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Thursday, July 09, 2020

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Message from Principal, Steven Lindemann - June 5, 2020

Dear Samuel Morey Parents and Guardians,
You made it to June 5th, the last day of school! Thank you for everything you have done for the students of Samuel Morey over these last 12 weeks. I hope that this is the only time where we have a last day of school with no students in the building.

There is a budget meeting tonight at 6:30 pm. I will know more about staffing in the coming days, and I will communicate next year’s teaching assignments as soon as I am able to. Madeline Hally will be the new Music teacher for Samuel Morey and Westshire for the 2020-2021 school year.
Please remember that Monday and Tuesdays are the days to return school materials and pick up your children’s belongings.

On Monday June 8 between 12:00 and 5:00 pm and Tuesday June 9 between 9:00 am and 12:00 pm, teachers and staff will be at school in the bus loop for you to drop off school materials and/or pick up children’s belongings that were left at school.

As much as possible, these items will be prepared by our teachers and will be available for drive through pick up! We will also have some lost and found tables for items that don’t have students’ names on them.

We will ask for your child(ren)’s name and grade and pop your trunk so that a staff member can place your child’s bag (prepared and labelled by their classroom teacher) in it. We request that when picking up your children’s belongings, you return all library books, classroom books and borrowed materials that your child may have brought home. We also expect that all RISD technology (Chromebooks, power cords, etc.) be returned at this time. Please make sure these materials are labeled with your child’s name. Staff will take the borrowed materials out of your trunk and replace them with your student’s belongings.

If the times don’t work for you, please email Jane (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and we can arrange a mutual time for you to return/pick up your children’s materials.

Thank you for all of your support this year. I am grateful to be working in such a positive and caring learning environment. Have a restful summer!

Sincerely,
Steven Lindemann, SME Principal

 

Message from Principal, Steven Lindemann - May 29, 2020

Dear Samuel Morey Parents and Guardians,

With the defeat of the budget vote on Tuesday, I know that result brings uncertainty about many aspects for planning for next year. I also know that the pandemic will also change how the faculty and staff will prepare for the 2020-21 school year. At this time, I cannot tell you who your child’s teacher will be next year if they are returning to Samuel Morey. I hope to have more information to share after the RISD Board Meeting on June 4th. In late June or early July, I will have more information to share with you about the procedures and guidelines we will have to follow when school reopens. There are task forces in both Vermont and New Hampshire working on this new protocol. Superintendent Williams told me that this information from the task forces should be available by the beginning of July or possibly sooner.

The following faculty members will not be returning: Darla Sterett, Katie Frtischie, Melissa Hopper, Jodi Lenning, Crystal Champagne, Elizabeth Duvall and Maggie Stoudnour. Gayle Justynski will be the Kindergarten teacher for the 2020-21 school year. We are in the final stages of hiring the Music teacher for Samuel Morey and Westshire. As soon as the paperwork is completed, I will make that hire public.

We are pleased to announce that all your child’s materials and belongings left at school will be ready for pick up soon!  Families can pick up items left at school between 12:00 and 5:00pm on Monday, June 8 and between 9:00am and 12:00pm on Tuesday, June 9.  These items will be prepared by our teachers and will be available for drive through pick up!

There will be no need to exit your car. You will be requested to give your child(ren)’s full name, grade level, and pop your trunk so that a staff member places your child’s bag (prepared and labelled by their classroom teacher) in it. We request that when picking up your children’s belongings, you return all library books, classroom books and borrowed materials that your child may have brought home. We also expect that all RISD technology (Chromebooks, power cords, etc.) be returned at this time. Please make sure these materials are labeled with your child’s name. Staff will take the borrowed materials out of your trunk and replace them with your student’s belongings.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about the end of this school year. I know that this has been a difficult and challenging time for all of us, particularly since there is not the usual sense of closure that happens at the end of the school year that we are familiar with. However, I see the light at the end of the tunnel. We will get through this experience. Thank you for all of your support.

Sincerely,

Steven Lindemann, SME Principal

 

Message from the Principal, Steven Lindemann - April 17, 2020

Dear Samuel Morey Parents and Guardians,

This week has been another week of the emotional rollercoaster for me. The emotional highs have been seeing the faces of the students when I “pop in” on the Zoom video conferences they are having with teachers and staff. The emotional lows happen when I hear teachers and staff during our weekly grade level meetings share how the Zoom video conferences make students realize how isolated they are from their friends and how deeply they miss the Samuel Morey School community.

The second type of emotional low occurs when I witness how our current situation has really brought to light the issue of equity in the state. Although the school is providing laptops to students who need one and is offering our school parking lot as a way to access a strong connection to the Internet, we still have families who have poor Internet access. This is frustrating.

Speaking of frustration, I know parents and students are experiencing what I call the “Goldilocks Syndrome” to our new reality of remote learning. For some students the amount of work being assigned is “too hard”, for others it is “too easy”, and for the rest of the students the work is “just right”. I have been communicating to teachers that “less is more”, particularly now that we are transitioning from “maintaining student learning” to teaching new concepts and material. We also will be putting on our website a spot for “one stop shopping” where parents can find the links to all of the teacher assignments, web links, and other important information related to remote learning and COVID-19. I thank you for your understanding and patience as we work through this.

Some parents have communicated to me their fear that their child will be retained for next year instead of being promoted with their classmates because of the challenges related to remote learning. I want to assure you that this will not happen. Research shows that retention is not an effective intervention strategy, and the rare times when I have seen a student retained has been in Kindergarten. Superintendent Williams and I are not proponents of retention.

