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A Monday Hello from Mrs. MacQueen

wse032013 6eMarch 18, 2013

It was good to see so many families at Monday's 3-way conferences. Setting academic goals and sharing them is an important part of a child's education and that's why conferences are so essential.
We expect students to be responsible for completing assignments, but often to do their best, they need your support. Asking questions about your child's homework and checking assignment books for your older children can really make a difference. Try the following questions to help start a conversation about homework:

  • Did you finish your reading?
  • May I see what you've done?
  • Can you tell me about what you read?
  • Did you solve your math problems carefully?
  • Which problem did you find to be the most challenging?
  • Do you have any homework due tomorrow other than math and reading?

Don't hesitate to talk to your children about re-doing an assignment that doesn't show their best efforts. They know what Quality Work looks like and what we expect. Staying in touch with your child's teacher is another way to help your child become more successful.

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A Monday Hello from Mrs. MacQueen

March 4, 2013

wse032013 1eOn Tuesday of last week I drove to work and was thrilled to see a hot air balloon circling our school. Brian Boland, a local hot air balloon enthusiast and his partner, Jeff Johnson built a special balloon to bring the joy of flying to kids around the world. The program titled "Hands Around the World" will take their balloon to South America for a month where they'll visit schools in Costa Rica, Panama and Nicaragua.

Our students had the opportunity to leave their marks on the "World" balloon by tracing their hands and writing messages on it.


wse032013 5eWe even got to stand inside the balloon. It was hard to believe, but it happened —our entire school got in the balloon together! Thanks to Brian and Jeff for giving us the chance to be a part of such a great
program.

This week I'll be finishing my "Quality Work" discussions. I've been meeting with each class to talk about expectations for doing their best work. Keep a watch for soon your child may be bringing home a Quality Work certificate and magnet!

 

A Monday Hello from Mrs. MacQueen

February 25, 2013

Welcome back!
The Friday before break was a perfect day for our first annual WES Winter Carnival; it was 40 degrees outside and the sun was shining bright. The morning started with the students making ice sculptures—five groups built amazing structures that included a volcano, a raptor and a wishing well. We had a quick mid-morning break with cocoa and cinnamon rolls and went right back to the fun with activities like snow bowling, kickball, and sack races. We even had a sledding station set up.

In the afternoon, we were rewarded for making our January Box Top Challenge with an ice cream sundae bar. Hosted by the fifth grade class, all students and staff were served delicious chocolate, vanilla or chocolate swirl ice cream and many tasty toppings like sprinkles, M & M's, Heath Bar, and Oreo cookies. The fifth graders wrote a menu and students filled out an order form before they arrived. It really felt like going to the ice cream parlor. Thanks to Fabienne Stearns and local businesses for donating time and products. Ending our week with winter carnival and ice cream was a great way to send everyone off for vacation happy and smiling. Thank you to everyone who made this day so successful!

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A Monday Hello from Mrs. MacQueen

February 11, 2013

wse-news021113 1Thank you volunteers!

This past weekend we celebrated Valentine's Day with a Sunday Fun Day at WES. We had more than 41 students and parents come for exciting activities like making crafts, playing games and dancing to the DJ music of Stevens Blanchard. A huge thanks to everyone involved in the event. Not only did we have many parent volunteers from the Activities Committee, but we also had donations of food and supplies given by Kinney Drugs, Walmart and Hannaford. This entire event was coordinated by our WES Activities Committee. This group is made up of parent volunteers who meet monthly to plan and organize special events for our children and their families. In December, this group hosted our 2nd annual Art from the Heart Christmas Craft Event where more than 75 people from both WES and Samuel Morey attended to make gifts for their families. Without the support and commitment from our parent volunteers, activities like these would not be possible. We are always looking for more help, so if you are interested in donating items or your time, please contact our school. Ideas for upcoming events include a sledding party, an Earth Day event in May, and an end of the year celebration. Please consider being a part of this wonderful group of volunteers.

A Monday Hello from Mrs. MacQueen

February 4, 2013

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It was an exciting morning as we kicked off our 100th Day events. When the students arrived, they were sent to the gymnasium where we began the party. Led by the staff, we sang a 100th Day tune, did 100 exercises, and participated in 100 seconds of silence. We then dressed in our crowns and glasses and sat for an all school picture. On the way out, each person took an applesauce and chocolate chip muffin for snack. Then the fun really began!

Teachers planned academic activities that involved the number 100. The K-2 students used dice to write and count tally marks, made creations with pattern blocks, used letters to find out the value of their names, and counted beats by tens and twenties on the drums. The older students learned geography by using globes to find 100 countries, read text to find the most common letters used in writing, and they wrote 100 word poems and stories. It was fabulous!

Thanks to Sonya, each student went home today with a $100 bill showing his/her picture!

Kudos to WES for a wonderfully fun day!

