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Friday, January 18, 2019


Greetings from Gail

October 29, 2012sme110112 2

November 1st 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 PLPs. 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.

sme110112 1Research 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 for 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.

Greetings from Gail

October 19, 2012

RIF is Coming to Samuel Morey Elementary School!

On Tuesday, October 23rd, Samuel Morey Elementary will have a RIF book distribution. RIF, which stands for Reading Is Fundamental, is a nonprofit organization, whose purpose is to put books into the hands of all students, and to help children discover and know the joys of reading and learning.

The Rivendell CSO (Community School Organization) sponsors this program, enabling us to purchase enough books for students in both elementary schools to receive a new RIF book each school year. The RIF book that your child brings home is theirs to keep.

During a RIF distribution, children choose from a variety of books suited to their interests and reading abilities. We hope that giving children the opportunity to independently choose their books will help to motivate and inspire them to read for pleasure, while also developing a lifelong passion for learning. Ultimately, developing a joy for reading will help our children to become more successful in many different aspects of life and learning, which will benefit our families, our schools and our community for many years to come.

The RIF book distribution is part of our Reading Celebration Week which is October 22nd-October 26th. The SME staff is busy planning some exciting literacy activities that we hope will support our students' love of reading. Stay tuned for this exciting event.


Picture Retake Day November 7th

All classes will have a retake of their class picture too!

Greetings from Gail

October 12, 2012sme101212 1

Last spring our fourth, eighth and eleventh grade students took the New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) science tests. The tests are designed to measure student performance on standards in science. Specifically, the tests are designed to measure the science content and skills that students are expected to have as they complete the K-4, 5-8, and 9-11 grade spans. Each test contains a mix of multiple choice and constructed-response questions. The science test also includes an inquiry session that requires students to answer questions based on results of an actual scientific investigation. Our results are in from the spring 2012 science NECAPs. Both of our elementary schools performed much lower than we would have hoped and expected. The spring 2011 science NECAPS showed
Westshire to have the highest science scores in the state for fourth graders. It is very hard to draw conclusions when the scores each year fluctuate so much. Part of this is because of the small "N" or number of students in our small schools that take the test.

Rivendell, like other schools around the state will be having discussions about the meaning of the test results. We are in the process of examining the results of the assessments at all three grades and using this information to inform our science curriculum, science instruction and science assessment.

School Pictures

I am interested to hear your feedback about your child's school picture this year. Please let me know if you were not satisfied with your child's school picture. I am asking the company to retake the class pictures. I was not happy with the background they used. Retake day will be on November 7th when we will also retake the class pictures

Greetings from Gail

October 5, 2012sme10052012-7

Students in grades 3 through 8 will participate in the New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP). Students in all of those grades will be tested in reading and mathematics. In addition, students in grades 5 and 8 will be tested in writing. I am hoping you will help us encourage all our students to give the tests their very best effort.

The testing window is October 1st through October 23rd. Your child's teachers will let you know the exact days.

sme10052012 6The NECAP tests were designed to measure your child's progress in meeting Vermont's Grade Level Expectations, or GLEs. The GLEs define the knowledge and skills a student should have mastered by the end of each school year. The grade 3 test, for example, will measure what a student should know and be able to do after completing second grade. The reading test includes short and long reading passages that are followed by several multiple choice questions, as well as one or two "constructed response" questions that require a short written answer. The mathematics test includes multiple choice, short answer, and constructed response questions. The writing test includes multiple choice and constructed response questions, and a single extended writing prompt. A constructed response question requires students to show their work and/or explain their reasoning.

sme10052012 5The New England Common Assessment Program is one tool available to parents and educators to determine how well our school is helping students meet standards and grade level expectations. In every assessment, scores are only as meaningful as the effort students put into the tests. Encourage your child to take the tests seriously and to give his or her best effort. You can best help your child prepare for the assessment by making sure that she or he is rested on the days the tests will be given. And, as with every day, it is critical that students have a good breakfast before heading off to school.

