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)

Mrs. Retzel's Principal Report January 9, 2018

Date:  January 9, 2018

"In  the desert of life, you are my oasis."

Kate Retzel, Principal

""* In addition to the information about "Ongoing Food Security Efforts at LES" sheet and the Wildcat Tales that both share loads of LES news.  the following should also be highlighted.
         Please forgive me for leaving this information off the December report. We had eleven 5th grade students and eighteen 6th grade students make the "B's or Better" Club. 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 benchmark for the 1st Quarter are as follows:
5th Grade - Nya Chaffee; Karalynn Hopkins; Ava Lopez; Griffin McElroy; Kelly Molino; Mia Puleri; Sophia Puntin; Delaney Reed; Lillian Reynolds; Omari Smith;  Dominic Velasco
6th Grade - Meckenzie Baird; Nick Beckman; Devon Brock; Tyler Carlson; Korey Chen; Dayrahlin Deane; Jackson Decker; Jillian Heath; Emily Holian; Kira Johnson; Shaelyn Kelly; Isabella Kotek; Cooper Maloney; Allen Ni; Arianne Resca; El1a Walger; Angelina Williams; JJ Nichols
         Our Gathering on December 21st was a celebration to bid farewell to Mr. Skrocki. There was a customized Jingle Bell goodbye song that sort of resembled a flash mob and a wonderful skit of the day Mr. Skrocki single-handedly saved the 3rd graders from a bee attack.  He will be missed.
         The District Attorney's Office staff has joined us for presentation of the 8 week long "Life Skills" programming. The program is focused on education towards a healthy and safe lifestyle for students now and in the future.  Fo11owing a pilot with 6th grade last year in cooperation with Lee PD, we now have expanded the program to all grades 3-6 this year. This is an outstanding community collaboration for our students.
Tuesday, December 5th - Berkshire Music School Presentation: Willy Was Different - 1:30 - 2:15pm *Grade 1 having recess at 12:25-12:45 with grade 3 then to lunch?

Wednesday, Dec. 6th through Dec. 20th - 504s/S1Ts - Google doc was shared already.

Thursday, Dec. 7th
1:30-2:30pm - Grade 2 Full Team Meeting/ Character Development 5:30-7pm - PTO Fundraiser Pick-Up: Hallway by Gym
*******Week of 12/11 - Life Skills programming begins at LES - Times and days as follows:
Grade 4 - 9:30-10:15am (8 weeks) *This is the final tweaked time. Grade 3 - 10:20-11am (8 weeks) *This is the final tweaked time. Grade 5 - 2-2:45pm (8 weeks)


Grade 6 (15 weeks+ 3 optional weeks)-10:30-11:15am

Tuesday, December 12th:

9:30-10:15am - Grade 4 Full Team/ Life Skills 10:20-llam - Grade 3 Full Team/ Life Skills
2-2:45pm - Grade 5 Full Team /Life Skills
Thursday, December 14th: K Full Team:
10:30-Uam - Charlene/Amber Character Development 11-11:30am - Kathy/Allie Character Development
Friday, December 15th
8:50-9:SOam -  PK Full Team Meeting
6-9pm -  Robotics Parents Night Out -  Cafeteria
Monday, December 18th
9-10am - Grade 1 Full Team/ Character Development STAFF HOLIDAY LUNCHEON

12:45-2:lSpm  -  Student  Council  to  nursing home

Wednesday, December 20th - Grade 6 Full Team/Life Skills Thursday, December 21st

9-9:30am - Pinata/Carolers from LMHS to grades 1, 4, and 6 (more spaces available)

10:30-11:lSam - Community Gathering

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Principal's Report January 2018

Principal’s Report

January 2018


As we head into the last two weeks of the first semester of the school year, preparing to start the second semester on January 22, I am happy to report on some of the last month’s activities at LMHS:


  • The school held an Equality Fair on Friday, December 22.  Planned and sponsored by the Social Justice Club under the direction of advisor Jane McEvoy, the event started with mini-displays throughout the building that students toured.  Various groups’ historic and current struggles for equality were presented in interactive exhibits.  We then had a school-wide assembly with former Governor Jane Swift addressing the students and taking questions.  At the end of the day, we had a whole-school celebration with hot chocolate and cookies before heading out on vacation.  It was an excellent and enjoyable day, as reflected in two great articles in the Berkshire Eagle.  All of the students and faculty members who helped make the day possible deserve thanks!

  • On January 3, Gig and I attended a Conservation Commission meeting to explain the details of our plans for the new practice field on the Maple Street property.  The Commission seemed supportive of the plan, but there were a few of our neighbors who raised some concerns.  Each of the neighbors supported the idea of the practice field, but were concerned that our plans may exacerbate some flooding issues on their properties.  Our engineer from Foresight Land Services believes that we may alleviate much of those concerns by planting thirsty trees (such as willows) along the perimeter of the field.  We will return to the Conservation Commission next week to discuss this and hopefully receive the Commission’s approval.  As a reminder, this practice field would replace the one lost due to the tennis court construction 15 years ago.

  • This past Saturday, our TV team was featured on WGBY’s “As Schools Match Wits.”  The LMHS team of Sophie Burnell, Colin Finnegan, Shane Cloutier, and Will Consolati were victorious over Hampden Charter School!  If you missed the live showing, the video is available through WGBY’s web site.


Upcoming dates and events:

  • Friday, January 12 – Half day for students.  At the end of the student day, we will have a whole-school assembly to see a presentation by a group of Williams College students on the topic of the Immigrant Experience.   In the afternoon, teachers will be working in curriculum groups.

  • Tuesday, January 16 – I will be attending an MIAA Lacrosse Committee meeting to appeal our placement in higher divisions for both boys and girls lacrosse.

  • Wednesday, January 17 through Friday, January 19 – High school students will have mid-term assessments.  As in previous years, the high school will operate as an “open campus” on these days; students only need to be on campus if they have a scheduled assessment.  The middle school will run on the normal schedule.

  • Friday, January 19 – At 1:00pm, the Junior Honor Society will hold its annual induction ceremony for new members from the 8th grade.



Respectfully Submitted,

Gregg M. Brighenti