Ames/Weymouth News Letter

posted Aug 29, 2014, 6:13 AM by kwadsworth@rsu20.org

September 2014


Dear Ames and Weymouth School Families,


Summer vacation has come to a close and we are excited to welcome you and your student/s to a new year of learning. We have completed our fifth summer school experience during the month of July at the Ames School. It was a huge success with 40+ students participating in the 4-week opportunity. A big thank you goes out to Patty Ryan, Claudia Luchetti, Krista Speara, Jennifer Greene, Jim Roberts, Meghan Lavway, Sandy Flacke and Annie McHatten for staffing this great program. We were also lucky to have past students join us as classroom helpers.

There are a few staff changes at our schools this year. Teaching staff at Weymouth School includes Susan Olson and Melony McKenna (previously Miss Melony in Pre-K) as teachers in our all day kindergarten classrooms. Niki Hopkins and Ilona DuBois make up the first grade teaching team. Karen Gorris-Hicock, Kathy Knight and new staff member Jennifer Greene make up our special education team. Terry Newton joins our team as our new Title l teacher. She will work at the Ames School in the afternoons. Kay Dodd continues to serve as our awesome administrative assistant and Laurie Knight is our happy cook as she prepares healthy meals for us all. Mr. Wessels is our custodian. He has worked diligently cleaning our school throughout the summer and it looks terrific!


Teaching staff at Ames School includes Sarah Nelson and new to our school is Briana Curry, teaching grade 2. Karen Craig-Foley and Maggie Campbell make up our third grade teaching team. Maureen Ladd and Claudia Luchetti are our fourth grade teaching team. Kris Federle and Patty Ryan make up our fifth grade teaching team. Linda Trask, along with Terry Newton, are our Title l teachers serving students who need additional support in literacy and math. Sharon Morse with Ed techs Cheryl Mallard, Jim Roberts and Sue Black make up our special education team supporting students with special needs. Secretary Kathy Wadsworth cheerfully meets and greets everyone as she covers the front office/library at Ames School. Rhonda Kinney and Liz Ames continue to provide yummy, healthy meals for us all. Judy Cookson continues to be our school nurse and Maureen Ferriter is our guidance counselor. She and Judy serve 4 elementary buildings. They will be in each building approximately one day a week. Samantha Maheu returns as our art teacher, Janel Fearon as our physical education teacher, music teacher Amy Gardner will work with all of our students and Patrick Munson will work with 5th grade students as the band teacher. Louise Bakely serves students with speech and language needs at Weymouth and Ames School. Kristen Byrer and Cindy Boguen will provide library services and instruction at both schools. Alison Eckert serves students needing occupational therapy at both schools. Ray St. Onge will support all of us as our computer ‘tech guy’. Tracy Hayslip (Ames) and Geoff Cyr (Weymouth) are technology integrators, supporting teachers and students with technology in the classroom. Jacquie Kahn and Ann McClellan are our ELP – Extended Learning Program teachers and will serve identified students in grades 3, 4 and 5. Carrie White is our fabulous custodian keeping our building clean and safe. She and a wonderful team worked throughout the summer cleaning, painting and more so that the school is ready for the new year.


Weymouth School will continue to house our Pre-K/4 year old program. The program is in conjunction with Broadreach and Waldo County Pre-School Serviced. This year's teacher is Karen Veilluex with Roxanne Curtis returning as the assistant. Open House for Pre-K is on September 4th from 9:30 – 11:30. The first day of school for pre-K students will be on September 8th. Regular classes will run Monday through Thursday, full day, serving breakfast and lunch. We continue to be excited about the opportunities this program brings to our pre-school population.


We will continue to offer the After School Program at the Ames School under the leadership of Julie Allen. The goal of the program is to provide additional academic support for students in grades 1-5 that may be struggling in literacy or math. We are still looking for an assistant to support the program. The program provides homework help, tutoring and enrichment activities 4 days a week after school from 3:15 – 5:15. The program is slated to begin the third week in September. Enrollment is generally based on students being identified for Title l services. This program is made available through a Century 21st Grant.


This year the Ames School received another grant that allows students to participate in a Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP). This program allows classrooms of students (on a rotating basis) to prepare a healthy snack, using common and uncommon fruits and vegetables, for the whole school one time each week. On the other four days of the week, fresh fruits or veggies will be available to students from a fruit stand in the library (free) as a snack. Liz Ames is the site leader for this program.


A continued emphasis at both schools is to create caring and respectful environments where students work and learn. We have high expectations for all of our students and ourselves. Creating caring and responsible students continues to be our top priority as well as a strong academic focus. We have found that establishing a few important rules for school and bus safety has been imperative in creating positive school and bus environments.