Thank you for supporting your child and our school during the testing period.

Greetings from Gail

September 28, 2012

sme092812-2    sme092812-3

Our All School Hike on Tuesday was wonderful. The weather was perfect and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.

sme092812This is the 12th year that we have hiked together. Our olderstudents hiked with their younger buddies, showing patience and support.

The sun was shining on 155 Samuel Morey students and approximately 50 adults including SME staff, parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts. Thank you to everyone who volunteered to hike with us. Having you with us is what makes this day so special.

Samuel Morey's Salad Bar

Last year the Student Government sent me a proposal asking for a salad bar. With the help of Lisa Avery, we were able to offer a salad bar for students in grades 3-6 one day a week. Students in kindergarten,
1st and 2nd grade get salad but they do not help themselves at the salad bar.

Our salad bar is offered on Wednesdays. There are different fruits and vegetables each week. It is a great way to expose children to different vegetables. If students order hot lunch, the salad bar is included. If they bring their own lunch, they can purchase the salad bar for $1.00. If you have any questions, you can contact Carol or me.

Greetings From Gail

September 21, 2012

Parents and schools are all concerned about bullying. Our guidance program focuses on bullying, its impact on others and how not to be a bystander. Bullying typically does not emerge from thin air. It starts with small, mean social behaviors.
These small, mean behaviors are what experts call "gateway behaviors." Bullying experts say that if such behaviors go unchecked, they can become accepted as the norm.

At Samuel Morey we try to teach students our "core concepts." We focus on them throughout the year. Our core concepts are: Caring/Kindness, Responsibility, Respect, Fairness, Trustworthiness and Belonging/Citizenship. Each class is responsible for becoming experts in their core concepts. They have bulletin boards highlighting their core concept at the beginning of each school year. They also learned poems, songs or a rap about their concept that they shared at community meeting.

  • Kindergarten and First Grade: Caring/Kindnesssme092121 5e
  • Second Grade: Responsibility
  • Third Grade: Respect
  • Fourth Grade: Fairness
  • Fifth Grade: Trustworthiness
  • Sixth Grade: Belonging/Citizenship.

Building a caring school community is the beginning to addressing bullying at schools. The pictures in this newsletter are pictures of students performing their rap, song or poem at today's community meeting.

Playground Equipment

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

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

Greetings From Gail

September 14, 2012

Some signs that we are back in school full swing:

  • NECAP test arrived in the mail for grades 3-6
  • Students are discussing their summer reading books in grades 5 & 6
  • Kindergarten students are now walking to the office to bring lunch and attendance without an adult
  • Field trips have started
  • Some upper grade students already forgot to do their homework and stayed in during recess
  • Reports of issues with the boys' bathroom being left messy
  • Buddy classes are meeting so they can get to know their buddies before the hike
  • And the best of all are the sounds of children's voices in the halls and at recess!

Mount Cardigan Hike Tuesday

Our traditional Mount Cardigan Hike will be taking place on Tuesday, weather permitting. This is the 12th year we have been hiking together as a school. Each year the participation grows and grows. We love the great extended school community feel of our hike.

For kindergarten parents you may be thinking this is a lot for kindergarten students to do; they do fine. It is not a race up the mountain. They hike in small groups with their older student buddy and at least one adult, sometimes more. Our older students have been trained to go at the pace of their younger buddy. Of course, they are very tired by the time they get home from school!!

We ask that your children ride the bus to the mountain, even if you are hiking with us. They sit with their buddies for the ride to the mountain. Of course, they may go home with you at the end of the hike. We ask that you sign them out with the adults at the bottom of the mountain. No child will be allowed to go home with another adult unless we have a note from the parent.

We have seen such great examples of helping hands, support for each other on this hike. Let's hope for good weather. Rain date is September 25th.

