Monday, January 12, 2015

LES Principal Report, January 2015

LES School Committee Report

January 13, 2015

ELA Curriculum Planning:

I have been able to search out a couple options for ELA curriculum consultation so we can get moving on solidifying a multi-year plan of attack.  As luck would have it, the Berkshire District and School Assistance Center (Berkshire DSAC) has two newly-hired Literacy consultants. They haven’t had any literacy folks for quite a while for us to access.  Our Level 2 status doesn’t get us as many services as those ranked lower in status, but they always are gracious about helping in any way they can.   As of this report’s date, Lori Curtin, as ELA Department Head, and I should have already met with Sharon DeCarlo, one of the new Berkshire DSAC folks, concerning her suggestions for next steps for our ELA curriculum.  Additionally, I have been in contact with a newly-retired educator, upon a very solid recommendation, who has served as Curriculum Director, oversaw grants, managed system assessments, and a multitude of other areas in a Western Mass neighboring district.  Mr. Skrocki, Lori Curtin, and I will be meeting with her in March as that is the soonest she is available.  I have already had a preliminary conversation with her and it is looking like her skill-set may very possibly be a quality match for our needs.   One training option concerns collaboration with several Berkshire County neighbors to share Professional Development in the ELA realm this summer for Early Literacy and in the fall for Intermediate Literacy.  As you can see, we are making some headway with the funds set aside for the curriculum.  (We believe programs, services, and facilities should be of the highest quality and responsive to the changing needs of our local and global community.
Student Art On Display in Boston!
Mr. Boule has submitted six student’s printmaking art pieces to the Massachusetts Arts Education Association for display at the Massachusetts State Transportation Building in Boston.  The exhibit will be displayed from January 19th – February 27th.  The projects were created in the style of Andy Warhol and during a pop art printmaking unit he did with sixth graders.  If you are around the Boston area, it would definitely be worth a peek.  (We believe in promoting broad-based communication and school-family-community partnerships.
December 22nd Community Gathering

The entire faculty, staff, and students gathered before the holidays to acknowledge each other, perform for each other, and discuss bucket filling efforts.  We acknowledged our top reading class and the top individual readers in the Accelerated Reading program, our first quarter Bs and Better Club students ( a total of 38 students (9 fifth and 29 sixth graders) received the honor), and those students who had taken the time to record the ways they filled fellow students and family member’s buckets on a log.  Eight of our Bucket Fillers had a great time playing a game with real live buckets and bean bags to represent good deeds and kind words.  Leave it to Mrs. Lucy and Mrs. Warner to team up for a loud, active, learning-reinforcing game!  The Principal’s Award went to the Wildcat Tales newspaper staff.  They just published an edition in December with Ms. LeCompte and Mrs. DeSantis’ guidance.  Several of Mr. Boule’s sixth grade students shared their “Insightful Eye” projects.  The students were instructed to draw an eye and fill it with representations that symbolized each student’s unique qualities.  You could hear a pin drop during this sharing session!  The musical selections were “Dodi Li”, a Hebrew song sung by the 5th/6th grade chorus and “Good King Wenceslas” performed by our Concert Band.  Once again, our Gathering showed what’s important to us here at LES. (We believe every member of the school, community, and family deserves to be treated with respect and courtesy.  AND we believe in a standard of excellence throughout the district in all endeavors.)
Respectfully submitted,

Kate Retzel, LES Principal

Friday, January 9, 2015

LMHS Principal's Report-January 2015


Lee, Massachusetts 

Principal’s Report

January 9, 2015

            First, a big “congratulations” is due to the following middle school students for being inducted into the National Junior Honor Society this week:  Gabrielle Bridagan, Emma Wellspeak, Emilia Viola, Bailey Thomas, Ann Macchi, Andrew Ruef, Ashley Barnes, Ava Martin, Jodi Morawiec, Homer Winston, Connor LaRock, Benjamin Harding, Kyle Tisdale, Carrie Conklin, Thomas Fraser, Anna Wang, Stone Murphy, Jillian Artioli, William Consolati, Ibrahim Zia, and John Somostrada.  [District goals 4.5, 4.6]
            Diane Carroll and her group of student volunteers braved the snowstorm on December 10th to once again put on a Community Supper for the town at the Congregational Church.  While the community turnout was low this time due to the weather, the students served up a spaghetti dinner, with desserts prepared by Deb Connors’ Life Skills classes.  There are two more suppers planned for this year; financial support has been generously provided through a grant from the Berkshire Taconic Foundation.  [District goals 3.4, 3.5]

I’m happy to report that we have purchased and are in the process of implementing a testing product for grades 7-12 – STAR Reading and STAR Math by Renaissance Learning.  A nationally-recognized assessment suite, the STAR platform will, for the first time, allow us to put in place benchmark testing in reading and math for middle and high school students.  This spring, we will collect baseline data on students in grades 6-11; this data will help us finalize plans for a structured, tiered intervention and support program for middle and high school students for the 2015-16 school year.  During the next school year, we will give the STAR assessments several times throughout the year for progress monitoring purposes as we roll out the new support system.  [District goals 1.2, 1.3, 4.3, 4.6]

            I’ve been meeting with the middle school team to discuss plans for next year.  Aligned with the STAR assessments mentioned above, we hope to develop a schedule that provides for an intervention period for students needing this support.  We are also determined to create a schedule that allows for physical education for all middle school students every-other-day throughout the school year.  Additionally, our hope is to create a quarterly elective rotation for all middle school students as an “exploration” of woodshop, art, computers, music, study skills, and individual reading.  Throwing world languages and band into the mix further complicates making this work, but we are determined to find a way to create the best experience for our middle school students.  [District goals 4.2, 4.3, 4.5, 4.6]

            As you know, on December 17, in cooperation with the Lee Police Department, we conducted a preventative canine search of the building and parking lots.  At the same time, we were able to drill our shelter-in-place procedures while the dogs searched the grounds.  The entire experience went off very well, and no contraband was found in the process, which we are certainly happy about.  [District goal 5]

            Over the holiday break, Gig and his crew were able to install three new trophy cases in the main lobby.  This has allowed us to display many of the trophies that have been in storage since the renovations 12 years ago.  A community member has also let us know that she is planning to make a memorial donation in the near future to cover the costs of another case, which would allow us to have the rest of the trophies displayed.  Additionally, we are in the process of cleaning and installing the plaques for the named spaces within the building that were not re-installed after the renovation; those will go up over the next several months.  Perhaps the most impressive feat will be the planned re-installation of the old World War II memorial plaque from the basement of the old Central School, listing the names of Lee High graduates who died in that war.  All of these items together will allow us to celebrate our school’s rich history, as we move forward planning for the future.  [District goals 3.2, 3.4]

            Happy New Year to all!

Respectfully submitted,

Gregg Brighenti