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July 30, 2012

Dear Samuel Morey Families,

I hope you all are having a wonderful summer. I love New England in the summer. I also enjoy summer because the “living is easy” with shorts and flip-flops. I spent most of my summer at Samuel Morey preparing for the new school year. I did manage to spend some quality time with my children and granddaughter though. My granddaughter is now 13 months old and on the move crawling and exploring everywhere and everything in the house. I can’t believe the joy and special bond and love of the first grandchild. I am head over heals for her. I am also reminded why toddlers are meant for young parents!!

The Academy was a very busy place this July as our Summerscapes program broke our old enrollment record. Tammy Macqueen and her staff provided a variety of academic and enrichment activities for Rivendell students. Our youngest students learned about the science of animals, practiced their math skills through fun games, and read and wrote poetry during literacy time. They also had art class everyday and participated in a drama component. The highlight of their program was the final, culminating activity—a performance of scenes from the Jungle Book.

Our older students also enjoyed camp, spending four weeks creating projects about animal issues and completing their summer reading assignments. There was plenty of fun as well. They participated in some amazing afternoon camps that included kayaking, Lego robotics, chemistry, abstract art and tennis. They also went on two very cool field trips to the Squam Lake Science Center and the Franklin Park Zoo. It is safe to say that all students had a “wild” time at Rivendell’s summer program!

I hope summer reading was part of your child’s summer schedule! Teachers will spend the first week of school discussing summer reading adventures. You can assure your child’s participation in those discussions by supporting your child’s completion of their summer reading. Our goal for Samuel Morey is for 100% participation, which we haven’t achieved yet. I hope this is the year! Students in kindergarten through fourth grade had a reading bingo card. Students entering grades five and six have “must read” books too. The “must read” books are about acceptance, respect and belonging, which are core concepts at Samuel Morey. Students will be discussing these books in their Language Arts class the first week of school. Please make sure your child brings their summer reading to school the first day. Summer reading documents are on the Rivendell website if you need another one.

Samuel Morey is sparkling thanks to Gary Collins and his crew. They worked feverishly over the summer to get our school ready for the new school year. The floors are waxed, rugs shampooed, new Smart Boards mounted and we have a new trophy case by the gym for all our sports teams’ trophies.

Nick Tymoczko and Emily Howard have moved on to pursue different adventures. We will miss them but change is inevitable and brings an opportunity to welcome new faces into our school. We welcome the new teachers and know they will add to our already wonderful school community. Here are some of the new faces:

  • Carmen Winchester will be teaching second grade. Carmen is transferring from Westshire and has many years teaching experience prior to Rivendell.
  • Anthony, “Skip”, Kunecki is our new physical education teacher. Skip is a recent graduate of Brockton College of State University of New York. He is a dedicated Triathlon participant and runs marathons as well. 

I know you will help me in welcoming them to our wonderful school.

I would like to share some news about my role as Head of Elementary Schools and our play structure.
Bridget Fariel unexpectedly resigned as the Principal of Westshire. In consideration of the limited time left before school starts, the Board has developed an interim one-year plan for Westshire. This year I will be providing support and guidance as Principal/Head of Elementary Schools for both Samuel Morey and Westshire. Tammy MacQueen will serve as Assistant Principal for Westshire and be responsible for the daily operation of Westshire. This will not impact my leadership and dedication to Samuel Morey but I will be spending a few hours each week at Westshire.

This Spring some significant damage was found to the posts of our elementary school play structures. This damage progressed to the point where the structures needed to be closed for safety reasons. The District is working with both representatives of the manufacturer and our insurance company to try and resolve these issues as quickly and safely as possible. At the present time, the plan is to tear down our present playground and hopefully replace it in early fall. We hope to have a plan in place soon that will give our students and families a safe playground environment by early fall.

It is inspiring to witness the return of dedicated teachers at this time of year as they reconnect to discuss curriculum, plan engaging lessons and activities, and work with great anticipation towards a new year of learning partnerships with our students. Each year I marvel at the treasures they manage to find over the summer for their classrooms. On Thursday, August 23rd teachers will be working in their classrooms from 2:30-3:30 p.m. During that time families are invited to stop in and meet their new teacher.  I hope to see you in the halls on your way to and from your child’s classroom.

Here are a few notes and dates to help start our new year:

  • Meet Your Teacher—Thursday, August 23rd, 2:30-3:30
  • First day of school for Students—Monday, August 27th. We traditionally meet in front of the school where children find their teacher. We invite parents to join us to see their children off and to wish them best for a new school year. School begins at 8:00 a.m. and ends at 3:00 p.m. There is supervision on the playground starting at 7:30 a.m. Please do not drop your child off before 7:30 a.m.
  • Thursday is an early release day for students. Students are released between 1:45 and 2:00 p.m.
  • There is no Visions/After School program the first few weeks of school. We will let you know the start date as soon as possible.

I know our staff is looking forward to the halls being filled with children once again. We are ready to open our doors and our hearts to do the important work of educating your children. The staff of Samuel Morey Elementary School recognizes the awesome responsibility we have to frame your child’s school experiences. We realize the powerful impact we have on the lives of children both academically and emotionally and look forward to making this year the best we can for all of the children of Samuel Morey.

Enjoy the rest of the summer and don’t forget your child’s summer reading!

With Great Excitement,

Gail Keiling, Head of Elementary Schools/Principal of Samuel Morey