Dear Sprague Community,

Progress Reports

Written Progress Reports are sent home to parents twice each year. We hold parent-teacher conferences two times per year as well. Your child’s written Progress Report was scheduled to be sent home on Friday, February 3, but the date has been moved to Tuesday, February 7 due to a computer problem we experienced this week.

Kindergarten Roundup

If you have a child who will turn 5 by August 31, the Kindergarten Roundup is for you! Parents should plan to bring documents (registration forms, health records, proof of residency, birth certificate) to the Roundup at one of the two scheduled times (Feb. 8 from 3-6 PM or March 4 from 9 AM-12PM in the Sprague library). Children may attend, but it is not necessary for the registration process. There will be a date in May that is set aside for Kindergarten Screening. All pertinent dates will be included in the packet that parents receive at the Roundup. Please let friends and neighbors who have eligible children know about this district wide Roundup. Registration forms may be found on the district website.


Students should unpack belongings at their lockers and be in class by 8:30 each day. They are marked late at 8:35. Students should be responsible and independent with this task and parents can say good-bye outside or in the lobby.

Open House at Sprague

Parents are invited to our annual Open House on March 17 from 8:00-9:30 a.m. to view student work and classroom spaces. Parents may come anytime during this window. We will show a short video at 9:15 in the gym.

Digital Citizenship Talks

We use technology in many ways both at home and in our work at school. Students increasingly need to be responsible consumers of technology.

Just this week I received a flyer inviting our school community to a talk by author and child psychologist Dr. Anthony Rao titled “Raising Boys in the Digital Age.” This will be on Wed., Feb. 1 from 7-9 pm at the Fessenden School. Registration is required for this free event at or by calling 617-964-5350.

Additionally, the Wellesley Public Schools will sponsor a parent talk by Dr. Catherine Steiner-Adair, also a well recognized clinical psychologist, school consultant, and author of “The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age.” Dr. Steiner Adair examines ways in which the wonders of technology also change how children learn and grow. She speaks about how parents and teachers can reap the benefits of technology while reducing risks so that our children will grow into responsible, resilient, and capable young adults.

Dr. Steiner-Adair will give her talk in Wellesley on March 21st at 7 PM. Look for the location to be announced soon.

One more MCAS change:

Grade 3 ELA MCAS will be given on April 27, May 1, and May 2. Thanks for your understanding. This represents moving the first day of testing to a few days earlier to comply with DESE guidelines.

Why do we teach math the way we do?

You may wonder this sometimes. It may seem that the standard algorithms for solving addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division make the most sense to adults because we get the right answer. However, computers and calculators get the right answer even faster now, so what mathematic skills, if any, do students need to master in the 21st century? In an excerpt I recently read from the Marshall Memo, Devlin has a very clear answer: “Whereas it used to be the case that humans had to master the computational skills required to carry out various mathematical procedures (adding and multiplying numbers, inverting matrices, solving polynomial equations, differentiating analytic functions, solving differential equations), what is required today is a sufficiently deep understanding of all those procedures, and the underlying concepts they are built on, in order to know when, and how, to use those digitally-implemented tools effectively, productively, and safely… The human brain compares miserably with the digital computer when it comes to performing rule-based procedures. But that human mind can bring something that computers cannot begin to do, and maybe never will: understanding. Desktop-computers and cloud-based mathematics systems provide useful tools to solve the mathematical aspects of real-world problems. But without a human in the driving seat, those tools are totally useless.” He goes on to say, “The most basic contemporary mathematics life skill, Devlin believes, is number sense. This has been defined as “fluidity and flexibility with numbers, a sense of what numbers mean, and an ability to use mental mathematics to negotiate the world and make comparisons.” Specifically, according to Marilyn Burns, number sense is the ability to:

-Think and reason flexibly with numbers;

-Use numbers to solve problems;

-Spot unreasonable answers;

-Understand how numbers can be taken apart and put together in different ways;

-See connections among operations;

-Figure mentally;

-Make reasonable estimates

In the classroom, our teachers focus heavily on number sense, problem solving, and standards for mathematical practice that support flexible thinking. We remind kids that there can be multiple ways to solve a problem, to look for the most efficient method, and to be able to explain their thinking.

“All the Mathematical Methods I Learned in My University Math Degree Became Obsolete in My Lifetime” by Keith Devlin in The Huffington Post, January 1, 2017,

Dates to remember:

Feb. 7: Progress Reports sent home (note new date)

Feb. 7: Walk to School Day

Feb. 8: Kindergarten Roundup (for 17-18) from 3-6 PM in Sprague library

Feb. 9: PTO meeting at 8:45 a.m.

March 3: A-Cat-emy Awards

March 7: Grade 5 vs. Faculty Basketball Game

March 4: Kindergarten Roundup (for 17-18) from 9AM-12 PM in Sprague library

March 17: Open House 8:00-9:30 a.m.

March 21: Parent Talk on Technology and Kids at 7 PM (WMS is the likely location)

March 30: Tentative date for Sprague School Multi-cultural Night

Please see updated MCAS schedule:


Grade 3 ELA: May 1, 2, 4

Grade 4 ELA: April 24, 25, 28

Grade 5 ELA: April 7, 10, 13

Make up for Gr. 4 CBT and Gr. 3, 5: TBD

Grade 3 Math: May 11, 12

Grade 4 Math: May 22, 23

Grade 5 Math: May 8, 9

Grade 5 Science: May 15, 16

Make ups for Math/Science: May 18, 19

Weekly note from Ms. Snyder–January 31, 2017
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