The Power of One
by Ashish Ram
One song can spark a moment
One flower can wake the dream
One tree can start a forest
One bird can herald spring
One smile begins a friendship
One handclasp lifts a soul
One star can guide a ship at sea
One word can frame the goal
One vote can change a nation
One sunbeam lights a room
One candle wipes out darkness
One laugh will conquer gloom
One step must start each journey
One word must start each prayer
One hope will raise our spirits
One touch can show you care
One voice can speak with wisdom
One heart can know what’s true
One life can make the difference
You see, it’s up to you!!
Art Show - Thank you to Mr. Dailey for working hard with the students over the course of the year to pull together this year's art show. Students in 3rd through 5th grade displayed what they've learned in art through drawing, painting, clay sculpture, weaving, paper mache, and more. We also had a selection of musical pieces (performed by our students). Thanks to all who were able to attend.
Reflections on the Year - An essential part of what we do at Horace Mann is reflect on our goals, celebrate our accomplishments, and think about ways we can make improvements next year. I've tried to capture a few snippets of what we tried to accomplish this year as a school…
- Family Outreach:
- FORJ - Out of a citywide effort to promote conversations about race, a small group emerged at Horace Mann and met several times to react to and discuss readings and videos, and offer a way for families across our community a chance to connect.
- October Workshop Scenarios/Discussion.
- Science Night - Students who might not normally have a chance to participate in Science Night were partnered with a teacher to work after school to research and carry out a science experiment.
- Our Friends/Our City - Boston students selected a friend to partner with for playtime on Thursday mornings before school. We will also do an outing in Boston this fall.
- Buddy Bench - Created, decorated and modeled the use of a new bench for our playground that encourages students to be more aware of others who might need a friend.
- Creative Arts and Sciences - We again made an effort to diversify our selection of guest performers and presenters, specifically bringing in people that defy stereotypes. Our hope is to continue this work by bringing in more people of color from professions that are generally underrepresented.
- Staff Learning and Professional Development -
- Used the framework provided by James Banks to guide our work to create a more culturally responsive school.
- Brought in high school students to share their experiences growing up in the Newton Public Schools as students of color.
- Held numerous activities, discussions and reflective conversations about concepts, videos and texts related to identity.
- Small Group Staff PD Work - We had a number of teacher-led groups working this year to accelerate our goal of becoming more culturally proficient. Some examples include:
- Expanding our selection of read aloud and text talk books in grades K, 2 and 3 to include stories with more diverse characters and characters with circumstances that might be different from the stereotypical norm.
- Broadening our selection of biographies in grade 4 to including less well known scientists, inventors, and other historical figures.
- Creating lessons to support student discourse of thought-provoking topics through the teaching of targeted listening and speaking skills.
- Publishing a series of lessons on anti-bias and prejudice reduction.
- Creating a mural and poetry wall on the 2nd floor to act as windows and mirrors into the lives of our families and students.
- Began the process of looking at student demographics in our IEP referral process, intervention, and behavior support.
- Reading portions and discussed implications of Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain
- STEM pilots - In 1st and 4th grade, we’ve been testing out a variety of materials and activities aimed at broadening the student academic experience while also fostering adult/student connections. We’ve offered Snap Circuits, Lego challenges, Boat/float challenges, and more, to small groups of students during lunch. The goal is to expand academic offerings to include more hands-on, inquiry based activities that increase student engagement and acknowledge varied student learning styles. The pilot went well and we are planning to purchase additional equipment and materials to expand this effort.
- Flexible Seating pilot - Late this spring, Ms. Chatfield completely re-vamped her classroom to create more varied and flexible working and learning spots. Instead of traditional chairs and tables, we used PTO funds to purchase bands, ball seats, floor seats, net seats, and other alternative seating options to see how students would respond. We also lowered tables and offered areas of the room where students could stand up to do their work. Overall, the changes were well received by the children and seem more developmentally responsive to their needs. Our hope is to use what we learned to better inform our decisions about what we would like to see next year and at Carr School when we move.
Moving Along - A few staff will be moving on from Horace Mann next year to pursue other challenges. Mohammed Adam, Janine Steinhauser, Sarah Morgethaler, and Sarah Pappo have all spent at least two years at Horace Mann as paraprofessionals, interns, and filling in for maternity leaves. They are now looking to pursue the next phase in their careers. We wish them the best.
Thank You - I'd like to share a word of thanks to the members of our PTO Board for their tireless efforts to support our school again this year. Jon Mendecina, Adam Brown, Jess Schiefer, Sharon Russo, Jacqueline Freeman, Megan Anapolle, and Susannah Wardly. I also want to thank all of the families who donated their time and money to the various programs we offer throughout the year. Our school wouldn't function without the dedication and commitment of the families in our community.
Have a Great Summer!