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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Weekly Message

I hope you enjoyed the beautiful weather this weekend. Spring is here!

Last Days of School
The last day of school for students in grades 1-5 is Friday, June 28th.   Friday, June 28th is an early release day for students, with dismissal at 12:15pm.  The last day for students in preK and kindergarten will be Tuesday, June 25th. These students end earlier so that we may conduct screening for our incoming kindergarten students.

Meetings and Events in May
Tuesday, May 14th: PTO Meeting @ 7pm in Lowell lounge
Thursday, May 16th: School Site Council Meeting @7pm in Lowell lounge

MCAS Testing
Students in grades 3-5 will be taking math and science MCAS testing over the next two weeks.  The dates and times for testing are below:

Grade 3 Mathematics MCAS: Tuesday, May 7th and Tuesday, May 14th
Grades 4/5 Mathematics MCAS: Wednesday, May 8th and Thursday, May 9th
Grade 5 Science and Technology MCAS: Wednesday, May 15th and Thursday, May 16th

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Weekly Updates

The return to school, after the tragic events of last week, was a smooth one.  Students seemed to be happy, engaged, and were supported by their teachers and other Lowell staff if they needed it. We will continue to support our students and each other in the coming days, weeks, and months. As always my door is always open if you would like to talk!  I do have some updates about the week.

School Site Council
Site Council will meet this Thursday at 7pm in the Lowell lounge. We will be writing our Lowell School Improvement Plan. It is an open meeting, all are invited to attend!

Intervention/Challenge Block 

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. This block is a part of our system of tiered interventions that we provide all of our students with. Earlier this month, all grade levels changed IC groups. This will be the last IC group change for this school year.

Spirit Days
Many students and staff are wearing Watertown colors in honor of our town pride today.  We may thoughtfully plan another spirit day to thank our towns "helpers" or first responders in the coming weeks. 

Wrapping Up...
Earlier this month our students reached their reading goal! This meant that I had to be wrapped up in a (very large and heavy) snake! Cameras were snapping away as I stood very still in front of the entire school! Enjoy the photo below!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Returning to School

During the tragic events at the Boston Marathon on Monday and subsequent manhunt in Watertown our staff, students, and families were in my thoughts.  I know that the entire Watertown community has been deeply impacted by the events of the week. I want to assure all families that the Lowell school staff look forward to greeting students back to school on Monday.

As we return to school, all will work together to ensure that every student feels safe and secure as we regain normalcy through consistency of our daily routines and academic activities. Guidance staff will provide emotional support to any student in need.  If you or your child were impacted by these events in a direct way, have a friend or family member involved or injured, please contact me so we may proactively support you and your student.   If  parents would like to speak to someone, please come to Room 101 of the Phillips Building, on 30 Common Street where professional counselors will be available all day on Monday.

We will plan to provide honest and developmentally appropriate responses to student questions and needs. However, we will return to our usual routines to ensure a sense of normalcy to our day.  It is also important that we provide hopefulness and security and remind students that the adults in their lives will take care of them.  

I am so proud to be a part of such a strong and amazing community.  Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions, concerns, or thoughts.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Guest Post: Monday Message

I am pleased to have a guest blogger this week! Lidia DiIeso has been working as a principal intern at my school for the past five weeks. This is her last week with us here and she will be our guest blogger! Before her post begins, I have some updates:

PTO will meet this Tuesday at 7pm in the Lowell lounge.
The WPS Art Show Reception is this Tuesday at the Watertown Mall from 6-8pm. All are invited to attend!

This week will draw a close to my time as Ms. Kaplan’s intern. A big thank you to everyone in the Lowell Community for welcoming me into The School and making my time here a great learning experience.

It was a pleasure to meet some of you throughout the past month. Whether participating in committees such as the PTO and School Site Council, attending events such as International Night and The Family Dinner Project, or volunteering time to help in classrooms, parents at the Lowell School have demonstrated their commitment to their children’s learning.
The Lowell School is a great community of learners. I have spent many hours of my internship studying the Lowell School’s model for Response to Intervention (RTI).The effort I have seen put forth by all faculty members to create and implement Intervention/Challenge groups to address RTI is commendable. I have visited classrooms during the Intervention/Challenge blocks and these small groups have done well to address learning weaknesses. Students are making great strides.

The collaboration that exists within the Lowell is quite apparent even beyond creating Intervention and Challenge groups. In my month here, I have also seen teachers work together to create a whole-school reading initiative - Wrapped Up in Reading, and a group develop plans to establish a Learning Garden on the grounds outside of the Lowell.

After April vacation, I will resume my responsibilities as a 4th grade teacher at the Cunniff School. Then, at the end of May, I will complete my principal licensure program at the Commonwealth Leadership Academy and receiving my Massachusetts Principal License.
It has been a pleasure to have the opportunity to work at your school.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Weekly Message

A mid-week message is sometimes better than a Monday message as I sometimes have more updates in the middle of the week.

Spirit Day
Our student is who is "Principal for the Day" has chosen tomorrow (Friday, April 5th) to be a Sports Spirit Day. Students are encouraged to celebrate by wearing something that represents their favorite sport! Also, our "Principal for the Day" is collecting donations for the MSPCA to help animals in need. Donations will be accepted of cozy blankets, towels, cat and dog toys, kitty litter, sheets, and anything else that would help a dog or cat in a shelter!

SEPAC Awards
The Watertown Special Education Parent Advisory Council will  be presenting it's annual awards night and a presentation called "Shut Up About Your Perfect Kid: A Survival Guide for Ordinary Parents of Special Children".  Dotty Buonomo of the Lowell School is being awarded! All are invited to attend.
Wednesday, April 10th from 6-9pm in the Hosmer School Auditorium.

Get Wrapped Up in Reading
If our students read only 200 more hours (totals to be announced today), I must get wrapped up in a giant snake tomorrow morning! It has been so wonderful to see how our students have been reading to reach their goal.  Encourage your students to keep reading after our challenge has ended!

Last Day of School
Currently the last day of school is to be on Friday, June 28th. This date has changed due to snow days.