The Center Mile

December 5, 2022

School News & Happenings

Principal's Update

Hello Center Community!

How is it possible that 2023 is just a few weeks away from becoming our reality? For families with young children, days can be long, but years seem to fly by! My wish for all of you is time to savor these last days of 2022. All our students are filled with the excitement of the winter season and family traditions. The smallest of moments can hold so much meaning when we stop and share them with one another.

So it is with great irony that I now turn to a "sneak peek" of things to come in 2023! You'll soon be hearing more about The Center School Spelling Bee, which will take place at the end of January. We will participate in the Scripps National Spelling Bee program, with our top speller moving on to regional competitions. Again, stay tuned for more details coming soon!

We are also preparing to pilot a partnership with our Extended Learning Program. We will offer after-school enrichment opportunities for all students in the coming months. I am seeking input on the enrichment programs that will garner the most interest from students. Please share your opinions in this 1-minute multiple-choice survey:

Enrichment Activities Survey

Thank you for sharing your opinions and thoughts about enrichment activities for our students.

Wishing you all special moments with one another in this magical month!

Warmest regards,

Shelley Dulsky



Important Upcoming Dates

  • December 7, 2022 // Virtual SPTO Meeting

  • December 9, 2022 // Early Release - 12:15 p.m. dismissal

  • December 16, 2022 // Report Cards Issued Electronically

  • December 19, 2022 // Panorama Survey Week

  • December 21, 2022 // 3:30 p.m. School Council

  • December 23, 2022 // No School - Winter Break Begins

For the entire Center School Calendar, click here:

The Center School Calendar

Family Literacy Month Celebration with our Preschoolers

The Center School's full-day preschool class celebrated Family Literacy Month by inviting families to join their students in The Center School library for a story and activity. Jenna Fitzgerald, the school librarian, read Old Bear by Kevin Henkes and the children borrowed books from the “preschool collection” to read at home. The children and their parents also decorated bookmarks. A wonderful time was had by all!

End of First Trimester & Report Card Information

The end of the first trimester was Friday, December 2, 2022. Report Cards will be issued electronically on Friday, December 16, 2022. At Fall Conferences many families had the opportunity to discuss student goals with teachers, and now is the time to look at the progress your child is making toward those goals. The report card offers an opportunity for a better understanding of your child’s current achievement. The report card indicates progress towards the year-end goals.

The link below will take you to the NRSD Report Card Parent Guide. The Parent Guide provides information about each grade level report card for grades 1 through grade 5 (the kindergarten report card is not included in this grade level information). These guides also explain the reporting system. In addition to the 1,2,3,4 and NA abbreviations, you may see an "INA" abbreviation. "INA" stands for "Introduced but Not Assessed." INA is used when students have recently begun a unit of study but have not yet completed the unit. For example, if a class started a geometry unit last week, the teacher has not had a chance to complete the unit and assess the students by the end of the trimester. The students’ progress on those skills will be reported in the next term.

Nashoba Standards-Based Report Cards Parent Guides

Get to know the GREAT Mr. Gartner!

I am Don Gartner, one of two physical educators at The Center School. This is my fifth year teaching at the Center, and I have just taken on the district's K-8 P.E. Curriculum Facilitator role. Since my teaching career began in 2005, I have taught a variety of grade levels in different schools. Center School is by far my favorite place. This year I began teaching with a new partner, Kim LaFortune, and it has been a great experience. Kim is super positive and a great person to have as a colleague. The best part of my job is making connections with students that enable them to be their best selves and reach their fullest potential.

I was born in Reading, PA, but my family moved to Ohio when I was 6 years old. Growing up in Mentor, Ohio I played a lot of different sports (ice hockey, soccer, baseball, and freestyle BMX). Once I entered high school, I decided to focus on hockey where I excelled and graduated as the school’s all-time points leader. In 2009 I became the first hockey player to be inducted into the Mentor High School Athletic Hall of Fame. After graduation, I signed with the Cleveland Junior Barons, which was the third-ranked hockey team in the country by the end of the season.

