Friday, December 7, 2018

Be my guest

This week, I had the privilege of several guest bloggers to share some of the great work going on here at BES. My first guest is Laurel Holmes, a Tahanto student and Girl Scout who approached me over the summer with a project I know all of our kids will enjoy for years to come. Here it is in her own words: 

"I'm Laurel Holmes, I'm a senior at Tahanto and a long time ago I was a student at BES. Currently, I am an Ambassador in Girl Scout which is the highest rand in Girl Scouting. I'm working on my Gold Star Award project, the equivalent to an Eagle Award in Boy Scouts, and it's the highest award a Girl Scout can achieve. 
One day while picking up trash at BES, I saw that the playground map was deteriorated. I remembered the fun things that I did while at the school, including the 4th-grade state project where we ended the day by standing on our state and singing the "Fifty Nifty" song. While I was looking at the map, I noticed other areas the needed TLC including the basketball court, hopscotch, and wall ball court. Because of what I saw, I decided to restore these playground activity areas. Initially, I weeded and filled in the cracks with asphalt filler before I tackled the painting and thankfully, we finished before winter set in! Before the project is complete, I hope to add a wheeled box to hold equipment like hula-hoops and jump ropes and to provide the school staff with a binder filled with alternate activities for the different areas. 
I'd like to thank my team of volunteers, the BES PTO, Nal' Paint Center (paint donations), the BES custodians, and especially Mr. Thompson for allowing me to do this meaningful project. Also, to my troop leader Sue Vogt, who has been extremely supportive throughout this process, I would not have finished without her help. Stay tuned for further updates, in the meantime come on out and join your kids in play."
Thank you, Laurel, for picking BES for your project and all your hard work! It looks great out there!

My next guests come to us from our 5th grade and are sharing their genius hour work that brought them to Tahanto's science lab and science teacher Mrs. Sequeira!  

"This week Molly Abdella, Iris Pinto, and Sophia Raposa were invited to go to Tahanto Regional High School to do an experiment with Mrs. Sequeira. We were invited to extract. D.N.A.  When we got there Mrs. Sequeira showed us a recipe to extract D.N.A from a pea. We had to break open the cell membrane and the cell walls to get to the nucleus. We used a blender to do this.  We mixed peas, a pinch of salt and a half cup of cold water and blended. Then we strained out the chunky stuff and mixed in dish soap to get rid of the fats and oils in the cell. We put the purified liquid in test tubes and mixed in very cold isopropyl alcohol with a pipette or eye dropper. It looked like when you mixed oil and water.  The alcohol floated on top with the DNA and the other parts of the cells sank to the bottom.  We were able to put the DNA in tiny test tubes and take some home.  A special thank you to Mrs. Sequeira."

Apologies! There was a problem with the link I shared last week. Please, please, please give us another chance and tell us how we're doing through this survey. We all appreciate the feedback! 

Speaking of problem links....some parents reported that the link on the Tahanto babysitting flyer was not working. The folks at Tahanto apologize for any difficulties and would encourage folks who want to take advantage of babysitting next Friday (especially if they're going to the BEF event) to try this link. If you still have any difficulty you can also reach the advisors Ms. Rinker or Ms. Trainor to sign up. Please include your child's name, age, emergency contact information, and any important information or concerns they should know about your children, such as allergies or medications. 

BES has Talent! Information should have come home regarding this year's talent show to be hosted right after the Winter break. A friendly reminder that sign ups need to be in by the 18th! I can't wait to see what all the kids come up with. I've been working on my act since September :)

The Week Ahead:

  • Tuesday (12/11) 
    • School Committee Meeting
  • Friday (12/14) 
    • Report Cards Home
    • And of course it's a Patriots day...they're playing the Steelers!

Friday, November 30, 2018

No More Snow-vember

This week and actually the whole month of November came and went so quickly. So did all that snow. Snowvember is officially over so we'll see what the rest of winter has in store for us.

There were big reasons to celebrate at BES this week! Our annual BEF grants came in and teachers were walking around with big smiles on their faces. From sound systems for the gym to smartboards and standing desks, the BEF came through in a huge way. This is the BEF Bingo night and penny wars at work. Thank you to all of you who support them and us! And also a reminder, the BEF will be hosting a Sip and Shop on the evening of December 14th. 

