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Saturday, March 14, 2020


Dear BES Families,

It is my hope that at this point you have received Superintendent Zanghi’s letter regarding the closure of school beginning Monday, March 16.  The closure will be re-evaluated on Friday, March 20 and information and updates will be posted to the website.

Before I go any further I need to thank everyone who has reached out with kind words, offers to help and resources to share. It is times like this that show what a community is really about and I have never been prouder to be a part of this one.
Students came home with work prepared by our faculty, and staff in the event school was canceled. Please note that this work was meant to be spaced out over two weeks in the event the school closure is extended. Do not attempt to complete it all in one day. The work provided is by no means a replacement for what is done in classrooms every day but is meant to be a maintenance of learning and an attempt to stave off possible regression. If your student was not present on Friday please reach out to his/her teacher to find out if there are electronic versions or hard copy left at school. If there is work that was left at school, please contact me to schedule a time where I can leave it at the front of the building. Please know we are restricting access to the building while the custodians clean, disinfect, and sanitize the entire building. Monday evening, I should be able to provide you with a document of teachers’ office hours when they have committed to being available to ask questions and support your students as best they can. If you find yourself in need of technology or supplies to complete work reach out to me and I will do what I can to provide what is needed. 
It is important to remember that this is not a vacation for students and we want to keep them engaged in learning. To that end, please try to maintain some semblance of a routine or schedule. Normal morning routines followed by time outside, some academics, reading/read-aloud, lunch, etc. Kids, and adults for that matter, benefit from structure and routine such as this. I have also shared resources on virtual museum visits, and a list of education companies offering free subscription during this pandemic. Additional links. Full disclosure, I have not had the opportunity to review all of these links and I'd encourage you to before you share with your children.
If food is a cause of concern for your family, the Boylston food pantry will be open on Monday from 10:00-12:00. If you have transportation issues that make this difficult please feel free to reach out to me, I may be able to help. Finally, if your student qualifies for free or reduced lunch/breakfast, know that we are working closely with the central office and the cafeteria manager to develop a solution for you. You should receive an email from MaryEllen Fryburg if this directly affects you. Additionally, there is a group in the community organizing volunteers who can support the elderly and others in need. They are willing to shop, pick up food, medications for those who can't. If you or someone you know is in need, please reach out to the First Congregational Church office Monday through Friday from 9:00 to noon (508-869-2027).

Mrs. Fantana, our school psychologist, has shared this resource from the National Association of School Psychologists on how parents can talk to their children about the Coronavirus. 
Boylston will be closed to all except custodial staff and administration. I will be in the office on Monday and possibly other days but will always be available via email and/or phone (508) 869-2200.  Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions or concerns.
As Superintendent Zanghi mentioned in his letter, the Commissioner has waived the 180 day rule for public schools starting Monday, March 16. Therefore, next week will not be made up in June.  We realize that this is a very difficult time for everyone and we are trying to support our students by helping to continue some sort of normalcy through online instruction. Even though administration, faculty, and staff will not be seeing students face to face, we are all still here for our students and our families.
Be safe and be well,

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Fun Week!

We had another fun-filled week here at BES capped off by a fantastic PBIS assembly! A few times each year, we gather together as a school community and review our "3 bes" and the expectations they bring in different school environments. In this case, we talked about Being Safe, Respectful and Responsible in the Hallway. Buddy classes presented together and it was awesome! I've shared an example of a video presentation Mrs. Koziak and Mrs. Lapierre's classes did on "Be Respectful in the halls by being quiet" 