When my playing career ended I began what would become a long coaching career. After more than 25 years of coaching, I finally ended my team coaching career last season. Throughout my career as a head coach, I have had the opportunity to coach two players who would go on to play in the NHL, won three league titles and was named coach of the year three times as a high school coach. I currently coach hockey skills at Elev802 Boston in Andover, MA, where we train hockey skills from mites to NHL players.

Since I am not coaching a team I have a little more free time for my family I live in Chelmsford with my wife (Lisa), 15-year-old son (Austin), and our dog Teddy. We like to travel in the summer. We usually head to the Rocky Mountains, which is our favorite place. When winter arrives we usually go snowboarding in Quebec Province. When I have the time I enjoy playing guitar and am motivated to learn more and improve my playing abilities.

Ms. Fitzgerald's December Book Recommendation

Red Shoes - Karen English

Two girls a world apart share something in common - they both need new shoes! First Malika wears them everywhere, then Amina is gifted them and takes them on new adventures. A sweet story about growing and sharing our most beloved items. A relatable story that adults and kids can appreciate - that some things change and some stay the same.

NRSD Panorama Culture Survey - Coming to The Center School the Week of December 19th

The Nashoba Regional School District is committed to cultivating learning environments that support our students in advancing their social-emotional learning and development. To this end, the NRSD Strategic Plan includes a goal of integrating-emotional learning (SEL) best practices into daily instruction and student life.

To support our work and best understand the needs of our students, the district has partnered with Panorama, a platform that supports us in administering student surveys to assess support needs relative to social-emotional competencies and students’ overall sense of belonging within their school.

Panorama was selected because of its alignment with the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning framework (CASEL), an evidenced-based framework that supports five core learning competencies: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making.

During the week of December 19th, the district will administer surveys to students in grades 3-8. We will reassess students later in the spring. Responses to these surveys will provide us with invaluable insights into student experiences so that we can improve and enhance our practices to better meet student needs.

The survey content will ask students to self-reflect on competencies such as: Growth Mindset, Self Efficacy, Self Management, Social Awareness, Emotional Regulation, and Sense of Belonging. We have provided some sample questions below to give you an idea of the type of questions the survey asks.

“If you fail to reach an important goal, how likely are you to try again?”

“How confident are you that you can learn all of the material presented in your classes?”

“Overall, how much do you feel like you belong at your school?”

The survey should take students at most 10-15 minutes to complete. Students will complete the survey anonymously this fall. Should you wish to view the survey in its entirety, please feel free to reach out to Principal Dulsky directly.

We hope to have all of our students participate. While our goal is 100% participation, parents/guardians may choose to have their child opt out of this process. The survey is voluntary, and your child can skip any question or choose not to participate. If you prefer your child not participate in this survey, please fill out this Opt-Out Form by December 16, 2023:

NRSD Panorama Student Survey Opt-Out Form

Volunteers Come Share Your Computer Knowledge - The Hour of Code

The Hour of Code is a global movement introducing tens of millions of students worldwide to computer science, inspiring kids to learn more, breaking stereotypes, and leaving them feeling empowered.

We would love for you to present the ways you use computers for the beginning (5-10 minutes) of the class. For the rest of the 42-minute period, you can help students with Mrs. Backiel as students try out different Hour of Code tutorials and apps. Coming to The Center School, December 2022! Please contact Mrs. Backiel, ITS, to volunteer!

For more details click on the pdf below.



It is important that all children receive timely care in the most appropriate setting. Therefore, in non-urgent cases, (e.g., your child is under the weather but can walk, talk, and play) we encourage families to contact their primary care provider to determine the best plan of care,

The information below can help you determine what type of care your child needs.
When to call your primary care provider

· your child’s symptoms get worse or last for more than a week without improvement

· your child of any age has a temperature higher than 104ºF

When to stay home from school

· your child cannot keep up with the usual demands of a school day. Many times the fever has resolved but the child does not feel back to normal. It is important that they are well enough to attend and not spread germs to their friends. When a child is run down they are more likely to pick up the next virus.