I know that this is an incredibly stressful time for many people. We are juggling our jobs, family life and teaching our children. For many of us this means more time online than your family has been accustomed to. Please try to have your child be in front of a computer screen for no more than 30 minutes at a time.

I would like to share two resources that might be helpful. Your family might consider a clear agreement with your child/children about the safe and healthy use of devices. Safekids.com has a model Family Agreement for Online Safety. The Common Sense Foundation has a longer, more flexible one. Both sites provide lots of information about safe online resources and Online Safety.

Thank you again for all you are doing for the children of Samuel Morey School during this abnormal time. Please reach out if I can be of help. Just a reminder that we have school on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday only next week. Have a restful three-day weekend!
Sincerely,
Steven Lindemann, SME Principal

April 17, 2020 SME Newsletter

Message from the Principal, Steven Lindemann - April 10, 2020

Hello Samuel Morey Families,
During these unprecedented times of remote learning, I am sharing with you our process for recording attendance.

As we move through this process there are many items to consider that will have a large impact on your students and families. Two things I want you to think about this week are attendance and support for meals.

It is important for you to remember that even though your child(ren) are not attending school in our building, they are in school. That means that daily attendance is required, recorded, and a part of their permanent record. Each day students need to have some form of contact with the school. This could be while participating in a “Zoom conference” with their teachers, turning in an assignment through their online classrooms, emailing a staff member, or talking with their teachers on the phone. Each of these represents an example of them being “present” at school for the day. Without this daily contact, students will be marked absent. Phone calls will be made home to track the status of their attendance.

This process will be fully in effect on Monday and we need your full support. On Monday, sometime before 7:00 am, you will receive an email from Jane. This will connect you to the daily attendance form. Completing this will take 30 seconds, so please take care of this early in the morning. A new email message will be sent to you each morning. If you do not have Wi-fi access, you can call the school at 802-333-9755 and leave a message. Please tell us your name, the date, and the student or students you are calling in attendance for.

Secondly, many family financial situations have greatly changed due to COVID19. Please remember that we will provide breakfast and lunch daily to any family who requests it. You can pick up daily at school or we can arrange delivery to your home.

As always, please feel free to reach out if you have any questions or need assistance. My email is: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Sincerely,
Steven Lindemann, Principal

Message from the Principal, Steven Lindemann - March 1, 2020

Dear SME and WES Parents and Guardians,

As we shift towards planning for long-term remote learning, we wanted to provide an overview of how this “system” will work in our two schools. Obviously, it will rely heavily on technology using the many digital tools and resources available to us. Our first step is ensuring everyone has a device to work on. We sent out a survey to families with students in grades K-6 assessing their needs for a device. We have classroom devices that can be loaned out to students who do not already have access to one at home. Please contact your building principal if you have a technology need.

For next week (April 6 through April 10), all students will continue to work on the assignments already provided to them during this “maintenance of learning” phase. Basically, it is work that they are already familiar with because they had begun learning it while school was still in session. The following week (April 13 through April 17), we will begin to weave in new learning online learning platforms, also referred to as “continuation of learning”. By the end of next week, your school’s principal will further explain the details of how this will all work but we wanted to provide you with an overarching idea of the district’s framework. We are striving to be fully operational with our continuation of learning plan no later than April 20.

When designing our continuation of learning plan, there are two types of remote teaching and learning that will happen. The first is synchronous learning which means real-time or live communication with guardians or students through a phone call, Google Meet, or Zoom (online live video conferencing). Often these will be class check ins, question and answer sessions, or even a remote morning meeting. The second type of learning is how our teachers will provide instruction and that is called asynchronous learning. Asynchronous learning means our teachers will record videos for parents, guardians and students that can be viewed at their convenience. One popular method of this is “screencasting”, which allows teachers to record and narrate their computer screen. Asynchronous learning will allow our families flexibility in when their students are learning; knowing that many will log on at different times but ensuring that all will have access to the same material from their teachers.

Further information and expectations for the use of video conferencing applications such as Zoom and/or Google Meet at the end of this week. We will also be sending out a set of recommendations for the use of district devices as well as a parent consent form. Please review them with your child(ren). There are reasons for entering cautiously into beginning the use of video conferencing- protecting your student, their privacy, and following confidentiality laws are of utmost importance.

We have been extremely impressed with the ability and willingness of our teachers to create remote learning opportunities for our students. Please remember that this mode of teaching is new for many of us. In the coming days, your administrators, teachers and technology specialists will be holding many remote meetings to plan curriculum and develop lessons that can be delivered remotely to your child(ren). Thank you for your patience and flexibility as we make the full transition to a remote learning environment, which will become our new normal. As always, if you need something please reach out to us. We are here, willing to help, and in this together!

Sincerely,

Melissa Zoerheide, WES Principal
Steven Lindemann, SME Principal

Message from the Principal, Steven Lindemann - March 1, 2020

 

Message from the Principal, Steven Lindemann - February 27, 2020

February 28, 2020
Dear Samuel Morey Parents and Guardians,
There many student activities that I want to report about. The Grade 6 Math League team completed their contest on February 25th, and we will receive their results on March 30th. The second iteration of the School Culture Committee has created the “Be A Principal For A Day” event to be held on March 4th and the winning student to be “Principal” will be chosen from a raffle. The students on the School Culture Committee thought the winning student should do the following as the “Principal For A Day” among other things: 1.) wear a tie, radio, and bald cap, 2.) have bottomless hot chocolate in their coffee mug, 3.) morning bus duty with Mr. Lindemann to greet everyone as they arrive, 4.) make a SUPER important announcement over the intercom, 5.) have lunch with Mr. Lindemann in his office, 6.) must attend all three recesses, 6.) have no homework that day, 7.) have a special meeting with Superintendent Williams.

