Thursday, December 23, 2010

Student Art Work

Congratulations to these wonderful artists whose creativity is displayed in the main office.





Cookie Trays from the PTO

Thank you to the PTO for the wonderful cookie trays which were delivered to every staff member on Monday! It takes a wonderful group of bakers, coordinators, tray creators, and delivery helpers to make this appreciation project a success. The list of volunteers is too long to mention everyone.
Cookie trays are one of the treats the Birch Meadow staff look forward to every year. Thank you to everyone who helped ensure the staff at Birch Meadow received appreciation!
Have a great holiday and THANK YOU!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Mice and Mozart

Thank you to the chorus and drama program for the excellent performance of Mice and Mozart. Click here for pictures if the images below are unavailable.
video

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Friendship





















Birch Meadow’s character education program focuses on 6 themes of character: Respect, Responsibility, Honesty, Friendship, Cooperation and Caring. Friendship is the character trait we will be focusing on this month. In order to reinforce Friendship through literacy, all students will be listening to or reading the book How to be a Friend by Laurie Krasny Brown and Marc Brown. This book reinforces how students can be a good friends, make good choices and find ways to settle arguments using words. Teachers and staff will be looking for students showing Friendship and we are encouraging parents to do the same at home. Your child will be bringing home a bear this week. Please reward your child when you see him/her showing Friendship by filling out the bear with your child’s name, room number and what they did to show Friendship. The bear will be added to the other bears in a container in the office and posted in the lobby.
Mr. Sprung will read one bear from each grade level at our next assembly.
The bear will be returned to you at the end of the month. Thank you for your cooperation with this program, and we look forward to reading how your child has shown Friendship at home!

Blue Ribbon School Improvement Planning

This past Wednesday two important events took place for Birch Meadow as part of the Blue Ribbon School Improvement process. The two events happened within a few hours of each other approximately 1300 miles apart.
The first event was a Birch Meadow staff meeting which included parents, students, and teachers. The meeting involved a presentation of Blue Ribbon data. After the data presentation teachers, parents, and students divided themselves into groups based on Blue Ribbon standards. Each group brainstormed ideas to address improvement areas for Birch Meadow.
On December 22nd the groups will come together again to continue brainstorming, share their group work with the rest of the staff, and discuss the next steps toward implementing the many great ideas.
Here are pictures of some of our Blue Ribbon groups.











Later Wednesday evening in Orlando, Florida Janis Gerety and Jennifer Emmett received an award for Birch Meadow. Birch Meadow Elementary School was recognized as a Blue Ribbon Lighthouse Point of Light School for our efforts in using the Blue Ribbon School Improvement Process to improve the school. See the picture below.


Congratulations to Birch Meadow as our work towards continuous improvement is on a path for success.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Good News for Birch Meadow

A special thanks to the facilities department and town of Reading for supporting Birch Meadow School!

Both the Board of Selectmen and the Reading Public Schools Committee recently announced that the Massachusetts School Building Authority invited Reading to participate in its Green Repair Program.

State to Help Fund Reading Elementary School Improvements

Festival of Trees



Thank you to all the students, teachers, and parents who supported the Birch Meadow Tree which was on display this past weekend! The tree received special recognition as you can see from the message from RTEF below.

A huge thank you to all our tree donors! You have all helped make this the most successful year ever. We received 13 grant applications from our teachers last week, and all money raised at the Festival go towards funding of these teacher-initiated grant requests.
We wanted to pass on the results of the voting. Congratulations to the winners!
Most Spectacular - Reading Cooperative Bank
Favorite - RMHS Drama Club
Most Unusual - Aines Boutique
Most Creative - Karen and Lizzie Gillis
Best Tree Topper - Parker Eco Club
Best Under Tree Display - Birch Meadow Student Council
Again, our sincere thanks and happy holidays!
Debbie, Cynda, Lori, Demetra and Laurie
The RTEF Board

Changes to the State Ethics Laws related to the gift giving policy

Information related to STATES ETHICS REGULATIONS posted on the superintendent's blog.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Conferences and Web Sites

I hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving. We are making the transition from finishing conferences and report cards to beginning the 2nd semester with renewed energy after the Thanksgiving break. Following conferences you may have taken additional time to digest information from the teacher or report card which may lead to additional questions. Please bring your questions to teachers or staff at any time.

