Dear Sprague Community, With this outstanding weather, it’s hard to believe the summer has come to an end! Even though I always wish for a few more beach days, I am excited to begin the school year and can’t wait to see the 400 or so happy faces tomorrow morning! Our faculty and staff have been busy getting ready for the arrival of your children. Teachers have been working in their classrooms and our custodial staff is still putting the last touches (and coats of wax) in the building. It is always a challenge for us to get everything done as the building is used for summer programming each year. If you see our custodians Scott Grady, Rob Carter, or Jack Glorioso, be sure to let them know how great the building looks! We didn’t have large capital projects at Sprague this summer, but did get a fresh coat of paint along the lobby staircase and in the nurse’s office. The parking lot was re-lined with new paint so the arrow and parking space lines are nice and clear. We anticipate the installation of a “hydration station” sometime this fall. The stations are being installed in all the schools in Wellesley. This would enable students to refill their water bottles and help save on plastic waste. We welcome some new families to our Sprague community as well as some new staff members. I know that all newcomers will feel the warm welcome that I did last year at this time! We welcome new teachers Melissa Herald in grade 2 and Vixen Peare as our K-2 Spanish teacher. Spanish instruction will begin in December, but Vixen will be working with our teachers to get to know Sprague and to develop the curriculum along with district Elementary World Language Director Barbara Barnett. Due to enrollment, we will also welcome ELL (English Language Learner) teacher Joni Magee as a resource to teachers to assist in developing differentiated instruction to meet needs of English Language Learners in the classroom. We also welcome new TA’s: Erin Kelley, Molly Smith, Liz Verdolino, Marianne Cambas, and Alicia Giannotti (KGM). Speaking of KGM…you may wonder if there is a new kindergarten teacher. The answer is no. Ms. Gledhill got married last winter and had not officially changed her name until this year. She is now Mrs. Madden. Lastly, Ms. Stabnick welcomes student teacher Kaitlin Holzapfel or Ms. H. to the art room this fall. All students will get the chance to meet and work with Ms. H. in the art room during the fall months. A group of students helped Ms. Dienel in the garden this summer. I hear they were super workers did a great job weeding and watering. A photo is attached. Thanks to those students: Nevin E., Noah L., Josh M., Conner J., Lily K., Jamie M., Anais P., Claire S., Aidan C., and Chloe A.. I’d also like to remind parents of our procedures at Sprague. You will receive a copy of the student handbook this year. We have printed one copy per family. Students will also bring home a notice with highlighted procedures for things like tardy arrivals, dropping off forgotten items, and more. It will be printed on blue paper. Look for it in your child’s backpack! As a reminder, we will be making every effort to make the best use of time possible during the school day. This means we will be sending students into the building at 8:25 to give them time to unpack and get to the classroom by 8:30. Please make every effort to help your child arrive on time. We provide supervision on the playground from 8:15-8:30 each day. Students should try to arrive between 8:15 and 8:25. Classes will continue to schedule one recess per day in addition to the recess that is associated with lunchtime. There is one small change that we hope makes a positive difference for students: Students will have recess BEFORE lunch this year. We hope this gives students an opportunity to exercise and then enter the school ready to eat their lunch. We anticipate that students will be able to eat more of their lunch and return to class a little more calmly after lunch. We are looking for donations of wipes to keep in the cafeteria so that students can clean their hands before eating. Please send any donations of wipes to the office. Thank you! Dates to remember: Sept. 2: Tomorrow!!! First day of school Sept. 7: Labor Day—no school Sept. 8: New Family Picnic (BYOP @ 6 PM—outdoors) Sept. 10: PTO meeting @ 9 a.m. Sept. 10: Back to School Night 6:30-8:00 PM—parents only Sept. 14: Rosh Hashana—no school Sept. 15: First full day for kindergarten students Sept. 23: Yom Kippur—no school I can’t wait to see everyone tomorrow!!!! When your children get up tomorrow, you can share a quote from one of my favorites: “You’re off to great places. Today is your day. Your mountain is waiting. So get on your way.” -Dr. Seuss It’s going to be a great year!! -Susan I am also passing along this note from Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education: The start of school is the most exciting time of the year for students! They want to meet their teachers, catch up with their friends, and begin exploring a whole new world of knowledge. As exciting as these first weeks of school are, your children can’t do this on their own. They need your help to get ready—now and every day. You need to read aloud to young children to reinforce the importance of literacy. You have to be ready to help them when they’re stuck on homework. You should make sure they have a nutritious lunch every day. You need to build relationships with their teachers so you’re all working together to provide your children the best learning experience possible. Helping your children with school is one of your most important jobs as a parent. That’s why the U.S. Department of Education, National PTA, and Parenting have teamed up to bring you Countdown to School Success. This booklet takes you step-by-step through the typical school-year calendar, explaining how you can help your children at home, support them in the classroom, and assist their teachers as they address each of your children’s unique abilities. We hope your whole family enjoys following this road map to the exciting year ahead. Arne Duncan
U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy Landers
National PTA President Ana Connery
Parenting Editorial Director Here is the September excerpt:
- Reach out to your kids’teachers Attend meet-the-teacher night, orientation, or other welcome events, but don’t stop there. Make a point of introducing yourself and learning about class activities and expectations for the year. Find out how each teacher prefers to communicate.
Many use e-mail as the main form of contact, but phone calls and conferences (make an appointment first) are usually welcome, too. For more advice on building a parent-teacher relationship that will last the entire year, as well as links to all the websites featured in this guide, go to parenting.com/success.
- Get in the groove Establish healthy at-home routines for school days, such as consistent waking times and getting-ready patterns. Decide on a regular homework time, and create a comfortable, quiet work space. Set bedtimes that allow elementary-age kids to get 10 to 12 hours of sleep; teens should get 8½ to 9½ hours.
- Time things right Stay on top of everyone’s school, activity, and work schedules with a free online calendar or a smartphone app.
- Pack smart Make sure your child’s backpack never weighs more than 10 to 20 percent of his body weight; heavy packs can strain developing muscles and joints. Encourage your child to use both straps, and tighten them so the pack hangs close to the body, about two inches above your child’s waist.
- Commit to volunteering With help from parents like you, your school can offer many more programs and services for your kids. Join your school’s PTA and ask about volunteer opportunities in the school community and your children’s classrooms. National PTA’s “Three for Me” campaign encourages parents to pledge to volunteer at least three hours during the school year. Go to three4me.com for more information.
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