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Greetings from Gail

sme10102013-3October 10, 2013

In previous years Cathy Eastburn and the CSO hosted some amazing Halloween Dances for families. There wasn't a Halloween Dance last year and apparently students really missed it because they presented me with a petition signed by many students asking for a Halloween Dance again.

I contacted the CSO for help and they were very eager and willing to help organize this event. You will see in the CSO newsletter a request for parent volunteers to make this dance possible. Please contact Katie Wright if you can help. If we don't get enough parent volunteers the dance will not happen.

The dance is a family dance. Students must be accompanied by a family member. I will be there but do not have the staff to supervise the evening. Also, we don't have "boy/girl" dances at the elementary school so it is important for everyone to know this is a family dance with kindergarten through sixth grades attending.

I love when students take the initiative, organize a petition and present their case to me on why they want something at Samuel Morey. When possible I like to make it happen to show them their voice matters.

 

Did You Know?

Students in third through sixth grade are taking the NECAPs (New England Common Assessment Program) this month. This is our state assessment tied to Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) which Samuel Morey has met every year. This is the last year for the NECAPs. Next year, spring 2015, students will be taking a new assessment tied to the Common Core Standards. Our students have always done well on the NECAPs because our curriculum aligns with the rigor and expectations of the grade level expectations and assessment. We expect our students to do very well on the new Common Core assessment too, again because we work hard on making sure our curriculum is aligned and has rigor. Much of our professional development time is spent making sure teachers understand the expectations for student learning.

October 10, Newsletter

Greetings from Gail

October 4, 2013

sme10413Samuel Morey focuses on five core concepts which assist in developing caring, responsible individuals. They are: caring, responsibility, respect, fairness, trustworthiness, belong/citizenship. Character education is a school-wide effort to create a community where positive traits are modeled, taught, expected, celebrated and continuously practiced. We reinforce them whenever we're reading about characters in books, people we're studying in social studies, events that take place or current events.

Each class will be responsible for a core concept: to present to the rest of the school.

  • sme101013-2Kindergarten and First Grade: Caring, Karina from the Spanish for caring is the KANGAROO who has a seemingly endless supply of "things" inside her pouch, including a special box of little hearts for children she meets on her travels. •
  • Second Grade: Responsibility, Ansvar from the Norwegian for responsible is the ELEPHANT with colorful ribbons tied around his trunk and tail to help him remember his responsibilities.
  • Third Grade: Respect, Austus from the Estonian for respect is the LION who is confident that respect is one of the highest qualities one can have—for nature, for others and for oneself.
  • Fourth Grade: Fairness, Guisto from the Italian for fair is the GIRAFFE who always tries to do what's right. Guisto uses his long neck to see all sides of any issue and has a gentle way of helping others do the same.
  • Fifth Grade: Trustworthiness, Shinral from the Japanese for trust is the CAMEL who always keeps her promises, always does what she says she'll do and is loyal, honest and punctual.
  • Sixth Grade: Belonging/Citizenship, Kupa from the Hawaiian for citizen is the BEAR who considers herself a citizen of the world. A philosopher and poet, she believes that we are all part of the same family and must do our share to help each other.

Each class will be responsible for learning what their concept looks and sounds like through class discussions, read alouds and other classroom activities. Each class will then teach the rest of the school about their core concept at our community meetings. Today at community meeting we had great presentations by kindergarten, first and fourth grade. The other grades will present on October 25th.

 

October 4, Newsletter

 

Greetings from Gail

September 20, 2013

We just completed the fourth week of school and I know that homework has increased for many grades. The word homework brings an assortment of feelings to different people. Some people argue that there is too much homework; others that there is not enough.

Homework in the elementary schools aims to reinforce skills or study habits and allows for parent involvement with their child's work. In the early primary grades almost all children need their parents' help to complete their work. In the upper elementary grades students are encouraged to do more work independently. 

You can help your child and the teacher by watching the time your child spends on homework. Some children work faster than others and some assignments are longer than others. But if your child is spending hours every night on homework check for:

  • Distractions: Is your child studying in a quiet, well-lit place? Don't let television, phone calls, or siblings distract him or her from completing the work.
  • Tools: Does your child have the tools needed to complete the assignment? (i.e., paper, pen, dictionary)
  • Attitude: The attitudes of children are often affected by the attitudes of parents. Children need to see that you support your child's need to complete both schoolwork and homework.

An occasional homework overload is normal, but if you have concerns about the amount of time your child is spending on his or her homework, see your child's teacher.

In the upper grades students have assignment notebooks. This helps the students stay organized and a place parents can check or write messages to the teacher about homework. In the primary grades teachers develop a system for communication about homework.

September 20, Newsletter

Greetings from Gail

September 6, 2013 082930 2

It is hard to believe that it is only the second week of school. Students are settled into their classroom routines and even homework has started!!! The kindergarten students are already walking by themselves to deliver notes to the office or to return their trays at lunch. Our fifth and sixth grade students are getting used to rotating classes and the Westshire and Samuel Morey students are making new friends in class.