This past week I located a few web sites which may be helpful for you as parents and are fun for kids. For your child's safety please monitor their internet usage while they are on the computer.

Enjoy the list...
http://www.lumosity.com/k/brain-teasers - Great activities to excercise your brain...Great for students and adults.
http://www.music-explained.com/ - Students can write about their favorite song
http://www.readwritethink.org/files/resources/interactives/flipbook/ - Students can make a flip book
http://tarheelreader.org/ - Create and read books written by others
http://www.wordgames.com/ - typing and word games, etc.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Grade 4 introduced the theme of Cooperation

Birch Meadow’s character education program focuses on 6 themes of character: Respect, Responsibility, Honesty, Sportsmanship, Cooperation, and Caring. Cooperation is the character trait we will be focusing on this month. In order to reinforce Cooperation through literacy, all students will be listening to or reading the book Pumpkin Soup by Helen Cooper. This book reinforces how students can work together towards a goal while treating each other with respect and kindness. Teachers and staff will be looking for students showing Cooperation and we are encouraging parents to do the same at home. Your child will be bringing home a bear this week. Please reward your child when you see him/her showing Cooperation by filling out the bear with your child’s name, room number and what they did to show Cooperation. The bear will be added to the other bears in a container in the office and posted in the lobby. Mr. Sprung will read one bear from each grade level at our next assembly.
The bear will be returned to you at the end of the month. Thank you for your cooperation with this program, and we look forward to reading how your child has shown Cooperation at home!

These pictures are from the 4th grade program rehearsal...



Monday, November 15, 2010

STUDENT ARTISTS

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE STUDENTS WHO HAVE ART WORK ON DISPLAY IN THE MAIN OFFICE AND CONFERENCE ROOM!






Friday, November 12, 2010

Parent Social Networking Resources

Connect Safely, a resource reviewed last year on Free Technology for Teachers, has just released a new 32 page guide to Facebook for parents. A Parents' Guide to Facebook is a soup-to-nuts guide to Facebook privacy settings, profile settings, group settings, and more. The guide offers great explanations of the appeal of Facebook for teenagers and what teenagers do on Facebook. The guide provides a run down of recommended settings for teenagers and explanations of what those settings mean.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Mike Lupica Books

Last week I took the opportunity to see Mike Lupica speak about being a writer, journalist, and participant on ESPN's Sunday morning show, The Sports Reporters. I enjoy his books (many of which have been on NY TIMES best sellers list) and his philosophy that good books are a big factor in positively motivating reluctant readers.
I picked up a new copy of his 1st book TRAVEL TEAM and his latest book HERO. Mike signed the two books to Birch Meadow Elementary. (You can see him signing the books below). Mrs. Warshauer has the 2 books in the Birch Meadow library. These books are great for experienced readers and great read alouds for younger children. I am reading Travel Team to my 5-year old once we finish enjoying Matt Christopher's book Inline Skater.

As always...KEEP READING!


PTO Meeting Recap

Thank you to the many parents who joined us for the PTO meeting on Wednesday night. I know the students enjoyed Toy Story III.

I am attaching a few links which were discussed at the meeting.

RAD KIDS - Learn about the new program being introduced in Reading. Presented by Sgt. Abate of the Reading Police Dept.

On-Line Application for RAD KIDS

Superintendents Blog -- Follow the latest district information and budget updates.

Follow this link to see the Blue Ribbon Results Power Point Slides

Have a great weekend!

Mr. Sprung

Kindergarten Enrichment - Tufts Traveling Trunk Show

Tufts Traveling Trunk Show - web page

Follow this link to see pictures from the program.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Great pictures from the end of October

Enjoy the pictures...Click the links below to see the pictures from these great events. If you have difficulty with any of the links the videos are available on EDLINE under "Principal Photo Stories".

AM Halloween Parade

PM Halloween Parade

Grade 2 Enrichment

Spooky Fun Fair

Monster Mash

Don't forget to schedule a conference with your teacher to discuss your child's progress. Report cards are sent home on 11/19.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

New Spelling Program - guest post

READING PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Debra C. Kwiatek, M.Ed.

