically and socially/emotionally.  Below are some additional tips for conferences:

Five Steps for a Successful Conference
Parent-teacher conferences are an important way to learn about your child. Listed below are suggestions to help you have a more successful parent-teacher conference:

Plan for the conference.
Before you come to visit the teacher, write out questions you would like to ask. Does my child get along with others? How is my child’s behavior in class? Does my child read and work at the level you would expect for this grade? What are my child’s strengths and weaknesses?

Keep an open mind.
Your goal is to work for cooperation between you and your child’s teacher. Even if the teacher says something you disagree with, try to listen to what she/he has to say.

3. Ask to see your child’s work.
There’s no better way to see how your child is progressing.

4. Ask for suggestions.
If your child is doing well, ask what you can do to keep things on a positive track. If there are problems, ask what you can do to help.

5. Clarify and summarize as you go.
Teachers sometimes use educational terms. If you do not understand something the teacher says, just ask.

Budget Information:
Please keep updated regarding the NPS FY 2012 budget.  Below are the meeting dates and times:
NEWTON SCHOOL COMMITTEE FY13 BUDGET CALENDAR
March 5 (Special Meeting – FY13 Budget) – Ed Center
Monday Superintendent’s FY13 Budget Presentation- 7:00 p.m.- Ed Center

March 8 (Special Meeting – FY13 Budget) – Ed Center
Thursday FY 13 Budget Discussion: 4:00 p.m. Regular Instruction – elementary, middle & high schools Ed Center Teaching & Learning (including professional development) Technology

March 12 (Regular & Special Meeting – FY13 Budget)- Ed Center
Monday Superintendent’s Report -7:30 p.m. Fiscal & Operational Report, Ed Center Facilities Update , FY13 Budget Discussion: Student Services (including special education), English Language Learners, Career & Technical Education
Non-Instructional Areas: School Committee,
Central Staff, Human Resources, Operations,
Transportation, Food Services, Business, Finance
& Planning

March 15 (Special Meeting – FY13 Budget) Thursday Continued Discussion and Straw Vote on FY13 Budget -7:00 p.m. – Ed Center

March 20 (Special Meeting – FY13 Budget) Tuesday Public Hearing re: FY13 Budget
7:00 p.m. Location TBA

March 26 (Regular & Special Meeting – FY13 Budget) – Ed Center
Monday Superintendent’s Report – 7:30 p.m. Further Discussion/Final Vote on FY13 Budget

March 29 Extra Date for FY13 Budget Discussion/Final Vote
Thursday (if necessary) 7:00 p.m. Ed Center

MCAS Switch Day
The Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) is being administered to all fourth grade students in the Commonwealth on Tuesday, March 20, 2012. Newton’s dismissal time on Tuesday is normally 12:30 p.m.  In order to administer the test at the same time as all of the other schools in Massachusetts, we must extend school hours to 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 20, 2012 for all students in grades K through 5. On Wednesday, March 21 school will be dismissed at 12:30 p.m. Newton after-school programs have been informed of this change. We apologize in advance for any inconvenience this change in the length of school days may cause your family. The Food Service Department will take responsibility for adjusting student lunch choices based on this schedule change. Please note: kindergarten students who are in group A and usually stay in school until 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday will stay until 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 20. On Wednesday, March 21, they will be dismissed at 12:30 p.m.
Fourth grade students across the Commonwealth are required to take the English Language Arts Long Composition test that must be administered in two sections on Tuesday, March 20. It is recommended by the Department of Education (DOE) that students have 45 minutes to complete each section. However, due to the “untimed” nature of the MCAS tests, the DOE states that students may take up to two additional hours for each test section. Extending the school day on March 20 will give our students the same opportunity as other Massachusetts students to take the test in a reasonable timeframe.
Please contact your building principal if you have questions. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

Important Upcoming dates
March Madness Read-a-thon               March 5-April 5
5th Grade Parent Night at Oak Hill    Tuesday, March 6        7-9 PM
Kindergarten Lunch            A Group- Wed. March 14th     12:30-1:10
B Group- Fri. March 16th     12:30-1:10
International Festival                            Thursday, March 15        6-8 PM

MCAS Switch Day for ALL Students. We must extend school hours to 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 20, 2012 for all students in grades K through 5. On Wednesday, March 21 school will be dismissed at 12:30 p.m.

ELA MCAS Gr. 3-5            March 20-April 2
Grade 3                                Thursday, March 29          Reading I        9:00 – 11:00

Friday, March 30               Reading II     9:00 – 11:00

Grade 4                                 Tuesday, March 20           Long Comp. ALL DAY

Monday, March 26            ELA I         9:00 – 11:00

Wednesday, March 28       ELA II        9:00- 11:00

Thursday, March 29          Long Comp. Make up

Grade 5                                  Thursday, March 22           ELA I       9:00- 11:00

Friday, March 23                ELA II        9:00- 11:00

Book Fair                April 2,3, and 4
Literacy Morning
3-5                Monday, April 2        8:45-9:30
K-2                Tuesday, April 3        8:45-9:30