This week we also celebrated Read Across America with a Community Reader Day.  Thanks to Mrs. Gail Kelleher’s efforts, we were able to once again host a variety of community members. Over 38 visitors ranging from Tahanto National Honor Society students, municipal leaders, Miss Massachusetts and school district personnel read and discussed a variety of books in each classroom. It was a great way for our students and the different members of our community to come together and celebrate both community and literacy.
Also, this week, we celebrated our wonderful specialists as they hosted their "Specials Spectacular"So much focus is on academic scores (reading and math) so this is a great time of year to remember that we teach the whole child. For many students, specials classes are the highlights of their days! During this celebration, families had the opportunity to complete a variety of centers in the library, see electronic portfolios in the computer lab, complete “Hop on Pop” activities in the gym, visit the Instrument petting zoo, and of course, peruse the artwork displayed throughout the cafeteria. It was a wonderful night and once again the turnout was fantastic! I’d like to recognize the specials teachers for their efforts in planning and organizing the event. Thank you to Jackie Bruss, Audrey Thompson, Betsy Petersen, Lauren Kuppens, Lorraine Sullivan, and Michelle Bowen.  

Look ahead:
  • Tuesday (3/10) 
    • School Committee Meeting
  • Wednesday (3/11)
    • Early Release at 11:45 (Please update your School Dismissal Manager) No ASP
  • Thursday (3/12) 
    • Talent Show Practice after school (Please update your School Dismissal Manager) 
  • Friday (3/13)
    • Kindergarten Field Trip to Town Library
    • Grades Close
    • PTO Talent Show at Tahanto!

Friday, February 28, 2020

Big week!

It has been a great albeit busy week back from vacation! The week was capped off by one of my favorite traditions, the 4th-grade Invention Convention. Following the engineering and design standards, 4th graders work to solve a real-life problem through an invented solution. This year's crop did not disappoint with solutions to such daily struggles as squeezing that last drop of toothpaste out of the tube.  
It was a wonderful display of creativity and design! 

Looking ahead to next week there is even more going on. For 5th and 4th grade parents, we will be
hosting a Nature's Classroom informational night on Monday at 6:30. This meeting is for parents only. We will schedule something for students at a later date.  A parent committee is bringing the trip to the elementary level (5th grade). If you are unfamiliar, here is a
link to the program. If you are familiar you may also know about the group's recent fundraising efforts. In under one week, they successfully raised over $8,000 to support students who may have financial needs around the trip. Since then, they have set their sights on offsetting the cost and transportation for everyone. They are working towards this through a fundraiser calendar that can be found in the electronic folder. Please feel free to print and disperse. There are great daily prizes to be won (all donated by local groups)! If you want to participate just send in a check or cash with the bottom portion of the calendar and we'll take care of the rest. The group will also be present at our Specials Spectacular if you'd like to purchase one then. For 5th grade parents that want to get ahead in the paperwork department (these forms will be there on Monday as well), here is the registration form and also an equipment list

Wait...did someone say Special's Spectacular?!?! That's right, our wonderful Specialists are back at it again and have organized a wonderful evening planned for families. Come, bring your children, and see the amazing work they do in these very special classes! Doors open at the close of ASP (6:00). Come by and enjoy the art, visit the library, check out the computer lab, play in the gym and enjoy the music! 
The PTO will also be providing snack refreshments. If you'd like to contribute the signup genius is here
And, while you're at the Spectacular, take a few seconds to check the lost and found. As the weather has improved, the collection has become immense. We'll be donating the items remaining later next week. 

I am sure you are all following the CDC and the concerns around the flu and the Coronavirus. I wanted to let you know we are too. The district took a few steps about a month ago to regularly disinfect the entire building. We have stepped up the process recently. Attached here you can read a letter from the district outlining our efforts to keep everyone healthy and safe. If you are looking for more information or ways to talk to your children about it, this link BrainPop link was shared with me and might be helpful to you. I'd recommend you preview it first to make sure it is appropriate for your child. 

The Week Ahead: 
  • Monday (3/2) 
    • Community Reader Day
    • Nature's Classroom Presentation at 6:30
  • Tuesday (3/3) 
    • Special's Spectacular 6:00-7:30
  • Friday (3/6) 
    • PBIS Assembly (Wear your Bobcat gear as we celebrate our Bobcat BEs) 

Friday, February 14, 2020

Happy February Break!