Office of Elementary/Middle School
Instructional Specialist

October 27, 2010

Dear Parents, Guardians:

This year as part of the English Language Arts initiative, we are introducing a new spelling book to students in grades four and five. The name of the book is How to Spell 3 for grade four and How to Spell 4 for grade five. The books were selected since they support the concepts presented in the Fundations program K-3.

The spelling book is unlike the conventional type book with which most of us are acquainted. These books are sounds, concepts and rules driven, based on the Orton-Gillingham approach which is explicit, sequential and multisensory in instruction. The teachers have been given a set of lessons to support the texts, a copy of the book How to Teach Spelling (a teacher resource book), and Wilson Sound Cards to support instruction.

The focus of each lesson will be to learn sounds, concepts and rules resulting in students being able to apply the new learning to any word that follows the rule. Emphasis is on teaching the students the spelling generalizations, rules and various sounds for the phonemes/graphemes in order to use the new learning in the application mode.

There is an old Chinese proverb that describes our goal for teaching spelling:

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day.
Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

If we teach our students the “how” of spelling rather that just memorizing a list of words we will better equip them for the riggers of writing correctly.

Sincerely yours,



Debra C. Kwiatek, M.Ed.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Please contact Mr. Sprung or PTO president (Liz Rogers) if you are interested in being a Birch Meadow budget parent. See the description below. This is a great opportunity to learn and understand the Reading Public Schools budget.

Reading Public Schools
Budget Parent Information Sheet


WHO
Any parent who has children in the Reading Public Schools may become a budget parent

NUMBER
The breakdown by level is as follows:

• Elementary-Two budget parents per school
• Middle-Three budget parents per school
• High School-Seven budget parents, including representatives from Athletics, Drama, and Music
• Special Education PAC-One budget parent

RESPONSIBILIITIES
The budget parent responsibilities are as follows:

• Participate in meetings with the Superintendent of Schools and Director of Finance and Operations in November and December to learn about the school department budget and the budget process
• Work with the Superintendent and the Director of Finance and Operations to review, critique and give input on the budget and the budget process
• Understand how the budget process works and be an advocate for the entire school department budget
• Act as a liaison between the school department and their child’s school by reporting back to other parents both formally (PTO and School Council meetings) and informally
• Participate in November Community budget forums
• Attend School Committee meetings and other pertinent meetings during the budget deliberations in January, February, and March

WHEN
There will be an initial meeting in November (Date TBD) Other dates are as follows:

o November 9, 2010 – Budget forum at Parker
o November 16, 2010 – Budget forum at Killam
o November 29, 2010- Budget forum at RMHS
o January 10, 2011 – School Committee meeting
o January 13, 2011 – School Committee meeting
o January 20, 2011 – Public hearing
o January 24, 2011 – School Committee meeting
o January 27, 2011 – School committee meeting

Please note that each budget parent does not have to attend all of the above meetings. We would always like at least one representative from each school at each meeting.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wednesday Professional Conversations









This past Wednesday Birch Meadow grade level teams worked together planning lessons, reviewing new educational resources, and discussing innovative ways to meet the needs of all students. This planning time allows for grade level consistency of curriculum topics and the time of year these skills will be taught. In addition to grade level team meetings, time is allocated for planning between grade levels (see the picture of grade 2 and 3 teachers from earlier in the year). Don't hesitate to ask your teachers about their new instructional materials (grammar, spelling, and comprehension) enhancing their instruction!

See the pictures of each team during their afternoon. My apologies for the blurred/hard to see photos.

More Walk to School photos








Thursday, October 14, 2010

MCAS power point slides presented at PTO meeting

Birch Meadow MCAS presentation from PTO meeting. Follow this link to see Birch Meadow AYP information.

Walk to School Day October 2010

Walk to School Day October 2010 was a great success! Keep walking and bring your completed Traveler Tickets to the office for prizes.
Follow the "Walk to School Day" link above to see pictures!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Photo Story of Principal Walk and Pancakes

Last week we had a beautiful morning for the principal fun walk and pancake breakfast sponsored by the PTO. As you can see in the photographs the sun was shining and we enjoyed our walk through the neighborhood. I even took some time to throw in personal and school trivia for the participants. The group was very knowledgeable!

