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Monday, December 17, 2012

Monday Message



It has been a positive, normal morning at the Lowell School. As a result of the tragedy in Connecticut, the Crisis Intervention Team convened this morning to review emergency protocols. 

I would like to share some new information and reminders to you.
  • All doors at the Lowell are locked at all times.  This now means that our PreK students will now enter with everyone else through the main entrance.  Regardless of weather, students will not be able to wait in the vestibule (between the two sets of doors) before 8:05 am.  Main office doors will be open by staff at 8:05 and closed at 8:20 am.
  • Radios (walkie talkies) will accompany classes to recess.
  • Teachers will remind students to not let anyone into the building.

When you come to the school:
  • Ring the buzzer at the main entrance. When you have been granted access, immediately report to the main office to sign in and receive a visitor badge.
  • Only enter and exit through the main office doors.
  • Respect that we are being vigilant about security.  You may have to wait to be buzzed in to the building and may be asked to show your identification.
  • If you are picking up your child from the nurse, remember to check in with the main office first and sign out when you are leaving.


Thank you for your support during this time.  Please know that this is a time of heightened alert and we are hoping that visitors will be limited to only the most essential visits.  Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Responding to Tragedy


Lowell Families,

It is with a very heavy heart that I write this message to you.  I, like you, have been devastated by the news of the school shooting that occurred in Connecticut on Friday.  My deepest condolences go out to the Newtown community.

The tragic events in Connecticut have caused our thoughts to turn inward and think about our own community.  The Lowell School remains vigilant in its commitment to safety.  A district wide, comprehensive safety plan is in place and is updated frequently.  As a part of this plan, we work in partnership with local police and fire departments to ensure our schools are safe and secure.  Immediately, we will review these plans and protocols with a new perspective.  Our first priority, as always, remains the safety and welfare of our students and staff.

This is undoubtedly a troubling time for parents of elementary school aged children.  Below you will find some very helpful resources to help you and your children cope with the feelings brought on by this tragedy.




We will welcome students Monday morning as they arrive at school and classrooms with warm greetings, smiles and reassuring welcomes to ensure a sense of comfort and security, recognizing that students will be returning to school with varying levels of awareness of the shootings.   We do not plan on having large assemblies but we will be ready to respond to our children in developmentally appropriate ways to ensure them that they are safe at school. 

Our guidance counselor, Mrs Knight, will be available all day and after school if you or your child is in need of support.  And, as always, my door is open to you.


Best,
Elizabeth Kaplan

Monday, December 10, 2012

Monday Message

We have a busy and exciting week ahead of us at the Lowell!

Here is what is happening this week...

Book Fair
Our book fair opens on Monday from 1:30-3pm in the Lowell library! It will be open every day this week at this time and will also be open during the Winter Wonderland event from 6-8 pm on Friday night.  Students and teachers will have the opportunity to create "wish lists".  Students will not be purchasing books alone during the school day, so there is no need to send your student in with any money for purchasing!

Winter Concert
The Lowell School Winter Concert will be this Friday at 1:15 pm in the gym.  Our 4th and 5th grade chorus, band, and strings will be performing!

PTO Meeting
The PTO will meet this Tuesday at 7pm in the Lowell lounge.  Please consider attending, especially if you have never attended a meeting before!

Winter Wonderland
All families are invited to the PTO sponsored Winter Wonderland this Friday night from 6-8pm in the Lowell cafeteria.  It is always a fun evening for families.

Other news...

Hurricane Sandy Fundraiser
Our student led fundraiser for victims of Hurricane Sandy raised $200.00.  Thank you to Alyssa Carroll and her fifth grade classmates for organizing the hat day fundraiser!

Watertown Community Foundation Grant
I am so pleased to announce that the Lowell school has just received a $2500.00 grant from the Watertown Community Foundation.  The grant is to go towards a Lowell School Learning Garden, which will be used by many teachers, students, and community members.  Thank you to our preK teacher Ms Julia Bean, interim elementary curriculum coordinator Alison Donovan, and parent Anna Yoo for putting together and submitting the grant application!

