Degrees and Certifications:
Ms. Martha Ryan
November 1, 2019
Dear Parents and Guardians:
It is hard to believe that we are already into the beginning of the holiday season! I hope you and your child(ren) have had a successful start to the school year. I, too, am adjusting to my new routine as an empty nest parent. As always, though, I am thankful that my own children are happy and safe in their new surroundings. I wish the same for you.
There is much to report to you as we begin our third month of school. In staff updates, we welcome back Ken Whiteman as our head custodian. Congratulations to Mark Hamilla, our previous custodian, on the birth of his son and his new position. In other baby news, we congratulate Ms. Katie Colaluca-Borbon, our behaviorist, on the birth of her son, Antonio. Some of you are aware that Ms. Maureen Hanlon, grade two teacher, is out due to a fall and broken heel. I know you join me in wishing her a quick and complete recovery. We welcome Ms. Kathleen Bisset as her long-term substitute.
In Health and Safety Team news, we had our first meeting on October 7th. At the meeting, we discussed the new Share 911 computer application. This program allows staff to use a variety of devices (cell phones, desktop computers) to call 911 and to make staff within the building and at central office aware of emergency situations. We also discussed various drills that will occur during the school year. On November 11th, we will hold an announced lockdown drill in the building. There will also be an unannounced lockdown drill at some point in the next two months where central office and police department officials will visit our school to assess our procedures.
As mentioned in my first letter, we are continuing implementation of the Yale Ruler social emotional learning program with our staff. A team of five staff including myself attended a two-day training in the program on September 25th and 26th in Yorktown. We will be turnkey training staff in the building this year and will introduce it to students during the 2020-21 school year. I recently finished reading the program creator, Marc Brackett’s book, Permission to Feel. I highly recommend this book for both parents and educators.
Students in grades three to five are now benefitting from weekly in class enrichment sessions with either Mr. Dean Gianakouros or Ms. Katie Kelly. The enrichment teachers are working with classroom teachers on a variety of hands-on activities and STEM projects that build creative thinking and problem solving skills. In class enrichment will expand to grades K-2 in the second half of the year.
At least one teacher from each grade level is participating in the Metamorphosis math professional development training this year. This is not a math program, but rather a way of approaching math instruction that focuses on building foundational understandings of key math concepts and developing problem solving skills. The feedback from teachers regarding the training has been very positive and they are excited to apply what they have learned in the classroom. As we continue our work implementing the Teacher’s College Reading, Writing and Phonics program, I have to brag about how exciting it is to see the students’ progress in the classroom. They are so excited to share books and their writing with both adults and their peers. At one of our recent meetings with our Teacher’s College staff developer, we discussed an article by renowned researcher Richard Allington. In the article, Allington refers to the six elements of instruction that every child should experience every day. These are as follows:
- “Every child reads something he or she chooses.” Research shows that students read, understand and are more likely to continue reading when they have the opportunity to choose what they read.
- “Every child reads accurately.” When students can read accurately, their decoding and comprehension skills improve. Therefore, it is critical that they read books at their instructional level.
- “Every child reads something he or she understands.” Once again, reading texts at their level has been found to be more effective than completing isolated skill worksheets in accelerating progress in reading.
- “Every child writes about something personally meaningful.” I have seen this first hand as even the most reluctant writers among our students are willing to put forth time and effort in their writing when the topic is something they care about.
- “Every child talks with peers about reading and writing.” Students at every grade level are given opportunities during reading and writing workshop every day to share books and writing pieces with a partner.
- “Every child listens to a fluent adult read aloud.” Teachers read aloud to students each day and model fluency and good intonation. Parents can support this at home by reading to and with their child each night.
I thank you in advance for supporting our efforts to implement effective instruction in reading and writing by having your child read books on his/her level daily. Do not hesitate to reach out to your child’s teacher if you need help doing this.
There is much to look forward to in the weeks to come. Please make note on your calendar of the events listed below:
- Superintendent’s Conference Day on 11/5- School Closed for Students.
- Veteran’s Day on 11/11- School Closed.
- T.A. Meeting on 11/18 at 7:00 p.m.
- Picture Retakes on 11/21.
- Kindergarten Sing a Long on 11/25 at 8:30 a.m.
- School Closed for Thanksgiving Break- 11/27-11/29
- Early Release at 10:30 a.m. for Parent Conferences on 12/4 and 12/11.
- Report Cards Home on 12/13.
- Holiday Boutique on 12/16-12/18.
- T.A. Meeting on 12/16 at 7:00 p.m.
- Winter Concert on 12/19 at 7:00 p.m.
- School Closed for Winter Break- 12/23-1/1.
My best wishes to you all for a wonderful holiday season filled with the blessings of health, friends and family. I continue to be thankful for your support.