Sunday, August 28, 2016

August 28, 2016 
A Connected Community!

Greetings Quashnet School Community

Beautiful South Cape Beach
It is wonderful to welcome new Quashnet School members and welcome back returning families for the 2016-17 school year!  I hope you all have had a relaxing and rejuvenating summer.  What amazing weather for the beaches and outside activities! I am excited to hear about all the great events, vacations, and new adventures students have had this summer. 

Quashnet School is looking great and we are getting ready to greet you all on Thursday, September 1, during the Sneak-a-Peek event from 2:00-3:00 PM.  This is a great opportunity for students to see where their homeroom is and for parents and students to connect with staff. If you can't make it, not to worry. On the first day of school, Tuesday, September 6th, all teachers will be outside near the bus drop-off area to greet children.  Third grade teachers will be located near the big playground off the gym. Bus students and those students that are driven to school should go out back of the school to meet their classes.  All hands are on deck that morning to ensure all students get to the right place. Grade three students, please be sure to wear your colored lanyard that was mailed to you this summer.

Gabby and her new teacher, Mrs. Porter
We often say, "It's GREAT to be in Mashpee!" There are many reasons we are all grateful to be a part of the Mashpee community. One of most important for me is the wonderful students and dedicated staff at the Quashnet School.  This summer one of our incoming students was seriously injured in a bike accident.  The Mashpee community came out strong to support our Gabby.  This caring culture of our community is evident everyday at Quashnet. 

Quashnet Students support not only those near but also far.  Perhaps you remember a special project by three of our outstanding sixth graders, Evelyn Provencher, Isabella Eagan, and Alyson Lihzis who last spring collected shoes for the Emiliani Project.  With your help they sent numerous shoes this summer to Africa which also provided money to an orphanage in Columbia. Thank you Natalia and Skyla Rimple, Mrs. Babich, and Mr. and Mrs. Provencher in helping to fill that truck!
Front Walkway of Quashnet 
You will notice how great the school looks - another reason it's great to be in Mashpee! There were some special projects completed by Mashpee DPW over the summer. The front sidewalk has been repaired where the concrete pavers were cracked and created a tripping hazard.  The front office was painted along with the interior brick walls in the hallways.  The floors, lockers, classrooms, were all scrubbed down and are sparkling! Closets were cleaned, outdated curriculum materials emptied out, some sold and some recycled. Our school library is in the process of undergoing a transformation and we have a fabulous maker-lab space organized and ready for teachers to use with students.  Thank you to a dedicated parent volunteer for taking on that challenging task! Thank you Mashpee DPW for all their hard work, both inside and out to maintain our facilities.  

Another reason it is great to be in Mashpee is the support for our schools. This summer we were able to update SmartBoards and Eno boards that were not working and some have been replaced with ClearTouch monitors. This amazing technology looks like a TV but works more like an iPad.  These interactive boards help teachers in their delivery of curricululm and planning engaging lessons.  Notes from the board can easily be saved and printed, even work samples completed by students on the board can be printed and/or saved.  Student chromebooks are charged and ready for use.  Last year, Quashnet School upgraded to a 1:1 ratio throughout grades 3-6 for these devices.  
Follow the FALCON FIVE 

We don't stand still in Mashpee or at Quashnet School. We reevaluate the needs of our students on an ongoing basis.  The library is not only going through a cosmetic change, but there will be a greater focus on literacy in the library setting along with technology this year. In the past, it was reverse with technology the focus  as students needed direct instruction with tech skills as the devices were not in the classrooms.  Students get tech instruction in the classroom setting, STEM, Library, and Art.  

Another instructional change for this year will be the introduction of the WIN (What I Need) block for all students. In ELA, students will participate in a 30 minute skills based group  per day.  Groups will be based on student need as determined by the classroom teachers.  The idea is for the groups to be flexible and reorganized on approximate a 6 week basis.  This type of instruction will allow teachers to target specific skills for students from remediation to enrichment.  STAR Reading data and other formative assessment data will be used to determine student groupings. 

Assessments will look a little different this year.  Massachusetts will no longer be participating in PARCC as our standardized assessment.  Students in grade 3-6 will be taking Next Generation MCAS (MCAS 2.0).  The following link is an update from Commissioner Chester from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.  2017 Testing Update.  For those students assessed in PARCC last year, scores are expected to be released this fall - I will keep you posted as to when that will be.  

For those of you who are new to Quashnet, this blog is updated weekly and sent to families every Sunday.  I hope you find it a helpful resource to stay connected.  Please be sure to check out the tabs for specific information. For community members who may struggle with English,  the link at the bottom of this page will translate the blog in a variety of languages. Gotta love Google!  
Thank you for reading this, for your support, and for sharing your amazing children with us on a daily basis!  On behalf of all the staff at Quashnet - we are looking forward to an amazing and productive learning year ahead!  
Open House - September 14th at 6:00 PM! 

Mrs. O'Brien

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