This week I have two guest bloggers to share a really fun collaboration between our Kindness Club and Lego League team:
"Hi!  This is Bella and Ben reporting! Today the Kindness Club and Lego League got together so the Kindness Club could perform a few skits on how to act when the members of Lego League go to show the judges at the tournament they are in how great their robot really is! The skits the kindness club members performed reminded the Lego League members to be respectful and responsible while they perform. The first act was about how you should be careful what you say to your peers and how to be KIND to your peers. The second performance was how to be respectful and KIND to adults and all the judges who come around and give you a score on your robot. And the third act was how to be a good sport. The members of the Lego League really appreciated the visit from the kindness club because it really helped with ideas of performing their project with the judges."
The Lego League team will be competing on December 8th! Go, team SSC!

December is here and so is our annual Giving Tree coordinated by Fayne Sullivan. When you walk into the building you may notice a small tree in the vestibule with paper ornaments. Each ornament represents a gift for a family in need here at BES. Gifts are clothing, bedding, and educational toys. It is a wonderful program! If you do participate, please remember items should be turned into Mrs. Sullivan by December 17th.

Mrs. DiFonso is pleased to announce that signups for the winter session of the After School Mini-Course Program are happening now! This session we welcome some teachers, parents, STEM instructors, as well as 2 programs from the Boylston Rec Department! In fact, in total, we have 14 mini-course offerings (this may be a record)! How awesome is that?! The cost for each course will include materials/supplies (unless otherwise noted in the listing). Mini-courses will begin the week of January 2nd. Be sure to get your forms into Mrs. DiFonso by December 14th! You can find the mini-course flyer in this week's electronic blue folder!

How are we doing? Mrs. Costello at Central Office has asked that I share this survey with all of you. The purpose of this survey is to gather information from parents' perspective about the school climate in each of your children's schools. Your responses will help us to improve our schools, our staff, and how we support our students in a safe learning environment. You are most welcome to complete a separate survey for each of your children if they attend different schools. Thank you, in advance, for your willingness to assist us. Due date: by Friday, December 14th.

No more Absent, Tardy or Early Pick-up Calls to the school!  Use our new Dismissal program to alert the school of any changes to your student’s schedule.  If your child is going to be late, click on the add late arrival button on the calendar. If your child is absent or doing early pick-up or changing their dismissal, click on the Change Dismissal Option for the correct choice.
Please note that you cannot set up your child’s default dismissal using your smartphone browser. You will need to either download the app or use a computer. Your username and password were contained in an email on Thursday.
Please contact Michele if you have any questions about the School Dismissal Manager.

The week ahead: 
  • Thursday (12/6) 
    • PTO meeting
  • Friday (12/7) 
    • Patriot Friday! Support the team as they take on the Dolphins!
  • Saturday (12/8) 
    • Lego League competition! Go SSC!

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving!

 Every year we try to do fun community events leading into holiday weekends. This year, thanks to the participation rate of our PTO fall fundraiser, and all the work of the PTO we had our big Pig Race just before dismissal. And was it ever an event. We took the opportunity to sit classes with their "buddy" classes and everyone had a blast cheering on their pigs. Unfortunately, my Mookie Bacon MVP (Most Valuable Pig) did not come out on top but I feel confident in saying we were all winners! Congratulations to Mr. Andrews' class and their pig Blueberry who was Boss Hog today (there will be an independent investigation into allegations of performance-enhancing!)

What to do with all those leftover Thanksgiving desserts? The PTO is having a bake sale in conjunction with the book fair. Sign up here! 

I have exciting news! For your convenience, and for the safety of our children, we will begin using a new on-line dismissal management system in December. After exhaustive research and reference/review checks, we have found School Dismissal Manager (SDM) to be dependable, easy-to-use, and can most importantly be updated by parents and guardians from the convenience of your smartphone, tablet, or PC. 
The system allows you to:
  • report student absences and late arrivals
  • schedule early departures from school
  • schedule after-school activities such as scouring, lego-league, mini-courses, kindness club, etc. etc. etc. 
  • make transportation changes as late as 11:00 on the current day
This means no more frantic calls from kids at 2:30 "Mom, I have mini-courses but you forgot to send a note!" (I still can't figure out why its always "mom's" fault). This also means that we should be able to get the buses out quicker and kids home sooner. More often then not we have them loaded and ready but we just need to make sure everyone is where they're supposed to be before we can let them roll. 
We plan to convert to the new system on December 3rd. You will receive more information and reminders prior to then. School Dismissal Manager will email you directly on Tuesday (11/27) with important instructions and your personal login credentials. Once you receive your account information, please use them to log into the system and familiarize yourself with it while also inputting your child's dismissal schedule.