When to seek urgent care (many primary care providers have weekend and evening hours):

· your child has any of the above symptoms over the weekend, a holiday or your child’s preferred primary care provider cannot see your child within one or two days

· your child is younger than 12 weeks and has a temperature of 100.4ºF or higher

When to seek emergency care
Your child of any age has any of the following symptoms:

· labored or rapid breathing

· grunting or flaring nostrils with breathing

· wheezing

· dehydration or difficulty drinking

· lethargy or trouble walking

Important to Know: State Educator Gifting Rules

This time of year many of us are filled with the desire to express appreciation and love for those who are most important to us. Many families think about educators during this time, and often want to show appreciation with a gift. Working with your children is our gift. Truly.

For those who so graciously want to give a gift to one of the educators serving their children, the State of Massachusetts has some important guidelines. The complete text of these guidelines can be found here:

State Conflict of Interest/Gifting Laws for Educators

Here's a quick summary of some of the most important State Conflict of Interest Rules when it comes to giving gifts to teachers and public school employees:

  • Individual gifts valued at less than $50.00 may be accepted;
  • Class gifts of $150.00 or less may be given as long as the donors are not identified by name and the amount of each donation is not disclosed;
  • Individual gifts from donors to a class gift may not be accepted (a donor may only give an individual gift or a class gift, but not both).

For questions about these restrictions, please contact Principal Dulsky.

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Thank You from Warm Hearts of Stow!

Dear Center School Staff and Families,

We at Warm Hearts of Stow would like to thank you all for your help with our 2022 Thanksgiving

campaign. With your assistance, this year we were able to provide healthy snacks, beverages, greeting cards, and grocery gift cards to fifty (50) households made up of one hundred and four (104) individuals!

We, and our clients, truly value your support and wish you and your families a happy and healthy

holiday season.

With gratitude,

Warm Hearts of Stow

Connect with the SPTO!

The next SPTO meeting is on Wednesday December 7th at 7pm on Google Meet:

As room parents have been communicating, please consider contributing to the Center School Holiday Gift Collection. Give once, in one spot and ALL staff will receive holiday gifts from the entire Center School Community. Venmo @stowpto is another option as well, please leave a "holiday gift" comment.

We are looking forward to the return of Center's Got Talent in February. Encourage your students to join the fun and start planning their acts! More details to come, and a date to be announced soon.

Looking for ways to volunteer? Use this form to tell us what you're interested in. Email the board with any questions.

How to stay connected with the SPTO?



Facebook @stowpto

Instagram @stow_pto

Our 2022/2023 fundraising goal is $50,000. How to donate to the SPTO?



Stay Up-to-Date on SPTO Events

SPTO will always have updates in this newsletter. However, if you would like to receive direct information from SPTO, and be part of the SPTO Student Directory (a "phone book" for student/family contacts) please register directly. Here are the instruction:

You must register on the website to access the PTO Student Directory (essentially a phone book for students). Registration is necessary to keep the directory secure and to be included in the directory. First time users need a password to register, password is pickapples. Important: You must log in annually to confirm your student information is accurate.

How to access the Center School student directory?

Once registered you can access and download the directory at any time. Go to the website, click on “My Account,” once you are logged in “Center Hale PTO Student Directory” will appear as a drop down item under “My Account,” select the directory menu item and you can save or print the directory from there. The Directory gets updated throughout the year as new families register.

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Seeking Substitutes!

We are renewing our connections with Substitute Teachers. If you or someone you know is interested in substitute teaching at The Center School please contact our Assistant Principal Lenore Zavalick:
Center School Virtual Backpack

Flyers, Forms & General Information