Friday, October 16, 2015

October 16, 2015

Once every two weeks, I publish a blog to highlight some of the many outstanding individuals and events that remind us all of the privilege we have to be a part of Exeter-West Greenwich!

October is National Principal's Month

The National Association of Elementary and Secondary Principals reminds us that "The key to student success is a great school, and the key to a great school is a great principal." In Exeter-West Greenwich, we have a small but dedicated group of building leaders who are committed to student and staff success. I am honored to take this opportunity to thank Mrs. Marino, Mrs. Ratigan, Mrs. Fish, Mrs. Slattery, Mr. Anthony, Mrs. Chandler, and Mr. Alves for all that they do every day to ensure a safe and motivating environment for our children and our staff to thrive. 

On October 9th, our elementary and junior high school teachers were engaged in a full-day professional development program at their respective schools. Later this month, teachers at the senior high school will have the same opportunity while the remaining schools host parent-teacher conferences on October 30th.

Each school developed a professional development agenda specific to the needs of the building. Dr. Ahern and I had the opportunity to visit each school to see our teachers engaged in a myriad of activities designed to support teaching and learning in Exeter-West Greenwich. 

 Check out our pirates at Wawaloam (Clockwise from above: Mrs. Cash, Mrs. Curry, Mrs. Levett, Miss Caron, and Mrs. Patty) as they prepared to skype with David Burgess, author of Teach Like a Pirate. What an engaging and high-energy discussion focusing on student engagement!

At Metcalf, teachers participated in a very thought-provoking and reflective activity/discussion about grading practices and grading philosophies. The school is looking at a standards-based grading system in the 2016-17 school year. 

Above, Mr. Anthony leads a discussion at the junior high school on Response to Intervention documentation during the morning block. In the afternoon, teachers selected from a variety of mini-sessions to learn more about innovative ways that technology is being used by their own colleagues in our junior high school. 

Finally, a HUGE shout out to our PTA for an incredibly successful walk-a-thon held at Lineham, Wawaloam and Metcalf. I had the opportunity to see 3 of our Wawaloam kindergarten classes during their scheduled walk time. The weather was beautiful and kids (and staff) had a blast. On the left, see Mrs. Petrarca making her way around the "track." Thanks to all who volunteered to make this such a great success.

Have a wonderful weekend. Please look for my next blog post on October 30th.

Friday, October 2, 2015

October 2, 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.

Stars of the Week
Congratulations to Marc Hamlin, who was recently named as the JSHS English Language Arts & Reading Department Chair. Students in Mr. Hamlin's Elements of Writing classes, along with those in Mr. Walsh and Ms. Sutton's classes, have been participating in an on-line vocabulary mastery contest (The Vocabulary Bowl) since the start of the school year. He recently received the following communication releasing our high school results for the month of September:
"We're excited to announce that Exeter-West Greenwich Regional earned the following achievements:
·         Rhode Island State Champion  September 2015
Every month, thousands of schools across the US and Canada compete in the Vocabulary Bowl. Winning these awards is quite an achievement. Keep up the good work!"
Our small school of only 550 students is currently ranked 60th in the nation! What an amazing accomplishment.
Mr. Hamlin is also being recognized for his efforts to rehabilitate a nature trail on our campus so that it can be used for multiple purposes, including cross-country running. As the coach of that team, Mr. Hamlin was supported in his efforts by Scott Millar (parent and community member) as well as Thomas Riccuitti, a local Scout and current 11th grader here in EWG. Mr. Millar spearheaded the effort to secure a DEM grant that took care of all associated costs and Thomas organized the entire volunteer effort to accomplish the task as part of his service project. Thank you to Mr. Hamlin, Mr. Millar, Thomas, and all who came out to make this happen!
Additional Information
Our high school celebrated Spirit Week this week. Although the weather did not completely cooperate with the events that were scheduled, it did not stop our students from demonstrating their spirit. Below is a class picture taken in Ms. Nardi's ELA class earlier today.

This is quite a spirited group!

On Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, EWG hosted a training for staff and community members on Youth Mental Health Awareness. This is the second time we have offered this training, and we now have close to 50 individuals who are connected to our schools and who have completed the course. Thank you to Mrs. Teri Donovan from the School Committee and to Mr. Frank Herrera from the Exeter Juvenile Hearing Board for joing us this week.

There are many exciting things happening in the district, as always! I hope you all have an enjoyable weekend. The next blog will be posted on October 16th.