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Mrs. MacQueen's Monday Musings

January 20, 2014wse012014

The Winter Program is in full swing and going extremely well. Students have been enjoying their time skiing and skating, and those who remain here at school have been participating in activities like crafts, cooking, art, and gym/ board games. Last Thursday, with the tiny amount of snow left on the ground, students ventured on the hill to go sledding. It was great fun for everyone!

We were proud to welcome Rebecca Holcombe, Vermont's Secretary of State, who recently visited our

pre-school classes. Mrs. Holcombe, who was the Fairlee Principal at the time of Rivendell's inception, was greeted with excitement as the children couldn't wait to show her science experiments and share their favorite books.

Scholarly work can be seen and heard in the halls and classrooms of our school. The Kindergarten class recently hosted their annual "Me Museum" which included a writing piece and personal objects brought from home. The 1st and 2nd grade classes have begun their Native American unit and are constructing their Plimoth Plantation village, and the 3rd and 4th graders are writing opinion pieces in language arts and experimenting with electric motors and circuits in science.

January 20, 2014 Newsletter

Important Information about Winter Thursdays

January 13, 2013

The CSO Ski and Skate Program begins on January 9th. Students will be dismissed at 11:45 a.m. for skiing and skating. Those students not skiing or skating are expected to stay for our winter program. Winter program students will be dismissed from classes at 12:30. We have exciting activities like art, cooking and wood working planned.

Just a reminder that if skiing or skating is canceled, those students must be picked up at 12:30. We do not have the staff to absorb the skiers and skaters into our winter program.

The ski and skate program runs for five more weeks with a make-up day for skiing if needed on February 20th. There will not be a make-up day for skaters as the rink will not be available.
End of the Day Dismissal:

  • Skiers return at 4:30 and need to be picked up by parents at SME.
  • Skaters return at 2:45 and need to be picked up by parents at 3:00 or registered for the Visions Afterschool Program. Please note there is no 3:00 bus on Thursdays. If your child stays for the Visions program, he/she must be picked up by 5:30 or ride the 6:00 late bus.
  • Winter Program students are dismissed from school at 1:45. The regular bus routes will run.

If your child does not ride the bus, he/she must be picked up at 1:45. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to call the CSO. Let's hope for good weather and lots of snow this year!!

Mrs. MacQueen's Monday Musings

January 13, 2014

WES ROCKS!

Our WES ROCKS! program is well underway. Several grades have almost filled their jars and they are thinking about what they would like to do as a class reward. I am looking forward to seeing them visit the office soon to dump their rocks into the office ROCKS! jar.

One important part of the ROCKS! program is scholarly work. Starting this month we will be discussing more about how we can be "outstanding scholars," and talking about what it means to produce quality work. I'll be meeting with every class to discuss these ideas and together we'll develop a quality work plan. Students who demonstrate the characteristics of a scholar will present their work to me and when we deem the work quality, he/she will receive a certificate and have the work displayed on our Quality Work bulletin board. Giving our children the best education is important and raising the academic bar is part of this. We need to show our students that with hard work, anything is possible for them.

Join me this week in welcoming Amy Longmoore, our new Administrative Assistant. Amy comes to us from Kendal in Hanover where she was the secretary to the Executive Director. We are thrilled to have her as part of our Westshire team!

Reminders/Important Information

  • Tardiness: School begins at 8 am and we expect students to be on time. If your child is tardy, you MUST sign in at the front desk.
  • Winter Clothing: Students' need to dress appropriately for recess. Unless the temperature dips below 10 degrees, children go outside. It is imperative that you child has all the necessary winter clothing: a warm coat, gloves, hat, snow pants and winter boots.
  • Early Release Thursdays: For the next five weeks, the ski/skate program will run. Skiers and skaters will be dismissed at 11:45. All winter program students will be dismissed from school at 1:45.

Mrs. MacQueen's Monday Musings

January 6, 2014wse010614 1

I hope all of you had a wonderful holiday break. It was so great to see our children return to school on Friday, tired but excited to see their friends and share stories of their vacations.