Also, March 4th will be the culmination of Kids Heart Challenge. With the Kids Heart Challenge, SME students are learning all about what they can do to keep their hearts healthy, take their own health challenge and learn how they can help others by collecting donations for the American Heart Association. Physical Education teacher Kristina Claflin is spearheading this effort, and the student who raises the most funds will have the opportunity to throw a pie in the face of Mr. Lindemann at the all school assembly.

On March 12th the 2nd Annual Art and Music Gala will be held at SME and it will feature artwork and performances by students from both SME and WES. To celebrate “March Madness”, a team of SME staff and Superintendent Barrett Williams will take on various three player basketball teams comprised fifth and sixth grade students in a tournament refereed by Kristina Claflin. I hope to report to you next month that the adults were undefeated in this tournament.

Parent Conferences will be happening in March and for the first time we will be implementing an online platform to help schedule these conferences called PTCFast. We are hoping to make conference signups as convenient as possible this year. Please remember that there is no school on Friday March 20th, but students are expected to attend their conference. To sign up for conferences please enter the following web address into your browser window:
https://www.ptcfast.com/schools/Samuel_Morey (https://www.ptcfast.com/schools/Samuel_Morey).
If you are unable to schedule conferences online, please contact us via phone at Samuel Morey 802-333-9755.

We are also preparing for the upcoming Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) testing for grades 3-6 for mathematics and English language arts, and grade 5 in science. SBAC testing will occur in March and April.

On the March 9th Inservice Day, Superintendent Williams will meet with the faculties of both SME and WES to continue to work on what literacy instruction will look like for both schools in the future. Related to this work, Title 1 Reading teacher Cally McCrave and I spent February 4th at Oak Grove School in Brattleboro learning about their approaches to literacy at grades K-2 and data analysis for teachers. Oak Grove School will be a great resource for us as we develop our literacy framework. On February 27th the faculty and staff of both SME and WES heard Dr. Bill Ketterer, a clinical psychologist, speak on the use of a relational approach with students. These trauma-informed practices are used by teachers and school staff to support healing and build lifelong resilience in children. We will continue to work towards our goal of becoming a trauma informed school.

To help with this effort, SME will be hosting a Responsive Classroom training for many RISD faculty and staff, as well as educators from all over New England from July 21-24.

Important dates:
• Wednesday, March 4 - Principal for a day event
• Wednesday, March - Culmination of Kids Heart Challenge
• Monday, March 9 – No School – Teacher Inservice
• Thursday, March 12, 6:00 pm – Music and Art Gala at SME
• Tuesday, March 17 – Annual District Meeting
• Friday, March 20 – No School - Conferences

In closing, I wish to reiterate how grateful I am for the support I have received from the RISD Board, Superintendent Williams, Principals Keri Gelenian and Melissa Zoerheide, and the Samuel Morey community in helping improve the educational opportunities for the students of SME. Happy Spring!

Steven Lindemann, SME Principal

 

Message from the Superintendent, Barrett Williams, February 14, 2020

 

Message from the Principal, Steven Lindemann - January 24, 2020

Dear Samuel Morey Parents and Guardians,
Besides the Winter Program being in full swing, I wanted to give you some updates on happenings at SME. Art teacher Tanya Libby is working with a group of students on designing and painting a colorful, new Samuel Morey sign that will be mounted at the entrance in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, Math Coach Kathy McGowan and Title 1 Math teacher Miranda Garrow are working with a group of sixth grade students to prepare them for the Math League competition that will occur at the end of February. We will be forming the Math League teams for grades 4 and 5 shortly. Also, the second cohort of students on the School Culture Committee have met and are devising ways to put a little spice into our winter. More details to come!

Superintendent Williams met with the faculties of both Samuel Morey and Westshire yesterday to continue the discussion on what literacy instruction will look like for both schools in the future. This meeting was the second in a series of monthly meetings to help all faculty members understand the Common Core standards related to literacy, learn how current brain research has enhanced our understanding about how students learn to read, discuss best practices in literacy so that RISD can determine the desired resources for literacy instruction as well as a clear framework for instruction. The goal is to have a clear plan to implement for the 2020-21 school year. These meetings have been very productive.

Last week I attended the two-day ALICE Training Institute with Rivendell Academy Principal Keri Gelenian and Westshire Elementary School Principal Melissa Zoerheide. The ALICE program empowers individuals to use proactive strategies instead of the traditional lock-down approach. The ALICE program is endorsed by law enforcement across the country and in line with recommendations from the: Department of Homeland Security (DHS); Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA); US Department of Education; along with many state agencies across the US, including the Vermont Agency of Education. Melissa Zoerheide, Keri Gelenian and I will be meeting with the Rivendell Interstate School District (RISD) Safety Committee in early February to share our learning and plan next steps in implementing the ALICE program. Superintendent Barrett Williams will be communicating to the families of all three schools after the RISD Safety Committee meets about this important topic.

Finally, I encourage all parents and guardians to learn more about the school budget for the 2020-21 school year by attending the RISD Board meetings on January 28 and February 4. Both meetings begin at 6:30 pm and will be held at the District Office. The RISD Board will discuss the 2020-21 budget on January 28 and vote on the 2020-21 budget on February 4. I hope to see you at these meetings since they impact the students of Samuel Morey, Westshire, and Rivendell Academy. Thanks for your support!

