Tri-Town Council News and Updates!

“The Friendship Detective” with Stephanie Meegan. Tuesday, April 14th, 7pm-9pm at the Flint Library in Middleton. Is your child shy? Having difficulty joining games? Unsure of him or herself in a group of peers? You can provide the support needed to help your child navigate their social world in the classroom, on the playground and more. This dynamic program of designed for parents, guardians and educators interested in expanding children’s social competence and confidence. (pre-k and up). Free – registration at http://www.tritowncouncil.org

“Boy-Sense:Decoding the Developmental Needs& Nurturing the Resiliency of Boys at Home & School” with Stephanie Meegan, Thursday May 7th, 7pm-9pm at the Topsfield Library. In this program developed for the Tri-Town Council, Stephanie Meegan will provide practical insights and simple, yet powerful recommendations that parents, guardians & educators can implement at home and in the class-room supporting the unique needs of all young boys. Free – registration at http://www.tritowncouncil.org.

Spring Horizons (K-6) in Topsfield & Boxford – Registration coming soon! Go to http://www.tritowncouncil.org for class offerings and registration information. Classes begin after the April school break. Offered on a first-come, first-served basis so don’t delay! Great programs for learning and fun!

OTAC Annual Report (part 1)

From the OTAC (Omnibus Technology Advisory Committee) 2014-2015 Annual Report:

Overview

Over the course of 2014, OTAC has been able to guide the creation of a detailed inventory of the school district’s digital devices, along with a system for managing them. As a result, the School Administration and School Committee have been able to begin enacting an initial long term technology strategy for the replacement and repair of obsolete and damaged hardware, and for the systematic update and deployment of system software and apps. Achieving these developments have been critical in enabling our teachers to incorporate technology into their lesson plans as an integrated aspect of teaching and student learning – something that has not been possible until now, because neither the devices, infrastructure, nor software support had been sufficiently reliable or numerous enough to meet the teacher and student needs. While we still have a significant demand for the purchase new digital devices, we have made significant progress in replacing outmoded devices and are working toward a regular, predictable replacement cycle for each category of technology device in our fleet.

The next step that OTAC has identified and guided has been the need for a Tri-Town Director of Instructional Technology – a person who can help integrate technology into the teaching and learning experience at every grade level, including Special Education and the special subjects. Moreover, this person will help us make the best use of the varied technology that are already in service in each town, and help guide the future direction of technology efforts across the tri-town schools. Finally, this person will help ensure that every student has a common baseline technological skill set that will be useful as the students transition to Masconomet and their lives beyond school.

Spofford Pond School

At Spofford Pond School, we have one laptop cart for each grade, 3-6, with a second cart in grade 6, and 2 iPad carts in grades 3-6. Each cart serves one classroom at a time, and each grade consists of 5-6 classrooms. This year, we are requesting 25 laptops to replace outmoded teacher laptops. The new laptops will, among many other things, allow teachers to easily project their computer screens onto the SMARTBoard monitors in classrooms. We have successfully upgraded our Internet connection to 100mbps full duplex, which has resulted in marked improvements in technology utilization across all grades and classrooms.

Third Grade

To date, the third grade has been working with online programs such as IXL Math and A-Z reading, RAZ-Kids, and various other websites to help students practice concepts in school and at home. We have also used the laptops for writing with Pages. We have also worked with students to ensure they have sufficient technology literacy for taking tests online.

Fourth Grade

This year, fourth graders have enjoyed using technology to enhance their learning. Students have been publishing their writing pieces using Pages and other applications on the iPads. Students have been conducting ongoing research utilizing both laptops and iPads. We have also used the laptops to familiarize students with the PARCC assessment. With the new Massachusetts educational standards, it is important that we engage students using digital learning methods. We are using Scholastic News online to read and watch topic related videos. We have used applications on the iPads to connect to Apple TV for engaging instructional activities. Fourth grade classes also participated in the Hour of Code.
In the coming year, fourth grade teachers would like to continue to effectively utilize technology to support student learning across the curriculum. The Fourth Grade Team would like to expand the use of digital learning resources inside and outside of the classroom.