Ethical Gift Giving
It is the time of year, where families often are so generous and show appreciation of teachers by giving them gifts.  The following is a link to the site of the Massachusetts State Ethics Commission.  It details the law around teacher gifts.
http://www.mass.gov/ethics/gifts-to-public-school-teachers-and-staff.html

Monday, December 3, 2012

Monday Message

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend.   We had a very successful Caring School Community Buddy Launch event last week.  I will be posting some pictures of the buddies very soon-expect another blog update in the next few days!

Progress Reports

Term 1 progress reports will go home Thursday, December 6th.  The report summarizes your students progress towards grade level standards.  You will have discussed much of what you see on the report at parent-teacher conferences, but if you have questions do not hesitate to contact your student's teacher.

Picture Re-Take Day
Re-takes are this Wednesday, December 5th!






Monday, November 26, 2012

Monday Message

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. It is great to be back for the first full week of school in quite a while!

Picture Re-Take Day
Picture re-takes will be on Wednesday, December 5th.  Please send in the first round of pictures, if your child is having re-takes.

Caring School Community Buddy Launch
We are thrilled that we will be launching our Caring School Community cross-age buddies this week, on Thursday at 1:35 pm.  Every student in the school has a "buddy" in a different grade.  They will meet and do an activity together.  A successful cross-age buddies program benefits all students, strengthens relationships between teachers, and builds schoolwide community. Ask your student about their buddy!

International Night
The Lowell School will be hosting its first International Night on January 25th.  It will be an evening that celebrates the great diversity of our community.  We would like to have all of our community's nationalities represented.  A flier will be going home this week.  Please contact Deb Ortiz (ortiz60@hotmail.com)or Yolyett Hohmann (yolyett@gmail.com) if you are interested in hosting a table and/or bringing a dish to share.

Scholastic Book Fair
Lowell School is excited to bring back the Scholastic Book Fair!  Our goal is to excite children to read and to earn scholastic dollars for library books.  In the next few days a letter and book list will be sent home for the online portion of our fair.  If you can't make it out, please feel free to order online.  The online fair runs from 11/20-12/10/12 – once all orders are placed, books will be sent to the school and sent home.  There is a larger selection online.  
The fair will also include wish lists from your teachers to help update and improve their class libraries.  These will be at the live Fair in the Lowell Library.

The children will have an opportunity to preview the books during library and will bring home wish lists.  
Parents can purchase the books 12/10-12/14 1:30 PM to 3:00 PM in the school library.
12/14 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM – During the Winter Wonderland in the school library.

If you have any questions please contact Donna Tuccinardi dmtuccinardi2012@gmail.com

PTO Winter Wonderland 
The PTO will host a Winter Wonderland event on Friday December 14th from 6:00 - 8:00 PM at the Lowell School Gym.  More details to follow!


Monday, November 19, 2012

Monday Message

Some short announcements on a short week!

Early Release

Students will be dismissed at 12:00 pm on Wednesday. There will be no lunch served and there is no LEDP. Please be on time to pick up your students.

Picture Re-Take Day

Picture re-takes will happen on Wednesday, December 5th.


I wish you a happy and restful Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Monday Message

I hope you are enjoying the beautiful weather today! There are some very important (and fun) events happening this week!

Grade 3 Parent Coffee
Parents of third graders are invited to a principal's coffee this Thursday at 8:30 am in the Lowell lounge.  A variety of topics will be covered.

PTO/Grade 5 Parent Meeting
There will be a meeting for grade 5 parents before the PTO meeting this Tuesday (November 13th) at 6:30 pm in the Lowell lounge.  The purpose of the meeting is to plan and discuss all grade 5 special events.  The PTO meeting will be at 7:00 pm.

School Site Council
There will be a presentation at this month's school site council meeting from The Family Dinner Project, a local non profit organization that the Lowell school is partnering with. Please join us at 7:00 pm on Thursday, November 15th at 7:00 pm in the Lowell lounge.

Spirit Day!
This Friday the PTO will be sponsoring a "Crazy Sock"  Spirit Day.  Also, Alyssa Carroll (fifth grade student) and her classmates have put together a hat day fundraiser to benefit victims of Hurricane Sandy and the American Red Cross.  Students may wear a hat to school for a donation to the Red Cross. More information is posted around the building.  We look forward to seeing some crazy socks and hats on Friday!

