Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Principal Report Kate Retzel 2-13-18

Elementary School 2017/2018
"In the desert of life, you are my oasis."
Kate Retzel, Principal
To: School Committee Date:  February 13, 2018
         We had 30 total 5th grade and 6th grade students made the "B's or Better" Club for the second quarter. As the name suggests, students must have B's or A's in all subjects (Specials included) to be named to the B's and Better Club. The students achieving this are below:
5th Grade - Alyssa Hoctor; Karalynn Hopkins*; Ava Lopez*; Griffin McElroy*; Kelly Molino*; Tess Olender; Mia Puleri*; Sophia Puntin*; Delaney Reed*; Lillian Reynolds*; Omari Smith*; Dominic Velasco*
6th Grade - Nick Beckman*; Tyler Carlson*; Korey Chen*; Abby DeCicco; Jackson Decker*; Savannah DiSantis; Taejen Drozd; Grayson Field; Ruby Hauck; Jillian Heath*; Kira Johnson*; Shaelyn Kelly*; Shaun Kinney; Isabella Kotek*; Cooper Malqney*; Allen Ni*; Arianne Resca*; Angelina Williams*
*Those students with a star have achieved "B's and Better" status for both 1st and 2nd quarters.  22 students achie ved this standing.
         We were excited to receive a $500 grant from the Exxon Mobil Educational Alliance. Savi Veyma, the manager of Mobil Convenience in Lee, nominated us. The only stipulation of the grant is that we use it for STEM work in the system. Our $500 will be used to create a Makerspace in what was previously the Computer Lab at LES.
Makersp aces are also called hackerspaces. hacl<spaces, and fablabs. They are collaborative spaces where students gather to get creative with DIY projects, invent new ones, and share ideas. We would like our Maker Space to be a community space where classes can go to use materials and have a good space to experiment, investigate, problem- solve, invent, design, share (present), etc .... This space will allow students to be creative in all subject areas. Our students can easily become engineers ma  maker space where they can dream, plan,  build
and test their creations and redesign. It is our goal to have a Maker Faire this June instead of a Science Fair.
In order to set up our Maker Space we will need storage shelves and bins for supplies. Most supplies will be donated as creating will happen using recycled materials (cardboard, wood  scraps, plastic contain <'r'>. et c..), h1, t we will ·1e ed <;upplics such as glue, glue guns and glue sticks, scissors, tap<·s. battc,1es, .vin , s t1 ing, Lt c (anything needed for building). Simple hand tools would  be fabulou5 to  have on  hand as we have no access to  these ite  ms.

         Plans are underway for our annual Read Across America Day/Week thanks to Mia Darone and Lori Curtin. Spirit Week is February 26th_ March zrd a nd includes the  following activities culminating  in many guest  readers on t ha t Friday.


Monday- "The Cat in the  Hat" Wear your favorite  hat.

Tuesday- "Fox in Socks" Wear silly or mismatched   socks.

Wednesday- "Wacky Wednesday" Wear your clothes backwards , ins ide out or mismatched.

Thursday- "Sleep Book" Wear appropriate pajamas or comfy clothes. Friday- "Oh the Places You' ll Go" Dress up as the profession you hope to be when you grow up.


         I want to last congratulate Ms. Erin White, Ms. Pat Feldman and our eleme ntary musicians and singers on the wonderful Winter Concert this past month. I'm always just amazed. I think the highlight was the chorus singing the Snow Day so ng and we actually got one the very next day!!!