I would like to remind you that there is no supervision until 7:30 a.m. on the playground. Please do not drop your student off before then. Breakfast is called at 7:45 a.m. Students eat in their classroom. If their teacher is not there due to a meeting or some other reason, students will be told which class is their buddy class for breakfast.

082930 3Samuel Morey is a small school and we want parents to feel welcome in our school but I must remind you that after 8:00 a.m. you must sign in at the office and get a visitor's tag unless you are a preschool parent dropping off your child in preschool.

If you have lunch, sneakers or something you need to get to your child, please drop it off in the office and Angel will see that it gets to your child. I know we would all like to be flies on the wall watching our child in class, but walking to class interrupts the teacher and the class. Thank you for understanding.

I hope you also understand why we must be vigilant about all visitors, including parents in the building. We lock all doors except the front doors after the day begins. We want to keep our children as safe as possible.

We welcome you volunteering in your child's class. Just contact your child's teacher and arrange a time that works for you and the class. Also, every Friday we have REP (repertoire) or Community Meeting at 8:30 in the gym. You are always welcome to join us for our all school gatherings. Again, just sign in at
the office.

Thank you for your support and partnership as we start a most exciting school year.

Welcome Back Everyone

August 29, 2013

It was great to see the smiling faces of all our students on Monday. I worked in the building most of the summer and I can tell you it is a quiet lonely place without the children. I know it is difficult to get back into the routine of school the first week. Getting children (and teachers) to bed earlier than summer vacation helps. Children often have to transition to a more structured day than the carefree days of summer. We will do everything we can to help them transition to the school day. 

082930 1Our school follows the principles of the Responsive Classroom. Responsive Classroom supports spending the necessary time at the beginning of the year to establish basic procedures and the time to get to know each other. They are writing hopes and dreams for the year and the class will generate class rules/expectations.

My hope and dream is that every student views learning as joyful and fun and that they work hard to reach their individual potential. My greeting to the students especially in the higher grades is, "Good morning scholars!" I want our students to see themselves as scholars with the ability to learn new skills and information.

Please know that your child's teacher is your first line of communication if you have concerns and my door is always open. Here's to a great year!

Greetings from Gail

July 30, 2013

Dear Samuel Morey Families,

It is with great pleasure that I welcome you and your children to the 2013-2014 school year. I hope that your summer has been filled with fun family activities enjoyed at a leisurely pace under beautiful, blue skies filled with sunshine (and some rain too!) I love the summer months. They allow for reflection and recharging and I always manage to fit in some great reading at the beach or on my deck. This summer I again had the opportunity to spend some quality time with my granddaughter who is now two. What a fun age!

We will have some new faces joining our Samuel Morey family next year. We have two new teachers:

  • Mathew Acquiliano will be our new physical education teacher. Matthew is a recent graduate of St. Barnaventure in New York.
  • Lauren Fifield will be teaching first grade. Lauren attended the Upper Valley Educator's Institute last year and interned with Crystal Larocque at Westshire and with Kevin Petrone in first grade at Thetford. Kevin is a former SME teacher.

We also have some Rivendell folks moving to SME from WSE and the Academy:

  • Crystal Larocque from WES will be part of our fifth and sixth grade team teaching math and fifth grade language arts. 
  • Gordon Christie-Maples from WES will be returning to SME to teach social studies and sixth grade language arts.
  • Wendy Bergren, WES special educator will be here part time in the upper grades.
  • Angela Hannett, a special education assistant from WSE will be joining us.
  • Audrey Wolf, a special education assistant from the Academy will also be joining us.


Please join me in welcoming all our new staff.

Summer is also a time for teachers to reflect on their past year, obtain new learning and think about their new class and students. Many of our teachers attended summer courses and workshops, read professional literature or worked collaboratively writing or revising units. Here are some of the exciting learning adventures our teachers have had this summer:

  • We had a teacher attend the Teachers College reading institute presented by Lucy Calkins, a leader in literacy instruction.
  • One teacher attended a week long training in Responsive Classroom I and one teacher attended the second level of Responsive Classroom which deepens understanding of the Responsive Classroom Approach.
  • Three teachers and I attended The Vermont Reads Institute Summer Conference. This is a three day conference which focuses on reading and writing instruction with a focus on the new Common Core Standards.
  • One teacher attended an intense, one week training on Leveled Literacy Intervention. Leveled Literacy Intervention focuses on intense reading intervention instruction for early readers.
  • Abraham Lincoln's life and experiences as president during the Civil War and 19th Century industrialization and immigration in New England were studied in week long conferences by a teacher.
  • A Fundations workshop, which teaches students phonics, spelling and handwriting was attended by one staff member.
  • Grade level teams of teachers met with Kathy McGowan, our math lead teacher, to revise math units to align with the new common core standards.
  • Teachers met with the Montshire Museum teaching staff to write a new science unit and to revise an existing science unit.
  • Other teachers have been busy reading professional literature to learn about best instructional practices and almost all our teachers have been planning for the coming year.


