Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Principal Notes 01/16

Welcome back, I hope you and your families enjoyed the holiday break. We have had a steady stream of Parker Alum home on college break who have been in to visit, as well as high school students who were back to visit teachers. It is always a highlight of our day to see Parker graduates back to visit who share how they “…miss the old place, especially the teachers…” It is good to see how well our former students are progressing. We often hear from our young college visitors that school is great, and that Reading has really prepared them very well for school. Meanwhile, teachers and students here are working hard to complete the second quarter. We will be sending out report cards on February 1st. In the coming months there is a lot happening, please keep an eye out for the Parent Weekly Preview sent out on Edline.

School Safety and Drills

In the coming months we will be reviewing our safety plans and our safety drill schedules with the district leadership, the Reading Police and Fire Departments. We will continue as we have in the past with fire, shelter-in-place and lock down drills throughout the spring. We completed a lock down drill on Monday which went quite well. As part of all drill process, we assess and debrief the exercise with the schools Resource Officer, Corey Santasky and teachers here in the building. In light of all that has recently transpired in Newtown, CT. we are pleased that we have safety plans that are comprehensive and most importantly, district leaders who are committed to continually assessing and improving how we keep students safe. More to follow on this topic…

Grade 5 and Grade 8 - Transitions

With the end of second quarter, this starts the second semester and transition planning for grades five and eight. We are planning spring parent meetings with Eaton, Barrows, Killam and Birch Meadow Elementary Schools. In addition, to the spring meetings at each elementary school, we will also have a grade five parent night here at Parker where the sixth grade teachers, our school psychologists and the administrators talk about academic programs, extra curricular activities and academic support for our incoming fifth graders. Class sizes in our sixth grade next year look to be 26:1 at each middle school. We will be communicating meeting dates and locations at the beginning of February.

The eighth grade will start the high school course selection process in February. They are putting the finishing touches on the 2013-2014 RMHS Course Selection Catalog. We will be posting more information to Edline as we receive it from the high school. Eighth grade parents should mark their calendar for Future Freshman Night for students and parents, January 30th at 7:00 p.m. at the RMHS Fine and Performing Arts Center.

Thank you to the Parker – PTO for the Technology Donation

The Parker PTO has for two years in a row donated five thousand dollars annually to support instructional technology. This year, we have added iPad sets to grades six, seven and eight. In grade six, English Language Arts teachers Ms. Pelletier and Ms. Merrill have incorporated iPads into guided reading groups. In grade seven, Science teacher, Mr. Barnett and Social Studies teacher Mr. Twomey have partnered to use their iPads to create videos for the Amazon Idol Projects and in Science students will be getting an opportunity to dissect a virtual frog, which may make the old school actual frog dissection obsolete over time. We also think it will make the dissection activity considerably less dramatic. In grade 8, Math teachers, Mr. Cormier and Ms. Webster have just started using their iPad sets in math classes. This new technology promises to help students in creating and learning in ELA, Math, Science and Social Studies. Special thanks to our PTO President, Christine Hylan for her energy and unwavering commitment to our school community and the continued growth of instructional technology to support student learning. Thank you!

Middle School Student Leader, Caroline Corwin Represents Reading at Project 351

Project 351 celebrates the ethic of service, youth leadership, the mosaic of our Commonwealth, and the power of community to uplift and unite. Project 351 is an independent non-profit fully staffed by volunteers with expertise in community service, youth engagement, and the non-profit sector. Project 351 is made possible by strong partnerships with educators, non-profit organizations, the Project 351 Alumni Leadership Council, citizen volunteers, and the kind support of parents and families.

On January 26, 2013, Honorary Chair Governor Patrick will launch our third class of Ambassadors at the State House. Core components of the day include a Town Meeting, high impact service across Boston, service learning, and a closing celebration with the Governor. Ambassadors will gain inspiration, enrichment, and new friendships with peers from across the Commonwealth. At the heart of Project 351 is the dedication and compassion of our Ambassadors. Youth are selected for their exemplary ethic of service and their values of humility, compassion, commitment, kindness, and service and their values of humility, compassion, commitment, kindness, and generosity of spirit. This year we are pleased to send eighth grade, student leader, Caroline Corwin to represent Reading. Special thanks to the eight grade teachers for assisting with this well-deserved nomination.