Watertown Walks Day
Everyone is invited to join Watertown Community Safe Routes to School and students across the district for a special walk/ride day to school THIS WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 14th.  This exciting event is organized annually by the Watertown Community Safe Routes to School Program. Watertown CSRTS encourages students to walk, ride a bicycle, or scooter to school. Parents who cannot walk the entire way with their children, are encouraged to walk for some part of their school trip by parking just a few blocks away from the school building and walking the rest of the way with their children.  Students who walk/ride to school will receive a sticker.

Thanksgiving Break
A reminder that Wednesday, November 21st will be a half day with dismissal at 12:00 pm (not 12:15 pm) and lunch will NOT be served to students.

Have a great week!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Monday Message

It is going to be a very busy week at the Lowell!

A reminder that there will be no school for students on Tuesday, November 6th.  There will be half days on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of this week for parent-teacher conferences.  Dismissal is at 12:15 sharp on each of these days.

Please join us!
The Family Dinner Project, a non-profit organization based in Watertown, will be presenting at our next School Site Council meeting on Thursday, November 15th at 7:00 pm in the Lowell library.  We would like many parents to attend this meeting as we will be partnering with The Family Dinner Project to run lunch groups for students and to put on Community Dinners for students and parents.  The FDP's mission is to promote the great benefits of family meals.  Their belief in the "magic" is grounded in research on the physical, mental, and emotional benefits of regular family meals. For more information, please visit their website at www.thefamilydinnerproject.org.
Please join us on November 15th. Your family could be a part of this wonderful project!

Len Cabral Assembly
This Friday all students will have the pleasure of attending an assembly with Len Cabral.  Len Cabral is an acclaimed storyteller and children's book author who has been visiting the Lowell for a few years now.  It is always an amazing experience for our students (and teachers)!

Grade Three Parent Coffee
A reminder that I will be holding a principal's coffee on Thursday, November 15th at 8:30 am for parents of grade three students.  Please email me with any questions or if you would like a specific topic covered at the coffee.

PTO Events
The PTO will be holding a bake sale during voting on Tuesday.  My previous blog post outlines details of all important PTO updates, but we still need bakers for the bake sale! We are looking for lots more of our families to donate to our PTO Bake Sale and will appreciate any type of baked item you can make, whether it is something simple or one of your finest culinary creations. Baked items can be dropped off on either 

Monday November 5th from 2:00 - 3:30 in the Teachers Lounge
or Tuesday November 6th, beginning at 7:00 AM in the Lowell Gym
(Please label any serving dishes that you need returned)

Our next PTO meeting is on Tuesday, November 13th at 7:00 pm in the Lowell lounge. We hope you can join us. The PTO supports the school, teachers, and students in so many ways!

Conferences
As we begin our fall parent-teacher conferences, I would like to share an article summary on how to make the most out of parent-teacher conferences. I hope you find it useful.

Getting the Most Out of Parent Conferences
            “Parent-teacher conferences can be daunting,” says Marjorie Hancock, Kansas education professor, parent, and former teacher. She offers parents these ten pointers for making conferences more successful:
-          Arrive on time. This sends the message that the parents care.
-          Bring a written list of questions. “A lot of parents get nervous because the teachers are the professionals and they get back into their car and think ‘Why didn’t I ask that?’”
-          Realize that your child may act differently in school than at home; be open to the teacher’s descriptions of your child’s behavior in school.
-          Don’t be defensive. It’s all about helping your child do better in school.
-          Ask the teacher for examples of your child’s work to back up the points the teacher is making.
-          Discuss specific strengths of your child as a learner; build on your child’s strengths.
-          Ask the teacher for specific ways you can help at home.
-          Set 2-4 specific goals for your child in the next grading period.
-          Share what the teacher reports with your child. Better yet, have your child be part of the conference.
-          Remember that, as a parent, you are the most important person in your child’s life. Give your child a hug and reassurance after the conference. “The bottom line is ‘I love you,’” says Hancock. “It’s almost a team approach to success.”

