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Greetings From Gail

December 12, 2014sme-news-121214-2

Thursday was "Community Day" at Samuel Morey. It was originally scheduled for Wednesday, but the weather didn't cooperate. The sixth graders did an amazing job leading activities in each class. Here are the activities each class participated in:

  • Kindergarten—decorated bags for siblings that stay at David's House
  • First Grade—decorated cards to be used as thank you notes for Haven residents
  • Second Grade—made horse treats for High Horses Therapeutic Riding Center
  • Third Grade—made layered soup mixes for food banks in Fairlee
  • Fourth Grade—posters and bulletin boards to be displayed in town for Lake Morey Protection Group 
  • Fifth Grade—were supposed to visit David's House, Haven and High Horses Wednesday but we had to reschedule those trips so they helped first and third grades\

Our students voted to donate $300 to High Horses. The check was presented to them today at an all school meeting.


Here is an explanation of the InspiringKids program.

InspiringKids is a youth leadership, community building, and philanthropy program. We work with educators at elementary and middle schools to help a group of students understand their community and lead their peers in projects that emphasize how everyone can use their time, treasure and talent to help others.

Holiday Concerts

  • Grades 3-6—December 17th
  • Grades K-2—December 18th

Both concerts start at 6:00 p.m. Students should arrive at 5:45 and go directly to their classroom. There is no supervision before 5:45.

Important Dates

  • Dec. 17th-3-6 Holiday Concert, 6:00 p.m.
  • Dec. 18th-K-2 Holiday concert, 6:00 p.m.
  • Dec. 19th-Jan. 2nd-Holiday Break
  • School resumes on January 5th

December 12, 2014 Newsletter

Greetings From Gail

December 5, 2014

This is such a busy time for schools and families. We are trying hard to keep routines and stress academics in the midst of rehearsals for concerts, Inspiring Kids Community Days and special holiday activities in the classrooms. This can also be a difficult time for some children and families that have experienced loss or other tragedies in their lives. We will do our best to look for signs of sadness or stress in our students and hope that if your child needs support during the next few weeks you let us know.

We had our first school delay of the year on Wednesday. If you did not get a call about the delay Wednesday morning, please call Angel to make sure we have the right phone number.  Just a reminder that students cannot be dropped off before 9:30 and that there is no breakfast on delayed opening days. Please see the box on the right for more information. We still have students who come to school without snow pants and boots. In the upper grades they must have a pair of snow boots for outside. Wet boots need to be changed to dry shoes after recess.

Snow Days and School Closings and Delays

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 normallystart 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 SchoolReach. This message should call your home by 6:00 a.m.

Holiday Concerts

Grades 3-6—December 17th
Grades K-2—December 18th
Both concerts start at 6:00 p.m. Students should arrive at 5:45 and go directly to their classroom. There is no supervision before 5:45.

 Important Dates

  • Dec. 17th-3-6 Holiday Concert, 6:00 p.m.
  • Dec. 18th-K-2 Holiday concert, 6:00 p.m.
  • Dec. 19th-Jan. 2nd-Holiday Break
  • School resumes on January 5th

More information about all these events will be sent home close to the date of the event!

Greetings From Gail

November 21, 2014

On Monday we saw our first snow of the season, followed by lots of rain. Tuesday we were blasted with a serious cold front that was chilling!! When the weather turns cold it always brings up questions about dressing for outdoor recess.

To enjoy recess students must be properly dressed for the weather. Please make sure your child is dressed appropriately for this cold weather. I am still seeing boys and girls in shorts and no jackets. All children will go outside for recess. Also, please remember that if your child is well enough to attend school, they will go outside at recess time unless it is an injury such as broken leg or arm. If we are experiencing unusually cold weather where the temperature is in the single digits or it is raining, we will not go out for morning or afternoon recess. However, students do go out for recess when the temperature is above 10 degrees. Please make sure your child has hat and gloves and other appropriate clothing so they may enjoy this fun part of their day. Kindergarten through second grade students need snow pants. When snow is on the ground, students must have boots to walk around in the snow.