Steven Lindemann, SME Principal

 

Message from the Superintendent, Barrett Williams, December 11. 2019

 

Message from the Principal, Steven Lindemann - December 6, 2019

Dear Samuel Morey parents and Guardians,
This has been a very busy week for SME students and staff! My first Grades K-4 winter concert was enjoyable to witness. I look forward to seeing the grade 5 & 6 winter concert next Wednesday at Samuel Morey. I appreciate all the work by the K-4 students and music teacher Elizabeth Duvall in making the concert a success.

Next Monday report cards will be going home in student backpacks. I want to remind you that we use a standards-based reporting of student progress. The standards we use are based on state and national standards. Please remember that this first trimester report card indicates the progress your child is making toward the end of the year grade level expectations. Make sure that the envelope in which the report card is sent home is returned promptly to SME and is also signed by you to indicate that you have read and received this important document. Thank you.

Also included with the report cards are the results from the Smarter Balanced assessments (also known as SBACs) taken in the Spring. Smarter Balanced assessments (SBACs) are administered to all students in grades 3, 4, 5, and 6, and include both English Language Arts (ELA) and Math. These assessments are taken on computers and have a computer adaptive feature that adjusts the difficulty up or down depending on a student’s responses. We strongly believe there is merit in these assessments, and the results help us determine the strength of our instruction and how well we are able to prepare our students for the world beyond graduation. Since this is my first year as the Principal of Samuel Morey, I will use these results as a baseline going forward to measure the progress of our students going forward as I work with our faculty and staff to strengthen our academic program for your child.

Some academic enrichment opportunities that are coming up are the National Geographic GeoBee, Hour of Code, and the New England Math League. We will be conducting the National Geographic GeoBee for grades 4-6 on December 19th and 20th. The National Geographic GeoBee is an annual competition designed to inspire and reward students' curiosity about the world. The National Geographic GeoBee includes three levels of competition; school, state, and national. Schools conduct a GeoBee and name a school champion. The school champion takes a proctored online qualifying test and the top-100-ranked students in each state qualify to represent their school at the State GeoBee competition. State champions are then invited to compete in the national championship. The Hour of Code takes place each year during Computer Science Education Week. The 2019 Computer Science Education Week will be December 9-15, but you can host an Hour of Code all year-round. The Hour of Code started as a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify "code", to show that anybody can learn the basics, and to broaden participation in the field of computer science. This week I had the opportunity to work with students in Kindergarten, fifth and sixth grades on coding with Gabi Martino, our Technology Specialist, to prepare for Hour of Code. What I liked about the coding activities is that every student can participate at their current level without feeling frustrated. I want to build more coding activities into our school year other than just the Hour of Code. Our practice materials for New England Math League recently arrived, and our sixth grade team is beginning to practice for the January Math League test. The New England Math League tests for grades four and five will be in the spring and we’ll be forming those teams soon.

I also wanted to announce that on December 19th we’ll host our first Games with Grandparents hour from 12:30, right before the early release at 1:30. We are looking forward to welcoming and sharing our school with grandparents while playing board games throughout the school. Connecting and appreciating our families and the larger community is a joy for the faculty and staff at SME. We are thankful to the Friends of Rivendell for providing cookies and coffee/tea.

In conclusion, I wanted to let you know that we have had many students and staff out with illness this week (including our nurse)! If your child is ill please keep them home until they fully recover so that we can prevent the stomach bug and flulike symptoms that are going around from continuing. Thank you for your support.

Happy Holidays!

Steven Lindemann, SME Principal

 

Message from the Principal, Steven Lindemann - November 12, 2019

Dear SME Parents and Guardians,

Thank you for your participation in last week’s parent conferences. I hope that you left your child’s conference with an appreciation of all the hard work your child is doing this year. I also hope you left with a sense of the positive environment we are working hard to create at SME this year. I greatly appreciate the efforts of all the SME faculty and staff to make SME a welcoming and caring learning environment.

This year’s Harvest Dinner on November 19th is for SME students only. We will be inviting grandparents into the classroom in the coming weeks. The food service office at the district level made the decision to not have grandparents at the Harvest Dinner due to logistics involved with the high numbers of people to serve. I will be discussing this event with Superintendent Williams and Westshire Elementary School Principal Melissa Zoerheide to see how this tradition can be sustained in the coming years. Thank you for your understanding.

The Gaga Ball Pit hardware has arrived, and I will be coordinating efforts to get this new playground item up and running as soon as possible. Gaga Ball is an activity the students can play year round, and the snow that is falling as I write this will not hinder the students having fun playing Gaga Ball.

In other news, I have entered SME into the Math League for Grades 4, 5, and 6. Math League is an enrichment opportunity for students interested in improving their understanding of mathematics. The test is taken on-line in the spring, and our team and individual scores are compared with other schools in the New England and New York region. Previous schools I have worked in participated in Math League, and I wanted to have interested SME students participate in this optional math activity. I have ordered the test practice guides, and when these guides arrive I will determine student interest at Grades 4, 5, and 6 to create practice sessions. More information to come!

I know November is the month where we reflect on what we are thankful for in our lives. I continue to be grateful for the efforts of the SME faculty and staff in supporting each of our students. I also appreciate the support that Superintendent Barrett Williams has provided me during my first year as the leader of Samuel Morey Elementary School. Thanks to the parents who have made me feel welcome and enthusiastic about joining the RISD community.

Steven Lindemann, SME Principal

 

Message from the Principal, Steven Lindemann - October 28, 2019

Dear Samuel Morey Parents and Guardians,
Many thanks to the Friends of Rivendell for hosting the Halloween Dance that occurred Friday night at SME. As I watched the children running around the gym, I was reminded of the electrons that are moving freely around the nucleus of an atom. There was a lot of energy on display in the gym!