Principal Report Gregg Brighenti 2-13-18

Principnl's Report February 2018
          January 12 Half Day- We held a school-wide presentation to end the half-day.  A student-led group from Williams College shared their work regarding the immigrant experience in the United States, and took questions from the audience.  Thanks to Mary Verdi of our English department for organizing this very informative presentation! In the afternoon of this half day, our faculty worked in departmental groups on curriculum m:cds.
         On January 16, I attended the MIAA Lacrosse Committee meeting at the Association's headquarters in Franklin. I was there to appeal the placement of our boys and girls teams to a higher division in this year's realignment process. I'm happy to report that both appeals were successful. and we will be remaining in our current divisions.
          On January 19, we held our annual Junior Honor Society induction ceremony for Slh graders. Congratulations to new JI-IS members Grat:c Bauek, Kyle Benzie. Timothy Besaw, Hannah Briggs, Tyler Brock, Elizabeth Brown, Emma Condron, Matthew Kinney, Maya Kollmer, Madison LaRock, Caroline Maloney. Emma Puleri. Emma Puntin, Dylan Shepard, Hayden Siok, Evan Trombley, Cameron Tyer, Rachel Wendling, and Elliot Winston.
          High school students had midterm assessmen ts on January 17, 1,8   and 19.  This was the second
year holding assessments in a department-based format where, for example, all English assessments are given at the same time. The facu lty will continue to review our midterm and final assessment structures moving forward, r articul arly as we also move towards implementing competency-based grading.
          Gig Wellington and J attended the Lee Conservation Commission again on January I 7. with our consultant from Foresight Land Services. We received approval form the Commission on our revised plans for the proposed Maple Street practice field. The plan was revised to address some concerns from abutters regarding. \\atcr runoff i nto the nearby brook. We will now seek estimates for what the work would cost to move forward.
          Our annual Junior Job Shadow Day was held on Friday.  February 2.  Our entire junior class, plus a few seniors, completed a job shadow expe rie nce on that day, in coordination with the Berkshire County Regional Employment Board. Special thanks to guidance counselor Dan Korte and English teacher Jane McEvoy for coordim1tin g this worthwhile experience for our students! One of our students, Michelle Desiata '18. was featured  in the Berkshire Eagle story the next day.

300 Greylock Street, Lee, Massachusetts 01238    413-243-2780    Fax 413-243-


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         Our music department held an enjoyable and entertaining band and choral concert on February 6. The theme was ''Around the World." with musical selections from different countries and cultures. A highlight was the educational mini-speeches provided for the audience before each piece.


          Several of our student-artists have works feutured at the 32" Annual Berkshire County High School Art Show at the Norman Rockwell Museum.  These works are on display through March

4. I encourage you to check them out if you have a chance!


         The annual spring march of testing has begun! We have completed our ACCESS testing with our ELL students, as well as the retests for high school biology MCAS.  Coming up soon after vacation will be the ELA MCAS tests for grades 7, 8, and I 0, followed by math MCAS in the same grades. AP testing will happen in May. followed by grade 8 science MCAS and grade 9 Biology MCAS in early June.  Some\\·here in there we will also be able to teach some classes!


         Our quarterly Wildcat Newsletter was issued  in early February.  I will provide copies for you at the committee meeting; it is also available on our website and Facebook page. Thanks once again to Dan Korte for putting together this informative publication for our parents.


          Don't miss Shrek: The Musical presented by our drama program on Friday, March 9 and Saturday, March JO at 7:00pm, with a mnlinee performance on Sunday, March 11 at 2:00pm. It is sure to be a fun time!



Respectfully Submitted,


Gregg M. Brighenti Principal

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Mrs. Retzel's Principal Report December 12, 2017

Date: December 12, 2017
         I am pleased to say that the following clubs and activities will be run for the coming year. Some have already begun. We strive to have a variety of opportunities for students here after school to keep them here and active that also have enriching benefits. Many thanks to the teachers for continuing to provide these activities. (1.1, 1.3)
Fun & Fitnessj After School Floor Hockey; Morning Fitness - Julia Warner Technology Club -Trysta Desantis/Kate Olender
Jazz Band/Enrichment Band - Erin White Geography Club - Tom Finnegan
Wildcat Tales Newspaper - Ruth Lecompte Robotics - Paula Duhon & Parent Volunteer
Comic Book Art Club; After School Art Club: Alternate Materials; & After School Art Club: Younger Generation -  Brandon Boule Chess Club - Renee Spizz & Lauren Finnegan
Student Council - Counney Sparks &Cindy Fuller
          Some firefighters came to the first Gathering on Friday, October 20th, to present for
Fire Safety Month. The Kindergarten, Grade 1, and Grade 2 went from the gym out to the back parking lot to see trucks and learn about some of the equipment. Chief Brown visited Head Startandboth AM and PM Preschool with his favorite Golden Book story about firefighting. You may have noticed the fire hats students and badges the students were wearing! If just one family now has a fire escape plan or maybe one more volunteer joins the force (sometime in the future, of course),  this
use of Gathering time will be well worth it. Thanks to Chief Brown and Captain Tyer for doing a great job! (4.4, 5.1, 5.2)