Until December 3rd, please continue to send notes in as usual. 
As of December 3rd, all transportation changes will be accepted only through the School Dismissal Manager. 

The week ahead:

  • All Week (11/26-11/30) 
    • BES Book Fair all week! 
  • Wednesday (11/28) 
    • SEPAC meeting
  • Thursday (11/29) 
    • Enchanted Forest! Support the book fair and dress like someone or something from an enchanted forest (I'm really going to have to think about that one!) 
    • Book Fair Family Night 3:00-7:30
  • Friday (11/30)
    • Grades close

Friday, November 16, 2018


Forget "Winter is coming," winter is here! I've noticed the last few days, a number of students asking to come in from recess early because they're cold. Several did not have winter coats yet, hats or mitten/gloves. I feel like it snuck up on us this year but it's important to remind everyone that we go outside whenever we can. The basic rule of thumb is that if the temperature doesn't go below 20 with a windchill - we go out. When it's wet we look for drops hitting puddles and still try to sneak out between rain showers. Studies have shown the importance of free play, fresh air, and exercise. I know all students have different internal temperatures but if they are cold outside they are most likely not appropriately dressed. Also, students without snow pants and boots will have to stay on the hardtop for as long as the snow remains on the playground. I hope we can all layer up and enjoy the outdoors as winter begins. 

November is a strange month, isn't it? So much going on and barely a five day week to be found! We keep on chugging though. The highlight of this week had to be our 2nd grade Thanksgiving performance. Ms. Thompson (still no relation) and the 2nd-grade team did a fantastic job planning and implementing this performance on Thursday. I'd also like to thank Mrs. Kuppens for her support and the many parent volunteers. Every year, the performance reminds me of the innocence of these kids and also what this short break ahead is all about - family. We have much to be thankful for at BES, including a wonderful, caring, and committed staff, fantastic children that love to learn and are kind, and a supportive community that values the work done in our school. Thank you to you all! 

The Week Ahead:

  • Sunday (11/18) 
    • PTO Railers Game!
  • Monday (11/19) 
    • Day one of two for the week
  • Tuesday (11/20) 
    • 3rd grade Native American Presentation courtesy of the PTO
    • Kindergarten Thanksgiving Feast
    • Bacon Race thanks to the student Participation in the PTO Fundraiser
  • Wednesday - Friday
    • No School for Thanksgiving

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Short week, short blog :)

It feels like this fall has moved at a breakneck pace! We've had fundraisers, and penny wars and silly string, and through it all we have done a ton of teaching and learning. As the dust is beginning to settle, it seemed appropriate we shift our thinking. Thanks to the BES PTO, we were able to do just that last Friday. Miguel Rodriguez from Think Kindness spoke to our students about the importance of being kind. We have fantastic kids. They work hard, they learn, and they are good friends. Still, it's important to highlight kindness and make sure they know that we recognize it. To this end, Miguel challenged our kids to document their kindnesses in a kindness challenge. I think it's great not because I think it will cause our kids to be kinder, but because it forces them to stop and think and recognize the intentionality and importance of their actions. What a great focus going into the Thanksgiving break!  

The other big news coming is our BES Railers day! Patriots bye week? Check! Jersey's for the first 1,000 kids? Check! High-five tunnel for the players as they enter the ice? Check...if you get there by 2:25. The principal driving the Zamboni? They're not that crazy! Next Sunday the PTO is hosting a family night at the Worcester Railers game. This isn't about fundraising (though a small percentage goes back to the PTO) but about being together as a community and having fun. I hope you'll consider joining us in what should be a great time! You can find out more information in the links below or the flyer in the electronic folder. 

Students of the Week

The Week Ahead: 

Friday, November 2, 2018

Was Halloween this week?

There was so much to talk about this week but I think Wednesday's festivities are best shared through pictures. I'm still smiling about the great time had by all!

This week, we learned who our Student Council Executive board is. I've asked them to write a brief introduction for all of you:
"Hello! My name is Kiera, Boylston Elementary School’s student council secretary, I am happy to share that this year’s student council president is Cooper, the vice president is Iris, and the advisor is Molly.  We are looking forward to leading the students at BES and representing this wonderful school. Student council is a necessary part of a school because kids should get a say in their education. Everyone’s opinion matters, not just the adults, the kids need a voice too! The people voted into student council are respectful and responsible and this is our way to show that. We will show that we are capable of doing great things and making our school better than it already is."