Fifth Grade

This year, fifth graders in our classes have been using laptops in all subject areas, whether to research topics, write essays, PARCC/IXL practice, or math centers. They have also been researching European Explorers and planets in Social Studies and Science, taking part in a monthly blog relating to Language Arts Common Core Standards, using clips to support nonfiction reading passages, practicing math skills and standards on various websites, and using laptops to publish work as the final step in the writing process. See some of our class blogs at: http://kidblog.org/MrsMedugnosELAClass-1/ (Mrs. Medugno) and http://kidblog.org/MrsMedugnosELAClass-2/ (Mrs. Bouffard).

In the coming year, the fifth grade teachers would like to continue to utilize technology to support all areas of the curriculum. We would also like to use Google Docs!

Sixth Grade

This year, sixth graders have been using the following in their classrooms:

In the coming year, the sixth grade teachers would like to continue familiarizing ourselves and our students with Google Docs and all of its features.

Disclaimer: The apps cited throughout this report are being used on a pilot basis while their suitability is being evaluated – not all students in each grade are using all of the apps and technologies listed here.

This Week…

Days

Monday: Day 4

Tuesday Day 5

Wednesday Day 6

Thursday Day 2

Friday Day 2

PTO Auction

I want to thank Deanna Junge, Carol Hubbard, Erika DeGeorge and ALL of the parents who hosted an amazing PTO auction on Saturday evening!  The event was held at Timothy’s in Danvers and was a huge success!  It was the efforts of these parents that made it all happen!  We also truly appreciate all of the parents who attended and bid on items.  Your support is tremendous!   We truly appreciate their hard work and dedication to our school!  Thank you for all that you do for us!

Will you donate playground supplies?

Will you sign up to donate playground supplies? You can sign up with our playground supply sign-up sheet

Your donations DO NOT HAVE TO BE NEW, so long as they are in good condition. You can bring your donations to the school and drop them off in the boxes in the hallway between the front door and the front desk. This equipment will be gathered up and distributed to the kids so that they can use them on the playground this spring.

Interesting in learning more?

Over the winter, the Spofford Pond Playground committee conducted a survey of our students to understand what they wanted from their playground and recess time. Nearly all the students took part in the survey and we learned a lot about what they love about recess (spending time with friends and the freedom to run around), what they don’t like (bad weather and not enough time), and some of their wild dreams (a hot tub, swimming pool, and a skateboard park were mentioned). Their responses make wonderful reading – please feel free to read through the student open responses yourself.

We asked the kids what they would like to change about recess and we got a lot of great feedback on the playground, which we’re using as part of a longer term plan that was presented to the Boxford School Committee on Thursday, March 26 (view the report or watch the recording of the presentation). What we weren’t really expecting was all the feedback that we got from the children about the whole recess experience.

Mainly we learned that a lot of the things the kids wanted were simple things. They asked for balls, cones to mark out games, soccer nets, soccer balls, bases, chalk, jump ropes, balls, balls and more balls. Even though we bought balls for the kids this year – more than usual, in fact – it wasn’t enough. The fall took its toll on the supply: balls get hard use and our supplies are down. Spring is here, now, and the kids are heading back out to the playground and we’d like to restock the playground toys. We’re asking for your help.

Artwork Wanted!

Artwork Wanted!
All Spofford students are encouraged to submit artwork for the 5th & 6th Grade Band’s Spring Concert program. Drawings must be made using only a black sharpie on white 8×11 paper and given to Mrs. Monty by April 6th. Each picture must include at least one band instrument and evoke a spring/summer theme.

Student Activities–Attention Grade Five Parents!

We are looking for interested grade five parents to volunteer for the Sixth Grade Activities Committee!  This is the committee that organizes all of the activities that our sixth grade students look forward to throughout their “capstone” year of elementary school!  These activities include: the sixth grade social,  a trip to Project Adventure, an end of year celebration at Cedardale, a luau hour at school  and a community service project that students will participate in throughout the year.  Additionally, fundraising with the students during the year is needed to offset the costs of these events.  Your fifth grader is already looking forward to these fun events saved for sixth grade!   It is a great way to get involved!  At the moment, we do not have anyone for next year’s class for this committee.  We hope that you will consider volunteering your time!  Please contact me at kcastonguay@boxfordschools.org, if interested.  Many thanks!