Monday, May 14, 2018

Principal's Report- May 8, 2018- Kate Retzel

“In the desert of life, you are my oasis.”
Kate Retzel, Principal
To:  School Committee
Date:  May 8, 2018  
  • We had 31 total 5th grade and 6th grade students made the “B’s or Better” Club for the third 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 - Annie Herman, Alyssa Hoctor; Karalynn Hopkins*; Ava Lopez*; ;  Kelly Molino*; Tess Olender; Mia Puleri*; Sophia Puntin*; Delaney Reed*; Lillian Reynolds*; Omari Smith*; Dominic Velasco*
6th Grade - Delaney Boomsma; Devon Brock; Tyler Carlson*; Korey Chen*; Dayrahlin Deane; Savannah DiSantis; Taejen Drozd; Ruby Hauck; Jillian Heath*; Kira Johnson*; Shaelynn Kelly*; Isabella Kotek*; Cooper Maloney*; Allen Ni*; Arianne Resca*; Angelina Williams*
*Those students with a star have achieved “B’s and Better” status for all quarters one through three.  19 students achieved this standing.

  • Our current Kindergarten Registration is at 43 solid registrations with three additional possible enrollments to date.  The current prediction is that we will move one Kindergarten teacher to 1st Grade and have four sections of first grade and three Kindergarten sections.  We will continue to keep you updated. 

  • Our 6th Grade Students went to MCLA on April 10th this year for the annual Berkshire County Goes to College visits that Berkshire Compact for Education and Berkshire United Way sponsors.   Students visited  three different sessions with MCLA faculty staff and students.  Maybe we will have some Trailblazers from this class six years from now!

  • We had a day long visit with Karen Brown, Senior Reporter/Producer at New England Public Radio on April 5th.  She is working on a story that highlights Berkshire County’s work around “trauma sensitive environments”.  We prefer the term “Heart-Centered Learning” at LES.  I noticed it is extremely hard to have “show and tell” about your work but only be able to “tell” about it.  There is not a set day and time for the broadcast, but when I know details, I will let folks know.  She may be returning for our LES Expo event on the 14th as well.

  • I would like to thank Lori Curtin, Mia Darone, and Donna Kresiak for coordination of many, many events during Screen Free Week last week.  We had the following events and send out a huge thank you to the volunteers who ran and assisted at the events:

  • Positive Poster Making with Mr. Boule - Please notice the posters hanging in the school hallways in September.
  • Cookie Decorating with Mrs. Andrea Wadsworth - We are still getting sprinkles out of the cracks in the cafeteria tables.
  • Knitting with Mrs. Harding - a small but mighty group learned to knit and pearl and knitted in the sun with yours truly one day.
  • Family Pizza and Painting Party with Berkshire Paint and Sip. Pictures of bobcats were created. Mine will be famous right on my own mantle!
  • KidsArt Sculpting with Ms. Pollard.
  • Tennis with Lee Community Tennis Association.
  • Family Picnic on the playground with popsicles of course.
  • Kids Zumba with Soules Sports and Fitness.
  • Intro to Running with Dr. Eberwein.
  • Berkshire Bike and Blade Event
  • Nature Hike with Mrs. Retzel, Mrs. Wadsworth, Ms. Sarah Flynn, Ms. Renee Spizz, Mrs. Lea Bartini, Mrs. Burtt, and one parent volunteer, Mrs. Kristi Bilodeau.
    I am sure it was obvious to the many, many families how we value time “off
screen” at LES for healthier bodies and brains!!! Also, it was wonderful to have so many employees and community members and businesses help us show many possible alternatives to spending too much time on our screens.

  • Many kudos to Courtney Sparks and Cindy Fuller for a wonderful LES Talent Show last Friday.  We were treated to some super dancing, comedy, singing, and even some rollerblading. A shout out to our sole staff member (and mom) who performed for us, Sarah Flynn.    

  • In addition to the dates Dr. Eberwein shared with you (Family Expo - May 14 from 5-7 pm; Spring Concerts - May 22 & May 24 - 7pm; and Grade 6 Step Up - June 13th - 1 pm), I would like to share the following events happening “up the hill” at LES:
Mother Son Dance - May 11 - Open to all regardless of school! - 6-8 pm; Cost $10 per person - $25 family max.  Contact LES Office for tickets.
Field Trips: Various Days - Berkshire Humane Society; Berkshire Eagle; Berkshire Museum; 5 Wits; Great East (AND 6 Flags!)
Kindergarten Orientation
Staff Student Volleyball Game - May 18 (Always a loud but fun affair!)
SRSD Teacher Training - May 22 and 23rd.  

  • Dr. Eberwein asked us to update you on MCAS testing in progress.  As with the last two times we gave computer testing, the adults were much more worried and inept with the technology than the students were.  We had very few issues even on a day both buildings were testing simultaneously.  Students have been working right along with Math a bit quicker than ELA I imagine due to the amount of typing that is required for essay questions on the ELA test.  We will continue testing for two days a week right on up to May  25th to minimize overload and allow teachers to still teach during the MCAS month. 