“Getting the Most Out of Parent Conferences” in PEN Weekly NewsBlast, Sept. 30, 2004. See http://www.click2houston.com/education/3767252/detail.html

Sunday, November 4, 2012

PTO Happenings!


Upcoming PTO Events

Election Day Bake Sale-  Tuesday November 6th, 7:00 AM - 8:00 PM in the Lowell Gym.  We are looking for lots more of our families to donate to our PTO Bake Sale and will appreciate any type of baked item you can make, whether it is something simple or one of your finest culinary creations. Baked items can be dropped off on either 

Monday November 5th from 2:00 - 3:30 in the Teachers Lounge
or Tuesday November 6th, beginning at 7:00 AM in the Lowell Gym
(Please label any serving dishes that you need returned)

Along with our donated items from our own families we will be selling donated items from a few local bakeries 
Lakota Bakery in Arlington, truly some of the best cookies you will ever have.   http://www.lakotabakery.com/.  

Great Harvest Bread Company in Lexington Center has also offered to donate some of their delicious  fresh baked bread.  http://www.greatharvestcatering.com/index.html  

Please contact Nancy Iannetta,  our Lowell School PTO Secretary, to donate items at robnancy@comcast.net

Our Bake Sale will also feature a Tupperware display where 1/2 of all money earned that day from Tupperware Sales will be donated back to our Lowell School PTO.  

Patou Thai Dining Fundraiser - Wednesday November 7th, Come experience one of the Boston areas most talked about Thai restaurants.  Patou Thai uses only the freshest ingredients to create their delicious dishes and offers both vegan and gluten free menu items. Lots of healthy selections to choose from.

Dine anytime that day for lunch, dinner or choose Take-out and 15% of your purchase will be donated back to our school.  As an added bonus the purchase of gift cards will also count towards our fundraiser.  Gift cards make wonderful birthday and holiday gifts and convenient for future family visits.  Learn more about Patou including both their Lunch and Dinner Menu at http://www.patouthai.com/.  FLYER MUST BE PRESENTED WHEN ORDERING.


Jenny Boston Shopping Fundraiser - Wednesday November 14th, 7:00 - 9:00 PM,  Join us at Jenny Boston in Belmont’s Cushing Square for this exclusive Lowell School PTO Shopping Night.  Jenny Boston offers a fun selection of handbags, jewelry, scarfs, hair accessories and more, all at discounted prices.  This is a great opportunity to stock up on holiday gifts and to treat yourself to something special. http://jennyboston.com/shop/

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Weekly Message

I hope you are all safe, dry, and with power as Hurricane Sandy finally moves out.  As November approaches, it is important to note that there are a few days off and half days for students.

Early Release Days
November 7th, 8th, and 9th will be early release days for parent-teacher conferences.  Dismissal will be at 12:15 pm each day and lunch will be served

Students will be dismissed at 12:00 pm for Thanksgiving Break on Wednesday, November 21st.  Lunch will NOT be served on this day.

No School
There will be a professional development day for teachers on election day, Tuesday, November 6th.  There will be no school for students on this day.

School will be closed for Veteran's Day on Monday, November 12th.

Conferences
Please look in your students' backpacks for your parent-teacher conference assignments.

Parent Coffees
I will be holding my monthly parent coffee events starting in November.  Each coffee will be focused on one grade level. I would like to invite GRADE 3 parents to a coffee on Thursday, November 15th at 8:30 am in the Lowell lounge.  We will be discussing: curriculum, assessment, and other topics pertinent to third grade.  I look forward to seeing you!

Have a safe and happy Halloween.


Monday, October 22, 2012

Monday Message

Hello! Some updates for the week:

Parent-Teacher Conferences.
Please return evening conference slips by tomorrow.  Parent-teacher conferences will be happening throughout November.We will  be scheduling conferences this week, so more information will be forth coming.

Picture Re-Takes
Picture re-takes will take place on December 5th. You will receive your student's first set of pictures before that date.

Drop Off Reminder
Parents wishing to drop-off their children can enter the “drop-off line” by proceeding from either
Belmont Street or Harnden Avenue onto York Avenue. Please turn left onto Lowell Avenue and pull
up as far as you can in front of the school. After a drop-off is completed, please continue down Lowell
Avenue to make room for other drop-offs.
The section of Lowell Avenue from Carroll Street to York Avenue is “one way” and is available for
“live parking” on the right side of the road only.