The week before break flew by and I didn't have the chance to tell our students how proud I was of their holiday concert. I was so impressed to see more than 200 people join us to celebrate our K through 4th grade students. It was a magical evening!

wse010614 2The night began with bells ringing throughout the gymnasium as the 1st and 2nd grade students started the concert. Kudos to Eli Mansur who performed a wonderful fiddle solo for the audience. The kindergartners were so cute as the sang and danced to Jingle Bells while wearing their red Santa hats. The third graders sang Oh Hanukkah and Yuki, as they swung their colored ribbons high into the air, and the fourth graders showed us how well they have learned their Orff instruments. The evening ended with joyous songs like Deck the Halls and We Wish You a Merry Christmas from our 3rd and 4th grade chorus.

A special thanks to Mrs. Drew for preparing our students, Mrs. Bando for the beautiful decorations, and to all the staff for their many contributions.

Reminders/Important Informationwse010614 3

  • Tardiness: School begins at 8 am and we expect students to be on time. If your child is tardy, you MUST sign in at the front desk.
  • Winter Clothing: Students' need to dress appropriately for recess. Unless the temperature dips below 10 degrees, children go outside. It is imperative that you child has all the necessary winter clothing: a warm coat, gloves, hat, snow pants and winter boots.
  • Early Release Thursdays: For the next six weeks, the ski/skate program will run. Skiers and skaters will be dismissed at 11:45. All winter program students will be dismissed from school at 1:45 p.m. See the back of this newsletter for more details.

January 6, 2014 Newsletter

Mrs. MacQueen's Monday Musings

December 9, 2013

wse120913 2Teaching our children the importance of concepts like responsibility and kindness is one of our goals. As we know, these behaviors can attribute to who our children become in the future.
Recently we introduced ROCKS to our students. ROCKS is the name of our Core Concept program and it's an acronym for the behaviors we want our students to demonstrate. We believe that WES ROCKS because our students are:

  • Responsible
  • Outstanding Scholars
  • Cooperative
  • Kind
  • Safe

wse120913One student from each class chose the colored rocks for his/her class: Kindergarten: Rose Petal; Grade 1-2 Driscoll: Midnight Blue; Grade 1-2 Fish: Ocean Breeze; Grade 3: Desert Sand; and Grade 4: Night Sky. When a student shows one of the concepts, he/she will be get a colored rock to add to his/her class jar. The class will work together to fill their jar. Once they have done it, they will have a special celebration and add their rocks to the school-wide jar. When the school jar is full, we will celebrate with an all-school activity. All staff will have Rocks and/or Rocks tickets to give students.
Please support ROCKS by asking your children to show acts of cooperation, kindness and responsibility at home. Together, we can make a difference!

December 9, 2014 Newsletter

Mrs. MacQueen's Monday Musings

November 25, 2013wse112513 3

Harvest Dinner 2013

It was a joy to open our building to members of our community on Tuesday afternoon. I saw excitement on our students' faces as grandparents and mentors arrived in the lobby to celebrate an early Thanksgiving meal with us. More than 150 staff members, students, grandparents and mentors joined us for our annual Harvest Dinner.

wse112513 1The delicious meal of turkey, potatoes, and stuffing smothered with gravy was prepared by our amazing cook, Pauline Prior and her helper from Samuel Morey, Carol Perkins. Our students spent much time getting ready for the day as they designed all of the colorful decorations and set up the tables with drawing paper and beautiful turkey, pumpkin and pilgrim hat centerpieces. Our staff contributed as well, by serving all of the meals to our guests. We even had entertainment as our 1st and 2nd graders recited Thanksgiving poems and the 3rd and 4th grade chorus sang festive songs.
A huge THANK YOU to everyone who helped to make this year's Harvest Dinner such a huge success!

wse112513 2

Mrs. MacQueen's Monday Musings

November 18, 2013

The days are getting colder and snow could be on its way. On bad weather days, when school has not been cancelled, we may have a two hour delay. In this case, bus arrival times will be delayed two hours. If the bus usually arrives at 7:00 a.m., it will come at 9:00. All schools that normally start at 8:00 will begin two hours later at 10:00. Students should not be dropped off at school before 9:30 for a 10:00 start. When we have a delay, please note that breakfast will NOT be served.

On inclement weather days, listen to the radio or television, check our website, or wait for the phone call from our Operations Director, Gary Collins, for more information. We have updated our Alert Now phone system to Connect 5. This message should call your home by 6:00 a.m.

Tuesday, November 19th will be an important day for the staff and students of Westshire as we host our annual Harvest Dinner. Grandparents and Everybody Wins! mentors have been invited to join us at lunchtime for a tasty meal of turkey, stuffing and all of the traditional Thanksgiving fixings.