We ask all students to:

1. Follow directions

2. Use positive talk with kind voice and tone

3. Respect self, others and property

4. Use their best effort to complete work in an appropriate time

5. Stay in their assigned space


Students will be expected to follow the bus rules that are purposely similar to school rules.

1. Follow directions given by the bus driver and bus aide.

2. Stay in assigned seat sitting on my bottom, facing forward. (bottom to bottom, back to back).

        3. Use positive talk and appropriate tone and volume on the bus.

4. Respect myself, others and property by keeping my hands to myself.

5. Tell an adult when I see or hear something that is unsafe for others.


It is important for students to realize that their day begins when they step onto the bus and ends when they step off the bus. We want their whole day to be a success, including the ride to and from school. It is our expectation that all students follow these standards as well as our motto “Be a Buddy, Not a Bully” in order to ensure quality educational experiences for themselves and others. We all play an important role as models in our schools. You may also hear students using the term SLANT. It is an acronym used in classrooms that stands for 1.) sit up 2.) look and listen 3.) ask and answer questions 4.) nod your head when you understand and 5.) track the speaker (which means follow them with your eyes). We thank you in advance for supporting our efforts to create quality schools with safe environments where much learning can take place.


We also use the Student Problem-Solving Sheet (pink slip) and the Anti-Bullying Rubric as ways to communicate problems with parents. These forms allow students to share with their parents what the problem was and how the student will go about solving it/making a plan so that it doesn’t occur again. It allows students to take responsibility for an action and then make a plan to fix it. The forms are meant as a way of communicating with parents. Parents are asked to sign and return them to school with their child on the following day. Part of the process is having students be responsible to share the form with parents at home, get it signed and then returned to school the next day. There are consequences for students when they do not return the form with a signature the following day. If you have questions, please call your child’s teacher or myself.


School begins at 8:45 in both schools. Buses begin arriving between 8:20 - 8:30. Parents should not drop off their student before 8:30 as teachers are preparing for the day and are not always in their classrooms to supervise students. School is dismissed at 3:05. All students need to follow their regular after school routines unless a phone call (for emergency situations) or signed and dated note is sent in telling of a change in schedule. Students will be put on the bus for home/follow their regular dismissal routine without a note telling us to do otherwise. There is a sign in/out book/clipboard at the office door (Weymouth) and in the library (Ames). Parents need to come into the building to sign students in/out to let us know when children arrive and are dismissed. It is also for student safety as both driveways are busy so we ask that an adult attend all students as they travel through these areas. Please call the absence hot line and let us know if your child will be absent for the day and the reason they will not be in school. District policy states there are 6 excusable absences:


1. Illness

2. Appointment with a health professional

3. Observance of a religious holiday

4. Family emergency

5. Planned absence approved by the principal

6. Homelessness.


Any unreported absence will be considered unexcused. Please note that 7 random days or 5 consecutive days of unexcused absences will result in a report to the superintendent (per district policy). I cannot express enough the importance of students regularly attending school. We will call you if we have not been notified of an absence so that we may confirm that you child is safe and accounted for. Please note on the sign in/out tardy/dismissal sheet there is a column where parents must document reason for tardiness or early dismissal. We also have a sign in sheet for visitors and visitor badges to wear when visiting/working in our buildings. Please check into the office or library to sign in and pick up a visitor’s badge before proceeding throughout the rest of the building.


We anticipate that many of our youngest students may struggle with tiredness as they acclimate to school routines, especially our pre – K and kindergarten students. Please monitor their activity levels and feel free to pick them up early or keep them home from school if they get overtired during the first few weeks of school. Please speak to your child’s teacher if you have any questions or concerns.


Meet & Greet is scheduled for September 11th from 5:30 – 6:30 at Weymouth and 6:00- 7:00 at Ames. Students are invited and encouraged to attend. This is an opportunity to visit the school, meet your child's teacher and see the schoolwork that your child has been involved in during the first week of school. It is not a time to conference with the teacher. Please make an appointment to meet with the teacher privately if you would like to discuss your child’s progress in depth.


Hot lunch is available daily for $2.65 (40¢ for reduced). Juice, white and chocolate milk are 50¢. Breakfast is also available for $1.50 (free for reduced). Money should always be sent in on Mondays/the first day of the week, in envelopes labeled with student’s name and the dates that students will need lunch/breakfast or drink for the week as well as the lunch/breakfast choice. You may also pay by the month. Every student will be receiving a free/reduced lunch application. If you feel you may qualify, please fill out and return to school as soon as possible. If you have questions, please call Kay or Kathy. Nutra-Kids is available at the Ames School (only) so that you can track your child’s meal balance. Also available (at a fee) is the ability to pay online. You will need to get your child’s specific number from Kathy if you wish to set this up. A letter will be coming home to give you more information on this.


