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Greetings from Gail

January 10, 2014

Happy New Year Everyone!! This has been the most unusual and strange start of the new year with two snow days and one delayed opening. It looks like things are getting back to normal here with students settling back into the routines of school.

If you did not receive a call about the delayed opening or school cancellation, please see Angel in the office to make sure we have your correct contact information. As always, if any contact information has changed, please let Angel know as soon as possible.

Here are some things that are happening in the new year at SME:

  • I will visit all classes to talk about Quality Work and remind students to keep doing their best work.
  • Cyber safety and bullying presentations to the 5th and 6th grade classes presented by Sargent Larson of the Grafton County Dept. of Corrections.
  • 5th and 6th grade students will be preparing for a musical review highlighting small group and individual talents. Show to be performed on March 26th.
  • Kindergarten, first and second grade teachers are administering the PNOA (Primary Number Observation Assessment) to their students. This test is administered individually to students.
  • Some 5th and 6th graders are working on a reader's theater performance about the civil rights movement. They perform later in February.
  • Crystal Larocque, Carmen Winchester and Kathy McGowan are working in a math study group with a teacher from Westhsire and the Academy to observe each other's teaching and plan effective math lessons.


January 20, 2014 Newsletter

Greetings from Gail

December 20, 2013sme122013 2

As the holiday season approaches, I hope you share my goal of taking a breath, being appreciative, and having some meaningful time with family. My granddaughter is 2 1/2 and has more understanding of what Christmas is about this year and it should prove to be a magical time for my family. My son and daughter-in-law are also expecting twin boys and they are due to arrive around Christmas; so we may get a special holiday gift this year!!

sme122013 1In education we are thankful for the opportunities to impact young lives. Our students are the reason we are here. Their learning and progress is our mission.. At SME we have much to be thankful for. We first thank our parents. They help on a daily basis. They volunteer in the classroom, on field trips and serve on the CSO, Community School Organization. At every level, when we need something, there are parents willing to step up and fill the need. I can't tell you how much I appreciate all that you do. You are wonderful!!

Thanks to our fabulous CSO for organizing the Halloween Dance, this year's fundraiser, and RIF (Reading is Fundamental). We also thank the Fairlee Fire Department for our guest visitor at the end of every holiday concert with bags of candy.

As we start the second half of the year, here's the focus of our work:

SME and WES staff have been working hard on getting ready for the new common core set of educational standards and assessments. Both schools have been working on the common core standards for the last two years and believe our instruction already matches the new standards. Rivendell has always supported technology and continues to expose students to new technologies and to provide technology experiences for our students. We have a new IPad lab this year and will be adding to them next year. Technology is used to administer the new assessment. Elementary teachers took a sample assessment on the computers to see what our students will be expected to do. We will continue to expose our students to assessments using technology to better prepare them.

Lastly, as we enter this season of giving, let's think hard about the greatest gifts here at SME which is the gift of education and the opportunity to teach your children. Have a wonderful holiday and see you in 2014.

December 20, 2013 Newsletter

Greetings from Gail

December 13, 2013

You will notice some newsletter items are repeated. The winter program will be starting January 9th and there are always many questions about those Thursdays. I also kept the information about school closing and delays due to inclement weather.

Winter is definitely here and I am repeating the request to make sure your children have warm clothes for recess. I am still seeing many children with no hats, gloves or boots. Please remember they will go out everyday. They need boots and snow pants to play in the snow. If they don't have boots they will have to stay in an area where there is no snow. Please help us so our children can enjoy our Vermont and New Hampshire winters!!

Thank you so much!

 

Important Information About Winter Thursdays for SME and WES

The CSO Ski and Skate Program begins on January 9th. Students will be dismissed be-tween 12:00 and 12:30. Those students not skiing or skating are expected to stay for our winter program. We have some exciting activities planned. Just a reminder that if skiing or skating is canceled, students must be picked up at 12:30. We do not have the staff to absorb those students into our winter program The ski and skate program runs for six weeks with a make-up day for skiing if needed on February 20th. If there is a ski make-up day there isn't a skate program that day. Skiers and skaters are dismissed be-tween 12:00-12:15. Our Winter Program students will be dismissed at 12:30.

End of the Day Dismissal:

  • Skiers return at 4:30 and need to be picked up by parents.
  • Skaters return at 3:00 and need to be picked up by parents or register for Visions after school Program. Please note there is no 3:00 bus on Thursdays. Visions runs until 5:30 and parents will need to pick up their child by then.
  • Winter Program students are dismissed at 1:45. The regular bus routes will be run or you must pick up your child at 1:45 if they don't ride the bus.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to call me, CSO or Angel. Let's hope for some snow this year!!

 December 13, Newsletter

 

Greetings from Gail

December 6, 2013

Today we had a wonderful performance from three members of the Vermont Symphony Orchestra. This year's performance was called "Fanfare" performed by a brass trio. Each year we are treated to a performance by a different group from the VSO. Today's performance was made special by Westshire students joining us.