February is a great time of year to be feeling the love and boy did the Student Council ever feel it!
Their Food drive was a huge success, amounting to over 1,200 items of food for the Boylston Food Pantry.
There is something wonderful about living and working in a community as generous as ours. Whenever there is a call for help, Boylston answers. 
Every year the Student Council organizes a food drive to benefit the Boylston Food Pantry. And this year, like all others, the students and community of Boylston were incredibly generous. We collected just over 1,200 items of non-perishable food to take to the food pantry. Students brought in pasta, veggies, soups, mac and cheese and so much more. 
Mrs Barry’s class donated over 203 items, Mrs Inwood, who had some extra food that was forgotten in the office came in second with over 160 items, Mrs Cote’s and Mrs Martin Girard’s classes were close behind with 158 and 154 items respectively. Mrs Barry’s class retains ownership of Hungry Horace, who has been renamed and $100 worth of Scholastic books and the other classrooms will also receive Scholastic books.
Thank you to everyone who was able to donate to this worthwhile cause. And a big shoutout to Carla Peterson, who runs the pantry, and Ryan, who spent his Wednesday morning bringing it over. A big shoutout also to the Student Council who collected and counted the food from the classrooms every day during their recess for the past 2 weeks.
-Mrs Sullivan and the Student Council ; Luke, Clayton, Gabby, Olivia, MacKenzie, Brad, Lucas, Will, and Judy.

Spirit Week was a ton of fun! They say a picture is worth a thousand words so I've included enough pictures to compensate for 1 million words! 

And we ended our week with a wonderful 1st-grade Patriotic Performance! Congratulations to our 1st-grade performers, their teachers, and Ms. Thompson. Since we are in an election year, if you are undecided you may want to consider voting for one of our amazing 1st graders. You can see what they would do if they were president in the video below. What a wonderful way to end the week. 

The Week Ahead:

  • No School (2/17-21)
  • Monday (2/24) 
    • Back to School 
  • Friday (2/28) 
    • 4th Grade Invention Convention
  • Tuesday (3/3)
    • Save the Date: Specials Spectacular! (6:00-7:30)

Friday, February 7, 2020

Big week ahead!

Next Wednesday we will be hosting Jump Rope for Heart. Since we're trying to improve our general dismissal it seemed to make sense that we take a look at this process as well. If your child is planning to attend, please make the exception in School Dismissal Manager and make sure it reflects any possible pick up people that aren't parents/guardians. We will use this program to take attendance and for dismissal purposes. Dismissal from JRFH will begin at 4:00 and we will have the students in the library. Please be sure to sign your child out on your way out. I know the kids will have a blast!  

Spring seems to be right around the corner and that means one thing....BINGO!
For those unaware of the hysteria that is BEF BINGO, the quick rundown is, it's the greatest day of the year! Families fill our parking lot and down the street as they join us in the gym for several rounds of bingo. Instead of money, we play for prizes but everyone is a winner because all proceeds go to the Boylston Education Foundation (BEF) to support teacher grants. In other words, right into the classrooms and our children's academic lives. They've asked me to make sure people know the date: April 4th, 2020, from 5:00-8:00 pm. How you can help: You can contribute even if you can't make it to Bingo. YOU can become a friend of the BEF sponsor. Your $100 donation is tax-deductible, and all Friends of BEF will be thanked in writing in the 2020 Bingo Night program. And also: Thank you in advance to the room parents and all parents for donating to the 2020 Bingo Night class baskets. They are always a coveted prize at each Bingo Night! 

Midway to  March Madness Monday - wear your favorite sports team’s jersey.
Tuesday Cruise day - wear your best beach style, but remember the water is still cold!!
Wednesday is for War - Color Wars, that is. We’re gonna mix it up and assign new colors.
K - Green
1 - Blue, any shade of blue
2 - Red
3 - Yellow
4 - Black
5 - Gray, and yes, gray sweatshirts count

Thursday Trades - dress for success and show us your future profession.

Friendship Friday - wear your heart on your sleeve and any other pieces of clothing too!! Don’t have hearts? Wear pink or red!

