Principal's December Newsletter 2014
MAIN STREET SCHOOL
40 Main Street
Exeter, New Hampshire 03833
Steve Adler ph: (603) 775-8900 Beth Cadorette
Principal fx: (603) 775-8964 Assistant Principal
December 8, 2014
Dear Main Street School Families,
As we prepare for the festivities of the holidays, the staff at MSS is mindful that this time of year can be quite difficult for some of our families. The staff has been collecting presents for a project called the Holiday Tree, which donates holiday gifts to families in need. Three folding tables line one wall of my office and students who visit me love checking out the different cardboard boxes filled with toys and games.
Last Friday I bought a delicious bowl of homemade chili prepared by a MSS teacher as part of our Souper Friday program. Money collected from Souper Friday is donated to local families who have children with significant health needs.
At our last Open Circle Lunch we had a special hat day and filled two large boxes with coins and bills. The Piscataqua Savings Bank in Portsmouth kindly counted all the money collected during hat day and sent us two checks worth over $900 that have been given to the Exeter Children’s Chamber Fund.
I am proud to serve in a school that has both staff and families who generously support multiple community service projects. Main Street School is deeply committed to the goal of the SAU 16 Strategic Plan to, “Recognize and support the value of community service.”
This past Friday and next Friday each of our first and second grade students will have spent time in the art room working with Karla Putney, our Curriculum Director. The students are using a variety of print making techniques to make a collection of print materials that will be used for the Picturing Writing curriculum. This program was developed by local UNH professor Beth Olshansky, who did some of her original work at MSS. Picturing Writing incorporates literature, art, and writing mini lessons to develop students’ ability to express their ideas.
Students use simple crayon and watercolor resist techniques to create collages. One of the unique features of the program is that the pictures are created first and then used to inspire students to write stories and poetry. A second grade student recently told me, “ I start out with a picture. The picture makes me feel like I have more to write about. I can describe how the picture makes sense. I write a lot. “ Storyboards and brainstorming sheets help them to organize their ideas and learn to read and write as a writer. Studies of the Picturing Writing process have shown that it has a very positive impact on students writing. It increases their use of descriptive writing, expands their understanding of the writing process, and supports higher level thinking skills.
Thank you for sharing your wonderful children with us. It truly is a pleasure to interact and work with them each day. I wish all of you a joyful holiday season.
Steven J. Adler
To provide a positive, safe learning environment that fosters a life-long love of learning for all with respect for individual strengths and needs.
Principal's November 2014
November 7, 2014
Dear Main Street School Families,
Thanksgiving Feast for Grades 1 & 2 – This year we are returning to our roots and will be having a much simpler Thanksgiving Feast celebration. The feast is intended for our first and second grade students and their teachers to share a special lunch together during the month of November. Over the past several years it had been our pleasure to host a large community Thanksgiving Feast, inviting the families of first and second grade students to join their children in our cafeteria. This community event grew larger and larger and reached a point of size that was difficult for us to sustain and presented a few challenges. One of the challenges we faced was that some of our students had families or loved ones that could not attend due to work schedules. Another challenge was students becoming anxious about who would be attending and when they would arrive. By returning our feast back to its original design as a simple in school event, we expect that it will help all of our students to feel included in the celebration. I will miss sharing my Thanksgiving jokes with the community. So for those of you who liked my corny jokes, here is one of my favorites:
-Why isn’t it safe for turkeys to do math?
If they add 3 and five, they get ate.
Thanksgiving Feast for Kindergarten – Our Kindergarten Feast will continue with the format of students eating together in the cafeteria.