Important Information About Winter Thursdays for SME and WES

The CSO Ski and Skate Program begins on January 9th. Students will be dismissed be-tween 12:00 and 12:30. Those students not skiing or skating are expected to stay for our winter program. We have some exciting activities planned. Just a reminder that if skiing or skating is canceled, students must be picked up at 12:30. We do not have the staff to absorb those students into our winter program The ski and skate program runs for six weeks with a make-up day for skiing if needed on February 20th. If there is a ski make-up day there isn't a skate program that day. Skiers and skaters are dismissed be-tween 12:00-12:15. Our Winter Program students will be dismissed at 12:30.

End of the Day Dismissal:

  • Skiers return at 4:30 and need to be picked up by parents.
  • Skaters return at 3:00 and need to be picked up by parents or register for Visions after school Program. Please note there is no 3:00 bus on Thursdays. Visions runs until 5:30 and parents will need to pick up their child by then.
  • Winter Program students are dismissed at 1:45. The regular bus routes will be run or you must pick up your child at 1:45 if they don't ride the bus.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to call me, CSO or Angel. Let's hope for some snow this year!!

 

 December 6, Newsletter

Greetings from Gail

 

November 27, 2013sme11272013

Report cards for the first trimester are being sent home today, Wednesday, November 27th. Samuel Morey and Westshire have Standards-Based Report Cards. Our report cards reflect the important skills and knowledge we want our students to learn based on the Vermont Standards. With the new Common Core Standards we will be looking at our report cards and to see if we need to revise any portions to align with the new standards. This is work that teachers will do in the near future. The sixth grade report card is a combination of standards and letter grades. On our website is an explanation of a standards-based report card. I like to share the description of standards–based report cards each year as a reminder for our parents. Here is the description:

What is a Standards-Based Report Card? A standards-based report card lists the most important skills students should learn in each subject at a particular grade level. On many traditional report cards, students receive one grade for reading, one for math, one for science and so on. On a standards-based report card, each of these subject areas is divided into a list of skills and knowledge that students are responsible for learning. Instead of letter grades, students receive marks that show how well they have mastered each standard.

The marks on a standards-based report card show only how well the child has mastered the grade-level standards, and do not include effort, attitude or work habits, which are usually marked separately. Parents can see exactly which skills and knowledge their children have learned.

One of the biggest adjustments for students and parents is that many standards-based report cards focus on end-of-the-year goals. This means that in the first or second grading period, instead of getting A's for trying hard and doing well on tests, a high-achieving student might have several marks indicating that she is not yet proficient in some skills. Although this is normal since most students will not meet all of the year's goals in the first quarter, it can be hard for parents and students used to seeing all A's and B's.

Another difference between traditional report cards and standards-based report cards is that Exceeding the Standard is not necessarily the same as an A on a traditional report card. For example, if a fifth grader received A's on every math test during the trimester, she would probably receive an A on a traditional report card. If those math tests measured only the concepts fifth graders are expected to master, those A's would be the equivalent of "proficient" on a standards-based report card; the student is doing what he should be doing, but not necessarily more.

Standards-based report cards help the teachers and parents focused on student learning goals from the very beginning of the year.


Standards-Based Reporting

  • Marks (1-4) on the report card indicate the progress a student is making towards end of the year learning. A "1" indicates a student is not making sufficient progress towards reaching the standard by the end of the school year.
  • A "2" indicates a student is making adequate progress towards reaching the standard by the end of the year.
  • A "3" indicates a student has reached or mastered the grade-level expectations for that standard.
  • A "4" indicates a student has exceeded the grade-level expectations for that standard.

 

November 27, Newsletter

 

Greetings from Gail


November 22, 2013sme 112213

Our natural playscapes area is starting to take shape!!

Rob Reade and I have been dreaming of a natural playscape area for our youngest children for almost two years now. Playscapes, or natural playgrounds, are play environments that blend natural materials with creative landforms that challenge and fascinate children. They will consist of hills, rocks, logs, grass, sand, paths and dirt. They may also incorporate water, natural slides and structures made from natural materials. We wrote a grant last year and received $2,000 from Vermont Rural Partnership. With that money we will purchased a slide to build into the small hill that is on our playground.

sme 112213-2Sara Rose and last year’s sixth graders were landscape architects who designed some of the parts of the playscape area. They drew scaled drawings and made models that were reviewed by community members last year.

Community members helped us by donating materials and items. Dan Ludwig made us many logs with sawed flat surfaces to use as balance beams for the children. J&M Nursery donated stepping stones and Stacy Thompson donated small pieces of wood for the children to play with. Clifton Taylor brought us large boulders.

The children are so excited about this new play area. What started out as a place for our youngest students is growing into a great play area for all our students. We have a lot more to do to create this natural play area, but we are making great progress thanks to the great volunteers in our community. Special thanks to Kelly and Seth Carter and Gary Collins and his crew for helping us move things around.

Sara Rose, Rob Reade and I are presenting our natural play area to principals and teachers at the annual Vermont Rural Partnership meeting today.

 

Greetings from Gail

sme11082013 4November 18, 2013

Last week I woke up to a light blanket of snow covering the ground and frost on my car windows. Ah yes...winter is here. When the weather turns cold it always brings up questions about dressing for outdoor recess.

