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Friday, January 24, 2020

Neighborly

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)

Friday, January 17, 2020

Happy Long Weekend!

It was a busy week with a ton of great learning going on throughout the building. This week, I tried to focus on getting into classes to watch our Caring School Community meetings. This is our Social Emotional Learning (SEL) curriculum we have in place from Kindergarten through 5th grade. The focus is on community and problem-solving. Students, like the ones pictured, turn and talk, share experiences and then share out. I love listening in to them as they sit knee to knee talking about their experiences and sharing solutions. It's a wonderful program. 

Every year we complete a self-evaluation as a school and a district, and we need you to give us feedback. This survey has 21 short questions written with the intent of learning about your experience and that of your child. If you have multiple children you can complete the survey once for each one to express their potentially different experiences. I thank you in advance for your time and feedback! It really does matter to us. 




On a fun note, this week I made good on a promise from before the break. Leading up to the winter break students used their PBIS bobcats to buy blank coloring pages of a sweater and my mug inside it (thank you, Mrs. Koziak) and design a Holiday sweater for me. We posted these throughout the hallway to bring a smile to people's faces but also so that staff could vote on their favorites. One winner was chosen for each grade level and there was one "Principal's Choice" awarded. These kids brought a friend and shared a lunch with me in the conference room. It was the highlight of my week. I love sitting and talking to the kids informally, hearing about what they like to do and what they like about school. And it's always a good time to celebrate their creativity! 

Electronic Folder
Be sure to look for baseball and softball signups!

Week Ahead

  • Monday (1/16) 
    • No School - MLK Day

Friday, January 10, 2020

Information to share

Wow! The first full week since after winter break and I think we're all exhausted. The being said, it was great to get back into the swing of things! This focus of this week's blog is sharing information so I hope you all find it helpful. 

Wednesday evening I had the privilege of attending Dr. Englander's presentation at Tahanto (thank you BES PTO for supporting it). Among her many accolades, she is the founder and executive director of MARC (Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center) and what I would call an expert on bullying, particularly cyberbullying. I can hear you already, cyberbullying in a K through 5 school? I'm afraid to say the problem has become pervasive and yes, we can start doing things about it as early as Kindergarten. As a school, this is why we have Caring School Community meetings. Dr. Englander has found the most effective intervention is a caring friend. When it comes to cyberbullying we are finding kids with access to technology inside and outside of school at earlier and earlier grades (from the man who recently brought Chromebooks to 2nd grade) and an informal survey showed more than a few 4th and 5th graders already have personal cell phones. She shared resources on how to handle issues as they arise on the MARC website. I hope you have a few seconds to take a look. There are also alternatives to smartphones if you want to be in communication with your kids but don't want them to have unfettered access to the internet. Concord Promise shares some of these options. It's all things that as adults and parents we need to be aware of. Finally, her research has found that the best thing we can do as parents is talk. Talk to them about their friends and activities. If they're kids that don't like to talk about that, ask them what they think about issues online. Whatever you need to do to make sure they know you care. 
It's hard to believe that we are already looking ahead to Spring and more specifically MCAS testing. Grades 3 through 5 will be participating again this year. If you are planning ahead for doctor's appointments or family trips I'd ask that you please try to avoid April 14th through 16th and May 5th through 7th. Additionally, 5th grade will complete the Science on May 12th and 14th. Our intention is to assess all three grades on these dates. Of course, if kids are sick keep them home. Other grade levels can expect some schedule variabilities to allow these grades to have the available time to assess (most likely just a change in specials on those days if anything). 

And finally, a new year's reminder for drop off. A number of days off, coupled with kids carrying an extra bag of outside clothing, extra cold weather where kids/parents don't want to wait outside for the bus, and I think we've lost some rhythm. 
When you are dropping off in the morning, we encourage parents to pull all the way up to where the sidewalk curves to the left. Once the first car is there, everyone along the sidewalk can let their kids out of the car on the passenger side. Children should be able to open the door and grab their things. I know many parents have the kids start to prepare their belongings ahead of time and strategically place backpacks where they are easily accessible. If they cannot do this independently or they have things in the trunk, parents should pull up to the visitor spots or empty spots along the gym and park to help their little ones. This is a great area to pull into also if they (or you) need that last squeeze after a hectic morning. We leave those spots open just for you and there is no rush there. Using these also shows respect for other people who are trying to get places and maybe running late. I also appreciate everyone's patience, especially during these first few days while everyone is getting back in the flow.