For safety reasons, please abide by the following:
• All students should exit their car from the passenger side.
• Pull as far down Lowell Avenue as possible to drop off, so others can too!
• Do not park and get out of your vehicle, we need to move the cars quickly and safely.
• Drive slowly and observe carefully. Walkers are arriving to school too!

I hope you have a wonderful week.


Monday, October 15, 2012

Monday Message

Happy Monday!

Tomorrow is Picture Day! Forms should be sent in with your student so that they may be given to the classroom teacher.

School Site Council will meet this week on Thursday, October 18th at 7:00 pm in the Lowell lounge.  Site Council is comprised of teachers and parents who work collaboratively to help write the school improvement plan. It is a great opportunity to have a part in planning the "big picture"!  Please join us if you are available.

Many great things happening with the PTO.  The Harvest Festival, a free event for families, is this Friday, October 19th from 6-8pm.  The link to the PTO page is below.

http://teacherweb.com/MA/WatertownLowellElementary/ParentPortal/apt4.aspx

The Lowell Community Volunteer Program matches volunteers with many different opportunities throughout the school.  Time commitment is flexible! Volunteer forms are available right outside of the main office.

Have a great week!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Monday (Wednesday) Message

I hope you all had a wonderful long weekend!  While your students were home yesterday, teachers engaged in meaningful professional development.  In the morning, the Lowell staff focused on differentiating instruction to meet the needs of the diverse learners in their classrooms.  It was a productive session! In the afternoon, teachers went off in teams to work on collaborative projects around a variety of topics.

Picture Day
Picture Day is Tuesday, October 16th.  Picture Day notices will be sent home this Thursday.

MAP Testing
One of the many pieces of assessment data teams look at when grouping students is MAP, which stands for Measures of Academic Progress. MAP is a computerized assessment system that is aligned with state standards. This month, all Lowell school students will take MAP. MAP is given to students three times per year and the data that results from MAP is used to inform students’ instruction.  For more information on MAP testing in Watertown, please visit the following website: http://makingsenseofmap.blogspot.com


PTO Updates
There are many great things going on with our PTO! Please visit the PTO website for detailed information:


Have a wonderful week!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Monday Message

It is October, already! The first month of school has flown by and we have had such a positive start to the year.  Some important updates are listed below.

No School
There will be no school on Monday, October 8th and on Tuesday, October 9th for Columbus Day and for teacher professional development.  School will re-open on Wednesday, October 10th.

Absences
A reminder to NOT call the school when your child will be absent.  We do not have an absence hotline.  If your child is home sick, you do not need to let us know.  We will mark them absent and you will receive an automated absence call later in the day.

Intervention/Challenge Blocks
The Lowell School is made up of an incredibly diverse community of students. The varying ranges of skills, concept, and vocabulary can vary widely within a classroom.  Every grade has a thirty minute block of time built into the day for “Intervention and Challenge” or “IC blocks”.  Students are reconfigured into groups based on assessment data. Students may receive targeted teaching aimed at closing a gap in skills or they may receive challenge if they are on or above grade level. Almost all grade levels have begun "IC blocks".  Your student may have a different teacher for this part of the day.  Please let me know if you have any questions.

Target Funds
This summer the PTO sponsored a fundraiser through Target stores.  Families voted online so that Lowell could receive funds from Target.  Thank you for voting! The check arrived in the mail recently.  The funds will be put into a Lowell gift account and will be used to support a variety of expenditures not covered by our operating budget. 