Traffic can get very congested before and after school in both parking lots. Please be aware of bus traffic and their need to be close to the school in order to pick up and drop off students safely. Accommodating for bus traffic is the priority. At the Weymouth building, buses will loop at the lower end of the building. Cars may drive up and park on the right side of the building in the designated parking area. It is against fire code to park next to the building. Please park your car in the parking area away from the building. The playground side of the building is off limits to all vehicle traffic. It will be important not to clog the lower end of the school with cars, as it will impede bus flow as they pick up and drop off students. The traffic flow guidelines at the Ames School require all vehicles to enter the driveway on the village end and exit through the driveway on the Route #3 end. This mirrors the flow of bus traffic and will be safer for our students. Buses at the Ames School pull up next to the building. Personal vehicles should park on the circle side of the parking lot or on either end of the parking lot away from the building. Parents should continue to escort their children in and out of the buildings to provide safe conditions for students as they are entering and exiting the school. Please be reminded to drive slowly when moving through the parking lots. There is much traffic through the driveway and other drivers may not see small children. Always walk your child into and out of the school.

We ask parents in both schools to wait near the designated area of the office/library if you arrive at school before dismissal time. Kay and Kathy will call notify the teacher that you are there. Your student will be dismissed to you at the close of school. We encourage you not to ask for your child to be dismissed early as the closing of the day is filled with lots of last minute teaching and organizing and early dismissal is disruptive to the rest of the class. We understand that many students are busy with after school lessons and sports. We hope that you respect the importance of every minute needed for education. Please schedule lessons and practices well after dismissal, allowing you travel time to get there without having to pull students out of school early.


The Ames and Weymouth Schools are both Title l schools. Title l is a federally funded program. It provides supplemental assistance to students who are functioning below grade level. Students in kindergarten through 5th grade are eligible for Title l literacy and math services in RSU #20. However, only students who are identified for Title l services under the Title l guidelines receive Title l services. Title l staff members collaborate with classroom teachers and parents to tailor instruction to best meet the needs of the student. Title l services are supplemental to classroom instruction. Title l is not a Special Education program. A parent may contact the school and ask about Title l services for their child. The school will use the processes outlined in the Title l Parent Handbook to determine whether the child meets the criteria to receive Title l services.

Who are the Title l Instructors?

Each of the 7 elementary schools in RSU #20 has highly qualified teachers and/or ed techs who provide supplemental Title l services. They have completed the necessary education, intensive training in Title l and receive ongoing professional development. Parents may request teacher professional qualifications by contacting your child's school and speaking with the principal. All staff qualifications are available upon request.

What is the identification process for Title l?

The teachers in RSU #20 use various assessments routinely to document student progress. Assessment results are part of the identification process for Title l. Teacher observation and classroom performance are other considerations for identification for Title l. Based on a risk assessment score given to each student, Title I staff determine if a student will qualify for services. Generally, the lowest 20% of students not receiving special education services will be identified and prioritized to receive services. Occasionally, students are prioritized according to resources. Students exit the Title l program when they achieve established benchmarks. However, if the student regresses, he or she will be reconsidered for Title l services. A parent may also contact the school and ask about Title l services for their child. The school will use the above-mentioned processes to determine whether the child meets the criteria to receive Title l services.

Parent Referrals

Parents may make a referral for their child to be assessed to see if they qualify for Title l supplemental literacy or math services (K-5). Parent referrals will be acted upon as they are received. The school team will determine eligibility.


The Extended Learning Program (ELP) is a district-wide program designed to provide educational services to those students in grades 3-12 who excel or have the potential to excel beyond their age peers in the regular classroom to the extent that they may require some specialized programming. These students may move much faster than their classmates through assignments in specific or all academic subject areas and may require a compacted or differentiated curriculum to stay challenged. In addition, students qualifying for services might show exceptional ability in the areas of visual or performing arts, including music. During this school year, we are continuing to provide equitable direct and indirect services in academics to all schools. If you feel your child should be considered for this program in any subject area, please pick up a Referral form and Consent to Evaluate form from Kathy at Ames and turn both in, completed, by Friday, September 26, 2014. Evaluations will take place during the fall. More detailed information is available on the evaluation process in the Consent to Evaluate letter. Please note, if your child has been evaluated and did not qualify for ELP in the past, you will need to provide evidence to indicate the need for re-screening. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your principal, Jacquie Kahn or Ann McClellan, Extended Learning Program teachers.


I am eager to work with each of you in order to support positive and safe educational experiences for all children. I also want the school environment to be a positive experience for families. I am always available to meet with you to help solve problems and share successes. It is my goal to create a strong educational family including students, parents and school staff in order to meet the needs of the whole child in the school setting. Please call me to set up an appointment or stop me in the hallway anytime. I continue to strive toward creating a quality learning community where everyone feels welcome.


Sincerely,

Laura Miller, Principal




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