The week ahead (a quiet one): 
  • Tuesday (1/14) 
    • School Committee


Friday, December 20, 2019

Enjoy time with family

I feel very fortunate to work at such a great school in such a supportive town. It was a fun and fantastic week here at BES. I was so busy enjoying it, I had to ask some of my friends to write the blog for me this week. 






Last Friday we celebrated our 4th and 5th graders' growth in our music program. The 4th and 5th-grade bands, as well as our chorus performed for the whole school and parents. They were wonderful! Here is Bryan to tell more about it: 
"The BES winter concert was awesome this year! Everyone worked amazingly well together to showcase their talents in singing, playing instruments and even dancing! The bands and chorus sounded so good and they got everyone in the holiday spirit. Thank you very much to Mrs. Bruss and Ms. Thompson for doing such a great job teaching and helping their students musically progress through the year. Everyone loves their energy and excitement...especially when they are conducting in toy soldier costumes! The band and chorus would like to thank the students, teachers, and parents who attended the concert and we wish you all a Happy New Year!"

On Thursday, Kindergarten had a ton of fun. I'll let Mrs. Martin-Girard's class explain: 
"It has been an amazing week in Kindergarten.  We have been reading different versions of the Gingerbread Man story.  We created a chart to compare the characters, setting, and the title of the books.  Then we were so lucky, we were able to create our own gingerbread people!  The problem is, one of our gingerbread people went missing!!  Mr. Ryan thought he smelled smoke and before Ms. Paula could tell him, no don't open the oven, Mr. Ryan opened the oven door.  Well, as you can guess, one gingerbread man jumped right out of the oven and out the door.  Please help us, if you see him, try and catch him and deliver him back to Kindergarten.  We even made a special house for him so he will be safe in our classroom!"

This Friday we wrapped up the week with our annual Student/Staff Floor Hockey Game. It is a great community-building experience as 5th graders and teachers all play together while the school cheers us on. Here are Gabby and Luke to tell you more: 
"The hockey game is a very fun thing. Two teams try to score goals for points. The team with the most points wins (ed. note- but everyone who has fun is a winner!) You have to remember good sportsmanship. We play this hockey game because this is one way we bring people together in our school. Boylston Elementary usually does a fun sport or activity before we leave for a long break."
The game between Team Bob and Team Cats was a blast! One team did score more points but everyone, even the spectators had fun. Special thanks to the Bobcat for showing up and driving the Zamboni. In our never-ending quest to try and help people feel like they are here. We put a camera on one of the participants. Below is the footage but be warned...you may get dizzy!  

And finally, a quick note from Mrs. Tucceri about an event when we return: 
A bullying/cyberbullying presentation will be held on January 8th at 6:30. It is open to all parents K-12. Get all the details here. Thank you to the Boylston PTO who helped support this presentation financially! 

The week ahead:
No School until January 2nd

Friday, December 13, 2019

All the information you need and even some you may not

Delayed Opening information that may be a little delayed. There seemed to be questions out in the community with how we handle delayed openings at BES so (better late than never) I figured I should share here. We traditionally have 2-hour delays which means the building will open to children 2 hours after it traditionally does. Our 8:00 door open time becomes 10:00. Similarly, your bus route should change by 2 hours. If your stop typically picks up at 7:25, anticipate a 9:25 pickup during a 2 hours delay but do please be patient as road conditions can cause the pickup time to vary by up to 10 minutes even in good weather. There is no Before School Care on these delayed openings as we want to make sure roads are clear and safe before we expect staff to be here for the program. 

Spirit Week Ahead! Thank you Student Council!
Merry Monday: Color Block Day! Wear anything and everything that is red, green and blue for the holidays. 
T-errific Tuesday T as in TV: Dress as your favorite holiday character from TV, movies, or just plain old holiday character!

Wintery Wednesday: It's a "cNow" school day at BES. Wear your comfies like you are getting ready for a long winter's nap!
Toy Thursday: Onto the Island of Misfit Toys...or mismatched clothes. Give Mom and Dad a break from setting out your clothes and wear any old mismatched outfit! 
Fabulous Festive Friday: Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. Wear your most festive holiday sweater or apparel! 