A Monday Hello from Mrs. MacQueen


wse020113 2January 28, 2013

Last Friday the halls of Westshire were alive with the sound of wonderful music as we hosted Fiddlesticks, the String Trio from the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, and students and teachers from our sister school, Samuel Morey Elementary. The Fiddlesticks, David Gusakov, Hilary Hatch, and Bonnie Thurber Klimowski, have been performing music together and playing school assemblies for more than 30 years. They were amazing! They not only played beautiful music like Mozart and Vivaldi, but also taught us about string instruments like the violin, viola
and cello. Our students enjoyed the interactive assembly, especially when one of our fourth grade students was asked to help the trio.

Kudos to our students for their excellent behavior! They sat quietly for 45 minutes opening their hearts and minds to the beauty of string instruments and classical music.

 

A Monday Hello from Mrs. MacQueen

January 22, 2013wse012113 1

At Rivendell we take pride that our staff continues to use the Responsive Classroom approach to teaching and learning. This program is based on the premise that children learn best when they pair both academic and social-emotional skills in every day learning.

The Responsive Classroom approach consists of a set of practices that build both learning and behavior skills. One important aspect of Responsive Classroom is how we create a sense of community.

Each morning teachers and students begin the day with "Morning Meeting." This is time for students to greet each other and to share news. It also gives them an opportunity to review the day's schedule and prepare for what's ahead. Everyone is included in morning meeting and this is important to building good peer relationships and creating a safe classroom environment. Often times I walk around our school and join the classes. Attending these collaborative meetings has become one of my favorite parts of the day!

On alternate Mondays, the entire school comes together in Community Meeting where we model specific aspects of the Responsive Classroom like celebrating student achievements, appreciating those who help others, as well as recognizing the hard work of students and staff. This opportunity to spend time together helps us continue to create and foster a cohesive bond and grow as one, strong WES learning community.

A Monday Hello from Mrs. MacQueen

January 14, 2013wse012113 3

We've been back from Holiday break a few weeks and during that time, so much has been happening here at WES.

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 exciting activities like creating art, making crafts and building 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!

On Tuesday, January 8th, our 5th and 6th grade chorus traveled to Valley Terrace in Wilder, VT to perform for the senior residents. The director of the facility exclaimed to Ms. Drew that our students were well organized and very respectful. She said the singing was high quality and truly inspiring. Congrats to our chorus!

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The school wide jar has collected its first two classes of ROCKS! Two grades, 2nd and 5th completely filled their jars and on Thursday, emptied them into the larger school jar. Other Westshire classes are not far behind, so it looks like we'll be planning exciting reward activities soon!

Kudos to our 6th grade writers who had their science editorial letters published in yesterday's Valley News.


Reminders/Important Information

  • Winter Clothing for Recess: Please make sure your child has a coat, gloves, hat, snow pants and boots for recess. Shorts should not be worn in this cold weather for recess play.
  • 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.

 

Greetings from Gail

Safety and Security measures are an important component of maintaining a quality learning environment in our schools. We address issues through regular fire and emergency drills, bus evacuation drills, crisis team planning, and ongoing reviews of ways to improve. We recognize that although risk can never be fully prevented, we can minimize the risk by ongoing attention and review of issues that impact our school.

We also give significant attention to how our students interact with each other and our communication to the community. Responsive Classroom, anti bullying initiatives, partnership with mental health, guidance programs, and special education are a few examples of support that is provided in order to promote a positive and healthy school environment. You can help us by:

  • Be sure to always sign in and pick up a visitor badge after school starts (after 8:00 a.m.)
  • Share concerns or questions with the principal/administrator.
  • Reinforce the concepts of civility, respect, and tolerance at home and in the community.

Thank you for your support in helping to keep our students safe.

A Monday Hello from Mrs. MacQueen

Happy New Year!

I hope all of you had a wonderful holiday break. It was fabulous to see our children return to school last Wednesday, tired but excited to see their friends and share stories of their vacation. I was also happy because I had missed the students and staff.

Our WES ROCKS! program will continue in 2013 and we can't wait to celebrate the successes of our students. Several grades have almost filled their jars and are planning and thinking about what they would like as a class reward.

Starting this month we will be introducing the concept of "outstanding scholars" and talking to the students 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 if 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.

Reminders/Important Information

Winter Clothing for Recess: Please make sure your child has a coat, gloves, hat, snow pants and boots for recess. Shorts should not be worn in this cold weather for recess play.

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

Electronic Devices: Please do not let your children bring in handheld video games, cell phones and /or IPods. They are not allowed at WES and will be confiscated.

Early Release Thursdays: For the next five weeks, students will be dismissed at 1:45 p.m.

A Monday Hello from Mrs. MacQueen

December 10, 2012

Report cards for the first trimester will be sent home December 10th with your student. Please sign the envelope and return it with your child to school. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact your child's teacher. Below is an explanation of our standards-based report cards.

Samuel Morey and Westshire have Standards-Based Report Cards. We are constantly working to make them more parent and guardian friendly and to reflect the important skills and knowledge we want our students to learn based on the Vermont Standards. There will be new Common Core Stand-ards soon and they will again undergo some revision. 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. Here is the explanation:

What is a Standard-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 tradition-al 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.