Downey School Core Values
Welcome to the Downey Elementary School! Our school is an inclusive K-5 building that provides an excellent education to all students. At Downey School we believe that learning is a partnership between the child, parent/guardian, and Downey School professionals. As a staff, we believe that open and honest communication with parents/guardians is important, and we value the input from parents/guardians. To ensure that Downey School is a safe environment for all students and staff to take academic/professional risks, we live by the 6 Downey School Core Values:
Courage, Pride, Excellence, Respect, Responsibility, Inclusion
May 12, 2018
Dear Downey Community,
This has been a special week at Downey School for the staff. The PTO Hospitality Committee has spoiled the staff all week long with fresh flowers, breakfast, lunch, student thank you cards, and gift cards in honor of Teacher Appreciation Week! It is a pleasure to teach all of your children and an honor to be part of such an amazing community. Thank you to the many parents who helped to make this a special week for the Downey Staff!
Yesterday afternoon, as part of the Same and Different, Like Me curriculum, students in grade 1 met with Mrs. Hiller who has a physical disability. Mrs. Hiller showed the students how she is able to access the passenger side of her vehicle from her motorized wheelchair. Students also got to walk up the ramp to her vehicle and see the inside the van. Thank you Mrs. Hiller for visiting Downey!
Students in grade 3 have also had a busy week. On Thursday, a guest from Historic New England came to talk to students about Colonial Trade. Thank you to the PTO for funding this program, the students truly enjoyed it! On Friday morning, the students saw a performance by WHS students about Body Safety. This is a program that is co sponsored by WHS and Westwood Youth and Family Services. Although this is a very sensitive topic, it is an important conversation to have with children to give them the tools to protect themselves.
Lastly, please make sure to attend Town Meeting on May 30th. There are 3 important articles at Town Meeting that directly impact families with students in the Westwood Public Schools. While Town Meeting might not be the most exciting way to spend an evening, it is extremely important that parents attend this year’s Town Meeting. Every vote counts! Decisions are made by the people who show up, so please show up!
School Building Project Feasibility Study - As you may know, the district has the potential to receive significant funding from the state for an elementary school building project. In December, we received the good news from The Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) that we had been “invited in” to the MSBA’s “eligibility period.” In order to keep moving forward with the process, we will need a two-thirds vote at Town Meeting on May 30th to approve funding for a Feasibility Study. If the town does not pass the article to fund the Feasibility Study, we will be leaving potentially $20-30 million in state money on the table -- and still be faced with the question of how to address the needs of our aging buildings. If the Feasibility study is not approved, we will no longer be eligible for MSBA reimbursement. We will be left with all the same issues and no hope for state reimbursement. No long-term plan means expensive short-term fixes. Decisions are made by the people who show up. So please show up.
2. Comprehensive Study of Municipal and School Building Safety - This warrant article will fund a comprehensive safety study of all school and town buildings.
3. School Budget - We are very lucky in Westwood to have a town that supports our school budget. Each year the Administrative Team works collaboratively with the School Committee to put together a thoughtful budget that support the academic, social, and emotional needs of all of our students. The school budget is voted on at Town Meeting.
The spring is a busy time of year for everyone, but there is still plenty of work to be done in the classrooms. Please do your best to keep you children on a schedule as much as possible. When students arrive to school well rested, they are available for learning.
Thank you for your continued support, and Happy Mother’s Day!
PTO Updates & Information: Summer 2018
Thank You, Downey Community!
Through continued changes in PTO programming, including a reduction in smaller fundraisers and our 2nd annual Gala, our funding has continued to increase significantly!
This was all due to the generosity of the Downey teachers, staff, and families!! We will now be able to provide additional support for our children's education in the 2018-2019 academic year. It is our goal to make sure the success of this year goes directly back to our children.
Due to your generosity, in the coming year, we will be able to:
- Provide funding to build an outdoor classroom.
- Purchase additional playground equipment to supplement the new playground that the school completed last fall.
- Purchase a table and umbrella for the playground in memory of Kristin Rocha.
- Continue to fund multiple enrichment programs for each grade.
- Continue to cover the cost of buses for the first two field trips for each grade.
- Continue to support the teacher and classroom needs.
Downey PTO Board: 2018-2019
- Grace Li
- Mariam Nasr
- Darcy Petres
1st grade reps:
- Monica Dewan
- Tammy McGowan
2nd grade reps:
- Brenda Bruno
- Kerry Donlon
- Liz Gauthier
3rd grade reps:
- Sandra Castaldini
- Jenn Killilea
4th grade reps:
- Kara Buckley
- Liz Mullen
- Sarah Young-Hong
5th grade reps:
- Patty Rockensies
- Jo-Anne Stanton
Special Ed Rep:
- Tara Billini
- Amber Crowley
- Genovefa Emmanouilidou
We are excited to work with the Downey community in this next year to create fun and enriching events. Please stay tuned on how you can be involved in the PTO.
NEW Role- we have a new PTO role of Special Education Representative. We are excited to share that Liz Polin will serve as the liaison between the PTO Board and specific families in the Downey community, providing insight on special education issues and fostering an inclusive environment. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org any questions.
The Outdoor Classroom
Science is "EVERYWHERE" outdoors
The Downey PTO is embarking on a new journey....taking learning outside!
Research shows that kids learn more in natural light and they "learn by doing." Ideas for the Outdoor Classroom are flower or vegetable gardening, weather stations, theme nature walks, composting lessons, natural elements seating, and animal observations. This is unique project is sponsored through the successful 2017 and 2018 Downey Galas.
We need your help. Do you like to build? Are you an avid gardener? Are you proficient at graphic design? The Downey PTO wants to assemble a team of parent volunteers to assist on this project, in collaboration with the school administration and teachers. Please consider using your skills and expertise for site planning, building, gardening, landscaping, grant writing, or community outreach.
We plan to have a big community outreach event at the beginning of the school year. In this event, we hope volunteers (parents, Girls Scouts/Boy Scouts, teachers, area landscape businesses, and sponsors) can "break ground" for the new nature classroom. Planning starts now!
Please contact Sudha Sarma (email@example.com) for more information on how you can be involved.
Nature experience has been linked to better performance by children in school.
Downey Gift Book Program
The Gift Book Program continues and is an exciting way for your child to make a contribution to the school library! For all purchases made through this link, your child's name will be placed on a label on the inside cover of the book and they will be the first to read the book; all before the book is placed on the shelf in the Downey School library to then be shared by all students. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please contact Donna Cantarella, Downey Librarian (firstname.lastname@example.org)