Moving to Learn- Each month the staff and I meet after school to discuss initiatives, share information, and recognize the contributions of different staff members. This year different teachers having been taking a few minutes at each staff meeting to share movement activities they incorporate into their classroom curriculum. As a primary school we recognize that our young learners benefit from having a chance to move as part of their daily routines. In her article titled, “ Don’t Just Sit There … Pay Attention”, Wendy Ostroff shares, “When teachers build movement into classroom lessons, they provide natural breaks in focus for children, enabling them to harness their attentional resources for short spurts and then seamlessly transition to their next item of interest.” Teachers have shared how they have students dance in the classroom, use the songs and tapes of Dr. Jean, and have students move as they imagine that they are standing on a large one hundred square grid. Many classes do exercise that are similar to yoga as part of a “Brain Gym” class.
Students who participate in regular aerobic exercise do better on a myriad of cognitive measure. We have two recesses built into our full day program and also schedule two Physical Education classes a week for our full day students. Ostroff emphasizes, “The ability to stay on task is one of the strongest predictors of success throughout school.” The Open Circle program is another way we support student attention by teaching them social and emotional skills, such as how to stay calm and control their emotions through different breathing exercises. Ostroff emphasizes the importance of building movement into breaks stating, “What kind of breaks propel attention best? Movement breaks! A student’s mind is like an Etch-A-Sketch; it needs to be shaken now and then, to rest the screen and maximize performance.”
Hero Badges- This winter all of the schools in SAU 16 will be using a new visitor ID system called the Hero Visitor program as part of our school safety program. Every visitor to an SAU 16 school will be asked to register at the school and share information that enables them to obtain a picture ID with their name on the visitor tag that they are asked to wear. We have a lot to learn about how this system will work. As we get closer to using the new ID system we will share more information with you about it.
Principal's October 2014 Newsletter
October 6, 2014
Dear Main Street School Families,
Pancake Breakfast- It was great fun to see so many of you at the Exeter Fall Festival this past Saturday. My pancake making skills were put to the test as I tried to create perfectly symmetrical round pancakes. My successes at achieving this goal were hit and miss, but I hope they were still tasty. This was a great opportunity for the PTO to raise some additional funds. The money they provide to the Exeter School District helps our schools in many ways; including helping offset the cost of our fall field trips. If you are not already active in the PTO, I encourage you to join. We are lucky to work with such a wonderful group of parents.
Student Assemblies and Professional Learning Communities- This coming
Friday Ms. Cadorette and I are looking forward to hosting our second student
assembly with the first and second grade students. Throughout the year we
hold monthly student assemblies. The purpose of these assemblies is two fold.
They provide us an opportunity to meet curricular goals, such as the Social Studies curriculum goal of helping students learn to identify the lives and contributions of people associated with national holidays. The topic of this Friday’s assembly will be Columbus Day. These assemblies also provide classroom teachers the opportunity to meet with a small group of teachers in Professional Learning Communities where they can focus on student learning. This year in their Professional Learning Community the teachers will be addressing four key questions about their students learning of literacy skills. These questions include:
1) What literacy skills do we want each student to learn?
2) How will we know when each student has learned it?
3) How will we respond when a student experiences difficulty in learning?
4) How will we respond when a student has learned it?
As part of the assembly on Friday we will also be focusing on the Open Circle lesson about cooperation. Columbus would not have successfully sailed across the ocean without cooperation from his crew. There will be a chance for some songs, a movement activity, and a few Columbus Day jokes. You may want to ask your child, “What did George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Christopher Columbus all have in common?” Sincerely yours,
Office note about Dogs- If you have a dog in the car during morning drop off, please make sure it is both friendly and fully under control. It is important that when staff open car doors that they can do so safely. Also, if you walk a dog to school during the afternoon pick up, we ask that you keep the dog on the grass island with the Main Street School sign to ensure both the safety and comfort of the children and adults leaving the school. Thank you.
Summer Skills Packet
Summer Skills Packet- Each student at Main Street School will be coming home with a comprehensive summer math and literacy packet that includes a common reading text and that will enable you to extend your children’s learning throughout the summer in a fun and enjoyable manner. Many children lose academic skills over the summer and we hope that this summer packet will help children sustain the skills they have worked so hard to learn.