Thank you to everyone who came to join us for breakfast and a walk. I look forward to seeing parents at the PTO meeting on October 13 and students and adults for our spooky fun fair and monster mash on Oct. 30.

Pictures here!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Respect at Birch Meadow

Birch Meadow’s character education program focuses on 6 themes of character: Respect, Responsibility, Honesty, Sportsmanship, Cooperation, and Caring. Respect is the character trait we will be focusing on this month. In order to reinforce Respect through literacy, all students will be listening to or reading the book Hey, Little Ant by Philip and Hannah Hoose. This book reinforces how students can be respectful to all animals and classmates. Teachers and staff will be looking for students showing Respect and we are encouraging parents to do the same at home. Your child will be bringing home a bear this week. Please reward your child when you see him/her showing Respect by filling out the bear with your child’s name, room number and what they did to show Respect. The bear will be added to the other bears in a container in the office and posted in the lobby. Mr. Sprung will read one bear from each grade level at our next assembly.
The bear will be returned to you at the end of the month. Thank you for your cooperation with this program, and we look forward to reading how your child has shown Respect at home!

THANK YOU!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Blue Ribbon Information

Directions to complete the Blue Ribbon Survey
Direct link to the survey

Letter to all Birch Meadow parents
To the Parents of -------------,

In the next few weeks Birch Meadow will be participating in the Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence Assessment. The assessment tool will analyze our school based upon the nine standards of the Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence Program. These standards (listed on the back) represent 20 years of research of what effective schools should look like. The data gathered from this assessment will help staff, administration, and our school council develop a school improvement plan. Parents, students, and staff will all be participating in the online survey to evaluate the strengths as well as the areas of improvement for Birch Meadow.

We invite all parents to participate in the assessment process by completing an online survey. The survey will be completely confidential and takes approximately 20 minutes to complete. We ask to have all surveys completed by October 1st.

To complete the survey, please follow the link below for directions. http://www.blueribbonschools.com/associations/9018/files/BLUEPRINT%20ONLINE%20INSTRUCTIONS1%207%2008.pdf

After you have reviewed the directions, the link to the assessment is http://assessment.blueribbonschools.com/
In order to complete the survey you will need your individual LOGIN number provided below.

---------

This letter and links are available in the NEWS section of EDLINE, in Mr. Sprung’s blog, and within Birchie Notices. We hope you will take the time to help Birch Meadow continue the process of continuous improvement.

In addition, all fourth and fifth grade students will be participating in a similar, but shorter version of the survey. This survey will be administered during the school day. If you do not want your child to participate in the survey, please contact Mr. Sprung or Mrs. Flatley at 781-944-2335.
If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Thank you,

Eric Sprung, Principal

Stop and Shop A+ Program

Stop and Shop A+ program registration

Welcome to the 2010-2011 A+ School Rewards Program.
Stop & Shop is proud to offer our A+ School Rewards program to help our community schools. Now parents and other supporters can earn great awards for schools to use as they choose!


What It Is
With A+ School Rewards, points accrue with each purchase where the Stop & Shop Card is used. It even works with purchases made online with Peapod by Stop & Shop. At the end of each month, these points determine your school's cash total which is automatically credited to its account and school totals updated each month. (Please note: Gift cards (excluding store brand gift cards), pharmacy, alcohol and/or cigarette purchases are excluded from accruing points.)

How It Works
A+ School Rewards are rounded per transaction to the nearest whole dollar amount. At the end of each month, each school's dollar amount is determined which is then automatically credited to its account.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Blue Ribbon Information


Follow this link to learn about the Blue Ribbon Schools Improvement Process. Birch Meadow will be using the Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence Assessment tool as part of an ongoing process of continuous school improvement. The tool will analyze our school based upon the nine standards of the Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence Program. These standards (see below) represent over 20 years of research of what effective schools should look like. The data gathered from this assessment will help staff, administration, and school council to develop school improvement plans which will address areas of need and celebrate the current successes of the school.

