Dear Sprague Community,

On the last day of school, Sprague has a tradition for sending off our 5th graders. It is called the “Clap Out.” All families are invited to attend. In short, all students K-4 line the hallways at 11:50 a.m. as the 5th graders take one last lap around the school. We clap and cheer for them to celebrate their leadership and to wish them all the best as they move up to the Middle School. Parents may join in the lobby hallway or under the awning or on the sidewalk. We also play “We Are the Champions” over the loudspeaker, although with all the clapping and cheering, it can be hard to hear.

At this time of year, it is not uncommon for us to notice a spike in negative or uncharacteristic behaviors as students may feel anxious about leaving the security of a classroom and teacher they have come to know and love. They may wonder who their teacher will be next year and which friends will be in their class. This is normal and it is important to assure children that they are well prepared for the next grade and that the teachers in those grades are ready for them and excited to get to know them come fall. On June 19th, the day before the last day of school, we have a ‘move up’ when all the students in the grade meet all the teachers in the next grade. They do this as a large group and we hope it puts some of the worries at ease.


All students will receive a Sprague yearbook on June 19th as well. We wish to thank the PTO for funding the purchase of a yearbook for every child and also want to recognize the hard work and dedication of the yearbook chairs, Jen Bowman and Lisa Neighbors. Thanks to all the parents who submitted photos and yearbook ads as well. The Sprague yearbook truly is a special one!

Green Award

Did you know that Sprague School was recognized by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection for our work in promoting recycling? It’s true! The Sprague Green Team was awarded a certificate and a concert by the “Earthtunes,” a children’s singing group. Green Team mom and recycling supporter Michelle Foster helped us coordinate a short concert with the “Earthtunes”, which is scheduled for tomorrow. It was tough to fit it in before the end of the school year!

Summer Reading

It is not too soon to think about summer reading. Research tells us that when students read during the summer months, they are much less likely to regress and lose skill that was developed during the school year. When children don’t read during the summer, we are almost assured they will lose some of the progress they have worked so hard to make. Please see the message from our school librarian, Sara Jauniskis.

“Beginning this coming Thursday, 6/8 we will be talking about summer reading with students in library.

Students will receive:

  • a printed version of the summer reading list
  • a book mark with the link to the online summer reading list
  • a summer reading bingo card with a reading log to work on and bring back in the fall
  • an invitation to get caught reading – send pictures to Ms. J. over the summer and check out her blog where she will post pictures of herself caught reading.

The link to the Sprague Library’s Summer Reading page:

The link to the WPS Summer Reading list:

From the Nurse: Poison Ivy Rash

Poison ivy rash is an allergic contact rash (dermatitis) caused by urushiol, an oil found in poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac plants. Urushiol is in the leaves, stems, and roots, which means that you can get a rash even in the winter, when a plant has lost all of its leaves. Contact may occur in 3 ways:

  • Direct contact – touching the sap of the toxic plant;
  • Indirect contact – touching something to which urushiol has spread. The oil can stick to the

fur of animals, to garden tools, sports equipment, clothing, shoes, etc.; or

  • Airborne urushiol particles, when plants are burned.

Once urushiol touches the skin, it begins to penetrate in minutes. In people who are sensitive, a reaction appears as a line or streak of rash, usually within 48 hours. Redness and swelling occur, followed by blisters, severe itching, and sometimes, pain. After several days, the blisters become crusted and begin to scale. The rash takes 10 to 21 days to heal.

The rash can affect almost any part of the body, especially where the skin is thin, such as on the face. A rash develops less often on the soles of the feet and palms of the hands, where the skin is thicker. The rash does not spread, although it seems to as it breaks out in new areas. This happens because urushiol absorbs more slowly into skin that is thicker, such as on the forearms, legs and trunk. Often the rash has a linear appearance because of the way the plant brushes against your skin. But if you come into contact with a piece of clothing or pet that has urushiol on it, the rash may be more spread out in appearance.

If you think you’ve come into contact with poison ivy be sure to wash all exposed skin with soap and water as soon as you can to help prevent a reaction. (Most of the oil is absorbed into the skin within 30 minutes and the severity of the rash is directly related to the amount of the plant’s oil that gets absorbed into your skin.) Remove and wash all clothing and shoes, being careful not to transfer the urushiol to other objects in your house. Contaminated surfaces should be cleaned with rubbing alcohol since the oil can remain active for months.

Common Myths About Poison Ivy

  • Scratching poison ivy blisters will spread the rash. False. The fluid in the blisters will not

spread the rash. The only place the rash will develop are in the locations where the oil

has come in contact with the skin. A person can be re-exposed however by touching

anything (such as shoes, the hose, or a pet) that still has some oil on it. Spreading blister

fluid from scratching doesn’t spread the rash, but germs under the fingernails may cause a

secondary localized infection.

  • Poison ivy rash is contagious. False. The rash is a reaction to urushiol. The rash cannot

pass from person to person; only the urushiol can be spread by contact.

  • Once allergic, always allergic to poison ivy. False. A person’s sensitivity changes over

time, even from season to season. People who were sensitive to poison ivy as children

may not be allergic as adults.

  • Dead poison ivy plants are no longer toxic. False. Urushiol remains active for several

years. Do not handle dead poison ivy plants.

  • One way to protect against poison ivy is by keeping covered out of doors. True. However,

urushiol can stick to your clothes, which you could spread through contact.

Treatment of Poison Ivy Rash

The rash caused by poison ivy usually isn’t serious but it certainly can be bothersome.

Treatment mostly consists of self-care methods to relieve itching. Body heat and sweating can

aggravate the itching. Stay cool and apply cool compresses to your skin. Cool or lukewarm baths and oatmeal bath products may offer temporary relief of the itching. It’s a good idea to cut fingernails short to prevent any dirt or bacteria under the nails from getting into open areas of the skin and causing infection.

Children who have a severe case of poison ivy should see their pediatrician. Severe cases

include a rash that spreads over a large portion of the body, any time there is poison ivy near the

eyes (on the face), or when there is excessive swelling associated with the rash. It is also recommended to call the physician if there is no improvement within 7 days, if the rash appears to be worsening, or if your child develops a fever.

Prevention of Poison Ivy Rash

• The best way to prevent the rash is to learn to identify and avoid the plants. Teach your children to identify the plants.

• Remove these plants if they grow near your home (but don’t burn them).

• Be aware of the oil carried by pets.

• Wash as soon as possible after suspected exposure.

Poison ivy plants usually have three broad, spoon-shaped leaves or leaflets, but they can

have more. The phrase, “Leaves of three? Let it be.” may help us remember. In the springtime, the

immature leaves start out with a red, waxy appearance. As the leaves grow they turn green and in

the fall the leaves are bright red with white or cream berries. The oil is most active in the summer. The plant grows as a climbing vine or a low, spreading vine that sprawls through grass (more common in eastern states) or as a shrub (more common in northern states, Canada, and the Great Lakes region), often along rivers, lakefronts, and ocean beaches.

It’s important for us to review what we know about this nuisance, especially in the spring, as we all spend more time outside. Let’s hope our families can avoid this discomfort this season!


Dates to remember:

June 8: PTO meeting

June 8: Family Picnic—BYO from 6:00-7:30 PM

June 14: Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast outdoors—all parent volunteers welcome!

June 15: Field Day (raindate is June 16)

June 19: Grade 5 Farewell Assembly

June 20: Last Day of School—12:00 dismissal (11:50 Clap Out)

Weekly note from Ms. Snyder–June 6, 2017
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