Wednesday, February 3, 2016

LES Principal's Report, February 2016

Lee Elementary School 2015/2016
“Opening Doors”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Kate Retzel, Principal
To:  School Committee
Date:  February 9, 2016
·         Our Gathering will be held in the “Z” rather than the gymnasium on February 10th at 10am.  Our high school band has invited us to a “children’s concert”.  As our Gathering usually features musical numbers, this was a perfect fit to have our stars from LMHS perform for us.  Also, we will be hearing a speaker from “Pennies for Patients”, a program we annually support to collect for the childhood cancer cause.  We will be honoring our “Bs and Better” Club students for the second quarter and acknowledging our Accelerated Reader achievers, too. 4th and 6th grade are both scheduled to “Shine” as well. “Shine” is our name for a curriculum-based sharing of some sort (poem, written pieces, songs, skits, etc.) at Gatherings. (Goal 1; 5.1; 5.2)

·         Sean Anderson and some members of his crew from the Nike Factory Outlet in Lee will be visiting our PE classes to referee some floor hockey matches.  The students always enjoy the new faces and look up to them as examples of health and community service!!!  This is the second year Sean has reached out to us to contribute to wellness at LES. Last year, they were also referees in classes and assistants at Field Day. (3.2; 5.1)

·         Mia Darone and Lori Curtin are once again planning Community Reading Day on March 2nd at 9:30am. It is a joy to have Community Members visit classrooms and share great literature and a bit of their life experience with our students.  (3.2; 3.4)

·         Our Student Council is up to some great things!  On February 12th they are holding a pajama day at school for all students that will lead into ParentsNight Out that evening for some.  For a small fee, parents can drop off their children and take their Valentine out on a date while their little ones can play games, dine on pizza, and watch a movie here at school all safe and snug.  Proceeds will support the Student Council’s future projects.  Also, this month, the Council organized our cooperation with Big Y and our local USO in sending over 150 Valentines from LES to servicemen and woman overseas.  This effort is part of Big Y’s 80th Anniversary celebration.  (3.2; 5.1; 5.2)

·         Our January PD was used wisely in the continued development of our MCUs and some correction of writing samples gathered for our writing program.  Many teachers are currently using the units with students and I am seeing them in action as a formal observation, an obligation of the evaluation system at the same time. Some highlights of our MCU work have been the appreciation of the complexity level of texts students are charged with reading; exploration of the Curriculum Embedded Performance Assessments, a type of assessment which is more of a project than an exam; and the opinions our youngest of learners are able to form in an in-depth author study.  Also, I did a mid-year check-in with staff via survey to gather data to ensure we are covering the 5 Components of Reading, Writing standards, and differentiating instruction enough.  What I suspected and now know is that we are quite solid in all areas of reading and are working on any weaknesses in our Curriculum Teams.  What I will also say is that the differentiation techniques are top-notch at this school!  Our teachers could write a textbook on how it’s done.  (1.2; We believe, given the opportunity, every student can reach his or her full potential.) 

LMHS Principal's Report, February 2016

Lee, Massachusetts

Principal’s Report
February 2016

                First off, some congratulations:
·         To Corey Gaherty and Jack Purcell, students of the month for December.  (I apologize for not including this in last month’s report!)
·         To Morgan Bohn and Devon Atwell, for participating in the Cool Science Art Contest sponsored by UMass.  Devon was an honorable mention, and Morgan was a contest winner.
·         To Kendra Williams for being named the All-Berkshire volleyball MVP by the Berkshire Eagle.
·         To Thomas Fraser and Devyn Olds, for being named to the All-Eagle First Team for golf.
·         To Shenna Tyer, Kendra Williams, and Courtney Picard for being named to the All-Berkshire First Team for volleyball; and to Anna Wang for being named to the All-North Team.
·         To Sam Harding, for being named to the All-Berkshire cross country team.
·         To Sam Harding, Meghan Earl, Samantha Goyette, Cassidy Crawford, Jessica Sammons, Sarah Cook, Will Kastrinakis, and Madison DeSantis for having their art works displayed at the 30th Annual Berkshire County High School Art Show hosted by the Norman Rockwell Museum.  The Exhibition opening event will be Saturday, February 6 from 2:00-4:00pm; the exhibit will be on view from February 6 through March 6.

Special thanks are owed to Lee Bank and Lipton Energy for generous contributions to LMHS.  Both organizations have been very supportive of the school in the past; this time, Lee Bank has donated $1,000 for the purchase of Chromebooks for use in our intervention classes in math and English; Lipton Energy’s $500 donation will be used for the same purpose.  These resources are being dedicated to helping to close gaps in students’ knowledge and understanding of key topics and concepts that are holding them back from success in these areas.   As I’m writing this, we have just received an additional $400 from Greylock Federal Credit Union toward this program.  I am continually amazed and appreciative of the incredible support that our community demonstrates to our schools and students!  [District goals 1.3, 1.6, 3.2, 4.3, 4.6]

High school students completed mid-year exams for the first time in several years on January 20-22, using a new department-based format.  Feedback from teachers indicate that most faculty members liked the new format; there was mixed reaction from students.  We have committed to using this format for finals in June as well, and the faculty will then review it to decide on next year.  Semester 2 officially began on Monday, January 25.  It’s hard to believe we’re more than half-way through the school year!   [District goals 4.5, 4.6]

February 2nd was our annual Junior Job Shadow Day.  Nearly all members of the junior class found placements in the community to shadow a career that they are interested in possibly pursuing in the future.  The students then have assignments in their English class that are related to the career; and in the spring, this will tie in directly to our career fair and mock interviews.  [District goals 3.2, 3.4]

On our January 15th half day, the LMHS faculty continued their training and implementation on our school-wide writing rubric.  Led by members of our English department, teachers discussed how the implementation was working across the different subject areas and grade levels.  Combined with technology training (specifically Google Apps), this has been a thread in our professional development all year.  [District goals 1.6, 2.2, 4.1, 4.4, 4.6]

                In athletic updates from last month, we have been forced to dissolve the co-op with Lenox in football in order to maintain our placement in the new division 4A.  The three Lenox students who were members of the team last year will be grandfathered-in until they graduate.  We have also dissolved the co-op with Lenox in boys’ lacrosse due to low numbers of signups in both schools; for this year, Monument Mountain will host a three-way co-op with Lenox and us.  Both of these decisions were made after careful consideration and discussion, including with the Lenox administration.  Also in football news, the Berkshire County principals will be voting before vacation on whether to merge for football only with the Pioneer Valley conference; the county athletic directors have already approved the merger.  This would be a one-year experiment if approved by the principals.  [District goal 5.5]

Respectfully submitted,

Gregg M. Brighenti