The assessment process will consist of site visits to our school by the Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence staff, as well as, online assessments administered to teachers, administrators, parents and 4th and 5th grade students. Each assessment will be done online and will be completely confidential.


Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence MISSION STATEMENT
Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence, Inc., is a non-profit educational organization committed to ensuring that all students achieve their highest potential by providing schools with measurable and sustainable solutions. The Blueprint for Excellence© and Interactive Library of Best Practices© are the key components utilized by trained facilitators to provide comprehensive solutions to schools through a combination of public and private funding.

9 Blue Ribbon Standards
Student Focus and Support
School Organization and Culture
Challenging Standards and Curriculum
Active Teaching and Learning
Technology Integration
Professional Community
Leadership and Educational Vitality
School, Family, and Community Partnerships
Indicators of Success

Understanding the MCAS growth model

Individual MCAS scores will be sent home in the near future.

For the first time ever, this year's MCAS Parent Reports will include growth model data. We recognize that this is a new, and somewhat confusing system, that may leave many parents with questions. To help address that need the DESE developed an online tutorial geared specifically for parents. The tutorial is posted at http://www.doe.mass.edu/mcas/growth/tutorial2.html.

Please note that the DESE have other growth model resources posted at http://www.doe.mass.edu/mcas/growth/,including Frequently Asked Questions document and an interpretive guide for educators.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Welcome Back Letter from Principal

August 11, 2010

Dear Birch Meadow families,

Welcome back for the beginning of the 2010-2011 school year. Teachers and staff are excited and energized for the start of the school year. We hope you and your children are looking forward to the year as well. Birch Meadow will continue with the energy and enthusiasm that makes our school a special place for your children.

Since the summer began we received our new heating system, technology has been purchased for staff and student use, professional development took place providing opportunity for teacher growth, staff was hired, and many hours of programming and planning were conducted. I hope your summer provided opportunities for your family to rest, vacation, and prepare for the school year. We look forward to seeing everyone back at Birch Meadow.

You will notice a few staff changes at Birch Meadow this year
• Mr. Kaminski will be our new 3rd grade teacher
• Lisa Serino, coming from Parker Middle School, will be our new learning center teacher
• Kerry Mullen is returning to the learning center coming back from her maternity leave
• Kristin Verity will be covering Mrs. Slater’s maternity leave
• Krista Erikson will be moving from the learning center to become the new language based teacher in grade 5
• New Para professionals include: Erline Trites and Catherine Bjarngard
• New tutors include: Sara Mitchell and Nicole Cronin
• After School Program leader is Jill McKenna and teacher Carol Landry-Webster
• Kristie Lambert will be monitoring the before school program
• The office of District English Language Art coordinator, Deb Kwiatek, has been moved from Joshua Eaton to Birch Meadow
• Peggy Costello will be filling in for Donna Cloonan’s medical leave

It is my goal to continue the greatness of Birch Meadow. The staff and I are committed to delivering a high quality education for your children. We look forward to a successful year. If we can be of any assistance, or if you have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me here at Birch Meadow at esprung@reading.k12.ma.us or 781-944-2335. We are partners in your child’s education.

Please review the district calendar to monitor important school dates throughout the year. See important dates below.
Wednesday, September 1st
First day of school
Wednesday, September 1st
AM kindergarten students, full day kindergarten students, and 1st grade - 11 AM dismissal time;
PM kindergarten - No school
Grades 2 – 5 - 12:45 PM dismissal time
Thursday, September 2nd
AM kindergarten students, full day kindergarten students, and 1st grade - 11 AM dismissal time
First day for PM kindergarten 12:00 PM – 2:45 PM
Grades 2 – 5 2:45 dismissal time
Friday, September 3rd
No-School
Monday, September 6th
Labor Day Holiday – No School
Thursday September 9th
Rosh Hashanah – No School

I hope you have a great year and I look forward to seeing you on Birch Meadow Curriculum Nights:
September 13th -- grades K-2
September 15th -- grades 3-5

Sincerely,


Mr. Sprung

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Summer Work

The building has been closed this summer due to the construction being completed. A new heating system is being installed thanks to the support of Reading Public Schools and the Town of Reading. We appreciate their support. I look forward to seeing teachers and students back at Birch Meadow in a few weeks!