Dear Bates families, I hope you are all weathering the snow and cold of the recent weeks.  Winter has arrived in full force!  Our custodians have worked very hard to clear our school grounds and create paths for us to walk and play.  Our students are having great fun playing in the snow or on the cleared blacktop areas where the ever-popular Four Square game has resumed.  Please remember that students need snow pants and boots in order to play in the snow.  We hold fast to this rule knowing that wet clothes make children very uncomfortable once they are back in the classroom.  It is also a good idea to pack extra socks, just in case they are needed.   We would appreciate donations of new or gently used socks and snow pants for students to borrow as needed.  Thank you for your ongoing preparedness and flexibility in ensuring the safe arrival and dismissal of our students.  And thank you also for your increased awareness of our snow covered crosswalks and the children and families who are crossing the street.  Please continue to observe the suggestion of not parking on the far side of Westgate Road during arrival and dismissal.  Please plan for an extra five or ten minutes if you are dropping off in the car line in the morning.  We continue to value an on-time start to the school day and appreciate your assistance. The past few weeks at Bates have included many exciting learning opportunities.  We had a very successful drop-in week in P.E., where family members strapped on sneakers to join our students and Mrs. Fyvie in many different kinds of dance.  It was fun-filled exercise for adults and children alike.  At our monthly community meeting we reflected on the topic of “courage.”  We shared some of the small acts of courage we encourage at Bates, such as the courage to try something new or stand up for what you believe.  Thanks to the generosity of the PTO and the efforts of the Creative Arts team, we also enjoyed interactive presentations by muralist Bren Bataclan, Rhythm Kids and several authors, including poet Lynn Littlefield Hoops.  I know many of you saw your children excitedly trying out their new muralist techniques, confidently writing a story or eagerly reading a new book after having met the author.  The fifth grade welcomed two Blanding’s turtle hatchlings to the Bates School on Thursday.  These turtles come to us as part of a teacher grant and in collaboration with the Massachusetts Audubon Society.  The fifth graders will provide care for the turtles and study this rare species and animal adaptations.  After providing the hatchlings with this head start in their indoor aquarium, the fifth graders will release them into their wetland habitat in May or June.  If you are in the fifth grade wing, be sure to stop by 5P to see their newest members! Finally, I urge families who have not yet provided a family photo for our family album to please consider doing so now.   Photos can be sent to me at  The Bates family album is a treasured resource that enables us to connect with one another.   Thank you for helping us to know each of you.  Stay warm in the coming days and please note the following dates: Tuesday, February 10 –        100th day of school  Wednesday, February 11 –   BOKS starts                                                4th Grade Living Museum Thursday, February 12 –      Walk to School day                                              9:00 Math conversation for parents in the Bates library Monday, February 16 – Friday, February 20:  Vacation Week   Best regards, Toni Jolley

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