Sunday, May 21, 2017

NewsNotes 5/23/17

From Mark's Desk

Some examples of student generated Community Service Efforts at HM.
Staffing Update: I am again continuing to share significant pieces of news with regard to staffing for next year...

Many of you may know that Ricky Paglia has worked as our behavior interventionist for the past several years at Horace Mann.   Ricky supports a great number of students (over 60) through leadership groups, social groups, 1-1 work, and in his consulting work with teachers.   I wanted to share that Ricky has recently been offered a full time position with Parks and Rec as the Program Manager for the City of Newton.  I hope you can join me in offering our congratulations to Ricky as he takes on this new challenge.  It is important to note that Ricky will be starting in his new role before the end of the year.  For the rest of May, he will be doing partial days at HM (roughly 8:30-11:30) with Fitness for Life being his last day.  Ricky will work for the city full time beginning in June.

While we are happy for Ricky, this news also represents a loss for our school.  Ricky has been an amazingly patient, flexible, and consistent presence for many of our students, and he has had a positive impact on both individuals and the larger school community.  To ease the transition for students and teachers, we have been preparing Jenna Leavitt (psychology intern) to take over the lion's share of Ricky's student assignments.  She’s been shadowing Ricky over the past couple of weeks and has already taken over the afternoon responsibilities. Jenna knows the students well, has a wonderfully positive attitude, and a lot of energy.  We will think about a longer term solution this spring.

In other news, I wanted to share that Maddy Kenyon has recently been offered a position teaching Kindergarten at the Peirce school.  Shana Packer will move to a 3rd grade co-taught at Memorial Spaulding.

CAS Visits: A big thank you to Cedar Pruitt for her efforts to organize this year’s CAS events. Of particular importance is the fact that Cedar was been working with the city CAS coordinator to diversify the acts that we bring in to include people of different backgrounds who might have prominent roles in the sciences and arts.  Here are a few examples of the specifics Cedar has been working on:

  • We are reaching out to New England Aquarium, Mass Audubon and Science Discovery Museum about diversifying their presenter roster
  • Jerry Craft visited HM last week - African-American illustrator.
  • Eric Velasquez, African-American author, being booked for next fall as a preview for grades 1-5
  • Grace Lin, Taiwanese-American author, being booked for next March for grades 1-4
  • We will be inviting Philip, Native American, from Plimouth Plantation next year for 3rd graders instead of non-Native representations of the culture 

Teacher of the Year:  Once again, congratulations to Anne Baseggio on receiving the MATSOL Teacher of the Year Award.  Anne epitomizes what so many of the staff at Horace Man bring to work each day...a genuine willingness to collaborate, expertise in her craft, thoughtful decisions about instruction, and unwavering dedication to her students.  In addition, Anne spends a lot of her time and mental energy building connections with some of our most at-risk families;  she translates tricky and sensitive information, advocates for additional resources (like cell phone cards or transportation); encourages families to partner with our school, and more.  Anne is a wonderful representative for this award.  Congratulations!

Teacher Appreciation Week: Thank you to the PTO and the Horace Mann Community for supporting our efforts to recognizing teachers last week.  The team provided pizza, salad and dessert for everyone during the early release day, which was a welcome chance for all of us to relax for a few minutes before the home stretch.  In addition, the PTO funded the purchase of box fans for each classroom.  They couldn’t have come at a better time given the intense heat last week.  Thank you!

Assembly Recap: For our May assembly, we focused on work that students have been doing for others.  Several student led groups came up in front of the school to share their efforts.  Here’s a quick summary:

  • As part of their efforts to earn Girl Scout Cadet status, Maddie Cole, Nadia Briggs, Abby Schectman, and Sophie Lubbe-Lynch shared a slide show and talked to our students about how they can reduce their carbon footprint.  They asked everyone to come up with one idea to do something positive for the school community and/or the Earth.  Ideas included walking or biking to school, cleaning up trash, turing off lights at home, eating less meat each week, and more.  Be on the lookout for a pledge sheet next week.
  • Students in all grades have been collecting school supplies for our partner school in Somaliland in West Africa.  Mohamed Adam, one of our paraprofessionals, is working to rebuild and refurbish this school and we are doing all we can to help.  In addition, Ella Russo, Ava Russo, and Janie Blumenthal came up with the idea to sell lemonade during last week’s baseball games and at school dismissal.  They raised over $160 for the Somaliland school!
  • Students in Ms. Lewis’s class cleared weeds, picked up trash, and removed rocks from the butterfly garden so that they could plant Raspberry bushes, Columbine, and Marigold.  Thank you to Nya, Vivian, Karuna, Emily, Gabby, Natalie, Karina, Arielle, Stella, Anna for all of their hard work and creativity; they’ve been working hard each day at recess!
  • Students in Ms. Ferland’s class created a slide show in honor of Earth Day during the month of April.  The recordings can be found here:
  • Ms. Bard’s 3rd graders came up with a poster campaign to encourage people to take better care of our school, including shutting off faucets, keeping bathrooms neat, flushing the toilet, and more!
It is amazing to see how motivated our students are to help others.  Thank you for your support at home!

Cultural Traditions Survey: I met with a group of 4th grade students this week to talk about how we might gather information about cultural traditions that take place within our school community.  The group decided to create a short survey for where students will tell us about lesser known traditions that our families celebrate. After collecting surveys, we will aim to create a calendar of traditions celebrated at HM.  In addition, we will generate morning announcements, and share traditions at our monthly assemblies.