This week' we celebrated and participated in "Hour of Code" in grades K through 5. Coding and programming languages are quickly becoming a common language around the world and a life skill for many. At this level, we can't get too deep but can at least begin to have kids understand the logic behind to process. Here is our Technology Teacher with a bit more about the program: 
This week our students participated in the Hour of Code.  This annual event reaches tens
of millions of students around the world.  Children in 180 countries, speaking 45 languages participate in age-appropriate computer science and programming activities.
The event, which was initially conceived as a one-hour introduction to computer science, is now a week-long event supporting coding as critical new literacy.  Coding activities help students grow and learn in many ways.  Students adopt new and flexible ways of thinking and problem-solving.  They build persistence, a growth mindset and gain comfort in iterative discovery.  To become savvy future citizens, today's students will need to be able to understand and evaluate the ways the world can be manipulated through the application of technology (both positive and negative).  Coding activities assist in the creation of this foundational understanding.
Hour of Code Student activities:
Hour of Code information webpage:
Calling all parents who know Boylston families with young children! Please share the information below regarding Preschool:
 
The Berlin-Boylston Schools are currently accepting applications for its Integrated Preschool Program.  The school district is looking for children who will be 3 or 4 years old by September 1, 2020. The Berlin and Boylston preschool programs include both a 2-day and a 3-day option. The Program descriptions can be found on the district’s website at https://www.bbrsd.org/Page/1203 or under the student services tab and select Preschool Information on the left sidebar.   Tuition for these programs is currently set at $2,520 for the 3-Day Program and $1,680 for the 2-Day Program.
Parents may pick up an application form at any of the district schools.  Forms may also be accessed through our website at the link mentioned above.  Completed application forms must be received or brought to Tahanto by no later than 1:30 pm on January 6, 2020.
If you would like your child to participate in the optional preschool screening, please contact Jannel Fitzpatrick, Preschool and Special Education Coordinator, and she will schedule you for an appointed time. Jannel may be reached at 508-869-2333, ext. 2320 or via email at jfitzpatrick@bbrsd.org.   
Screening is done in a play atmosphere and allows us to get a snapshot of your child’s capabilities and can be particularly helpful if you have concerns regarding your child’s development or ability to learn. Parents will be given feedback on their child’s performance and will be notified if concerns arise from the screening.  
The screening will take place at the Tahanto Preschool, 1001 Main St., Boylston, MA on January 6th at your appointed time. The deadline to schedule this screening has been extended to Friday, December 20th. 



The Week Ahead: 
  • Monday (12/16)
    • Color block day!
  • Tuesday (12/17)
    • Holiday Character Day! 
  • Wednesday (12/18)
    • Comfy Day!
  • Thursday (12/19)
    • Mismatch Day!
    • K Gingerbread Celebration
  • Friday (12/20)
    • Festive Holiday Day!
    • PBIS assembly
  • No School Again until Thursday 1/2/20! 

Friday, December 6, 2019

Short week, long blog

What happens when you give a principal a seven day Thanksgiving vacation including two snow days when he can't leave the house? A long blog! There was so much to cover and catch up on I do hope you make it through the entire blog. 


While not directly school-related, I'd like to recognize a handful of our students who helped organize the Rock Pond Polar Plunge the weekend before Thanksgiving. This group, not only jumped into Rocky Pond themselves but encouraged countless others to donate money and jump in themselves. Together, Emma, Brad, Gabby, Ella, Riley, Julia, Paige, and Josh presented Carla Peterson with a $2,000 check for the Boylston food pantry. In a time when we are talking about compassion and civic involvement, these kids are walking the talk in and outside of school. 