Last Monday I attended a workshop sponsored by the Vermont Principals Association titled “Practical Strategies for Reducing Anxiety and Defiant Behavior in the Classroom”. The presenter, Jessica Minahan, was very engaging and knowledgeable about this topic. She told the group that the National Institute of Mental Health stated that 31% of 13 to 18 years old have anxiety, and that 22-25% of children 3 to 5 years of age have clinical anxiety. She also stated that our working memory is impaired when anxious, and that we lose 13 to 20 IQ points in a moment of anxiety.

Ms. Minahan stated that students with anxiety cause so much stress for teachers because they are so unpredictable in their behavior, so it leaves a teacher in a constant state of hypervigilance. She also gave us the analogy of thinking of students with anxiety as a shaken can of Pepsi, and that all students may look the same on the outside (like cans of Pepsi), yet the teacher does not know which student is ready to explode due to their anxiety. Her presentation was centered around the following six ideas: 1.) Misbehavior is a symptom of an underlying cause. 2.) Behavior is communication. 3.) Behavior has a function. 4.) Behavior occurs in patterns. 5.) The only behavior an adult can control is their own. 6.) Behavior can be changed. Needless to say, there is great deal of useful information that I need to share with the SME faculty and staff around this issue. I am grateful that Superintendent Barrett Williams was the “Principal for a day” so I could attend this important professional development opportunity.

In other news, the Grade 5 & 6 Spelling Team will be competing against Windsor School in the Regional Competition of the Vermont Principals Association Team Spelling Competition on Saturday, November 2nd. The SME team is comprised of two 5th grade students and four 6th grade students. If they are successful against Windsor School, they advance to the State Final on Saturday, November 16th to compete against the other four regional champions. Good luck to our team.

Parent Conferences are just around the corner, and as a parent, you know your child better than anyone else. Share the following information about your child with your child’s teacher: 1.) Favorite subjects. 2.) Outside interests and hobbies. 3.) Any medical or health needs. 4.) Things happening at home that may affect school-moving, divorce, the birth of a child, etc. At the conference, keep an open mind. Remember that both you and your child’s teacher want to help your child succeed. Even if the teacher says something you disagree with, listen to what the teacher has to say. Also:

  • Ask to see your child’s work. There is no better way to see how your child is progressing.
  • Ask your child’s teacher to explain terms that are new to you. Every profession has its own jargon which can be hard to understand.
  •  Sum up what you think has been said. Make sure both you and your child’s teacher agree on any decisions you have made about your child. If necessary, ask to meet again.
  •  Establish the best way to contact each other. Email? Phone?

Please contact me if you have any questions about parent conferences or any other school related matter. Have a safe Halloween this Thursday!

Steven Lindemann, SME Principal

 

Message from the Principal, Steven Lindemann - October 16, 2019

Dear Samuel Morey Parents and Guardians,

Can you believe the beautiful weather we are experiencing this autumn?! I thought that the weather we had for the All School Hike last week would be the end of the string of perfect fall days, but I was wrong. Being out at every recess sure has been a treat for me.

Many thanks to all the parents who participated in my first All School Hike. I enjoyed having the opportunity to chat with some of you as I trekked up and down Sunday Mountain. Also, I wanted to thank the parents and community members who attended the Community Forum at SME last Tuesday and the Friends of Rivendell meeting at Westshire Elementary last Thursday. I learned a great deal about the hopes, dreams and concerns the people in attendance have about the schools in the Rivendell Interstate School District. I have an “open door” policy at SME, and I am usually out in the bus loop every morning if you would like to chat. I can also be reached by phone or email. As I stated in my introductory letter to the community in August, I wanted to work in a smaller school where all students feel known by all the adults who work in the school. I believe Samuel Morey is a school where all students can feel that high level of care and support. I also believe that the Samuel Morey community believes in educating the “whole child”. As I continue to learn about the what makes Samuel Morey unique, I am also working on making tangible changes to improve the learning experience for the students as well as improvements to the learning environment and building.

One way to include the students’ input in improving SME is by forming a School Culture Committee (SCC). This SCC for the Fall trimester is a randomly selected group of two students each from grades 2 through 6. These eight students have met with Music Teacher Elizabeth Duvall and me for the last three weeks to brainstorm ways to improve the culture and/or building. This group has voted to have a Gaga Ball Pit on the playground (see the picture below of the Gaga Ball Pit at Sharon Elementary School). I will be ordering the materials for the Gaga Ball Pit in the coming week, and I will notify you if we need help constructing the Gaga Ball Pit or a source of woodchips to put into the Gaga Ball Pit.

gaga pit web

The SCC also will be having a Sports Team Jersey Day this Friday where all students and staff are encouraged to wear their favorite jersey to show the SME community the high school, college, or professional sports team they support the most. I already have my favorite Liverpool jersey picked out for Friday! The SCC has made other great suggestions (including getting the pot hole in front of the school filled) and getting tetherballs for the playground. There will be two more randomly selected SCCs, one for the Winter trimester and one for Spring trimester.

I will be attending an all day workshop this Saturday in Burlington on how to teach coding to students. Coding is the process of using a programming language to get a computer to behave how you want it to. Every line of code tells the computer to do something, and a document full of lines of code is called a script. Coding helps children with communication, creativity, math, writing, and confidence. I will also be attending an all day workshop on Monday sponsored by the Vermont Principals Association titled “Practical Strategies for Reducing Anxiety and Defiant Behavior in the Classroom”. Superintendent Barrett Williams will be the SME Principal while I am gone that day.

In closing, I again wanted to express my gratitude for all the support I have received from the SME faculty, staff and parents in the first months as the leader of Samuel Morey Elementary School. Have a restful weekend!