Recess is an important part of our school day and our students need healthy playtime outdoors. Recess is a rich place for the teaching and learning of many social skills for our students. Students must learn how to negotiate, how to include others, how to be kind and how to be good sports at games.

To enjoy recess they must be properly dressed for the weather. Please make sure your child is sme11082013 3dressed appropriately for this cold weather. I am still seeing boys and girls in shorts and no jackets. All children will go outside for recess. Also, please remember that if your child is well enough to attend school, they will go outside at recess time unless it is an injury such as broken leg or arm.

If we are experiencing unusually cold weather where the temperature is in the single digits or it is raining, we will usually not go out for morning or afternoon recess. However, students do go out for recess when the temperature is above 10 degrees. Please make sure your child has hat and gloves and other appropriate clothing so they may enjoy this fun part of their day. When snow is on the ground, students must have boots to walk around in the snow and snow pants if they want to roll around or slide down the hill.

We do not like to use recess as a consequence for inappropriate behavior at school or for missing homework, but children need to learn responsibility and sometimes it is necessary. If a child stays in for missing homework, teachers try to send the student outside for half of the recess time. If a child misses recess for inappropriate behavior such as disrupting learning of others in the class, we try to send them out another time to run around. However, this is not always possible.

Greetings from Gail

November 8, 2013

The Inspiring Kids program's purpose is to "help a group of student leaders understand the elements of a community, the definition and importance of nonprofits, and how everyone can use their time, treasure and talent to help others in their community I am so proud of our sixth grade students in the way that they led the activities of our Community Day. They led the community service projects at Samuel Morey on Thursday and Westshire on Friday. At 11:00 we had an all school meeting where the sixth grade students explained all the projects from the classes. They then presented a check to the Upper Valley Humane Society for $470. The Humane Society was the students top choice to receive this donation. With the help of Mike and Amanda Babcock, sixth grade students and Mr. Metayer we have started constructing a bocce court on the playground. Bocce is a sport from the Unified Special Olympics Team. Now our students have a practice court.

Greetings from Gail

October 31, 2013

I would like to share with you two exciting events at Samuel Morey that showcased the great work by our students.

At last Friday's community meeting, the sixth grade hosted a "conceptpalooza." Second, third and sixth grade shared their core concept through poetry, skits and song. Kindergarten, first and fourth already shared their core concept performances at a previous community meeting.

The second graders wrote and performed an acrostic poem to the words 'Be Responsible." Here are some of their great lines they wrote about responsibility:

  • Be kind and caring
  • Excellent behavior
  • Role model
  • Eyes on the teacher
  • Sound quiet in class
  • Positive attitude
  • On time
  • Never give up
  • Succeeding in school
  • I can be responsible
  • Be kind every day
  • Learn all you can every day
  • Excellent behavior

The third grade students performed skits around respect and then sang the Katie Perry song "Eye of the Tiger." Sixth graders performed a speak chorus on citizenship and sang "You've Got a Friend in Me." The other sixth grade group wrote and performed skits on being a good citizen and also sang "Eye of the Tiger." The grand finale was the third and sixth grades singing together. It was a fun community meeting.

The other event was a special school meeting where the sixth graders shared their hard work researching nonprofits and philanthropy. This is part of their work with the Inspiring Kids project.
The sixth graders researched approximately ten nonprofits in the Upper Valley. They then voted on their top three. At the school meeting they shared their research process, a little about all the nonprofits they researched and then gave in-depth presentations about the top three. They were: Special Olympics, David's House and The Humane Society.

After their presentations the sixth grade students went to each class and gave ballots for the students to vote on their top choice of those three. The results are in but won't be announced until our Community Day on November 7th. Community Day is a time when all students at Samuel Morey will be engaged in activities to make something for a nonprofit. Some of the projects are:

  • Helping on the Cross Rivendell Trails
  • Making cards for people at David's House
  • Making labels and product of green solutions
  • Making treats for animals at animal shelter
  • Helping to build a bocce court at school
  • Fifth grade will be going on a tour of David's House

The sixth grade will be helping all the classes with their projects and going to Westshire on Thursday to help the students there with their Community Day also. I was very proud of the leadership our sixth grade students have been demonstrating during this project.

Greetings from Gail

October 25, 2013

We had a wonderful day last Friday for our all school hike. The drive to Holt's Ledge in Lyme was short with plenty of parking for the many parents and other family members that joined us.

We began our hike on Dorchester Road and entered the woods at the entrance to the Appalachian Trail. The hike through the woods was just a warm-up till we got to Papoose Ski Trail where the trees parted and we had a nice grassy, wide area to hike. The steep trail challenged us but the view from the top was well worth it.

Even though it was late October and rain the day before, the trees still had wonderful color. After lunch we started our trek back to the buses. Thanks to everyone who participated and helped. It was a great day! That morning Mr. Boyce spoke to the students about the Appalachian Trail and showed us some great video of the trail through all the states. He also recognized the students who completed the summer hiking challenge by collecting six Cross Rivendell Trail stamps.