With all of the new snow, comes a few regular announcements. First, the superintendent sends out an announcement via phone and at BES we supplement the announcement via Twitter and Facebook. If you are missing the notices, please reach out to us and we'll do our best to fix any communication glitches. Second, with the cold weather comes cold weather attire. We try to get the kids outside every chance we get. The chart below is what we use to make the decision whether it is safe to send them out in. The kids love playing in the snow but must-have boots, snow pants, gloves, etc to be able to build snowmen, jump the snowbanks, and engineer snow forts. Otherwise, they are confined to the hardtop and we see the temptation all too often. Who doesn't want to jump in a snowbank?!?
The snow days have also made for some adjustments in the lunch menu for next week. We will take the menu for Monday, 12/2 and Tuesday, 12/3, and move them to Monday 12/9 and Tuesday 12/10. Hot dogs and grilled cheese are in, and chicken patties and taco Tuesday are out! You can find the revised menu here, the electronic folder and also reflected on the website.







Mrs. Sullivan has asked me to share information about our Giving Tree this week too: 
The "Gift of Giving Tree" is Back
BES would like to thank you in advance for your continued support. Again this year, the BES Health Office would like to assist children within the BES community. There is a"Gift of Giving Tree" placed in the front lobby of our school. Starting this week, there will be numerous gift tags hanging from the branches of the tree and bright-colored garland, indicating the needs of children within the BES community. These tags will list warm articles of clothing, boots, bedding, and educational/fun toys requested by their families. 
This is a great opportunity for families to come together and choose a tag. Please have an adult present when your child/children choose a tag from the tree or send a note to your child's teacher requesting assistance. 
Please retunr the gifts with the tag attached and place it in the box near the "Gift of Giving Tree". Gift-wrapping is optional.
Please note the deadline  (ed note: coming up quickly) is Wednesday, December 18, 2019. 
THIS PROGRAM IS STRICTLY  CONFIDENTIAL
Please contact Mrs. Fayne Sullivan, BES Nurse, at 869-2209 if you have any questions. 
THIS IS A GREAT WAY FOR OUR SCHOOL COMMUNITY TO UNITE AND HELP OTHERS


The week ahead: 
  • Friday (12/6) - Wait...that's tonight!
  • Saturday (12/7) 
    • Lego league competition at WPI
  • Tuesday (12/10) 
    • School Committee Meeting
  • Wednesday (12/11)
    • SEPAC Meeting
  • Thursday (12/12) 
    • PTO meeting 6:30 in the library
  • Friday (12/13) 
    • Winter Concert at 2:00 (If you plan to dismiss from the concert please make sure it is reflected in the School Dismissal Manager)
    • Report Cards Home




Friday, November 22, 2019

Coming into Thanksgiving Break


As we approach this Thanksgiving, it's a great time for us to pause and reflect on the many wonderful things we have here in Boylston. We are very lucky here to have fantastic families, terrific teachers, and super supports. A great example of this is our Boylston Education Foundation (BEF). This week we learned of the 15 teacher grants approved by the group. There were a ton of smiling and thankful teachers walking around this week! These grants are new and innovative ideas teachers would like to implement to support our students and BEF is funding them with over $17,000. This money comes from donations for babysitting during parent-teacher conferences, the annual Penny Wars and of course, predominantly from BINGO night. For those that like to plan ahead, block off April 4th.

It's that time of year to check back in on drop-off procedures. Overall, I feel like it's been going well
(with a few exceptions when the buses aren't running on time.) Thank you for your patience with each other. Remember to please pull all the way up to the corner for drop-off and if you need more than a few seconds please pull into the visitor parking. If you are arriving after the buses, please do not drive up to the main entrance. We need to keep the loop open. To help people remember this, we will be putting cones out at the end of the peninsula. I appreciate you complying with this request...even if we forgot to put the cones out. 

We ended this week with our first all-school PBIS assembly. If you are unfamiliar with PBIS you can read more about it here. A committee of teachers has been looking over our data and determined the playground to be an area of needed instruction. These teachers created a slideshow and presentation for students to show the right way to play certain games and how to be good sports. We find that focusing on the expectations rather than trying to punish away misbehaviors is an effective approach. We reinforce the appropriate behaviors with our Bobcats. 

Week Ahead:
  • Sunday (11/24) 
  • Tuesday (11/26) 
    • Marking Period Ends
    • PTO Pig Race
  • Wednesday-Friday (11/27-29)
    • No School for Thanksgiving Break 
  • Monday-Friday (12/2-6)
    • BES Book Fair Week
  • Thursday (12/5)
    • Family Book Fair Night (3:00-7:30)
  • Friday (12/6) 
    • Patriots Day