Steven Lindemann, SME Principal

 

It’s Time for the All School Hike!

On Tuesday, October 8th, Samuel Morey will be hiking the Sunday Mountain section of the Cross Rivendell Trail in Orford. This is an annual tradition that helps us build community and spend time outside connecting with nature as a school. Students will need:

  • Layered clothes for our typical cool fall mornings and warm afternoons
  • Closed toed shoes with socks suitable for a hike in the woods (we want to avoid blisters)
  • Full water bottle, a snack and lunch (students may get a bag lunch from school)

We will load the bus at 8:30 a.m. to go to the Sunday Mountain trailhead, and we will return about 2 p.m. There will be a chaperone meeting at 8:00 a.m. in the gym. We love when parents join us for the ASH, so please come along if you like! Parking at the trailhead is very limited, so we strongly recommend chaperones ride the bus with us if they can! On the back of this form is a map of where we will be with the trail outlined.

 Click here to download the permission slip and return it to school with your student. 

Message from the Principal, Steven Lindemann - Sept, 23, 2019

Dear Samuel Morey Parents and Guardians,

Happy Fall! I wanted to start off by expressing my thanks to all the parents, students and staff who helped at the “Garden Party” this past Saturday morning. We moved the mound of dirt in the bus circle, pruned trees, weeded gardens, and chopped down a crab apple tree. The pile of wood from this tree is free for anybody that wants it, just come and pick it up. I believe that taking pride in our school building and grounds helps translate into a positive learning environment.

Last week we determined the six members of the Samuel Morey Spelling Team who will participate in the Vermont Principals Association State Grades 5 & 6 Spelling Bee Team Competition in October. We have four sixth grade students and two fifth grade students on this year’s team. I previously coached the Grade 5 & 6 Spelling Team at my previous school, and I look forward to working with these six students as we represent Samuel Morey Elementary and the Rivendell Interstate School District.

Another new change I am implementing is having a Samuel Morey Elementary School Culture Team (SMESCT), and its purpose is to identify projects/ideas to improve our school/community. The SMESCT is composed of two second grade, two third grade, two fourth grade, two fifth grade and two sixth grade students who were randomly selected to join Music Teacher Elizabeth Duvall and me for a three-month tenure (there will be three different teams during each year-a fall team, a winter team, and a spring team). We will meet three times this fall. The first meeting will be to brainstorm the idea we want to pursue; the second meeting to flesh out the idea; and the third to plan the full execution of the project. More details to come!

Finally, I hope to see you at our Curriculum Night/Open House on October 3rd from 6-7 PM. Have a wonderful week!

Sincerely,
Steven Lindemann, SME Principal

 

Message from the Principal, Steven Lindemann - Sept, 13, 2019

Dear Samuel Morey Parents,

Please consider participating in our Samuel Morey School “Garden Party” on Saturday, September 21st 8:30-11:30 AM. We will be pruning trees, weeding, and getting the raised beds ready for next spring. Below is the list of tasks that the Samuel Morey Grounds Committee determined we should tackle on September 21st. We also listed the desired tools we will need. Please contact me if you have questions. I hope to see you next Saturday!

Steven Lindemann, Principal of SME

“To Do” List
Weed Whack Team

  • Need at least two gas-powered appliances
  • Weed whack school driveways and curbs
  • Weed whack building perimeter, and around the side flower gardens, tree wells and playground areas

Tree Trimming Team

  • Need small chain saw, tree saws, clippers, (wood chipper?)
  • Prune lower branches of 3 white pines near outdoor classroom
  • Prune lower branches of 3 maples around bus driveway
  • Prune lower branches of white pine behind backstop
  • Cut back verbena next to library/school building
  • Prune crab apples along school drive

Earth Moving Team

  • Need earth mover, rototiller, shovels, rakes
  • Move perennials in the center of Bus Loop to flag pole area
  • Level out dirt mounds in Bus Loop and plant grass seed
  • Level out the compost area behind the school dumpsters

Weeding and Mulching Team

  • Need weeding tools, baskets/bags to collect and move weeds, and bales of hay
  • Weed the grey rock area next to the front of the building
  • Weed all the gardens and areas identified below:

Reading Garden

  • Take down lattice work (need carpentry tools)
  • Remove broken barrels and clean up brush
  • Prune crab apple tree
  • Cut back perennials and weed entire area

Special Ed Garden

  • Weed garden and turn the soil
  • Cover with mulch for the winter

Crescent, Three Sisters, and Gordon’s Gardens

  • Cut back, mow, and mulch these areas for winter

Grades 5-6 Raised Beds

  • Weed, turn soil, and mulch with hay

Pre-school Garden

  • Weed

Picnic Table Shed

  • Rake out mulch
  • Trim and weed around poles and drums
  • Clean up hill slide area and weed

Back Side of Gym

  • Trim white pine behind backstop
  • Move black compost bin next to the one on side of cafeteria
  • Weed whack compost area
  • Set up hay pile to add to wet compost materials

 

Message from the Principal, Steven Lindemann - Sept, 5, 2019

SME

The second week of school went smoothly, and I greatly enjoy popping into classrooms to see what the students are learning. I hope to see you next Thursday at SME at 6 pm for the first Friends of Rivendell meeting for the year. At this meeting I will answer questions, share my ideas about SME and how Friends of Rivendell can support our school. Also, I will share the goals of the newly formed SME Grounds Committee. This group is planning a “Garden Party” to spruce up the SME grounds (weeding, pruning, etc.) on Saturday morning, September 21st. We hope to see you there on Sept. 21 because “many hands make light work”. Have a restful weekend!