"Borrowing" an Idea
This week, I had the privilege of being invited to view our preK teacher Ms Bean's class blog. It is an amazing web space that showcases EVERYTHING our preK students are doing (and they are doing some incredible things)! A part of the blog included "Ms Bean's professional reading".  Ms Bean shared what she was reading to continue her professional learning.  I am going to borrow this idea and share with all of you what professional reading I have been doing! The following is a link to a blog post on one of my favorite blogs "Connected Principals".  The post reminded me of how important it is to keep smiling at work! The post begins with a powerful quotation. “Always smile back at little children. To ignore them is to destroy their belief that the world is good.” ~ Pam Brown 
Enjoy the post, if you have time to check it out!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Monday Message

Thank you for coming to Back to School Night! It was a new format and I appreciate all of you coming, listening, and taking a part in your child's school experience. It was a busy week at the Lowell last week, with Back to School Night and the Ice Cream Social/Movie Night! My family enjoyed seeing so many of you at Faire on the Square on Saturday.

iParent
A letter went home on Friday that outlines the steps to follow so that you may have iParent access. iParent allows you to access your students attendance data and allows you to modify your child's biographical data and your contact information.  We need ALL parents to sign up for iParent! It is a useful tool that will follow your child through middle school and high school.  The letter you received contains your own child's ID number-which is necessary to sign up for iParent.  Please email me with any questions.

Sad News
It is with great sadness that I share the news of Joe Consolazio's passing. Joe was a beloved crossing guard at the Lowell school-he retired at the end of last year. 


PTO Updates

On Friday of this week, PTO will host a "Wear your favorite color to school" Spirit Day!
We are still accepting shoe donations in the main lobby!
Box Tops collected over the summer are due by Friday of this week. Please put Box Tops in a bag labeled with your name and grade in the Box Top box in the main lobby.
The PTO is having a fundraiser on Wednesday, October 3rd from 5-8pm at the Chateau. The flier can be found on the PTO website.
Lastly, Halloween costumes ordered online can benefit our school! More information on the PTO website.




Have a great week!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Important updates

Some changes to upcoming event schedules:

-The Movie Night/Ice Cream Social will begin at 6:00 pm on Friday (NOT 5:00 pm).  Please remember to bring blankets (for sitting), flashlights, and bug spray. 

-Back to School Night schedule is as follows:

PreK-2 Parents
3-5 Parents
6:30-6:45 pm
Presentation from Ms Kaplan (Gym)
6:45-7:15
Visit classrooms 
(Students' classrooms)
Visit specialists (Café)
7:15-7:45
(K parents will have brief presentation in library from Project READ, and will visit specialists after)
Visit specialists (Café)
Visit classrooms
 
Grade 4/5 parents will meet in the GYM.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Monday Message

It was so wonderful to see so many of you on Thursday at the Family Visit.  I look forward to seeing you again at Back to School Night this Thursday, September 20th at 6:30 pm.  The schedule for Back to School Night is as follows:


PreK-2 Parents
3-5 Parents
6:30-6:45 pm
Presentation from Ms Kaplan (Gym)
6:45-7:15
Visit classrooms
Visit specialists (Café)
7:15-7:45
(K parents will have brief presentation in library from Project READ, and will visit specialists after)

Visit specialists (Café)
Visit classrooms


Ice Cream Social and Movie Night

The PTO is sponsoring a movie night with ice cream this Friday night at 5:00 pm.  It is a free event and will be fun for parents and students!
Please bring blankets, bug spray, and flashlights as the movie will be shown on a large screen on the lawn at the front of the school. No dogs are allowed at this event.
If it rains, the event will be rescheduled

Dismissal Forms
Please return your students dismissal form to your student's teacher.  We may not dismiss your child to anyone who is NOT on the dismissal form. This means that if you call with the name of an adult that is not on the dismissal form, we may NOT dismiss your child to that adult.  Safety is of the utmost importance and any adult taking your child home MUST be on the dismissal plan.  You may add to the dismissal plan, but it must be done by the parent or guardian in person, in writing.

AUA Forms
Internet acceptable use agreement forms will also be sent home. Please return these forms to your student's teacher.

Student Absences
There is no absence hotline for parents to call.  If your student will be out sick, we will mark them absent, and you will receive an automated phone call confirming this absence.  There is no need to call the office the morning of your child's absence from school.

I hope you all enjoyed the weekend.  I will see you soon!


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Updates!

Some quick updates:

School Site Council will not meet this week. The first meeting will be on Thursday, September 27th at 7:00 pm.


A reminder that the family visit is tomorrow at 8:15 am. Please wait outside of the Lowell until we let you in to visit classes!  Also, I am holding a new family coffee for families new to the Lowell this year at 8:45 am in the cafeteria.