         In addition to Flying Cloud assisting teachers to write ELA and Science-based Model Curriculum Units on half daysand in residencies (approved), we have collaborated to potentially access several grants for the coming year to enrich our Science and
Social Studies Curriculums. (1.1, 1.3, 2.1)
a     First, a little history lesson: The Harlem Renaissance was the development of the Harlem neighborhood in New York City as a black cultural mecca in the early 20th Century and the subsequent social and artistic explosion that resulted. Lasting roughly from the 1910s through the mid-1930s, the period is considered a golden age in African American culture, manifes ting in literature, music. stage performance and art. Now the opportunity; We have applied for a grant to have a person come to present a music program with ties to poetry highlighting the Harlem Renaissance. This would be in the Spring or early next Fan tying into our 4th grade curriculum.
o                We have received a grant with Mass Audubon for a presenter who will strengthen and enhance the LES 2,,.i grade science curriculum by designing and  implementing a new unit that engages students in earth science concepts through hands-on activities and field studies as a means to deepen their understanding of landforms and wind and water erosion. Mass Audubon's environmental science specialist will provide professional development training in earth science concepts and inquiry-based teaching methods for the 2nd grade science teachers at LES.
        It's always an  inspiring and validating experience to assist all the  staff  in choosing   and writing goals for evaluation.  I think it is really telling that 38 (about %) of the   goals are team  goalsshowing our  tendency to  pull together  assuch a small staff and  get things done using the existing mechanisms we have at our disposal (Curriculum Teams; evaluation goals; Floating and  regular PD days; and general  consultation).  Also, they should  reflect larger needs and goals the  District or School  has. Ours do. We have 19 goalsspecifically addressing Self Regulated Strategy Development in Writing and an additional 4 in the area of using key ideas/details in writing.  14 are  in the area of Model Curriculum Unit (MCU) development  -  most Science  related, but also addressing ELA gaps. This is not to say Math is not being addressed. We have 8 Math goals some even combining the  concepts of Close  Reading to  Math problems. We have staff who have identified low-achieving groups and are committing to accelerated  progress and  proper  pacing for these students.   We have some continuation and enhancement of the MindUp curriculum, Facilitated Play, and Mindfulness work from last year as well.  It's one thing to say we are  working on  certain  things,  but yet another  when  they are solidly  represented  in the  way we work. Looking forward to learning about each and every one of your efforts in your  areas of focus. (1.1,1.3, 1.4, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 2.5, 4.6, 5.1, 5.2, 5.3)




         Another tremendous and heartwarming Veterans Day Gathering was held for over 40 visiting veterans last Thursday.  I would like to acknowledge the planning team led by Lori Curtin. The team members were Tim Mertinooke, Jen Carlino, Pat Feldman, Erin White, Mia Darone, Donna Kresiak, and Kristen Decker. Our speakers this year were Mr. Al Skrocki, Mr. Glenn Wilcox, and Rep. Smitty Pignatelli. This is always a special remembrance and honor-filled occasion. (4.2, 4.6, 5.1)



         It is outstanding to be able to report that as of today, Mr. Mertinooke has followed up with over 100 families to discuss absences, tardies, or dismissals of their students that have accumulated to three days and 30 or so families that the above have totaled five days. As developed, our Attendance Policy is a "helping'' one where families are informed of and supported through attendance issues. This follow through alone carries with it valuable opportunities to assist families with all types of needed support hence greater achievement and school engagement for many morestudents than has ever possible in my tenure. (2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 2.5, 4.6, 5.1, 5.2, 5.3)



         Concerning the ELA Curriculum Review Cycle, we are happy to report thatstudents in grade 3-8 are  now being exposed  to vocabulary and grammar in a more systematic and  coordinated way using complementary  textbooks across schools. Our hope is that transition between schools will be enhanced by these similar programs and, of course, grammar usage and vocabulary development will improve as is indicated as a need in data analysis. At the elementary school, we are looking at a training for Self-regulated Strategy Development in the  Spring for teachers in grades 3-6.  We propose that grades 1-2 will receive a training in the beginning of next year with K teachers accessing a computer-based training also in the fall. Our ELA K-12 Review Team wiU be meeting Jan. 8th to continue the review. (1.1, 1.2, 1.4, 2.1, 2.2, 2.4)