RISD Elementary Parent Newsletters 2019-20

 

RISD Elementary Parent Newsletters 2018-19

Greetings From Gail

June 5, 2015

When schools close for summer, what do students face? For many children, summer is a time of enrichment with activities that enhance and expand on things they learn in school. For other children, the summer break puts a pause on learning and causes what’s known as the “summer slide”— the loss of academic skills while school is out of session.

All children experience summer learning loss when they do not engage in educational activities during the summer months. However, for children who are already struggling academically, summer learning loss widens existing learning gaps that can challenge academic success in the new school year.

On average, students lose up to two months of reading achievement over the summer. Studies showmthat summer loss is correlated to learning later in life, affecting whether or not a child earns a high school diploma and continues on to college. All children are vulnerable to summer reading loss, but children who are already academically at-risk often develop learning gaps which can significantly limit their academic success. There are ways to limit the damaging effects of summer slide for all children. Studies show that children who read four or more books during the summer tend to fare better than their peers who did not read, regardless of a student’s ethnicity, socioeconomic level, or previous achievements. (NEA)

LOOK FOR THE SUMMER READING CHALLENGE COMING HOME WITH YOUR CHILD AT THE END OF THIS YEAR! HAPPY READING!

sme 06052015


Student Food Bills

Any student lunch/breakfast balances must be up to date starting in May. If a student has a negative balance on their account they will not be able to charge items. If you would like information regarding your account please contact Carol Perkins.

Library News

Reminder— all library books should be returned by Friday, June 12th.

More information about summer reading activities at our public libraries will be coming home soon, including a contract for students in grades 3 - 5 to borrow books from the school library to read over the summer.

June 5, 2015 Newsletter

Greetings From Gail

June 1, 2015 

Is it June 1st already? Where did the year go? I probably say this every year, but it really feels that way every year. The year has flown by and now we are in the final weeks of the school year. I would like to highlight some end of the year activities and events.

  • Teachers in the primary grades are giving the end of the year assessments, POA, primary observation assessment to all students.
  • Sixth graders are involved in transition activities at Rivendell Academy.
  • Sixth graders are getting ready for graduation which is June 16th. They are working on a video for that event.
  • Fifth graders will be visiting the State House for a mock congressional hearing as a culminating performance for their work with We the People curriculum.
  • Fourth, fifth and sixth grade students are being introduced to their summer reading assignments.


Student Food Bills

Any student lunch/breakfast balances must be up to date starting in May. If a student has a negative balance on their account they will not be able to charge items. If you would like information regarding your account please contact Carol Perkins.


Important Dates

  • June 4th — LAST DAY OF VISIONS
  • June 12th—Field Day
  • June 16th—6th Grade Graduation, 6:00 p.m.
  • June 17th—Last Day for Students


Garden Building Extravaganza

Saturday we had a garden building extravaganza! We have started construction on the kindergarten and first grade gardens, but are in need of more kindergarten and first grade parent help to finish those gardens. The preschool garden was constructed and additions to the Natural Playscape area were made. Thank you everyone who helped. It is greatly appreciated.

sme 060115 01

June 1, 2015 Newsletter

Greetings From Gail

May 22, 2015

On Thursday evening Rivendell Academy showed the film, The Hornet’s Nest. This is a film by Mike and Carlos Boettcher, father and son journalists, who embedded themselves in the 101st Airborne division that was fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Michael Gali and students from his War on Terror class interviewed the author and coordinated the event. The interview can be seen on Rivendell Academy’s Facebook Page. (you do not have to have Facebook to access the page) Rivendell Academy students read excerpts from letters sent by the governors of New Hampshire and Vermont in support of veterans and the event.

Veterans in the Upper Valley were invited to the showing of the film and a question and answer session was held after the movie. The evening started with the Pledge of Allegiance and singing of The Star spangled Banner. It was a wonderful tribute to our veterans right before Memorial Day.

I would like to say thank you to all veterans in our Samuel Morey family and community and thank you for your service.

Student Food Bills

Any student lunch/breakfast balances must be up to date starting in May. If a student has a negative balance on their account they will not be able to charge items. If you would like information regarding your account please contact Carol Perkins.

Important Dates

  • May 28th—6th Grade to RA for summer reading presentations
  • May 29th—Jobs on the Move
  • May 30th—Kindergarten Orientation
  • June 12th—Field Day
  • June 16th—6th Grade Graduation 6:00 p.m.
  • June 17th—Last Day for Students


May 22, 2015 Newsletter

Greetings From Gail

May 15, 2015sme news 05152015 1

Samuel Morey received a grant from Vermont Rural Partnership this year to build classroom gardens. Now that our long, hard winter is over, we are ready to start our gardens. We will start with preschool, kindergarten, first and second this year and hope to build grades 3-6 in the fall.

A group of fifth and sixth graders attended the Learning in Place Conference which is the Vermont Rural Partnership conference. Last Friday. They presented the different themes for the classroom gardens. Students and adults from other schools in Vermont visited their display. They had three questions that they had to answer,

  • Why are classroom gardens important to Samuel Morey?
  • What will the students learn by having classroom gardens?
  • How do the classroom gardens connect to the curriculum?

A special thanks to Andrew Stimson and Mary Bryant for attending with the students and supporting our classroom gardens with their passion and expertise in gardening.

On Saturday, May 30th we will have a community garden building day. What we need is people willing to work—no expertise needed. A flyer will be sent home soon about this day.

Kindergarten Orientation

May 30th is our kindergarten orientation. If your child is five on or before August 31st, please call Angel to schedule a time on the 30th. If you know of another child that qualifies for kindergarten next year, please have them call the school at 802-333-9755.

