I hope this newsletter finds you well rested from the long Memorial Day weekend. With three weeks of school to go it seems like everyday counts for us right now! We are in the midst of our final assessment window so we know how well each child progressed this year at Elm Hill. Just a note about our reading and math assessments, these are done interview style with individual students and are very informative for us as we diagnose next steps for teaching. At the end of June you will receive a copy of the data profile from these assessments as well as a narrative standards-based report card. We hope these two forms of report present a balanced perspective on your child’s learning at Elm.
I have also the bittersweet honor to announce that this June will be the last for our lovely Elm Secretary, Judy Spaulding. With Judi Stebel retiring as the Assistant to our superintendent, a better person couldn’t be found to present the face of our district than Elm’s Judy Spaulding. While we are sad to see her go, we wish her well on such an endeavor and are glad she is only a phone call away! Meanwhile, we have selected Amanda Johnson as the new Elm Hill secretary. In fact, as Judy pointed out, she never would have thought to apply for a new position if Amanda didn’t have our office so well in hand! Congratulations to both!
As for the rest of our staff, we have some exciting new roles for existing staff. It seems like a year of great potential as many veteran teachers take on new roles to keep our approach to primary school fresh. Becky Spaulding (a certified guidance counselor) from the planning room will move into fill Karol McGee’s role in guidance as she retires to Maine after 10 years in Springfield! Ashley Rich, a current Special Educator will take over for Becky in the planning room offering us some more flexibility with alternative assignments as a certified Special Educator. Replacing Ashley will be Kim Farrar, a special educator from the Occupational Development Program who has run a preschool in the past.
Doug Gray will replace Betsy Willis as a Reading Specialist with her retirement this summer after 29 years of service! Doug has been working as a first grade teacher but his greatest love is reading intervention. Meanwhile, Alicia LaCour will move from kindergarten to replace Doug in first grade. Finally, a teacher from Union Street School, Greg DeAngelis will join us in his dream to be kindergarten teacher! We have also chosen a K-5 Literacy Coach by the name of Denis Chasse who comes to us with a wealth of experience and training. I believe he will take us to a new level next year with respect to reading and writing in the elementary schools!
Our celebratory news is quite extensive this spring. We are saying farewell to Deanna Dexter, a Springfield teacher for 26 years and Susan Pugh who has served our children as a para for 24 years. We wish them both all the best and look forward to their frequent visits! Heather LaFantano, a 2nd grade teacher is beginning a new adventure south of the Mason-Dixon line and Bev Savage, a para, is re-opening the Red Barn Café in Ascutney. They will both be missed! And, speaking ofpara professionals, Jen Stepler, has received an award from the VT Association for the Blind & Visually Impaired for "Outstanding Educational Support" for her work with one of our students. This is quite an honor for all of us! Congratulations everyone!
I have been busy this past month preparing placements for our students next year. With our first graders “looping” to second grade our greatest challenge has been placing our current kindergarteners as first graders and preparing our rising third graders for their transition to Union. These placements are almost complete and you will find out about them on June 16th, our Step-Up Day.
Elm and Union have both been working hard to improve our transition process between our schools. It began with a working afternoon on the May early release for Elm teachers to visit with Union teachers about our students and what we know about how they learn best. We are also planning a “mentoring” program that partners current 2nd and current 4th graders as pen pals for the summer (we’ll provide stamped post cards) so new students can ask questions of returning Union students. We will also continue to arrange visits for those children who need more time in transitioning as well as host a Q & A here at Elm with some Union students.
Please note the last day of school is June 17th and will be a half-day. I wish all those families well who are moving on to Union Street School and for those with students at Elm next year, may your children’s summer be full of wonder, and I look forward to seeing you again in August!