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Friday, June 24, 2016

End of Year Message

Dear Lowell Families,

I am very emotional so am keeping my normal end of year message brief. We have accomplished a lot together this year. Our students' achievement continues to improve, our teachers continue to collaborate in teams to best meet the needs of all of our students, and we have started some really amazing new traditions, programs, and events.

The Lowell is so incredibly special and if everyone (that includes, you, parents!) continues to work together with kindness and empathy, then this place will only get better.

Being principal the past five years has been one of the most challenging experiences I have ever had. I can say without hesitation that this was the best place I have ever worked and this has been the best group of people I have ever worked with. I have been treated unbelievably well by all of you and for that I am grateful. I look forward to still seeing your children a lot next year and will support whomever is in the principal's office.

Thank you for everything and have a wonderful summer.

Ms Kaplan

Report Cards
If you need your student's report card (because they were absent today) please email me to set up a time next week to pick it up!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Weekly Message 6/21/16

It is the last week of school! I am working on my end of year letter that I will send at the end of the week. I want to thank all of you for your kind and understanding words over the past few days after I shared my news of taking a new role.

Last Day
The last day of school for grades 1-5 is Friday. Early release is at 12:15, lunch will be served and there is NO LEDP.
The last day for preK and K students is Thursday and it is a full day.

Garden Volunteers
It is that time of year! We need families to adopt our garden for a week in the summer. PLEASE consider signing up! It is a great thing for our school and fun! You can sign up here: There will be two orientations that you can choose to attend on 6/22 at 2:30 and 6/29 at.
Please email Kathleen McGah with any questions!

Report Cards
If you're student is not in school on the last day (6/24), report cards can be picked up at the Lowell the week of 6/26. Please email Ms Kaplan to arrange a date and specific time.

ChopChop Survey
We have had the opportunity to provide ChopChop magazines to all families this year.  Pleae read the following message from ChopChop:

As we are trying to measure impact from our collaboration with the Watertown Elementary Schools, we are looking to get as many families to complete the online survey. And as an added incentive, any families that complete both the pre and post surveys will be entered to win kitchen gear worth $100. 
The survey is here:

Friday, June 17, 2016

Letter from Ms Kaplan and Dr Fitzgerald

Dear Lowell Community Members:

It is with mixed emotions that I write to let you know that I have recently accepted the position of Elementary Math/Science Coordinator in the district.  This new position will allow me to be an instructional leader and use my experience in science education and curriculum coordination to focus on elementary math and science curriculum in Watertown. Most importantly, I have based this decision on the need to obtain a better work-life balance and to focus more on my health and my family.

I am very grateful to Dr Fitzgerald for giving me the opportunity to become principal five years ago and I am incredibly thankful that I have been a part of the Lowell school community. We have accomplished so much by working together. I feel honored that I have had the opportunity to work in such a collaborative and warm school environment where all stakeholders have children’s best interest at heart. I have been allowed lead and take risks with the support of staff, students, and parents. The Lowell is truly a special place, where kindness and inclusiveness prevails.

I will ensure that the transition to the new principal is a smooth one that provides consistency and continuity for all students and staff.  I look forward to supporting all elementary school communities, including the Lowell, in my new role. Please contact me with any questions.


Elizabeth Kaplan

Dear Lowell Community Members,

Mrs. Kaplan will be stepping down from her role as principal of the Lowell School to accept the position of Elementary Math/Science Coordinator in our District. I am pleased that Elizabeth is able to continue to work in Watertown in a position that will better address her family and healthneeds.

Today, Mr. Craig Hardimon, Director of Human Resources, began the search process for an interim principal for the 2016-2017 school year. We will keep you updated on the progress of the search.

I am grateful to Mrs. Kaplan for her willingness to ensure that this transition process will be a smooth one.

In her new role, Mrs. Kaplan will still have significant contact with the students and teachers at Lowell.


Jean Fitzgerald, Ed.D.


Thursday, June 16, 2016

More Updates

As the end of the year approaches, many families express gratitude to staff in different ways. I am pasting Massachusetts gift giving legislation for public employees below.

Gifts to Public School Teachers and Staff

In general, a public employee may not accept any gift worth $50 or more that is given because of the position he or she holds. Public employees may accept gifts that are worth less than $50, but they have to disclose in writing that they have done so if, based on the specific circumstances, a reasonable person would think that the public employee might unduly show favor to the giver or the giver's child, or be influenced by the giver.