Important Dates

  • May 16th—Raptor Run
  • May 20th—6th grade Step-Up Day @ RA
  • May 21st—Prek-3 Literacy Night (Presented by Friends of Rivendell)
  • May 28th—6th Grade to RA for summer reading presentations
  • May 29th—Jobs on the Move
  • May 30th—Kindergarten Orientation
  • June 12th—Field Day
  • June 16th—6th Grade Graduation, 6:00 p.m.
  • June 17th—Last Day for Students

 

May 15, 2015 Newsletter

Greetings From Gail

May 8, 2015sme news 05082015

This week was national Teacher Appreciation Week. I showered the teachers with little gifts and goodies all week. Teachers all agree that teaching is its own reward, but this is a great time to let teachers know how they have touched kids’ lives. It would be wonderful if parents/guardians could stop by and say hello to their children’s teachers, present or past and thank them for their dedication. Our teachers are very special and work diligently all year long going that extra mile for students.

Important Dates

  • May 12 — 4th Grade trip to Hulbert **date change
  • May 13-15 — 6th Grade Hulbert overnight Trip
  • May 16 — Raptor Run
  • May 20 — 6th grade Step-Up Day @ RA
  • May 21 — Prek-3rd grade Literacy Night (Presented by Friends of Rivendell)
  • May 28 — 6th Grade to RA for summer reading presentations
  • May 29 — Jobs on the Move
  • May 30 — Kindergarten Orientation
  • June 12 — Field Day
  • June 16 — 6th Grade Graduation, 6:00 p.m.
  • June 17 — Last Day for Students

 May 8, 2015 Newsletter

Greetings From Gail

April 17, 2015

Finally we have some spring weather. Usually our playground is a muddy mess during mud season, but it is pretty good this year; nice and dry! It is probably not a bad idea to keep sending boots with your child for another few weeks until we are officially out of mud season.

When we return from spring break we will be continuing with SBAC testing in grades three through six. Students will be taking the math portion of the test.

At community meeting Friday we honored our sixth grade honor and high honor students. Sixth grade is the first grade that students receive letter grades. What an outstanding group of scholars!!

sme news 041715 1

Have a great spring break. When we return we will be entering in the last leg of the school year. Please keep those routines in place for homework.

April 17, 2015 Newsletter

Greetings From Gail

April 10, 2015

Wednesday was our number one volunteer’s birthday—Russ Smith. We celebrated Russ with a whole school assembly where each class made birthday cards for him. The whole school then danced the “Cha Cha Slide” and ended with a sing along to “Happy Birthday.” Carol Perkins also made applesauce muffins for all of us!

sme news 041015 1

On Thursday, Samuel Morey third grader, Lila Jones was invited to Montpelier for the Reading Is an Investment award celebration. The goal of the program is to teach elementary-aged children personal finance concepts. She was one of twenty winners of a $250 college savings account selected from over 5,000 entries submitted from schools throughout Vermont. The students were honored by Vermont's State Treasurer, Beth Pearce, Governor Shumlin and other supporters of this event. After the ceremony Lila, her sister Sophie, her mother Sarah Jones and librarian, Joyce Russell were invited on a tour of the state capital!

Important Dates

  • April 29 — K-4 Spring Concert
  • May 12 — 4th Grade trip to Hulbert **date change
  • May 13—15— 6th Grade Hulbert overnight Trip


April 10, 2015 Newsletter

Greetings From Gail

April 3, 2015

When you walk through the halls of our school; beautiful art adorns the walls, student work decorates the bulletin boards. Now beautiful language which creates pictures in your mind is written on our Nonfiction Graffiti Boards.

I want students to see the beauty in language, just like they see the beauty in art. I want them to get,excited about words that touch us and words that paint pictures in our minds.
Students have been adding beautiful language to our

Nonfiction Graffiti Boards—one in each hallway. Here are some examples of beautiful writing our students have found.

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Kindergarten students sing “What a Wonderful World.”

SBAC Testing: The SBAC testing started this week in grades 4-6. It has gone very smoothly. Third grade will start next week. Gabi Martino and Kathy McGowan have been working with the teachers and students to support this new assessment.

April 3, 2015 Newsletter

Greetings From Gail

March 26, 2015

Three-way conferences are taking place this week. Friday is three-way conference day, but teachers accommodate families the best they can if you need another day and time for the conference. For those of you new to three-way conferences, I would like to share with you why we support this type of conference at our schools.

  • A three-way conference involves parents, students and teachers in reflecting on student achievement, discussing work samples and setting future goals.
  • A three-way conference acknowledges the most important participants in the learning process (student, teacher and parent)
  • The child is involved in the discussion about their performance.
  • The student provides information to clarify what they have learned and what challenges they face.
  • It places the student at the heart of the assessment and reporting process.
  • It allows the student to see their parents and teacher as a team.
  • The students will begin by discussing their personal learning plan.
  • The student will present work samples to highlight strengths and areas for future development..
  • Throughout the conference parents and the teacher are encouraged to ask questions, provide feedback and encouragement to the student.
  • Parents are encouraged to share their thoughts and ideas on what is being presented and on what goals or targets they think are appropriate.

3-Way conferences

Friday, March 27th
Please contact your child’s teacher if you do not have a scheduled time for conference

Hearing and vision Screenings

The School Nurse, will be starting the annual spring screening series for hearing and vision. The grades that will participate are: Kindergarten,1st 3rd and 5th grades. Marnie will alert you to any findings that need a doctor's referral.

March 26, 2015 Newsletter