A Message From The Principal (November ’11)

by Jayne Wilkin, Principal

Appreciation:  to our substitute custodian Mr. Carlos Bahia. I’ve never seen the building look so clean and organized!

Great thanks for everyone’s efforts to help with playground fundraising: Steve Messineo and the All Access Fitness Staff, the Pup Race’s Nancy Boren and Gary Alperson, our local Price Chopper, Central One Credit Union and so many of you who have made donations. Kudos to Paton parents who have been instrumental in our efforts: Lorraine Daignault, Alicia Garbarino, Chris Juetten, and Karin McLaughlin. The committee working on planning the new playground has requested designs from the chosen vendor, along with pricing, in the hopes that we will be able to close the $20,000 gap from our final goal by the time we must place the order for a late spring community build. The students will have the opportunity to vote on the final design for the playground. More details about the playground will certainly be included in Nov. 15th PTO meeting, which begins at 7 pm.

Thanks to Kris Gustafson, Jill Ward, Wendy Moran, and Mary Beth Leifer for their work to plan for upcoming field studies. We’re grateful for so many parent chaperones, who will be traveling with students. As always we appreciate Our PTO’s help with transportation costs, which amount to $1800 this fall.

Classroom News: Teachers have been preparing for parent conferences, and will meet with most every parent.  We value your continued support of your children’s learning. Please ask what you can be doing to help your child excel. Nightly reading and math practice are two concrete examples. Please ask about the “just right” level of text your children should be reading, and what math fact mastery is expected. The first report card of the year will be sent home on Dec.  12.

Student News: Kudos to emcees Layne Williams and Joseph Flionis for leading our October Paton Pride meetings, as well as to all of our student presenters. We previewed upcoming community service learning projects.  As important as it is for our students to learn, and learn well, I wish that they all will leave Paton with an appreciation for the importance of helping others, be it sharing a pencil in class; helping an injured student in from the playground; or giving food, outgrown coats, or books to those who as not as fortunate as they are. As always, do only what you feel you can to help others in need. Having our children help members of our community who are less fortunate provides the foundation for caring, responsible citizens of the future. It also helps us all appreciate the many blessings we may sometimes take for granted.

We will again be collecting food donations for Thanksgiving baskets from November 8 through the 18th. Watch for more specifics in Monday folders. All Food Collected will go to Paton families in need, with any excess being donated to St. Ann’s Human Services in Shrewsbury. We thank local realtor and School Committee member Steve Levin for donating vouchers to purchase turkeys for Paton families.

Upcoming Events: Our Paton Pride meeting on Nov. 8th will allow all of our students to enjoy our fourth grade chorus program, which will be performed for families later that same evening. With our large class size in fourth grade (102 children), I must ask that guests for the evening program be limited to two adults and younger siblings. Our maximum seating capacity, according to the fire code, for our café-gym-atorium is 345 people. (The spring concert will be held at Shrewsbury High School, where there is room for everyone you’d like to invite). So if extended family wishes to the see the fall program, guests are welcome at the 9:45 and 10:30 am Paton Pride meetings.

In early November, grade 3 will travel to Plimoth Plantation to continue their study of Massachusetts history. To support science learning, grade 2 will travel to the Harvard Museum of Natural History for a program about animal adaptations, and see their “Hall of Mammals.” Grade 4 will also travel there for a program about rocks and minerals, and then tour their extensive earth material displays.

We’re looking forward to nationally published author Barbara O’Connor’s visit on Nov. 15th. She will talk to third and fourth graders about “showing, not telling” using her writing as examples. My favorite book of Barbara’s is How to Steal a Dog.

Jim Parks from Wingmasters will be here this month, allowing the second graders to see live, rescued owls close up, supporting their study of nocturnal animals in science. Thanks to PTO for funding this wonderful program!

Our School Council has begun its work of summarizing progress on 2010-11 goals, and developing the 2011-12 School Improvement Plan. We’ll have more details to report in December.

Reminders: The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is a full day off for students and staff.  Perhaps this will allow you to avoid some of the travel delays common to the Thanksgiving holiday.

Students cannot achieve at high levels unless they are in attendance at school. Please make every effort to have your child at school each day, and on time. Teachers work hard to provide high quality instruction; an essential part of this is the discussion and interaction between students in class. There is no way that can be replicated for absent children.  We strongly discourage absences for vacations, and cannot provide missed work in advance if a child is absent for that reason. There is a long weekend coming up for Veteran’s Day and in Jan., as well as three week-long vacations later this year for travel.

It is disruptive to the whole class when children arrive late to school and when they are dismissed early. Your children will tell you that there is work to be done and learning to be accomplished at both the beginning and end of the day. Please do everything you can to avoid having your son or daughter be tardy or dismissed early.

Please save these dates for grade 3 and 4 MCAS testing:  Please do not make appointments that will interfere with your child’s attendance. All third and fourth graders must be tested, according to Massachusetts Dept. of Education regulations:

  • (English Language Arts) Mar. 19-30
  • (Math) May 7- 18

Please enjoy my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving, later this month, and take a minute to reflect on all that we have to be grateful for. I know I am appreciative of a school filled with terrific kids and dedicated faculty, and tremendous family support of our work!

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