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Wednesday, December 12, 2018

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A Summer Hello from Mrs. MacQueen

July 30, 2013

Dear Westshire Families,

The floors are waxed and the bulletin boards are clean and covered with fresh paper which means it's almost time to return to school. The summer flew by and it's hard to believe that August is already here. I hope you had a relaxing and fun-filled time off—enjoy the next few weeks with your family and friends because soon the new school year will begin.

The classrooms at the Academy were filled with excited students this July. Forty-five first through third graders enjoyed 2 weeks of camp that included making their own inventions. Our students are so smart and creative. They crafted many practical devices like underwater goggles made with bottle tops, string and a straw, and an automatic cat feeder using cardboard, tubes and duct tape. With the help of the 4-6th graders, our littlest campers performed scenes from "The Life and Legend of Samuel Morey," written by Lance Mills, a local writer. Anna Alden, high school drama teacher, worked with the students running lines and teaching them songs about the famous inventor. All of the scenery and costumes were hand made by the students as well. They did an amazing job portraying characters of the late 1700's and teaching the more than 120 audience members about this innovative inventor.

Our older students attended four weeks of camp where they learned a great deal about inventors like Ben Franklin, Charles Darwin and Leonardo DaVinci. They researched using books and the internet, and created Powerpoint presentations to share at our 2013 Invention Convention. They made their own prototypes as well. The Academy students took the challenge of making inventions very seriously and created amazing projects. One group built a 3D projector, another student constructed a rotating cupcake decorator, and a third student made a sneaker that holds a mouth guard in its sole. Pretty incredible! The summer ended with a great trip to the Museum of Science in Boston where we saw a lightning show, played with hands-on displays, and watched "The Rocky Mountain Express" in the IMAX Theater. It was a fabulous July!

The start of the school year will bring a change in our class configurations. In June, we said goodbye to our 5th and 6th grade students and staff making Westshire a Pre-K through 4th grade building. We will open our second pre-school and we are thrilled to have 10-12 students registered in each classroom. Instead of having a large first grade and a very small second grade, we will combine the two grades and create two 1-2 multiage classrooms. Students will stay in grade levels for math and Fundations with all other subject areas combined. Paula Driscoll and Alyssa Reiser will be working together to create a similar experience for both classrooms. In grades 3 and 4 we'll be moving to a specialist model. The third graders will have Steve Crimmin for homeroom and both 3rd and 4th graders will see him for math and science. Laura Erickson will teach 3rd and 4th grade language arts and social studies and see the fourth graders for homeroom. We are very excited about these two new models.

The special traditions of Westshire will continue this year. We'll visit the Tunbridge Fair in September (grades 1-4), walk on the Cross Rivendell Trail on our all school hike in October, prepare and serve a Thanksgiving dinner for our Harvest Meal, and of course, move and groove on Friday afternoons at Dance Party Friday.

We are fortunate to have several new staff members join our school team. Please help me in welcoming them to our wonderful community.

  • Laura Erickson will be teaching 3rd /4th grade language arts and social studies. Laura joins us from Nebraska where she taught 4th grade in a small rural school, similar to Westshire. Laura was a team leader, after-school club monitor, and the assistant Jr. High volleyball coach. We look forward to the talents Laura brings to our school.
  • Heidi Weider Nichols from Lyme will be our second pre-school teacher. Heidi has more than 20 years of experience in education that includes teaching students from preschool to fourth grade. Heidi also has a Masters in behavior management and special education. We are very fortunate to have Heidi on our team.
  • Matthew Acquilano is our new physical education teacher. Matthew graduated from St. Bonaventure in New York where he was awarded student teacher of the year. This will be his first year as a full time PE teacher.
  • Pauline Prior takes over as Westshire's Food Service Manager. Pauline has worked in a store/restaurant for several years and is very excited about working with our children. Pauline lives in Groton, Vermont with her family and she loves to cook.
  • Kimberly Smith will work as an assistant in the second preschool classroom. Kimberly comes to us from Samuel Morey where she was an aide in kindergarten.

I hope summer reading was on your child's "to do" list this summer. It is an expectation that all students partake in reading during the summer months. This year's goal is for 100% participation. You can help by taking your children to the library and reading with them in the evening before bedtime. Reading just six books over the summer can prevent the "summer slide" in your child's reading progress and this can make a huge academic impact. Students in kindergarten through fourth grade had reading bingo cards. These cards should be brought to school on the first day and given to the classroom teacher.

Our staff has been working hard to prepare for your child's arrival. On Wednesday, August 23rd, the teachers will be working in their classrooms from 2:30-3:30 p.m. During that time, families are invited to stop by and meet their teachers. On your way past the office, don't forget to come by and say hello.