I look forward to seeing you tomorrow!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Monday Message

This is my first Monday Message that is a blog entry! I will continue to send the email blasts when I have a message for the community, and will continue the phone calls for the next few weeks. It is my hope that ALL Lowell community members will subscribe to this blog, either by becoming a "follower" or by entering your email address at the top of the site.  If you have already done this-thank you and please spread the word!
 Here is what you need to know this week:

Family Visit

Our annual family visit will be this week on Thursday, September 13th at 8:15 am.  The family visit is a time where parents may be observers in their students classroom! We hope to see you this Thursday!

New Family Coffee

I would like to invite all parents new to the Lowell to a coffee held immediately after the family visit on Thursday, September 13th at 8:45 am in the Lowell cafeteria. It is a wonderful opportunity to have an orientation to the Lowell and meet other community members.  This event is for any one who is new to the Lowell-regardless the grade level.  I will be scheduling and publicizing my grade level principal coffees very soon.

Important From the Main Office

Please return your child's DISMISSAL PLAN to their classroom teacher by Wednesday, September 12th.  

Get Involved!

There are many ways for parents to get involved in their students school experience.  Parental involvement in school can have positive affects on student achievement.  There are many ways you can get involved here at the Lowell.

School Site Council
School Site Council begins this week.  The first meeting will be on Thursday, September 13th at 7:00 pm in the Lowell lounge.  A School site council is a decision making body that creates the school improvement plan.  It must be comprised of school administrators, parents, and teachers.   Subject to open meeting laws, agendas will be posted 48 hours before the meetings. As a parent, being a SSC member is a valuable and important experience.  Please let me know if you will be able to sit on site council this year.  It is an excellent way to be involved in making improvements to curriculum, instruction, and school culture.

PTO
The PTO fundraises and supports much of what goes on at the Lowell school! They also provide wonderful FREE family events.  The Movie Night and Ice Cream Social will be held on Friday, September 21st at 6:00 pm. The first PTO meeting is on Tuesday, September 18th at 7:00 pm in the Lowell library.  Please visit and sign up for updates from the PTO page.
http://teacherweb.com/MA/WatertownLowellElementary/ParentPortal/apt4.aspx

LCVP
The Lowell Community Volunteer Program matches parent and community volunteer members with various needs within the school.  Volunteer tasks include, but are not limited to: recess play facilitation, classroom assistance, and copying help.  More info from the LCVP to come!

Donate

Time to clean out your closets!  Shoes too small or from last season?? Donate your worn shoes (but wearable and paired) to the Lowell PTO Shoe Recycling Program.  Located right inside the main school doors you will find 2 boxes – drop off your shoes into the box and the PTO will earn $0.50 per lb.  Shoes only-no skates, hiking boots, or ski boots!



Stay in Touch

Please remember that my door is always open! Please feel free to email or call with any questions or concerns that  you may have.

Thank you,
Ms Kaplan

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The First Day of School!

The first day of school is tomorrow, Thursday, September 6th.  Teachers and staff at the Lowell have been working hard to get ready for the arrival of students and families tomorrow.

A reminder that preK and Kindergarten students will be coming tomorrow for previously scheduled tours only.  You will receive information about arrival and dismissal while on your tour.

Also, as of this morning, there is still street work happening around the Lowell school.  There may be some small detours set up, so please allow a little extra time for drop off and pick up.

I am so excited to see all of you!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

End of Summer Message

 
Dear Lowell Families,

I hope you are all enjoying summer. I want to thank many of you for your congratulatory messages earlier this summer.  I am thrilled to be back at the Lowell. In addition to some relaxing with my family, I have been busy hiring, planning, and organizing for the upcoming year.  I love the feeling August brings-even though summer is coming to a close-it is like a fresh start.  A new school year, new families, new students, new staff, and new opportunities to improve student learning!