SME Flower Gardens

My hope and dream is to have beautiful flower gardens in our front circle where the buses turn around so that when our students, families and visitors come to our school they are "wowed" by the beauty of our flowers.

I would like to expand on the tulip garden in the front of the school where the buses turn around. Barb Fifield, our resident master flower gardener, with an amazing green thumb, has agreed to share some of the flowers from her own garden and to help get ours started.

To make this garden a reality, we need more chemical free railroad ties and top soil. If you know anyone who would be willing to donate railroad ties and topsoil, please let me know.

My goal is to get the area ready now so that in the spring students in our after school program can work with Barb on planting flowers.



Welcome Back Everyone!

home15It was wonderful to see the children walk through the doors of Samuel Morey to begin a new school
year. The first day of school is always so exciting. There were butterflies in stomachs, new school clothes, new lunch boxes, new names to remember---and that was the teachers!! The students were equally excited as they reunited with friends, gave hugs to last year's teachers and listened with great excitement to their new teachers tell them about the new school year.

Our first day started with our traditional parade around the school led by our sixth graders. After the parade the students were off to their new classes with their new teachers and new classmates. In the afternoon we had a community meeting where we welcomed all the kindergarten students and showcased the SME staff.

That was a little glimpse of how school began. I'm sure by now you have received even more important information about how this school year has begun—the information given to you by your son or daughter. The faculty and staff at Samuel Morey hope those reports are positive. We hope you feel the school year has begun well for your child.

Dropping Off and Picking Up Your Children

home14I would like to review our morning and afternoon procedures for arrival and dismissal of students. If your child arrives before 8:00 a.m., they must go directly to the playground with their backpacks unless it is raining and then they go to the gym.

With the exception of preschool, we ask that parents not walk their child to their classroom at 8:00 a.m. or after. When your child is late, they must be signed in at the office by you. Your child will then go to his or her class. Teachers are beginning morning routines; collecting notes from students about how they will get home, collecting lunch money and helping their students get settled. It is a very important and often hectic time of day. Please let the administrative assistant know if there is something special for us to relay to your child's teacher.

At the end of the day, we call riders first. These are students who are picked up by an adult. These students will meet that adult in the front hallway or outside in the pick-up area. If you are picking up your child, please do not park in the pick-up area. It holds up the line for other parents who are picking up their children.

Please do not go to your child's classroom to pick up your child. To ensure that students get home the right way, it is important that teachers are able to focus on dismissal.

Thank you for helping us ensure a great beginning and ending to the day.

July 30, 2012

Dear Samuel Morey Families,

I hope you all are having a wonderful summer. I love New England in the summer. I also enjoy summer because the “living is easy” with shorts and flip-flops. I spent most of my summer at Samuel Morey preparing for the new school year. I did manage to spend some quality time with my children and granddaughter though. My granddaughter is now 13 months old and on the move crawling and exploring everywhere and everything in the house. I can’t believe the joy and special bond and love of the first grandchild. I am head over heals for her. I am also reminded why toddlers are meant for young parents!!

The Academy was a very busy place this July as our Summerscapes program broke our old enrollment record. Tammy Macqueen and her staff provided a variety of academic and enrichment activities for Rivendell students. Our youngest students learned about the science of animals, practiced their math skills through fun games, and read and wrote poetry during literacy time. They also had art class everyday and participated in a drama component. The highlight of their program was the final, culminating activity—a performance of scenes from the Jungle Book.

Our older students also enjoyed camp, spending four weeks creating projects about animal issues and completing their summer reading assignments. There was plenty of fun as well. They participated in some amazing afternoon camps that included kayaking, Lego robotics, chemistry, abstract art and tennis. They also went on two very cool field trips to the Squam Lake Science Center and the Franklin Park Zoo. It is safe to say that all students had a “wild” time at Rivendell’s summer program!

