Dear Bates Families,
Bates is still buzzing with excitement following the visit by author Trudy Ludwig on Tuesday. I would like to thank the Bates PTO for making this visit possible.
Our students attended one of two presentations by Trudy. The student presentations were tailored to grades K-2 and 3-5. In addition, Trudy presented to parents on Tuesday night and to the teachers from the Bates, Sprague and Hunnewell schools on Wednesday afternoon. Each of these presentations offered their respective audiences insights gleamed from research and tools to address relational aggression, the most common form of bullying, among children. Each of the audiences left informed and energized to try some of the strategies Trudy shared with us.
Trudy began her student presentations by teaching students the difference between behavior that is rude or mean and bullying behavior. She shared that exclusion, giving the silent treatment, and starting a rumor are all examples of relational aggression. Trudy emphasized the power that bystanders have to help a target of bullying and even stop the bullying behavior. Bystanders can help by offering comfort, by including the student in an activity and by reporting the behavior to an adult. Trudy also empowered students to use some strategies or “tools” in response to bullying behavior. Some of these are: walking away, changing the subject, turning an insult into a compliment (only if you feel safe and comfortable doing so), saying “Who cares?” and saying “Stop!” (only if you feel safe doing so). Trudy demonstrated how to use these tools through role play with the students.
In her talk with the adults, Trudy advised that we take steps to prevent bullying by educating students and adults about the problem, by building empathy and respect for others, by creating safe places where kids can hang out and by building community in the classroom and on the playground. Bates has already taken many of these steps as a result of our work over the last few years with Stan Davis, psychologist and author of Schools Where Everyone Belongs
Trudy’s books for children are excellent ways to help children build empathy and problem solving skills. The two books she shared with students are great examples: The Invisible Boy
, which she read to students in K-2, helps children to feel empathy and compassion for students who are excluded. Trouble Talk
, which she read to students in grades 3-5, shows the hurt that can be caused by the spreading of rumors. Our teachers will be using many of Trudy’s books for discussions in class. Students can also borrow copies of her books from the Bates library.
Trudy also briefly addressed cyber bullying with her adult audiences. She shared the importance of parents setting boundaries with children around acceptable use of electronics and knowing about their children’s lives online. She offered several resources for parents including the website www.connectsafely.org. Her handouts for parents list many other great resources and books. If you would like to receive a copy of Trudy’s handouts, please stop by the Bates office. School Arrival and Dismissal
I would like to remind parents and all caregivers to follow these guidelines for a smooth and safe arrival and dismissal:
- Please arrive at school as close to 8:15 a.m. as possible. School starts promptly at 8:30 a.m. Although students are not marked tardy until 8:35 a.m., students who arrive after 8:27 a.m. enter the classroom late and miss key routines, directions and even instruction.
- Allow plenty of extra time for car line arrival and dismissal in bad weather.
- Please make dismissal plans before the start of school, anticipating weather and play dates for the day. Because our office staff does not have the capacity to take and deliver a large volume of messages to students each day, we ask that only in the event of unforeseen circumstances, you may contact the office to communicate a change in dismissal, and that you do so prior to 2:00 p.m. (or 11:00 a.m. on Wednesdays). Thank you for taking this in consideration when you make your plans for the day.
- Remember that ours is a moving car line and for everyone’s safety, adults are asked not to get out of the car to assist children with car seats or opening doors.
In the coming days, parents of students who took the MCAS test last spring will receive your child’s test results. We advise parents to consider that these results are just one data point. In the upcoming parent-teacher conferences, your child’s teacher will also share data from other assessments that we use to get a complete understanding of each child’s strengths and needs.
If you’d like to help “spruce up” the Bates School gardens and grounds, please join us this Monday, October 12 from 9:00 – 11:00 a.m.
Finally, Dianne O’Sullivan-Gard, our school secretary, is moving on from Bates to pursue a new job opportunity. Dianne has worked at Bates for nearly 15 years and will be greatly missed. Her last day will be Friday, October 16. The staff will host a goodbye party for Dianne after school in the library. All families and students are invited to drop by to say goodbye and wish her well in her new role.
Below are a few dates you may want to note on your calendar:
Today through October Faculty Art Show at WHS – come see the beautiful art work created by teacher Jacqui Martel and other art teachers!
Monday, October 12 No School: Columbus Day Spruce Up Day (rescheduled) from 9-11 a.m.
Thursday, October 15 New family coffee at 9:00 a.m.
Friday, October 16 Farewell Party for Dianne O’Sullivan-Gard at 3:30 p.m. in the library
Saturday, October 17 Bates Pumpkin Fair from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Wednesday, October 21 BOKS starts (more details to be sent separately)Warm regards,