Don't forget about the updated Boxtop system! The program has moved to an app so we won't be doing official Box Tops drives anymore, but we are still collecting any of the traditional Box Top clips that families do have. The next submission will take place at the end of February, so students should send Box Tops to school to be dropped off in the collection bucket in the lobby. 
Check the electronic folder for more information and also to learn a chance to support the BES PTO at PYOP studio!

The week ahead:
  • Monday (2/10)
    • Midway to March Madness Spirit Day
    • School Council
  • Tuesday (2/11)
    • Tuesday Cruise Day Spirit Day
    • The 100th Day of School
  • Wednesday (2/12)
    • Color Wars Spirit Day
    • Jump Rope for Heart
  • Thursday (2/13)
    • Dress for Success Spirit Day
  • Friday (2/14)
    • Friendship Friday Spirit Day
    • 1st-grade Patriotic Performance

Friday, January 31, 2020

Big doings!

As you may or may not know, the parent pickup process has always been a concern of mine. Given recent events around the state (amber alerts etc.) and the steady increase of students being picked up (we're now up to roughly 20% of the student body) now is the right time to start experimenting with a new and improved process. Starting on Monday, parents/guardians will enter the gymnasium by the stairs (see map/red arrow up). If, for any reason, the stairs will pose a difficulty for you or anyone picking up your child please reach out and we will make alternate arrangements. Inside they will meet their children and continue along the wall to a sign-out-station. Please initial for the children you are taking with you. If it is not noted in parent dismissal manager who is picking up please do so this weekend. If anyone other then the person listed is picking up they will be asked to go to the front office to confirm this change. (Pro tip: If pickup person varies you may want to include anyone who may be there). Staff will also be parking on the outer portion of the parking lot (along the tree line) to give parents the priority of parking along the sidewalk and cutting down on the need for students to cross the busy parking lot. Please be patient as we start this new process as there are normal hiccups with any new system. However, please don't hesitate to reach out with concerns, comments and even suggestions. We all want the same thing, to keep our kids safe. 

This week we were very lucky to have a special guest in PE. I have a few guest bloggers to tell you more: 
This week in Phys Ed we did yoga with Mr. Sonti. We learned it is helpful to relax, stay fit, and calm your body. We did some routines of yoga poses and some breathing exercises. Did you know you breathe as much as 20,000 times a day and barely notice it? Yoga is helpful in being mindful and fit. The most important reason to do it is because of “use it or lose it,” which means if you don’t use your muscles to keep them strong, they get weak, and if you don’t stretch them, you lose your flexibility. We noticed the more times we did each pose, the easier it got. It’s also much easier if you are calm and focused. It’s just as important as brushing your teeth, and the routine we did takes even less time than that does.
~Mason R and Sophia H
We are so grateful to Mr. Sonti for volunteering his time to come teach us about yoga. The organization that sets up this yogathon is the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh USA, a volunteer run non-profit that encourages “yoga for health, health for humanity.” Their goal is to help the community learn the basics of yoga and how it can help them maintain a fit and healthy lifestyle. The health benefits as well as the positive impact on learning make it one of the best exercises we can share with our students and families. Please take a few minutes to check out the routine on the handout below and ask your child(ren) to show you how it’s done. Once it’s learned, this particular routine only takes 30-40 seconds to complete, and could really help get your day started on the right foot.
~Mrs. Bowen

Every year the state puts out our school's report card. As you can imagine, it brings us principals back to high school, fingers crossed, hoping the hard work of our teachers and children shines through. This year is no exception and I was not disappointed. The report card is posted on the website but can also be found here and is interactive so everyone can dig a bit deeper in areas of interest. As you can see, BES outperforms the state in most academic areas while spending less per pupil than most of the state. Our ELA scores continue to rise and we're taking a close look at our Math growth. We'll keep working on it. I'm also proud of our State Accountability score. We're in the "meeting or exceeding targets" level. Next step, school of recognition! Our kids deserve it!

