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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Gardens and Music!


As many of you may know, the Lowell school had the first successful edible schoolyard, the Lowell Learning Garden, in the district last year! Since then other schools have caught on and are working to start their own gardens. The benefits of a school garden are plentiful and the positive effects spread outside of the school walls to parents, community members, town officials, etc...
We are determined to keep the garden going and successful and expand its use to more classrooms and more areas of the curriculum.

We are looking for 2-3 parents who would be willing to make a seasonal commitment to be on the Lowell Learning Garden steering committee. This commitment entails two, one hour meetings a month for the months of April, May, June, September, and October.  Many of you volunteered in the garden or "adopted" the garden for a week in the summer and there will be these opportunities again! The steering committee is a model proven to sustain and run an efficient learning garden. Please email me, Ms Kaplan at  directly as soon as possible if you would like to take advantage of this exciting opportunity. In addition to parents, the committee is composed of myself, three teachers, and a master gardener. 

We need to open the garden as soon as possible (planting peas this year) so please get in touch if you can! Anyone can do this-there is no need to know anything about gardening. 

The third annual MusicFest Fundraiser is happening this Friday at Watertown Middle School from 6-10pm.  The event features over 50 performances from local musicians. Pizza and baked goods will be sold and there will be an instrument petting zoo from 6-7:30 pm for younger children. All proceeds benefit music programs of the Watertown Public Schools. Suggested donations are $8/person or $25/family.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Monday Message

Lowell Happenings
Our reading challenge continues! Here is the news from last week.
  • In the PK/Kindergarten downhill skiing competition, Team Altobello made it down the mountain with the best set of times.
  • In first grade, Team Peca’s bobsled ran a little faster than the competition, just beating out Team Lehmann.
  • In the second grade, Team Seward’s ski jumpers went just a little further than the rest of the field, inching out ahead of Team Hudon’s strong second-week showing.
  • In the third grade, Team Park sharpened their speedskates to take the week’s lead.
  • On the ⅘ team there was a shake-up in the snowboard competition, with Team Stezzi getting just a bit more air than Team Levine to claim the top of the standings.

  • Team Stezzi read the most hours in the school this week (209.3), just beating out Team Levine’s 197.3.
  • We saw participation go up in many classes this week; overall, we have nine homerooms with over 50% participation: Teams Sudbay (88%), Levine (78%), Stezzi (78%), Lehmann (76%), Altobello (76%), Peca (71%), Garabedian (67%), Fiandaca (53%), and Shpritzer (50%).

School Site Council
The School Site Council meeting will be this Tuesday at 7pm in the Lowell lounge. We will be having a working meeting and writing our school improvement plan.

Progress Reports
Progress reports will be going home on Wednesday of this week. Please keep an eye out for them in backpacks. PreK and kindergarten students have a different report that is accessible online.

Spirit Day THIS Friday!
This Friday will be CRAZY HAIR DAY! Come to school with your craziest hair style...I know the staff are getting very excited for this one!

Special Event for Grade 4 and 5 Parents
You’re invited to a parent education event on Wednesday April 2, 2014, from 7-9 PM at the Watertown Middle School: 
"I Get It"
...understanding your tween and preparing for the middle school years, will prepare parents of 4th and 5th graders for the transition to middle school and promote protective factors for youth in this age group. The event will feature Joani Geltman, MSW and include a welcome from Watertown Middle School Principal Kimo Carter. It is open to any adult who is interested in the topic and child care is provided on a limited basis for children age 4 and up. Please see the PTO update for more information.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Monday Message

Lowell Happenings
The first week of the reading challenge was a great success. Here are the results from week 1. Ms Steim read them on the morning announcements and there was a lot of cheering. Small prizes were handed out to the winning "teams" at the end of the day as well!

Week 1 Results:
  • In Pre-k and kindergarten, there was a three way tie between Teams Bean, Connors, and Altobello in downhill skiing
  • In first grade, Team Lehmann barely beat out Fiandaca, Cox and Peca in bobsledding
  • In second grade, Team Seward won the ski jumping competition
  • In third grade, Team Walsh squeaked by with a win in speed skating
  • On the ⅘ team, Team Sudbay passed Team Stezzi right at the finish line in snowboarding.

Spring Auction
Our spring auction has closed and raised over 11,000 dollars for our school! Thank you so much to all who participated in bidding and "winning"! I also want to thank the PTO and all PTO volunteers, especially Seta Davidian and Noreen Lombard, who organized and worked for the event.

Early Release Days This Week
Early release days will be on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday of next week.  Dismissal will be at 12:15pm. Lunch will be served and there will be LEDP!

Conferences This Week
Spring conferences begin this week. Evening conferences are tonight and tomorrow night. Afternoon conferences will be held on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of this week.  Please come on time to your conference appointment as the schedule is tight and we want you to have as much time as possible. Also, I always share this article at conference time because I think it has some great tips!

Getting the Most Out of Parent Conferences
I share this article summary every year on the week of conferences. Enjoy!

“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
- 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.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Monday Message

Lowell Happenings
Our annual month of March reading challenge is up and running! This year's theme is the Olympics! Each grade level represents a different team sport and we, as a school, are working towards a reading goal of 3,600 hours! There will be a lot of fun and prizes along the way. To kick off the month, students read together with their buddies last week and the reading department, Ms Steim, and I ran with our Olympic "torches" throughout the school to open up the events. It was so much fun (and tiring)!

PTO Updates
The PTO meeting will take place this Wednesday at 7pm in the lounge. The PTO update is here:

Grade 2 Parent Coffee
The next grade level parent coffee is for parents of grade two students was slated to be on Thursday, March 27th. We will need to reschedule that due to MCAS testing. I will have the new date next week.

Early Release for Conferences
Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of next week will be early release for conferences. Dismissal will be at 12:15pm on both days. There will be LEDP and lunch served.

MCAS Testing Schedule
MCAS testing will begin next week. The schedule for testing is below. 
Monday, March 17th, 2014 - Grade 3 English Language Arts Session 1
Tuesday, March 18th, 2014 - Grade 4 Long Composition
Friday, March 21st, 2014 - Make Up

Monday, March 24th, 2014 - Grade 3 English Language Arts Session 2
Tuesday, March 25th, 2014 - Grades 4 & 5 English Language Arts Session 1
Wednesday, March 26th, 2014 - Grades 4 & 5 English Language Arts Session 2
Thursday, March 27th, 2014 - Grade 4 Long Composition Make Up
Friday, March 28th, 2014 - Make Up

Monday, March 3, 2014

Monday Message

Lowell Happenings
Many grade levels celebrated the 100th day of school last week. Here are some pictures from the day.

Lost and Found
If your student has lost something at school-gloves, mitten, coat, hat, lunch box, water bottle, one Ugg boot (not kidding)-please take a moment to visit our lost and found this week. It is very full and items not claimed will be donated. The lost and found is now located in our cafeteria. Please stop in during school or LEDP hours and check in to the main office or front desk first.

Parent-teacher conferences will be held the week of March 17th. You can expect conference appointment slips to be sent home this Thursday, March 6th.

PTO Updates 
Our annual spring auction is in full swing! Please visit the PTO update for more information and happy bidding!