It was great to see so many parents at Back to School Night last week!  What a wonderful night for teachers and families to share their hopes and dreams for the year together.  Hopefully many of your questions were answered and you have a deeper understanding of your child’s classroom and curriculum.   In the coming weeks you will have the opportunity to sit down in a conference with your child’s teacher.

As September winds down, we celebrate the efforts and accomplishments of our first month of school.  In most of our classrooms students are celebrating reading independently for longer and longer stretches of time.  Younger students learned that there are many ways to read a book.  “Read the pictures.  Read the words.  Retell a book you know.”  Each of these ways of reading builds stronger readers who focus not only on the words in their books, but the meaning.   They also learned that readers are like runners.  They warm up for reading with easier books and build stamina by stretching their reading muscles each and every day.  As parents you know we encourage children to read (or be read to) 15-30 minutes a night, depending on their grade level.  With busy lives and afterschool schedules, this is sometimes a challenge.  We are happy to help families with this, particularly if you are finding reading at home a struggle.   Even an independent reader will benefit from an adult or sibling spending 5-10 minutes getting him started, either by reading to him or reading silently alongside the child.   Experts advise us to resist the urge to correct a child’s every mistake while reading.  Allowing a child to read to the end of the sentence or page enables him to practice using his reading strategies independently.

Parents are encouraged to enjoy reading with your child by talking about the reading.  Authentic conversations, about the pictures (even in a simple text) and about the words, encourage a child to think about his reading more deeply and enjoy reading more fully.  Do you know that feeling of reading a wonderful book and wanting to talk to someone about it?  This kind of talk is important to foster at school and at home.  Don’t worry about asking the right question, which can sometimes sound more like a quiz than a conversation.  We recommend you ask, “What are you thinking?”  and “What makes you think that?”  These two questions encourage a child to think deeply about his reading and to support his ideas with evidence from the text.  As children talk, their thinking grows.  We encourage this in school with informal book partnerships, a quick “turn and talk” with a classmate during a read aloud and in book clubs in the older grades.

As we settle into school routines, I’d like to draw your attention to a few Bates procedures:

    If your child is home sick, please call the office and report your child’s absence.   Please share relevant symptoms and let us know if he has a fever.  This enables our nurse to track illnesses in classrooms and across the school.
    Our car line procedures ensure a safe and smooth arrival and dismissal.  Please remember the following:
        Enter the car line from Westgate Road only.  Please do not enter the car line by turning left into the circle from Elmwood Road.
        Please do not park during arrival and dismissal on the school side of Westgate Road.  The car line often extends onto Westgate, and parked cars block the flow of traffic.
        Please park only on one side of Elmwood Road or Linwood Road.  Our busses cannot travel down these roads when cars are parked on both sides.

The week ahead brings:

    Spanish instruction before school on Monday
    School pictures on Friday
    The Bates School Council will meet for our first meeting on Tuesday at 3:15
    Fourth and fifth grade families will receive their child’s MCAS results from last spring in the mail

Our generous PTO has set aside funds to provide financial assistance for families in need of help with school fees for field trips, school pictures, and the yearbook.  Please contact me at:

Finally, for those of you who are so inclined, I invite you to follow me on Twitter @Batesprincipal.  You can also see my Tweets on the Bates School home page.  Enjoy the latest photos from inside the Bates School!

If your family is celebrating Rosh Hashanah, I wish you a Happy New Year.  I hope everyone enjoys the warm weather this weekend.


Toni Jolley

Bates Buzz
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