With the expansion of technology in our lives, we have found that there are new skills we need to develop in our children. One area of focus and discussion recently has been on typing skills. Jenn Rowe, our Computer Science teacher asked if she could guest blog on the subject and share a resource so here she is:
"With so much learning and testing online these days, keyboarding has become an increasingly important skill for our students. When a student can type quickly and accurately, they don't have to think so much about how to type and can focus more on what they type. Fortunately, anyone can improve their typing skills with practice. Why not try it at home?
Here at school, our Grade 1 - 5 students are using a free online program called Typing Club.
Here's how to get there and log in:
Usernames are first name, last initial. No spaces. So I would be jenniferr. *
Everyone's password is bbrsd
*some students have a number next to their last initial because we have more than one lukes for example.  
Please email if your student is having trouble logging in.
Kindergarteners also practice keyboarding. They are memorizing where the letters are and how to make capital letters, punctuation, and symbols. Have your kinder play any keyboarding game in, Kindergarten level."

BES Students of the Week! 

The Week Ahead:
  • Monday (11/5)
    • School Council 
  • Thursday (11/8)
    • Early Release for Parent Teacher Conferences (11:45 Dismissal) 
    • Short-term babysitting in the library courtesy of the BEF
  • Friday (11/9)
    • No School for Students - Teacher PD Day

Friday, October 26, 2018

Halloween is coming!

A quick reminder as Halloween is almost upon us! Wednesday is our annual Halloween parade! A few quick points of information:

  • Parents are invited to attend the parade around the front bus drop off but are only allowed to enter the building afterward if they are a scheduled volunteer in the classroom. 
  • The parade starts at approximately 1:30 but I recommend people come early to get good/legitimate parking spaces and so no one feels rushed. Please also keep the driveway open in case emergency vehicles need to access the building. To help with this, staff members will be parking around back on the playground, opening up plenty of parking spots. Please leave room in the driveway for buses to come up at the end of the day as well. 
  • If you are sending in food, please have it to the school by 11:00 to allow the nurse enough time to check everything before it enters the classroom. If it does not get in before 11:00 it will likely not make it down to the classroom and there is a good chance I will eat it (just saying). 
  • Costumes should be weapon-free and not something that will scare our younger students (remember we have kindergarteners here too). It is also important that teachers recognize the students so faces must be visible. 
  • We are trying to limit/monitor access to the building after the parade, so I encourage parents volunteering in the classrooms afterward to sign in with the office before the start of the parade. 
  • Parents wishing to dismiss their children will be able to sign them out in the classroom on individual clipboards. 
  • Please let the ASP know by noon on Wednesday if your child will not be attending ASP that afternoon.
If your family does not celebrate Halloween or you would like your student to be excused from the parade and festivities please let their teacher know and we will have alternate activities in the building for them to participate in. 

In case you haven't heard from the students...I'm sure parents are wondering at home "whatever happened with all that loose change the kids brought into school?" Well, that loose change totaled over $2,204.18. That's right, there was a comma there. That's not a typo. The BEF was able to more than double their goal. This amount is more than enough to fully fund a teacher grant through the organization. I am astounded! Needless to say, I feel like Oprah and everyone gets recess. 2nd grade was our overall winner and they will get to silly string the principal, most likely in front of the whole school. I'm currently procrastinating...I mean working on the schedule for this [editors note: scheduled from Monday afternoon]. I'm sure pictures will follow if not on the blog definitely on our social media applications.

My personal highlight this week was our Bus Safety Deputies becoming official thanks to Worcester County Sheriff Evangelidis. I am so proud to be involved and appreciative of everyone that made this happen! Chief Sahangian and Office Annunziata of the BPD made an appearance and donated the badges. This was all the brainchild of our Bus 5 driver Jeff Ruggieri. Mrs. Koziak led the initial assembly with the support of our many teachers. The kids were totally locked in during the Deputies Pledge and participation was strong. We had over 85% of our kids deputized this week! And I loved that I saw kids walking around with those badges for the rest of the week :)

The week ahead:
  • Monday (10/29) 
    • Penny Wars Extra Recess!
    • Patriots Monday Night Football! 
  • Tuesday (10/30) 
    • Bus Evacuations
  • Wednesday (10/31) 
    • Halloween Parade starts at ~1:30
  • Thursday (11/1) 
    • PTO Meeting at 6:30 
  • Friday (11/2) 
    • The Kindness Rapper Assembly courtesy of the BES PTO
    • Let's break in our new BES gear and show the kindness rapper our school spirit!