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.