Focus of the Year
I have been so fortunate to receive some meaningful professional development this summer.  I participated in an administrative retreat with other principals and coordinators early in the summer.  I attended a two day Caring School Community workshop with other teachers and principals from the district. I traveled to Saratoga Springs, New York to a national curriculum mapping institute.  All of this professional development had the theme of community weaved within it.  I would like the focus of OUR year to also be that of community.  There are different “communities” that we belong to at the Lowell. Our teachers and staff belong to a community of professionals.  Together with our students we belong to a classroom community, a school community, and the big community outside of the building walls-Watertown and the world.  There are many ways in which we can work to ensure that all of these communities are healthy and prosperous.  This year teachers and staff will work together as a professional learning community to improve our practice through professional development that will include curriculum mapping, capturing and using data in the classroom, and a first look into project based learning.   This year we will strengthen our school community by launching school wide Caring School Community Buddies.  We will continue to be active participants in the community outside of the Lowell to not only bring enriching experiences in to our students but to also serve out to the community.

New Community Members
I am so thrilled to welcome many new members to our community! I, with a team of teachers, spent most of July hiring new staff. I am so pleased to introduce these new members of the Lowell to you.

  • Julia Bean is our new Pre-K teacher.  Julia has been a preK/K teacher at the Cambridge Friends School.
  • Jacquelyn Porter will be our fourth kindergarten teacher.  Jacquelyn joins us from the Eliot-Pearson school in Medford
  • Steve MacLellan will be teaching second grade.  Steve has been a grade 1 and 2 teacher in Cambridge Public Schools
  • Tom Stezzi will be our sixth homeroom teacher in grades 4 and 5.  Tom has been a graduate intern, after school instructor, and summer school teacher in Somerville.
Please join me in welcoming our new teachers.  We will be bringing in some more new staff members as I am currently in the process of hiring Instructional Assistants.

To our new families: welcome! We are so happy to have you.  Please know that there is a large network of support as you transition into a new school.  I will be hosting a New Family Coffee after our family visit on Thursday, September 13th at 9 am in the school cafeteria.  I look forward to meeting you and your students.

Communication
As you know I am committed to communicating with families consistently and clearly.  I heard from many of you over the course of the year about how you most like to receive information.  Some changes will be made as a result of your feedback.  I have outlined these changes below.

Weekly Principal Messages
I will be sending weekly messages to all families via email and my new blog.  I will be blogging at least once a week and will send a Monday message email with the message and a link to the blog.  I will only be sending the recorded phone calls for the first month or so of school.  The automated calls seemed to be least useful to families.  The easiest way to receive this information is to subscribe to the blog.   These messages are important as they contain vital information about school events, early release days, conferences, and other information.

We will be making sure families email information is up to date in our data system, iPass.  We will also be hosting an evening for parents to gain access to iParent, so you may manage your own contact information.  More information and assistance with receiving communication from my office will be coming!

PTO
Please sign up for the PTO “newsflash” updates.  The PTO provides huge support for our building, teachers and students.  They also put on wonderful free events for families.  The PTO website can be found off of our district website under “Parent Portal”.  The site is http://teacherweb.com/MA/WatertownLowellElementary/ParentPortal/apt4.aspx

Paper notices
The Lowell has substantially cut down on the amount of paper notices that go home.  At times, paper notices will go home with your student.  You should look for these notices on Thursday afternoons.

See You Soon
Please enjoy the rest of summer!  Please let me know if I can answer any questions or assist you in preparing for the year. The first day of school for students is Thursday, September 6th.  Please remember the following for dropping your student off in the morning.
 

The Drop and Go Zone on Lowell Avenue is tremendously beneficial to the neighborhood and families.  It reduces the number of parked and stopped cars in the surrounding neighborhood and helps parents get on with their day.  However, for it to be truly effective, I respectfully ask you to adhere to the following:

1.  Pull as far down on Lowell Avenue before your student gets out of the car. 
2.  Students exit the car on the school side. Parents please do not get out of your car. 
3.  Do not wait for your child to enter the building.  You will hold up the line.
4.  Please do not pull around another automobile.  This potentially endangers our children.
5.  Watch the two crosswalks on Lowell Avenue.  They are very active.
6.  Go Very Slowly.

I look forward to seeing you and your students. To receive my new blog posts directly in to your email inbox, enter your email into the space at the top of the blog and hit submit! Please let me know if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

Ms. Kaplan