Friday, September 18, 2015

September 18, 2015

Welcome back! As a reminder, the superintendent's blog is posted at least once every two weeks to highlight major events, share important information, and recognize outstanding members of our school community.

Star of the Week

This week I am recognizing Mrs. Lerner, one of our new kindergarten teachers at Wawaloam Elementary School. Mrs. Lerner taught previously in Burrilville after completing her student teaching requirement right here in EWG. In the picture, she is reviewing the classroom birthday chart with some of her friends - including a discussion about the months of the year.

Mrs. Lerner has created a welcoming environment filled with music and structured play for her young students. She has taught her students procedures to ensure safety in the classroom and in the school. She maintains a consistent focus on recognizing positive behaviors, encouraging respect and responsibility, and providing an engaging atmosphere for learning. When I stopped by her classroom this week, she told me that "all of her children deserve to be loved and appreciated." We are so fortunate to welcome you back to Exeter-West Greenwich!
Additional Information
In my previous blog, I reported that Mrs. LaFrenaye was named the 2015 district teacher of the year at our orientation day ceremonies on August 24th. Today, I am happy to report that she has also been named the 2015 Rhode Island Art Education Association Elementary Art Educator of the Year. She will be recognized for this accomplishment at the September 22nd School Committee meeting at 6:00 pm in the JSHS library. Another well-deserved honor!

If you did not have the opportunity to read about the new mentoring program that will be introduced to a group of lucky sixth graders from Metcalf Elementary School in the local paper, then you missed this extraordinary announcement! In partnership with Amgen and Big Brothers/Big Sisters of RI, about 20-25 Metcalf sixth grade students will be paired with a mentor from Amgen to learn about science and career opportunities in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) field. This will be a year-long pilot with plans to expand the program in the 2016-17 school year and beyond. Thank you to these organizations for supporting and funding the entire program. What a terrific opportunity to connect some of our community partners with our district students!

Check out our new tennis courts! This photo was taken yesterday, and shows that the final touches are being added to the surface - scarlet red courts with green trim. Nets will be added and the courts will be ready for action today. This has been a long process, but the end result is another incredible athletic playing area to add to our facility.

The district will be hosting its second round of training in Youth Mental Health on September 29th and September 30th. We conducted this same session last year for a group of 25 staff and community members and it was very well received. This training provides participants with the skills necessary to identify and respond appropriately to children in crisis. Look for additional information that will be sent out by Monday - the participant list will be finalized next week, and if there continues to be a need for further training sessions we will schedule them. This activity is consistent with our strategic plan focus areas (Responsive Student/Family Support and Intervention and School Safety, Security and Wellness).

Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, September 4, 2015

September 4, 2015

Welcome to the 2015-2016 school year!

At least once every other week, I will be posting information on my new blog to highlight some of the incredible programs and incredible individuals who represent our school community. I will also share important announcements in an effort to keep everyone connected to this amazing school district. I welcome any feedback or recommendations, and can be reached easily via email (my address can be found on the right hand side of the web page). Just click, write and send.

Stars of the Week

Parker C. is a fourth grade student in Mrs. O's class at Metcalf Elementary School. I met Parker last year and we talked about his desire to read faster. He set a rigorous goal for himself to reach the 120 words per minute level, and he worked so hard all year to reach his goal. Parker kept track of his progress with the help of his third grade teacher and at the end of the year he sent me the nicest letter. Filled with pride, he met his goal! What a great example of the Growth Mindset. I am so proud of you, Parker, for putting your mind and effort toward something important and modeling what all good learners should aspire to be. Thank you for being a great representative for our schools!

As you know, we opened the new school year on Monday, August 24th with a full faculty and staff orientation. Several recognitions were announced, including the 2015 District Teacher of the Year - Mrs. Sharon LaFrenaye. Mrs. LaFrenaye is our Metcalf art teacher who is described as compassionate with an unwavering commitment to positivity. Her classroom is a special place where all children are inspired to reach their highest potential. Sharon is an outstanding representative of the many caring and devoted teachers who serve in our district. Congratulations and thank you, Mrs. LaFrenaye for all you do!

A copy of the entire surprise announcement can be found on the right hand side of my web page.

Other Announcements
Thank you to everyone for helping to make our opening the smoothest I have experienced in my 26 years in education. I have visited every building multiple times, and I continue to be impressed!
Over the summer, the district had several major projects to complete, including new security construction and safety camera installation at every building and the removal and replacement of the tennis courts at the Junior-Senior High School. It is incredible to think of how much was accomplished in such a short period of time. We are finalizing the last elements of the safety project this week and our brand new tennis courts will be ready for action in the next couple of weeks. Thank you to our School Committee and our communities for their ongoing commitment to our schools.
Finally, I am so excited to begin our work defined by the new 5-year district strategic plan. There are many individuals, representing all facets of the organization, who committed their time over the course of the entire 2014-15 school year to create a comprehensive plan that will help to build on the many successes we have already achieved in Exeter-West Greenwich. Opening up additional modes of communication and increasing opportunities for recognizing outstanding individuals in our school system is just one of the many action steps that are highlighted in the plan.
I hope that this school year continues to be great for all of you. Have an enjoyable long Labor Day weekend and check back for a new post on September 18th.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015