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You're Invited to the Westshire Open House

Thursday, September 27th 5:30-7:00 pm

Join us for our beginning of the school year Pot Luck Dinner and Open House. We'll enjoy a delicious meal from 5:30-6:00 and then you'll have time to tour your child's classroom. At 6:45 sharp, we'll gather in the gym for fall door prizes! Bring your favorite entrée, side dish, or dessert to share with others. We hope to see you there!

A Monday Hello from Mrs. MacQueen!

September 24, 2012

I love this time of year, when the cool mornings arrive and the leaves on the trees begin to change into beautiful shades of red, green and yellow. October is almost here and hopefully that means we have fallen into our daily routines: waking up, getting to school, and participating in after school and evening activities. Returning to a new school year can create extra stress, especially when homework begins.

The word homework alone brings an assortment of feelings including anxiety. We hope we have created a homework policy that helps balance school work and family time. The homework we assign aims to reinforce skills and help students learn better study habits. In the early primary grades, almost all children need their parents' help to complete their work. In the middle and upper elementary grades students are encouraged to do more work independently. Fifth graders should expect up to 50 minutes of homework per night, 60 minutes for 6th grade students. What kind of homework should you be seeing? We expect all our children to be reading at night—students in the upper grades may also have literacy, math and/or social studies assignments.

You can help your child by watching the time he/she spends on homework. Be aware of daily assignments and make sure to check your child's folder/assignment book each night. Some children work faster than others and some assignments can be longer and more difficult. An occasional feeling of overload is normal, but if you have concerns about the amount of time your child is spending on his or her homework, please don't hesitate to contact us. Homework should never be painful or defeating. Encourage your children to always try their best.

 

Greetings from Gail

September 24, 2012

As I walk through the Westshire building and visit classes (Thursday is my day at WES), it is hard for me to believe that it is only September. Students have settled into routines and are hard at work. Even the 5th and 6th graders have figured out their schedules and are moving through the different classrooms effortlessly.

The beginning of the year is the best time to establish those work habits that are important for success, not just at school, but for life.

School starts at 8:00 and it is important that students be here on time. If they are late, you must sign them in at the office. Important information is shared at the beginning of the day. Morning meetings and Advisory for sixth graders help the students understand their day. When a child is late they are always playing catch up. Did you know that a child who is late every day will miss 30 hours of instruction during the year? Therefore, we need to work together to help children be on time for school. If you need help with this, do not hesitate to contact Tammy or me.

Playground Equipment

We are pleased to share that Samuel Morey and Westshire will have new playground equipment installed as soon as possible. Through the collaboration of the manufacturer, vendor, insurance company, and school district a replacement for the previous equipment has been made possible. As has been discussed, it was necessary to remove the older equipment due to safety considerations. We anticipate that the new installation will begin this fall.

We continue to appreciate the community effort that was made a number of years ago resulting in the initial purchase and installation of the playground equipment. We know that the SM and WSE playgrounds were well used and enjoyed by many children. We are thankful that a replacement solution has been determined and the playground will once again include a playground structure.

A Monday Hello from Mrs. MacQueen!

September 17wse0917 01

We had an amazing time at the fair! Thursday turned out to be a warm, sunny day and as we approached the fair, I could feel the excitement. I was amazed when we arrived and saw the many busses from schools all around our communities. It only reiterated for me the educational value of bringing our students. Learning is more than just being in a classroom and watching our students talking to the people and learning about their crafts/trades was as effective as any history lesson. I was impressed with the work our students were doing. The 5th/6th graders had a numbers assignment for math, and social studies and literacy required interviews and reflective writing about their learning. Our younger wse0917 02children were involved as well. Students were asked to research and stop at one exhibit from the fair and be prepared to write about it. We did spend some time in school though, as most of our children wanted to get a seat in the old Tunbridge Schoolhouse and hear about what school used to be like in the 1800's. Many of our own students were involved in the fair as well, through 4H and other organizations. The pride they took in sharing their exhibits with their classmates was inspiring. The best part of the fair was seeing everyone learning, engaged and being part of an event that is an integral part of our own community. Thanks to all the wonderful staff and the chaperones who helped make our 2012 Tunbridge Fair Day a huge success!

