Growing by . . . . . .
Leaps & Bounds
Issue Number 29 |May 13, 2011
Westwood Public Schools does notdiscriminate on the basis of age,
race, color, sex, religion, disability,national origin or sexual orientation
Message from the principal
The second round of MCAS (Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System) tests that are administered to our third, fourth, and fifth graders began this week and continue until the end of May. Not only is preparation embedded in Westwood's curriculum, but also specific test-taking strategies are taught prior to MCAS. In addition, teachers spend time on another key, but often neglected, element of success - attitude and confidence. In the past classroom teachers asked their students to reflect on the March tests once they were completed and write themselves reminders on taking the test, what helped to prepare, and strategies to employ. This year we went even further. The morning of the MCAS students do a quick (5 -10 minute maximum) free-write in which they jot down how they are feeling about the MCAS and then pretend to be their own coach/cheerleader. Following are a few of my favorite examples from their writing.
•If I get stuck on a question, I won't panic. Skip it and come back to it.
•I can do it. Try my best. Don't give up.
•Remember to actually read the test, don't just scan.
•Don't go bananas over the MCAS. I'm well prepared and will do well.
•Don't let the nerves get to me. I lived through it before.
•Who was the nitwit who thought up the MCAS? Why didn't my parents have to take them?
•I'm confident and a little scared, but no matter what I won't give up.
These comments are vivid reminders that the attitude and confidence our students bring to the MCAS - or any endeavor - are a key ingredient in the success. The MCAS preparation that is embedded in Westwood's curriculum will continue, as well as the practice that takes place prior to the tests. In addition, students will have the chance to cheer themselves on, review a few tips, and remind themselves "not to go bananas."
Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions regarding the MCAS.
Good luck to all participating in this Sunday's PanMass Challenge - Westwood Kids Ride!
p.s. Thanks for your part ensuring a good night's sleep, a hearty breakfast and a great start to the day during the MCAS weeks.
May 2011 Calendar
No School & Early Release Wednesdays:
May 30 - Memorial Day
June 23 - Last Day of 2010-11 - 12:10 pm dismissal
May 4 & 25; June 15
June 23 - 12:10 dismissal
May 19 - School Committee - WHS 7:30 pm
May 20 - PTO meeting 9:00 am
May 26 - Gr. 5 Parent Orientation Night - TMS 7:00 pm
May 19 - Butterflies - Enrichment program for grade 2
May 27 - Memorial Day program 9:00 am - blacktop
May 18 - 3F to Fisher School
May 19 - 3L to Fisher School
May 20 - 3M to Fisher School
May 31 - Grade 4 to Museum of Science
Martha Jones News
Wednesday School Assembly
Wednesday's Assembly was another opportunity to build community, celebrate, and recognize the accomplishments of our students. In addition, we also practice what it means to be a good audience - important listening and respect skills for any age.
•The Martha Jones Jazz Band, featuring soloist Mrs. Jill Luskin, grade 3 teacher, performed My Romance. Miranda Luiz, grade 5 student performed several pop tunes.
•The third grade Math League trophy was presented to the winning Martha Jones team. The members of the 4th and 5th grade math leagues were also recognized for getting up early on Friday mornings, arriving prepared to engage in the week's math problem, working with enthusiasm while honing their math skills, & having fun! (Thanks to parent organizers Jen Zonderman, Mark Plecinoga, & Jen Antonucci)
•In addition, Mr. Cohutt presented the winners of this year's Design Derby with special certificates.
Launcher: 1st - Michael Lo & Larry Tseng; 2nd - Joey Thorton & Evan Plecinoga
Paper Airplane: 1st - Noah Stone; 2nd - George Nassif & Michael Jiang
Minute Machine: 1st - Sophie Scanlon & Stephanie Daley; 2nd - Brian Gibbons & Joseph Nedder
Land Yacht: 1st - Jack Terzian, Johnny Bracco & Patrick Reilly; 2nd - Jessica Wen & Lillian Farah
Top: 1st - Jed Cappuccino
Sloater: 1st - Julia Hargedon; 2nd - Matt Kutzer, CJ Adourian, Mark Horsfall & Andrew Antonucci
Assemblies usually take place on long Wednesday afternoons. They are also scheduled on occasional Monday mornings so we can include our Kindergarten students.
School Directory Help Needed
We are looking for someone who is familiar with Microsoft Publisher to help with the faculty picture pages for the school directory.
This would involve:
· Gathering photographs of any new staff members
· Loading the pictures into publisher (a template has already been created)
· Making any formatting edits
This project is completed during the first few weeks in September. Anyone who is interested please contact Kara Johnsen at email@example.com. Thank you.
Please contact Sue Becker @ firstname.lastname@example.org or Michelle Cawley @ email@example.com if you are interested in the WESC Treasurer position for the next school year.
Field Day Volunteers Needed!
Friday, June 10th[Marker]. Please be on the lookout for the field day volunteer sheet being sent home in backpacks. Any questions, please email Janet Guarino at We are excited to begin preparing for the ever-popular field day. This year it is scheduled for firstname.lastname@example.org
Final PTO Meeting
Our final PTO meeting of the school year is scheduled for Friday morning May 20th at 9:00am. The meeting will be held in the MJ library and we will have coffee and muffins. Please join us as we will be welcoming our new PTO board members for the next school year.
Lost & Found
Lost & Found has once again reached gargantuan proportions and is spilling over with boots, jackets, lunchboxes, and more. Any items that are not claimed by Friday, May 20th will be taken for distribution at a homeless shelter. Again, please label your child's belongings so there is any chance of recovery.
Fall BUS Transportation
Time to sign up for bus transportation for your child next year. All applications & payments are due by June 30th. If you are interested in registering your child go to www.westwood.k12.ma.us and click on the Bus Transportation button. Please note you will need you child's student ID number to register. This can be found on your school lunch invoice. If you have any questions, contact the business office at email@example.com or at 781-326-7500 x1343.