The law prohibits gifts to public employees, not gifts to public agencies. You may give gifts to a public school, or a particular classroom, and the $50 limit does not apply. Your school district may have its own additional rules about gifts, which you should follow.

Example: A Parent-Teacher Organization wants to give $75 gift cards to teachers to buy classroom supplies. The teachers may accept the gift cards but must use them to buy classroom supplies, and should keep receipts to show that they did so. Supplies bought with the gift cards are the property of the school, not the teachers.

New Exemption

The Ethics Commission recently created an exemption to permit class gifts to teachers. A teacher may accept a gift, or several gifts during the school year, from public school students and/or their parents and guardians, with an aggregated value of up to $150, if the gift is identified only as being from the class, and the identity of the givers and the individual amounts given are not identified to the recipient. Gifts received pursuant to this exemption are not required to be disclosed. The donor is unknown, so a reasonable person would not conclude that the gift would influence the teacher's conduct with regard to any individual or would cause the teacher to favor any individual.

Example: A teacher has a class with 23 students. Parents of 20 of the students collect money and give the teacher a $150 gift certificate to a book store, indicating that it is a class gift. The teacher may accept the $150 class gift certificate and no disclosure is required. The teacher may not knowingly accept any additional gift from any of the parents who participated in the class gift.

A teacher may accept a class gift and also individual gifts from persons who did not contribute to the class gift. Unlike class gifts, which are not required to be disclosed, individual gifts must be disclosed  if, based on the specific circumstances, a reasonable person might think that the teacher's actions would be influenced by the gift.

Example: A child who did not participate in the class gift gives a plate of homemade cookies to the teacher. The teacher may accept the cookies, and no disclosure is required, because a reasonable person would not think that the teacher would be influenced by a gift that has no retail value. Similarly, a teacher would not be required to disclose acceptance of other homemade food items, hand-picked (not purchased) bouquets of flowers, and handmade gifts, candy, or other gift items worth less than $10, because a reasonable person would not think that the teacher might unduly show favor to the giver of such gifts or the giver's child, or be influenced by the giver.

Example: Parents of a child who did not contribute to a class gift and whose child is awaiting a college recommendation gives the teacher who is writing the recommendation a bottle of wine worth $40.  The teacher must disclose the gift in writing to her appointing authority, because a reasonable person might think that such a gift might influence the teacher to write a better recommendation for the student.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Weekly Message 6/14/16

It was great to see many families at the PTO end of year picnic on Friday. I (sort of) enjoyed my time in the dunk tank! We have some students with great aim. Here are some important updates. I will probably be sending another blog post this week, with all of the end of year updates.

Space Proposal
Last night, the school committee voted to accept a proposal put forward to the superintendent that would add a classroom teacher to the Lowell to deal with increased enrollment and to remedy high class sizes. The plan means that the Lowell will move it's computer lab into the library so that we can add an additional classroom. Next year the Lowell will have the following number of classrooms. I will put out more information about class sizes as summer approaches

 Grade Level
# of Classrooms 

BoxTops Winners
Mr Fiandaca's class was the winner of the spring box tops and Jillian Lehoux (grade 2) was the overall winner!

Last Days of School
The last day of school for preK and K students is a full day on Thursday, June 23rd. The last day for grades 1-5 is an early release day is Friday, June 24th. Dismissal will be at 12:15.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Monday Message 6/6/16

I hope you had a great weekend! We are busy with end of year events here at the Lowell!

Field Day
Lowell field day is this week! On Thursday, June 9th from 9-1:30 the whole school will be at Victory field for a day of fun! Please remember to send your child with a bag lunch and remember sunscreen! If you need to dismiss your child that day during those hours, you may visit the main table (a familiar Lowell face will be at it) at Victory!

No School PreK/K Today and Tomorrow
A reminder that there is no school for pre-kindergarten and kindergarten today and tomorrow (Tuesday, June 7th)

All Elementary Concert
The all school elementary concert will be this Wednesday at Watertown High School at 7pm. Our chorus and instrument students will be performing!

PTO Picnic This Week
The PTO Picnic is this Friday, June 10th from 4:30-6:30pm. There will be a dunk tank, food for purchase, and games. There will be some surprise guests to dunk!