We do not like to use recess as a consequence for inappropriate behavior at school or for missing homework, but children need to learn responsibility and sometimes it is necessary. If a child stays in for missing home-work, teachers try to send the student outside for half of the recess time. If a child misses recess for inappropriate behavior such as disrupting learning of others in the class, they some-times have to make up work they missed at recess. We try to send them out another time to run around. However, this is not always possible.

Snow Days and School Closings and Delays

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 SchoolReach. This message should call your home by 6:00 a.m.

Greetings From Gail

November 14, 2014

This Wednesday we had our annual Thanksgiving Luncheon with our special guests, senior citizens from the Bradford Senior Center. The entire school ate in the gym and we enjoyed a turkey lunch with all the trimmings. The sixth graders took their job of setting up thegym, serving our guests and breaking down the gym very seriously. They were great! Classes made decorations for the tables and the first graders sang, "You've Got a Friend in Me." (one of my favorite performances !!) Third graders shared some silly Thanksgiving nursery rhymes. Our guests enjoyed these performances.



Greetings From Gail

November 10, 2014

I am very excited to share with you that our sixth grade students will be participating in the Inspiring Kids youth leadership, community building and philanthropy program again this year. They learn about our community, nonprofit organizations. They research a few nonprofits that serve our towns and the Upper Valley.

On Monday there was a panel discussion with:

  • Newbury Food Shelf (serves our towns too)
  • High Horses Therapeutic Ricing Program
  • Lake Morey Protective Association
  • David's House
  • Upper Vally Haven and
  • Upper Valley Land Trust.

The students will then present what they have learned to all the students at Samuel Morey and Westshire and all students will participate in a Community Day where they make a needed item for one of the nonprofit organizations.

In addition Inspiring Kids will provide both Samuel Morey and Westshire with money for a community fund, which each school will donate to a local nonprofit of the students' choice.

We are in need of volunteers to help coordinate our Community Day and help us obtain donated supplies that students will need to make their items. Please plan on coming to our Parent Meeting on Thursday, November 13th at 5:30 at SME in the library to see how you can help.


Three-Way Conferences

October 31, 2014

November 6th is our first three-way conference.
For those of you who are new to Samuel Morey, I would like to give you an idea of what to expect at the three-way conferences.

Three-way conferences provide an opportunity for the student, teacher and parent to come together as a team to support the student's learning. Kindergarten parents— you will be impressed at how even our youngest students are able to talk about their learning and their goals.

In preparation for the three-way conferences, students and teachers have been writing personal learning plans or PLP's. The personal learning plan helps the student be responsible for his or her own learning. It is goal oriented and allows the student to think about what he or she is learning and to set goals around the learning. They look different, depending on the grade.

Research shows that students learn better and more when they are involved in their own learning. It helps students develop the vocabulary to talk about their achievement and learning and encourages student ownership of schoolwork and improves motivation.

The parents are an important part of the conference. The parents bring to the conference knowledge of the student based on their observations. Your child's teacher will ask you to contribute to the learning goals for your child. Here are some suggestions successful conferences:

  • Listen and allow your child to dominate the conversation. You will learn much about your child's learning if you let them talk.
  • Avoid being evaluative and accept and respect the student as a learner.
  • Ask questions that open up conversations rather than close down communication. Open-ended questions are those that ask for explanations, expansions, examples and discussion.
  • If you still have concerns after your child's conference that you would like to discuss privately with your child's teacher, please let the teacher know.

Important Dates: 

  • Nov. 6th—Three-Way Conferences
  • Nov. 11th—Veteran's Day, No School
  • Nov. 12th—Harvest Dinner
  • Nov. 13th—Vermont Symphony Orchestra Performance @ WES
  • Nov. 13th—18th Scholastic Book Fair
  • Nov. 26th-28th—Thanksgiving break, No School
  •  Dec. 17th—Holiday Concert, 6:00 p.m.


Greetings From Gail

October 24, 2014

Next Friday is Halloween. Our policy has been no costumes at school. Please do not send your child to school with a Halloween costume. They will have a chance to wear their costume at the Family Halloween Dance tonight from 6:00-8:00 in our gym. Parents are sponsoring this much requested event for our children.