It is early August already and time to think about the new school year. Professional development for our teachers during the new school year will continue to focus on aligning our curriculum and instruction with the Common Core Standards. We have already made much progress aligning our math curriculum with the standards. We will continue to examine the new writing genres and expectations and also the expectations for more nonfiction texts, close reading to provide evidence from their reading and an increased emphasis on building a strong vocabulary.

Samuel Morey has done an exceptional job on the New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP), meeting Annual Yearly Progress (AYP) every year our students have taken it. Next year will be the last year for the NECAPs. The Common Core Standards are driving a new assessment that will be administered in the spring of 2015. This curriculum work will help our students get ready for this new assessment.

Teachers have been in and out of their classrooms all summer bringing in the treasures they found for their classrooms or starting to arrange their furniture on their freshly waxed floors.

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

  • First day of school for students—Monday, August 26th. On the first day students and families meet in front of the school where students find their teacher holding a sign. 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 send home information as soon as it is available.


In closing I would like to thank Gary Collins and his amazing team who prepared our building for students and teachers to arrive! The floors are shiny and waiting for the footsteps of our students. I hope the last weeks of summer vacation are relaxing and fun! I could not be more excited about this upcoming school year! I miss the students and look forward to seeing their bright smiles at the door on August 25th.

Don't forget your child's summer reading!!

With Great Excitement,

Gail Keiling
Head of Elementary Schools/Principal of Samuel Morey

 

Greetings from Gail

June 14, 2013

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the wonderful families at Samuel Morey for your support this year. This school is a success because of the combination of great students,
teachers and parents. Thank you again for your support. Have a wonderful summer!

Mrs. Keiling's Speech On Summer Reading Again!

It is the last newsletter of the year so it is that time again to remind families about the importance of summer reading. Kindergarten through fourth grade students have the Summer Reading Bingo Card. Fourth graders also have a "must read" book, Touch Blue. There is a bookmark and assignment for this book. Fifth grade students have a "must read" book, Rules. There is also a bookmark, reading assignment and reading challenges. Please remember that the "must reads" are required of all students
and will be discussed the first week of school.

This will also be part of their Language Arts grade. Please help us by making sure your child completes the assignment and returns their summer reading sheet to school in the fall. We are expecting 100% participation from all grades.

Here is the research about summer reading that I share each year. There has been much research done on summer reading loss. Here are some of the powerful findings on the reading development of children and ways to help your children prevent a loss in reading achievement over the summer.

  • Summer vacations create on average an annual reading gap of about 3 months between children who read over the summer and those that do not.
  • A summer reading loss of 3 months accumulated over the elementary grades becomes a gap of 18 months by the end of 6th grade. 
  • These children will always be behind children who read over the summer.
  • Children who read throughout the summer gain skills; can start the new school year with a better understanding of language and the world around them.
  • Children who read over the summer discover the joy of reading. The more they like to read, the more they will read.
  • Children learn through a variety of activities, and almost everything we do presents an opportunity to read. Reading every day, even if it's for just a few minutes, improves children's ability to read and learn all year long.

(From Reading Rockets, excerpted from "Summertime Reading Adventures:
A Guide For Parents." Reading is Fundamental, 2001)

Greetings from Gail

sme 05312013 3

May 31, 2013

Today students participated in Jobs on the Move: Farming. This is a hands-on Career Day for elementary students! The goals are to educate students to become graduates who are prepared for the changing workforce, become lifelong learners, and become people who contribute and become valued members of their own communities. We had a variety of presenters, including farmers from the Connecticut River Valley, and equipment dealers and "backyard" farmers.

sme 05312013 1

Greetings from Gail

May 24, 2013

When we return from the three day weekend it will be June. It is hard to believe that we are in the final weeks of the school year. We continue to emphasize "student as worker and scholar" even with so many transition activities and field trips.

Students continue to bring me quality work to hang on my Quality Board. I hope you have seen a magnet come home this year that says, "I do quality work at Samuel Morey."

Please try to keep your homework and bed time routines with your children. This time of year we see some very tired children from staying up too late due to the longer days.

Teachers in the primary grades are busy doing end of year assessments. The Primary Observation Assessment for reading and The Primary Number and Operations Assessment for math are given three times a year. It is great to see all the progress the students have made in reading and math. Do not hesitate to contact your child's teacher if you have any questions about their progress.

This time of year many families are planning their summer activities. Don't forget our great Visions summer program, Summerscapes. If you would like more information on this program we would be happy to send home another flyer. Just call Angel and she'll make sure one gets in your child's backpack.

sme 05242013

Greetings from Gail

May 17, 2013

The Allen Avery Memorial Raptor Run is this Saturday. It is a 5 mile run or walk around Lake Morey or a 1 mile fun run. You will find our youngest "raptors" walking, running or being pushed by parents in strollers for the fun run.

This year Dartmouth College's 99 Rock will be doing a live broadcast at the race. We also have the Conniption Fits band playing. They start at 10:30. Registration begins at 8:30. The 1 mile begins at 9 am and the 5 mile begins at 10 am. Tee shirts are running out so get there early!!

This is a fund raiser for the Community School Organization and our Special Olympics team. Please come out and have fun at this great Rivendell community event.