A Message From The Principal (February ’13)

by Jayne Wilkin, Principal

Appreciation: We have been pleased with our Math Facts Challenge in January. Thanks to so many families who supported their children’s work to build automaticity of the recall of math facts. We will select 60 children who met the goals their teachers set for them, by lottery (from each class) to attend a Holy Cross Men’s basketball game against Lafayette University during Feb. vacation week. Thanks to PTO for purchasing tickets for a parent chaperone to also attend the game.

We appreciate PTO’s funding of local author April Jones Prince’s visit. The first graders enjoyed learning more about how she develops her ideas into books, and why editing is as important when you’re an adult as when you are in first grade! April will be back on March 4 to meet with second graders to speak about biography writing, and share her book about Jackie Robinson.

Thanks to Spring St. School’s music teacher Kathy LeBoeuf, who adjusted her teaching schedule there, so she could share information about the physics of sound with our third graders. If your children came home asking for cello or violin lessons, you’ll know why. “Dr. LeBoeuf” used hers to illustrate the relationship between vibration and pitch. Our third grade teachers have been collaborating to plan for students’ instrument creations, using a project based learning approach. We’re excited to hear the children’s work!

The fourth graders enjoyed a visit from the High School Robotics Club, “met” their latest invention, and learned how the simple machines they are studying in fourth grade are used to create much more complex ones! If your child is interested in taking part in a robotics club, there are enrichment offerings during the summer months for fourth graders and up. Fourth graders have begun their Invention Convention work, and they will share their inventions with families and classes, on Friday, Mar. 8. It’s always amazing to see what the children have come up with for ideas!

Classroom News: We continue to be focused on increasing student achievement in all areas of the curriculum. Third and fourth grade teachers and students are preparing for MCAS testing that will happen in March (English Language Arts) and May (Mathematics). Please save these dates, and avoid making appointments or planning travel that will affect attendance during the MCAS testing periods. Every third and fourth grader must participate in testing, during these testing windows:

  • March 19 – 29 Please note we will not be testing on Passover Tuesday 3/26, or 3/29 Good Friday
  • May 7-16

We continue to stress children’s understanding of what they read, and their fluency at all grade levels. So many of our second, third, and fourth graders are reading above district benchmarks. Keep up that at home reading, especially if your child is not yet at the benchmark for his/her grade level. Reading lots, at the appropriate reading level is the most effective way for youngsters to become stronger at reading and comprehending. Thanks to parent Trish Jones, and our Media Aide, Rosemary Royer, for their work on our Book Blizzard, which begins on Feb. 4 and runs through February 25. We hope all of our students will participate in the reading challenge, and that many will have sponsors who will help us to add additional books to our Media Center and technology for use in our classrooms. The children are always so excited when new book titles come in, and Mrs. Paine is able to keep a wish list of books the children would like to read.

We are delighted with students’ writing, in our second year implementing the Shrewsbury Writing Project. Children are writing personal narratives, poems, opinion pieces, and nonfiction reports. We continue to be pleased with the rigor of the Everyday Mathematics program, and the concepts and skills children are learning in science and social studies. We are working on increasing small group math teaching, to address the range of skills students have, be they high achievers or struggling learners. Appreciation to our PTO funding access to IXL math for all students. This website provides a range of skills, from geometry to pre-algebra, across a range of levels. Thank you for investing the time to help your son/daughter with nightly homework, reading, math learning, and the science and social studies projects assigned. Our appreciation for all that you do to support your children’s learning!

Upcoming:

Healthy Habits will be the focus of the Feb. 11th Paton Pride meetings. PE Teacher Eric Brunell, School Nurse Lisa Smith, and Health Teacher Shirley LeMay are busy planning the program. On Friday March 8, PE Teacher Kara Pacheco and Mrs. LeMay will be hosting another PE Family Adventure. This will feature healthy snacks along with the new ropes equipment, which helps to build upper body strength. If our new climbing wall has been installed by then, children can also explore that.

Our second graders continue to complete daily weather reports, using our new weather station (Thanks SELCO!) They help us determine if we will have indoor or outdoor recess each day. The children are looking forward to a visit from Channel 7’s Meteorologist Chris Lambert on February 12.

In line with our social studies curriculum, Clara Barton will “visit” on March 12th, as an actor from Historical Perspectives for Children will share with all Paton students the story of her life, with a focus on her childhood years, and her efforts to help others during the Civil War, and later founding the American Red Cross. Thanks to our PTO and the Shrewsbury Cultural Council for funding this enrichment program.

Please stay informed as the school committee develops next year’s school budget, as it will again determine staffing levels, class sizes, and programs/resources we can offer the students. As principal of a wonderful school, it’s disheartening as we have diminished our staffing levels and instructional programs over the years. It’s important that you know Paton continues to perform within the top 10% on MCAS in both reading and math, and that Massachusetts ranks first nationally amongst all 50 states in both reading and mathematics achievement on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Be assured that your children and learning and learning well!

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