On October 31st, Halloween, each class will make a scarecrow based on a character from a read aloud book their class is reading. We will decorate the gym with their scarecrows and have an all school reading time, called Hallowread! They will then return to their classes to enjoy apple cider and a munchkin donut.


Our Super Senior and number one volunteer Russ Smith was featured on Channel 3 for the Super Senior segment this morning at 8:00 am. The segment also ran Thursday night. 

WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-


Greetings From Gail

October 20, 2014picture01

Happy Monday everyone!! I was out Thursday and Friday so I am sending the newsletter home today. Thursday I attended a workshop on the SBAC which is the new assessment based on the common core standards that students in grades 3-8 and 11 will take this spring. This assessment is a computer assisted assessment. That means that the entire assessment is computerized. This will be quite a change for our students and we will give them a chance to practice some test questions on the computer before the actual assessment.

On Friday Mrs. MacQueen and I attended a Vermont Rural Partnership meeting. Westshire and Samuel Morey have been part of this organization for quite a few years now. The organization tries to connect small rural schools. They also support the schools with grants for school and community based projects. We have used the grants for our 250th Celebration and natural playscapes area. This year we hope to write the grant to support class gardens.

Vermont Rural Partnership is also very interested in student voice. A.J. DeBois, Cora Day and Adele Tilden attended the meeting with us on Friday. They made a poster to highlight how Samuel Morey gives voice to students, fosters community connections and place-based learning. They were a wonderful addition to the other students and schools that attended.


Greetings From Gail

October 3, 2014elem-100114-1

Last spring fourth grade students at both elementary schools took the science NECAPs.
Scores were:

  • SME: 30% met the standard
  • WES: 14% met the standard (It is important to recognize that there were only 14 students in the WES class)

The state average for fourth grade was 44%, down 3 percentage points from last year. Secretary of Education, Rebecca Holcombe stated, "...we are not satisfied with these scores." and neither are we at the elementary schools. There are four science domains assessed: physical science, earth space science, life science and inquiry. Our fourth grade students were lowest in
the inquiry task.

We have an excellent partnership with the Montshire Museum who provides science educators to support our teachers. During the August in-service week the Montshire educators led a professional development session on the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and supporting science explanations with evidence. They engaged teachers in an inquiry task to help them understand how to integrate this important science skill into their science lessons. We will continue to emphasize inquiry tasks and helping students use evidence to support their scientific thinking in our elementary science lessons.

Important Dateselem-100114-3

  • Oct. 6th—Picture Day
  • Oct. 13th—No School, In-service Day for Teachers
  • Oct. 17th—Walk Your Child to School Day
  • Nov. 6th—Three-Way Conferences
  • Nov. 12th—Harvest Dinner
  • Dec. 17th—Holiday Concert, 6:00 p.m.

More information about all these events will be sent home close to the date of the event!

October 3, 2014 Newsletter

Greetings From Gail

September 19, 2014sme-news-091914

Nonfiction Mondays at Samuel Morey!!

Over the summer all teachers read Finding the Heart of Nonfiction by Georgia Heard. Every Monday each class will be engaged in a nonfiction reading lesson and adventure. During in-service week teachers discussed how they would utilize the teaching strategies in this book. One each month during professional development time teachers will share their lessons and discuss ways to
help students read and write content rich nonfiction.

Why this school-wide emphasis on nonfiction reading and writing? The new common core does call for
a 50-50 balance between informational and literary reading. More importantly is that nonfiction texts support students in developing knowledge about the world. And...students love nonfiction texts. Nonfiction books today are filled with metaphors, similes, personification, beautiful writing and amazing photographs or illustrations. What an engaging way to learn new information.

Nonfiction texts also serve as mentors for writing. When students learn to write from writers, they shift the way they usually read. They put on the lens of a writer that will teach them how to do their best writing.

When your child comes home from school on Mondays, ask him/her, "What nonfiction book did you read today?"