With everything in the news lately Mrs. Sullivan put together an information packet on the flu for her website. We take several steps here in the building to keep staff and students healthy. We encourage students to use hand sanitizer stations located throughout the halls and in the classrooms. Nothing does the trick quite like old fashioned soap and water. The kitchen staff tries to wipe down every table between lunches and the custodians have been disinfecting door handles and classrooms when a known illness is present. In the coming weekend, the district is planning to do additional cleaning and disinfecting throughout the building, making this a weekly process throughout the rest of the flu season. I hope I'm not jinxing us (Mrs. Hatem will hurt me) in saying that overall these measures have been fairly effective for us. Since returning from the break our absence for illness rate has not exceeded 6%. Knocking on wood that we keep this going. 

An update on by our Student Council on the food drive: 
Hello everyone. Student Council here with a quick reminder that the food drive is still
going on. We will be collecting non-perishable foods to donate to the Boylston Food Pantry through Friday, February 7th. So please continue to bring in any non-perishable food items. Some examples of food that the Boylston Food Pantry is always in need of are peanut butter, pasta, pasta sauces, canned vegetables and fruit, tuna fish, macaroni and cheese, and cereal. 
Hungry Horace has found a home in Mrs. Pascoal’s class on Monday and then has been hanging out in Mrs. Barry’s class since then. Help bring Hungry Horace to your child’s classroom!!
Hi!! Mrs. Sullivan from the library here. To make the food drive a little more exciting the class with the most donated food items will win Hungry Horace AND $100 worth of Scholastic books for their classroom, 2nd place wins $50 worth of Scholastic books, and 3rd place wins $25 worth of Scholastic books for their classroom. It’s a win-win situation all around!!
Thank you for your donations!!
Mrs. Sullivan and the Student Council
Luke, Clayton, Gabby, Olivia, MacKenzie, Brad, Lucas, William, and Judy

The week ahead:
  • Just a quiet regular week?
  • Thursday (2/6)
    • PTO Meeting!

Friday, January 24, 2020


I feel so fortunate to be at Boylson Elementary school in such a wonderful caring community. I regularly see people working together supporting one another and helping those. I see this in everyday interactions, recently in the kindnesses given to a family impacted by fire, and I see it in your children. In this vein, the "theme" of this week's blog is that of community or what we used to call being neighborly. 

When I referenced your children, I was thinking of several interactions I've had with them over the last month but specifically around the work Student Council has planned around our local food pantry. They have asked to contribute to this blog to share their plans with all of you: 
Hi it’s Gabby and Liv from student council. We just wanted to tell you that the food drive is starting this Monday and we hope we can raise the bar from last year. The food drive will last from Monday, January 27th through Friday, February 7th. We are collecting canned goods and non-perishable food. Some examples are mac and cheese, pasta, sauces, tuna fish, peanut butter, cereals, soups, canned vegetables and canned fruit. Please be sure to check expiration dates on all food before you bring them in. All food donated will go to the Boylston Food Pantry. 
We tried to come up with something different than an extra recess for the class with the most donated items and decided to grab a friend. Every day when we total the amount of non-expired items our friend will visit that classroom with the most items for the day. On the last day, Friday the 7th, the class with the highest number of donated items will get to keep our friend.
Good luck everyone!! Let’s make this food drive the most successful food drive ever!!

In the last five years, our school has changed in many positive and subtle ways. When I arrived here we had "neighbors" across the street but were mostly surrounded by forest. We seem to be transitioning into a "neighborhood school" especially for those that live right behind us. It's wonderful to have students so close! It also requires a mind shift. We have to start to think about walkers and bike riders. In the spring we will have a fence around the playground to keep others from wandering in and kids (and recess equipment) from wandering out. We talk to the kids about respecting our neighbor's yards and not rolling things down the hill to see how far they go. On this note, please mind other's personal property when they are walking to and from. I know some houses have created routes but others prefer you to stay out of their yards. Please respect this request. 

The Week Ahead:
  • Tuesday (1/28) 
    • K registration (pm)
  • Wednesday (1/29) 
    • K registration (am)