I hope summer reading was part of your child’s summer schedule! Teachers will spend the first week of school discussing summer reading adventures. You can assure your child’s participation in those discussions by supporting your child’s completion of their summer reading. Our goal for Samuel Morey is for 100% participation, which we haven’t achieved yet. I hope this is the year! Students in kindergarten through fourth grade had a reading bingo card. Students entering grades five and six have “must read” books too. The “must read” books are about acceptance, respect and belonging, which are core concepts at Samuel Morey. Students will be discussing these books in their Language Arts class the first week of school. Please make sure your child brings their summer reading to school the first day. Summer reading documents are on the Rivendell website if you need another one.

Samuel Morey is sparkling thanks to Gary Collins and his crew. They worked feverishly over the summer to get our school ready for the new school year. The floors are waxed, rugs shampooed, new Smart Boards mounted and we have a new trophy case by the gym for all our sports teams’ trophies.

Nick Tymoczko and Emily Howard have moved on to pursue different adventures. We will miss them but change is inevitable and brings an opportunity to welcome new faces into our school. We welcome the new teachers and know they will add to our already wonderful school community. Here are some of the new faces:

  • Carmen Winchester will be teaching second grade. Carmen is transferring from Westshire and has many years teaching experience prior to Rivendell.
  • Anthony, “Skip”, Kunecki is our new physical education teacher. Skip is a recent graduate of Brockton College of State University of New York. He is a dedicated Triathlon participant and runs marathons as well. 

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

I would like to share some news about my role as Head of Elementary Schools and our play structure.
Bridget Fariel unexpectedly resigned as the Principal of Westshire. In consideration of the limited time left before school starts, the Board has developed an interim one-year plan for Westshire. This year I will be providing support and guidance as Principal/Head of Elementary Schools for both Samuel Morey and Westshire. Tammy MacQueen will serve as Assistant Principal for Westshire and be responsible for the daily operation of Westshire. This will not impact my leadership and dedication to Samuel Morey but I will be spending a few hours each week at Westshire.

This Spring some significant damage was found to the posts of our elementary school play structures. This damage progressed to the point where the structures needed to be closed for safety reasons. The District is working with both representatives of the manufacturer and our insurance company to try and resolve these issues as quickly and safely as possible. At the present time, the plan is to tear down our present playground and hopefully replace it in early fall. We hope to have a plan in place soon that will give our students and families a safe playground environment by early fall.

It is inspiring to witness the return of dedicated teachers at this time of year as they reconnect to discuss curriculum, plan engaging lessons and activities, and work with great anticipation towards a new year of learning partnerships with our students. Each year I marvel at the treasures they manage to find over the summer for their classrooms. On Thursday, August 23rd teachers will be working in their classrooms from 2:30-3:30 p.m. During that time families are invited to stop in and meet their new teacher.  I hope to see you in the halls on your way to and from your child’s classroom.

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

  • Meet Your Teacher—Thursday, August 23rd, 2:30-3:30
  • First day of school for Students—Monday, August 27th. We traditionally meet in front of the school where children find their teacher. We invite parents to join us to see their children off and to wish them best for a new school year. School begins at 8:00 a.m. and ends at 3:00 p.m. There is supervision on the playground starting at 7:30 a.m. Please do not drop your child off before 7:30 a.m.
  • Thursday is an early release day for students. Students are released between 1:45 and 2:00 p.m.
  • There is no Visions/After School program the first few weeks of school. We will let you know the start date as soon as possible.

I know our staff is looking forward to the halls being filled with children once again. We are ready to open our doors and our hearts to do the important work of educating your children. The staff of Samuel Morey Elementary School recognizes the awesome responsibility we have to frame your child’s school experiences. We realize the powerful impact we have on the lives of children both academically and emotionally and look forward to making this year the best we can for all of the children of Samuel Morey.

Enjoy the rest of the summer and don’t forget your child’s summer reading!

With Great Excitement,

Gail Keiling, Head of Elementary Schools/Principal of Samuel Morey