Thanks to all of our wonderful chaperones for making the day a huge success!

We even made the news. The September —- addition included quotes from WSE teachers and students! Go WSE!

Assignments...wse0917 04
The best part was seeing our community—the families who cook and sell at the fair, animals bred and shown by our students and the chance to see and visit with friends.

Fair creates a sense of community—parents displaying their wares, animals ...by our students and ...
Remember, for the rest of the school year, look for my newsletters on Mondays.

Have a safe and wonderful week!

A Monday Hello from Mrs. MacQueen!

September 10, 2012

My favorite part of the day is the morning because I love getting to school and seeing our children
entering the building smiling, happy and ready to begin their day. When I walk down the halls, I feel good about the work we are doing; students are engaged and excited about learning and the atmosphere is warm and positive.

In my August letter to families, I wrote about the importance of summer reading. This week we recognized the awesome readers who accomplished this task. Congratulations to the 18 students in grades K-6 who completed their summer Bingo card assignments. On Monday, these students were entered into a drawing for a $20 gift card to a local bookstore. Hooray for Eadie Molesworth who won the prize! Kudos to our older students as well! Seven of our 5th/6th graders participated in the summer Honor's Challenge by reading 5 or more books. They were rewarded with a special reader's luncheon where they ate sandwiches and ice cream sundaes, and talked about their favorite summer novels.

Again this year we are fortunate to have a wonderful healthy snack program. I was incredibly impressed when I watched beautiful baskets of delicious green grapes being delivered to classrooms for snack. We are so lucky! You can support the program by helping your children understand the importance of healthy eating and packing foods like yogurt, cheese, vegetable sticks, and of course, fruit. Remember, students are not allowed to have soda or candy at school.

Thursday we have an exciting day planned as we venture to the World's Fair in Tunbridge. We'll be leaving school at 8:15 and arriving back by 1:30 p.m. for a 1:45 dismissal. I have never been to the fair and I can't wait to spend the day walking around and visiting the exhibits with our classes. If you have the chance to attend, please stop by the Dodge-Gilman Building to see our own 2nd graders' display of vegetables from their Three Sister's Garden.

For the rest of the year, look for my newsletters on Mondays. Have a wonderful week!

Hello Westshire Families!

August 30, 2012

home17We have had a wonderful week here at WES. The kids are excited, engaged and ready for a new year. The culture has been so positive and I can see that the future looks extremely bright for our school. With a new school year, changes and transitions occur. Although this may be difficult and scary at first, these changes can lead to a more positive environment.

This week we have seen change. We welcomed 18 new kindergarten students to our school, we added 6 new staff members, including myself, and we made a few systematic changes that we believe will make our school safer and more welcoming.

First, we have made adjustments to our afternoon dismissal schedule. We no longer have end of the day recess. We will dismiss walkers/riders at 3:00 PM, Visions students at 3:10 and bus riders at 3:15 or when the busses arrive. This change is necessary for the safety of all our students and this is my number one priority.

When students are dismissed from their classrooms, teachers can make sure they get home the right way. This end of the day quiet time allows for students to be calm when they get on the bus and hopefully this will minimize bus issues. So far, this plan has worked extremely well. The atmosphere in the building is calm and the students seem to enjoy the extra time in their classrooms.home16

As you know our play structure has come down. Our plan is to have a new structure in place this year. I will keep you posted when any information becomes available.

The afternoon can get hectic, especially in the parking lot and around the front of the school. Again, as a safety precaution, we will be posting No Parking signs in the grassy area to the right when you enter the driveway. We ask that you park in the parking lot (we will be adding two additional visitor spaces) and only use the circle when picking up or dropping off your children. The circle tends to get crowded and the quicker the cars move, the better it will be for the flow of traffic. Please remember that the bus circle is only for busses. Please do not drop your children off there in the morning or in the afternoon. 

