Friday, April 8, 2016

LES April Principal's Report

Lee Elementary School 2015/2016
“Opening Doors”
                                                                                                                                                                                     Kate Retzel, Principal

To:     School Committee
Date:  April 8, 2016

·         Our April PD was used as a last period of time for development of our MCUs.  Many teachers have already finished units and others are just beginning them now. Below is a list of MCUs utilized with LES students this year for your consideration and amazement:
K – Mo Williams Author Study
1 – Animals and Habitats*; Poetry: Expanding Language, Sound, and Meaning
2 – Bees Unit (with an extension on Polar Bears for some)*; Geography, Land, and People; Civil Rights and Equality for All; Traditions and Customs; Matter Through Poetry*
3 – Extreme Weather; The American Revolution; Poetry
4 – Weathering and Erosion
5 – Plants and Ecosystems*; Engineering*; Matter/Pre-Chemistry*; European Exploration of the Americas- Perspectives on the Spanish Conquest of Latin America
6 – Heroes of the Iliad
* symbol indicates a cooperation with Flying Cloud Institute.

I am sure you can see the integration of Science and Social Studies now possible with  the ELA base to units.  You will also notice that some grade levels have extended much beyond the requirement of one MCU for the year!  (1.2;1.4; High quality professional development is essential for improving educational practice and maximizing student achievement.)

·         A concerned group of teachers is revisiting the LES Behavior Rubric with me and creating behavior expectations for all areas of the school – the hallway; the cafeteria; the classroom; the bathroom; the buses (arrival and dismissal); and the playground. We will be introducing the expectations and new rubric during our May Community Gathering.  We will try them out for the remaining month of school and then tweak for a September fresh start with students.  With our changing population, we feel it necessary to use the rubric and expectations more rigidly and have more adults visible and on board to ensure we continue to create a safe learning environment.   (5.3; Reasonable rules of behavior are necessary for the development of self-discipline and personal responsibility.)

·         Please consider attending the Lee Youth Drama show, Annie Jr., on Thursday, April 14th, or Friday, April 15th.  Both shows are at 7pm in the Z.  It will be another extravaganza!  Of that, I am sure.  Unfortunately, April 15th will be the final show for our Drama Director, Jessica Pollard.  We wish her the best in any new endeavors she now has time to pursue.  We thank her for many years of dedicated service in the development of an outstanding, all-inclusive drama program second to none at any elementary school I know of! Her dedication has reached out and hugged students and their families giving them a place to learn and grow.  She will be terribly hard to replace.  (4.2; 5.5; We believe in a standard of excellence throughout the district in all endeavors.)

·         At last check in, Kate Olender had 99 appointments for use of the tablets recently purchased!  She will work with 4th graders composing songs and doing assessment in Music class.  1st, 3rd, and 4th graders will be creating presentations with recorded components.  Our 5th graders are using them for electronic math practice and research. We are as excited as the students are for the electronic enhancements to classwork.  Students are so engaged!!! (1.6; 2.2)

Thursday, April 7, 2016

LMHS Principal Report - April 2016

Principal’s Report - LMHS
April 2016

·         We had a very well-received presentation to the student body by Jeff Bauman on March 9.  His message of resiliency and overcoming obstacles was an important one for our students (and, that evening, the community) to hear.  [District goals 5.1, 5.3]
·         Most of our AP classes held mock exams on Saturdays in March, giving the students an opportunity to practice a full-length test scored by an outside agency.  The AP teachers decided to continue providing this service, which previously was part of our MMSI grant. [1.4, 4.5, 4.6]
·         We have posted the carpentry / woodshop position for the new school year.  Additionally, we have had several positive responses to my invitation to be on a new carpentry advisory committee.  We continue to work with McCann Tech to explore and plan what this program may look like in the future. [1.2, 3.4, 4.2]
·         Grades 7, 8 and 10 have completed their MCAS English Language Arts tests.  The grades 7 and 8 tests included a new PARCC-type narrative writing section.  This section is unlike any MCAS composition done in the past.  MCAS Math occurs in May.
·         On April 1, we began the scheduling process for the 2016-17 school year, with grade level assemblies for grades 8-11.  We also sent representatives to St. Mary’s School and to Farmington River to present.  On April 6, we held our annual information night for the families of current 6th graders.  Our plan is to collect course registrations before April vacation, and use the month of May to build the schedule for the new year.
·         Congratulations to Tyler Buratto for receiving the Francis X. Keating Award for overcoming adversity at the Western Mass. Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame.  There is an excellent article on which can also be accessed from the LMHS Facebook page.
·         Congratulations to the middle school Robotics Team in their inaugural season!  They placed 9th out of 33 teams, and earned the “Rookie Team of the Year” award.
·         Congratulations to the members of the senior class, who have racked up an impressive listing of college acceptances this year.  Dan Korte has created the following graphic:

Respectfully submitted,

Gregg Brighenti