  • Again, Dr. Eberwein suggested an update to the Preschool Expansion Grant and I am happy to do so.  The planning team includes all these agencies: St. Mary’s; Lee Public
    Schools; Busy Bee; Head Start; Coordinated Family and Community Engagement (CFCE); Pediatric Development Center; and Berkshire United Way.  My two fellow grant writers are Ms. Mary Nash and a name of a former Lee employee, Sue Doucette.  We have been collecting data from preschool families and day care centers as well as Home Child Care Providers.  Some key data points that we gathered thus far are:
    • 59% of preschool age children are attending 30 hours or less of preschool.
    • 63% of guardians said having full and part time slots were deciding factors. 17% said reason for not attending was preschools were full or had a waitlist.
    • 67% of families whose students are not attending preschool note that the cost being too high is a barrier.
Very preliminarily, the team is looking to fund a community resource center of sorts for coordination of all things preschool in the town. We will also plan for more access for preK by ensuring development of additional preschool classrooms in town.  Having a community resource center will provide collaboration of transportation amongst programs; use of common assessments; increasing of activities for transitions to Kindergartens; common professional development for all staffs; and increase of summer activities for the age level.  This would likely involve Memorandums of Understanding between entities.  As noted when we first applied for this grant, having this plan would enable us to apply for further funding yet to be allocated for early preschool endeavors.  We could “hit the ground running” as they say. 


Principal's Report- May 2018- Gregg Brighenti

Principal’s Report

May 2018


Since my last report in March, LMHS has been a very busy place!  I would like to report to you on the following:


  • Our annual Career Fair was held on April 13, in conjunction with the Lee Youth Association and the Berkshire Regional Employment Board.  All students had the opportunity to visit and speak with representatives from over 40 different area employers.  Members of the junior class also participated in mock interviews with employers in an area of interest.  Many thanks to the LYA, Dan Korte, and Jane McEvoy for making this worthwhile event possible.

  • On April 13, the Student Council held its annual Talent Show.  With over 20 acts, it was a great evening for our students to showcase their abilities!

  • Several field trips have been held, enhancing our students’ learning of their subject areas:
    • April 5 – Mass MoCA (art department)
    • April 12 – 411 in 413 Youth Conference for high school students
    • April 12 – STRIVE Youth Leadership Conference for middle schoolers
    • April 12 – Othello (junior and senior classes)
    • April 25 – Lola Jaffee Trip to NYC (selected seniors)
    • May 1 – Clark Art Museum (art department)

  • On March 28, the Helping Hands club sponsored our annual spring Red Cross blood drive.  We were once again able to meet our target number of pints!

  • On March 29, the middle school held its annual Spaghetti Dinner fundraiser to raise funds for end-of-year field trip experiences.  It was once again a packed house – a very successful evening.


  • The faculty continues to use faculty meeting and department meeting time to move forward on competency-based grading.  For next year, we plan to have all courses transitioned to a grading system where student grades are based upon academic “competencies” or categories, instead of the more traditional categories based on types of assessments (i.e., tests, quizzes, homework, etc.).  What this means is that in an English class, for example, grades will be based upon categories such as Writing, Reading, Listening/Speaking, and Mechanics.  Our goal is for teachers to leave school in June knowing what their categories will be for the fall.  This will be the next step in our move toward competency-based grading, which is a multi-year process.

  • At this point, we have concluded all MCAS ELA testing and are moving on to math testing, which will be followed by science.  All grade 7 and 8 testing is online this year; this is the last year for paper-based testing in high school.

  • I hope everyone was able to see the Berkshire Edge story on our carpentry program.  If you haven’t, please go to:  

  • The music department held its annual Spring Concert on May 3.  The middle school band, middle school chorus, high school band, and high school chorus gave very impressive performances.  Special thanks to teachers Joanne Nelson and Pat Feldman.

  • On May 2, 7 athletes and about 20 volunteer allies participated in the Special Olympics at Monument Mountain Regional High School.  Congratulations to all of our Special Olympians on their achievements!

  • On May 4, the district Wellness Committee brought Chris and Kathi Sullivan to LMHS for two assemblies with students.  Their message of love, compassion, and taking care of our friends and families was well received and very relevant at this time of year.  Thanks to the Wellness Committee members and the sponsors that they lined up for the event.

  • The Town has received a $10,000 donation from Pam Wickham to the Marjorie Wickham Scholarship Fund; this was matched by another $10,000 from Raytheon.  Additionally, the Town received another $1,300 in matching donations to the fund in memory of Thomas Wickham. We are very thankful to Pam and the Wickham family for their support of our students.

  • We have seven members of the senior class who are aiming to obtain a Seal of Biliteracy on their diplomas this year.  This is the pilot year for this statewide program, which recognizes students who are fluent in both English and another language.  Those who successfully demonstrate mastery of both languages will be recognized at Class Night and will have special honor cords at graduation.



Upcoming dates and events:

·         Friday, May 11 – Middle school band trip to the Great East festival

·         Friday, May 11 & Saturday, May 12 (7pm both nights) – The Watersdown Affair – written and directed by senior Hunter Cannon, in the auditorium

·         Saturday, May 12 (5pm) – Senior citizen dinner

·         Friday, May 18 (6pm) – Prom walk-in

·         Tuesday, May 22 (1:30pm) – Prom fashion show @ Senior Center

·         Thursday, May 24 & Friday, May 25 – Senior class trip

·         Thursday, May 24 (5pm – 7pm) – Underclassman art show reception @ Lee Library

·         Thursday, May 31 (6:30pm) – Class Night

·         Saturday, June 2 (1:30pm) – Graduation @ Tanglewood

·         Wednesday, June 6 – Middle school chorus performance at nursing home

·         Friday, June 8 (9am) – Underclassman awards ceremony

·         Tuesday, June 12 – 8th grade trip to Boston

·         Wednesday, June 13 (9:30am) – 8th grade Bridging Ceremony

·         Thursday, June 14 – Last day of school


Respectfully Submitted,
Gregg M. Brighenti