Remember that WES opens its door to children at 7:30 AM each morning. We do not have supervision before that time, so please try your best to arrive on or at 7:30.

Thank you for helping us ensure a great beginning and ending to the day. Have a safe holiday weekend and we'll see you on Tuesday! 

 

 

July 27, 2012

Dear Westshire Families,

It is with great enthusiasm that I write this summer letter to the families of Westshire. I was asked this July to consider the Assistant Principal’s position at Westshire. Although I understood this meant leaving the Visions program, I knew almost immediately that I had to accept the position. I know many of your children through my work as Visions Director and the district’s Literacy Consultant, and I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to spend the next year supporting them. I have loved your small, wonderful school since I began at Rivendell in 2001, and I am honored to be part of its growth.

My role as Assistant Principal will include being the on-site supervisor with responsibilities for the day to day functions of the building. My duties will include handling discipline, communication with families, supervision of students, and classroom instruction. In addition, I will be team teaching literacy with Steve Crimmin in the 3rd/4th grade classroom. Spending time in classrooms and supporting teachers with instruction will be a priority for me.

One of our expectations at Westshire is that students participate in summer reading. 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 a reading bingo card. Students entering grades five and six had “must read” books too, that focused on the themes of acceptance, respect and belonging, core concepts of our elementary schools. Students will be discussing these books in their Language Arts class the first week of school so please make sure your child brings his/her summer reading to school on the first day

The Academy was buzzing with activity this July as many students attended our Summerscapes program. The grades one, two and three program was “wildly” successful as 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. More than one hundred people attended to cheer on our young stars! 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 exciting 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 was an amazing July!

You’ll be seeing new faces this year as we have added a few staff members to Westshire. Please take an opportunity to welcome them to our school:

  • Gordon Christie-Maples will be teaching 5th/6th grade language arts and social studies. Gordon joins us as an experienced educator having taught at both Rivendell Academy and Samuel Morey. His love of theater and local history will be a great asset to Westshire.
  • Kayla Konya also comes to us from Samuel Morey as a special education assistant. She has been at Rivendell for four years and is a community member herself. 
  • Alyssa Reiser will be teaching first grade. Alyssa recently received her Masters in Early Childhood Education from Wheelock College and has just moved to Tunbridge. She has taught in pre-school and has experience in responsive classroom and technology integration.
  • Anthony (Skip) Kunecki is our new physical education teacher. Skip graduated from the College at Brockport, State University of New York with a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education and Exercise Physiology. He regularly participates in triathlons and marathons.

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

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 teachers. At 3:30, I’ll be doing a meet and greet in the library. Please join me for lemonade and an afternoon snack.

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

  • Meet Your Teachers & Assistant Principal—Wednesday, August 24th, 2:30-4:00
  • First day of school for Students—Monday, August 27th. We will all be meeting on the playground at 8:00 a.m. 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.
  • Reminder: Thursdays are an early release day for students. Students are released at 1:45 p.m.

I am proud to be a part of this small community school and to work with such an experienced team of teachers. I am excited about my new role and about playing a part in the future of Westshire Elementary. Together we can make a difference for the children of Vershire and West Fairlee. I look forward to seeing you soon and beginning another engaging and enriching school year at Westshire.

Sincerely,

Tammy MacQueen,
Assistant Principal, Westshire Elementary School

Rivendell Board Announcement July 2012

It was with deep regret that the Rivendell School Board accepted the unexpected resignation of Bridget Fariel as Principal of Westshire Elementary School at their July 10th meeting.

At this critical time, the Board and Administrative Team feel it is in the best interest of the District to move forward with a one-year interim plan. Gail Keiling's leadership role will be expanded from Head of Elementary Schools/Samuel Morey Principal, to include Westshire Principal. In addition, the Board is pleased to announce that Tammy MacQueen will serve as Westshire Assistant Principal and be the onsite administrator.

The Rivendell Board extends its appreciation to the Administrative Team for their continued dedication to the District and a warm welcome to Tammy in her new role. The Board is confident that, under their leadership, the upcoming year will be successful for all the students in the Rivendell communities.