Sunday, March 1, 2015

Marchin' On Up

Thank goodness February is over. Was that for real or what? March had better play nice! One of the things that should help get everyone's qi sorted out is the MCS Readathon, which kicked off at a quick assembly last Thursday afternoon. Reading logs were sent home on Friday, but tracking started Thursday night, so we fixed that Friday morning. Reading logs need to be turned in on Monday mornings with minutes and signatures to be collected and tallied by Mrs. Lester. Fifth and sixth graders need to read at least 30 minutes outside of school seven days a week to be eligible for all kinds of neat prizes later on in the month. Everyone who brings their completed reading log back on Monday will get a coupon for a free Ben & Jerry's cone. Not a bad deal. This week, we will have "Rock 'n' Read" with traveling rocking chairs making their way to classrooms so that kids have an additional cozy spot to spend time reading. If anyone has an old rocker that they would be willing to donate to our classroom for use by our community members this week, we would gladly carve out a home for it. Otherwise, we will just wait our turn for one of the chairs circulating the building. Please know that collecting pledges is not necessary, but the Readathon is a fundraiser, so every little bit helps. Even a penny a minute goes a long way!

On Monday the 2nd, Ms. Blanchette and Mrs. Parker will be taking the class snowshoeing for Four Winds. What a cool treat! Because it will involve being outside for an extended period of time, boots and outdoor gear are needed for this activity. We will be fortunate enough to have Four Winds twice this month because February Break interrupted our schedule last month. I am super grateful to these fine volunteers for their generosity of time!

Most all of you have heard that an MCS family's home was devastated by a fire over the Break. The school has set up a donation page through the fundraising site Go Give Forward to help raise funds for the Dunbars so that they can rebuild. The site does take a fee of 7% of the total raised, so if you are thinking of donating, sending cash, checks, or gift cards through the Main Office at MCS is better. An anonymous community member has offered to match what is raised, so this is a really good chance to make our community support go a really long way. Feel free to forward the link to folks who live away and might be interested in helping out.

Registration for Girls On The Run starts on Saturday and forms went home Friday. Scholarships are available, but have to be applied for before the participant can register, so timing is everything. This year, registration is being done online, so contact head coach Emmy Harvey--another volunteer extraordinaire!--if you have any questions or need help with that process. There is a limit of 20 participants in grades 3-5 and it fills up quickly. GOTR will start on March 23rd and meet Mondays and Thursdays from 3-4:30 in the gym. It's a really fun way to get moving--especially after the winter--and the 5K event at the end is really special, whether it's your first or your fiftieth!

We have begin getting information about the transition to Mount Abe. Ms. Pierpont and I will be getting the initial paperwork from the team at MAUMHS in a couple of weeks. These are essentially student profile sheets. We will then divide the kids into clusters based on social and academic inputs and send these clusters to Mount Abe. Our work to divide the students into clusters absolutely positively in no way dictates who ends up on which crew and with what friends. In fact, what we have seen about placements in years past is that, except in extreme circumstances (which are rare), what we share with Mount Abe has little to do with their final arrangements and once those forms and recommendations leave our hands, we are officially out of the process. Crews will be announced just prior to April Break and your feedback about those determinations should be addressed solely to the folks at Mount Abe (i.e., Ellen Repstad, middle school principal). Movement from one crew to another after placement decisions have been made should not be expected and it's up to parents to pursue it. Later in the spring, word of parent information nights, Meet the Crew Night, and other transition activities will come through Front Porch Forum and from Ellen Repstad to parents and families. We will assist in the distribution of the information, but we don't plan the events and are not involved in the scheduling or arrangements, so contacting Mount Abe directly is best.

Report cards are coming home shortly and I am finishing my feedback this week in anticipation of the end of the trimester on Friday, March 6th. Like last trimester, the academic report card will include feedback on students' social/emotional learning, literacy, math, science, and social sciences (Humanities). I will be using a rubric for science feedback since standards for our unit on innovation and design tech (makerspace/Genius Hour) are not included on the existing report card; we used the Next Generation Engineering & Design Tech and ANESU Ends Policy to guide our winter science work. The codes on the report card are:

1 - Student does not meet the standard
2 - Student can meet the standard with assistance
3 - Student can meet the standard on her/his own
4 - Student can exceed the standard on her/his own
N - Standard was not assessed
* - Student is part of a specialized program regarding this standard

Please also remember to schedule your conference using the Sign Up Genius, linked in last week's post.

We will be having the much anticipated Fun Fest after school from 3:30-5:30pm on Thursday, March 12th in the Gym and Library. The students are looking for commitments of food and beverages to sell at the bake sale, which is an integral part of this event. They will be creating a Sign Up Genius of their own, which I will distribute to you via email, this week as part of Community Council. The date of the Fun Fest is also the date that the MCS teachers have chosen to meet for their book club, so I will potentially be at a bit of a loss for chaperones. We need to have a few extra adults on hand, so if you are available for all or a portion of the time, please let me know.

Finally, I received an email from the Common Core Math Implementation guru at the State of Vermont Agency of Education last week informing me that she was so inspired by our Genius Hour story on WCAX's "30 Schools in 30 Days" last month that she is featuring it on the program's homepage. Check it out here while it's still the star of the show!

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