Mrs. MacQueen's Monday Musings

November 12, 2013

Rivendell's Elementary Students Give Back!

Last week we welcomed home last year's WES fifth grade students and their SME classmates for the second time in one month. They came to share Inspiring Kids, a youth leadership and philanthropy program.

Since school began in August, the sixth graders have participated in lessons about community, nonprofit organizations, community needs, and how students can use their time and talent to help others. The students chose groups and researched local nonprofits that serve our local towns and the Upper Valley to find out what they do, who they serve, what needs they meet in our community, and why they are important. Once they finished their research, they presented what they had learned to all students and staff at both elementary schools, and invited us to join them in a Community Service Day.

Friday afternoon the sixth graders directed each grade in making special gifts for the non-profits they researched. I was proud to see our students giving back to our community. The Kindergarten class made generic greeting cards for Alice Peck Day & the Haven; Mrs. Fish's class designed labels for a green-friendly cleaning product that they made in class by combining vinegar and lemon juice; Mrs. Driscoll's class made cat toys and blankets for the Upper Valley Humane Society; third grade put together cloth shopping bags made of tee shirts, for the Listen Center; and the fourth grade, with the help of Andy Boyce and Mr. Crimmin, painted trail markers for the Cross Rivendell Trail.

For our participation in the program, Inspiring Kids made a donation to the charity of our choice. Congratulations and thank you to Beth Brayman from the Humane Society who came to the Friday assembly and accepted a $250 donation to help Upper Valley animals. A special thanks to the staff of Inspiring Kids for making this awesome experience possible, to Fabienne Stearns for collecting materials and donations, and to Luke Senn, sixth grader and official Inspiring Kids photographer for taking all of the fabulous photographs seen here.

Mrs. MacQueen's Monday Musings

October 28, 2013

Westshire is a special school. Every day as I walk through the halls, I feel lucky to work in such a wonderful and loving place.

A few weeks ago we began our Everybody Wins! program. As the mentors came in, I felt proud and grateful for our community. This year, all thirteen of our fourth grade students and their mentors will read together during lunch and recess. The fact that these students are giving up their free time to read with community members speaks volumes about who our students are and what they believe is important.

Last week, we were thrilled when 15 French students came to our building to read storybooks and teach us about their native land. Currently, 28 student ambassadors from France are being housed in our district. They will spend two weeks attending classes at Rivendell Academy, meeting new friends and learning about American culture. Thank you to Madame Keefer for arranging the visit!

At REP this morning we had a great time passing a pebble to our friends while singing "the Pebble Song," a folksong passed down through generations. During the song, we warmed up our vocal chords and practiced passing the rock in rhythm. It was so much fun!

Wednesday is World Series Day at Westshire. Wear RED, NAVY and/or WHITE clothing and support the Boston Red Sox in their quest to win it all. You don't have to be a Sox fan to help cheer them to victory. Win or Lose, on Wednesday we'll support the Red Sox.

A Monday Hello from Mrs. MacQueen

October 21, 2013

It's been a fabulous few weeks at Westshire. The students are doing extremely well, keeping up with homework and following the school rules and expectations. This morning was chilly and it looks like the colder weather is here to stay. Please make sure your child is dressing warmly for the morning and mid-day recesses. Students must have coats, and should wear hats, gloves or mittens. As you know, we have attendance and tardiness policies. There is a powerful link between successful learning and regular school attendance. "It's only one day! Why is attendance all that important?" Learning builds day by day, and if your child is not in school, he/she can't learn. Transitioning from home to school early in the morning is difficult. Being tardy causes the child to miss morning meeting when important directions are given for the entire school day. When students return from being absent they have to work harder to catch up on the class discussions, and to make up the missing assignments.

Having good attendance matters. A research study found that poor attendance in kindergarten and first grade may erase many of the benefits of preschool, even among those who started kindergarten with strong skills. Only 13 percent of children with poor attendance in kindergarten and first grade tested at grade level in reading as third-graders, compared with 77 percent of those with good attendance in those early grades. Disregarding school attendance policies in elementary school can lead to problems later on. One research study reports that fifth graders who miss just one day of school a week have a 75 percent chance of never graduating! I will be reviewing attendance records next week and sending letters or making phone calls for those that have excessive absences and tardiness. If you are unsure about the attendance policy, please refer to the Elementary Student/Family Handbook.