Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Feb. News

Dear Members of the J. Turner Hood School Community,

I hope that everyone is managing to keep warm in this cold weather. The students will be happy when they are once again consistently able to go outside for recess.  I would like to remind you to send your children to school dressed appropriately for outside recess. Coats, hats and gloves are very important. We will always go outside for recess unless it is dangerously cold. If recess is canceled, please understand that it was canceled due to rain, snow or health recommendations only. It is our belief that students need physical activity and fresh air and therefore we send the children outside for recess in the winter.

MCAS- As part of the 1993 Massachusetts Educational Reform Act, a statewide assessment system was instituted. The Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) was designed to ensure that the Curriculum Frameworks were being implemented in all schools across the state.  MCAS testing begins in the third grade and students are continually assessed until they meet the high school graduation requirement. The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 requires all children in grades three to eight to be evaluated annually in ELA and Math. 

We, as a school, will continue to review all aspects of our instruction. This test is an important indicator  of our school’s ongoing assessment of student learning and achievement. At the elementary level the MCAS is designed to provide students, parents, teachers, and the community with information about the curriculum and student achievement.

The testing windows for this school year are as follows;

  • March 18, 2013 through April 5, 2013 - ELA Testing Block (Grades 3-5)
  • May 6, 2013 through May 21, 2013 - Math Testing Block (Grades 3-5), Science Testing Block (Grade 5)

This is an important assessment. Please avoid vacation days and appointments during school hours for these dates. Please feel free to call and speak to me if you have any questions regarding the MCAS tests.

Sir Ken Robinson- On January 28, 2013 I was invited to attend a lecture by Sir Ken Robinson as part of a professional affiliation with Merrimack College. I have been a longtime fan of Sir Ken! Sir Ken RobinsonPhD is an internationally recognized leader in the development of education, creativity and innovation. He is also one of the world’s leading speakers with a profound impact on audiences everywhere. The videos of his famous 2006 and 2010 talks to the prestigious TED Conference have been seen by an estimated 200 million people in over 150 countries.

Please check out my blog to read more;

School Security- The J. Turner Hood Elementary School has always been and continues to be a positive, proactive, and friendly place of learning for our neighborhood students and families. A large component of this special setting is the safety and security that we maintain for our students during school hours. All doors will be locked for the entire school day. This includes the front door. While this practice ensures safety for all it does require us to change a few additional practices.

Please be aware that we will be reinforcing the following safety practices:

1.     Going forward please be cognizant of drop off times for before school programming as the front doors are locked and the office is not fully staffed until 8 AM. If your child does not arrive as scheduled, staff are unavailable to admit them into their classroom.
2.     After School programming- Please be advised that as we tighten security, we respectfully request that parents remain outside of the building during pick up times. This includes afterschool enrichment.

Just some friendly reminders:
1.     All visitors must sign into the office and obtain a visitors badge. 
2.     When you visit the school, no matter how brief your visit is, you must wear a visitor badge. I have instructed my staff to stop any visitor, whether well-known or unknown, if they are not wearing a badge.
3.     Please do not visit your child’s classroom unless you have a scheduled appointment with the classroom teacher. Unscheduled visits are very disruptive to the classroom teacher and to student learning.
4.     Dismissal – All of our current dismissal practices will remain in place.

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