The Vartan Gregorian School Tribune

From the desk of Mr. Russo

September 2020

It's almost time to go back to school! I am so excited that our students will have an opportunity to see their friends and teachers next week. We've been working diligently to safely prepare the school building.


I am sending out this somewhat abbreviated newsletter out before I typically would. There is some essential information here and I think it's important to inform everyone now.


Most classroom teachers have remained in their same roles. However, due to some district reconfiguring we have had some changes. Here are the classroom teachers for VG this year:


Kindergarten - Mrs. R. Clark

Gr. 1 - Mrs. Marcello and Ms. Seeley

K - 2 Self Contained - Ms. Aiello

Gr. 2 - Mrs Oliver, Ms. Rigby

Gr. 3 - Mrs. DeMello, Ms. Giramma

2-4 Self Contained - Mrs. C. Clark

Gr. 4 - Ms. Mendonca, Ms. Robinson

4-5 Self Contained - Mrs. Couto

Gr. 5 - Mr. Ricci, Mr. Gustafson

5 SC - Mrs. Grant


As of this evening, everyone should be able to see their teacher on Skyward. You will be hearing from them soon!

Vartan School Pledge

Today is a new day

I am in school to learn and be the best me I can be

I will make new friends

We will make mistakes and learn from them

I promise to be helpful and encourage others

I am proud to be a Vartan Fox

New Reading Coach

We're lucky to have Tricia Bowler joining our staff. She will be supporting teachers this year as they implement the new reading program. From Tricia:


I am excited to introduce myself to the Vartan Gregorian Community as the new Reading Coach, replacing Mrs. Arena-Zanghi who retired this past June. My name is Tricia Bowler and I have been an educator in Providence Schools for 22 years. I began my career as a special education teacher and spent the majority of my time in the classroom at Anthony Carnevale Elementary School. I have taught in many different programs including resource, self contained and inclusion. After several years, I was extremely lucky to be able to open the second full inclusion program in the district at the time, when I became the first Kindergarten Inclusion teacher at Carnevale. It was a joyful and amazing six years of watching the magic of inclusion and I loved every minute of it. It makes me happy to say the program remains there and continues to be a successful program.


After spending several years in graduate school and national programs deepening my knowledge of teaching students to read, I left the classroom in 2009 to become a Reading Coach and put my skills to the test. I spent 7 years as a Reading Coach at Robert Bailey Elementary School supporting instruction and becoming a member of the first Providence Full Service Community School. I enjoyed each and every minute supporting and working with teachers, students and families in the Bailey community. However, in 2015 an opportunity arose for me to move on to a district level job supporting teaching and learning, school leadership teams and reading coaches in eleven of our twenty-two elementary schools. It was in that capacity that I came to love Vartan Gergorian as it was one of the schools that I supported over the five years I was in that position. I was lucky to be able to spend time with teachers and students and was embraced by all. This past summer as PPSD found itself in the midst of reconstruction, I found myself looking at opportunities and I was drawn back to the idea of once again being a Reading Coach. I was excited to hear that there was a position here at Vartan and when offered, quickly jumped at the chance to be a member of this community.


I believe in equity and high expectations for all students and believe that our students can do anything. It is with great enthusiasm that I begin this 2020-2021 school year and look forward to seeing the amazing things our Vartan students accomplish this year!

American Reading Company

As you may be aware, Providence Public Schools has adopted a new Literacy Curriculum across grades K-5 in each and every school. This program is a comprehensive Literacy program that consists of rigorous core instruction in the Common Core Standards through daily immersion into authentic, diverse, engaging and interesting texts. Our new core curriculum is called American Reading Company Core Curriculum.


The American Reading Company was founded by a former Reading Specialist while working with a group of second graders in the late 90s. Her idea was to give them access to books leveled to their abilities consisting of topics and diverse content that offered interest to all. She believed if she could just get them to read more she could coach them and assess them individually on a daily basis to better meet their needs. The data that year showed significant improvement in all of their reading scores! She was later asked to share and grow her program into what we know now as the IRLA and Foundational Skills Toolkits component of The American Reading Company Core Literacy Program. This component consists of daily personalized instruction in the area of foundational skills which we all know is necessary for students to learn to read. This program is made up of several components and when students are not receiving systematic instruction in foundational skills, they will be engaging with grade level texts while learning critical thinking skills. Each and every day they will read, write and speak about culturally diverse and engaging content. In addition to grade level texts, they will be offered opportunities to read texts at their level in order to independently practice the skills necessary to be successful in college and career.


I know there will be many questions as we progress this year and begin this journey together, and I will be here to support all of Vartan’s teachers, students and families along the way. I am excited to see our students grow and thrive with a new curriculum and feel confident that our students at Vartan Elementary will be joyfully engaged in learning each and every day.

Letter from Mrs. Scungio

Welcome back Vartan families! This school year we will be utilizing Imagine Learning, Reading A-Z ELL Edition, and American Reading Company to support English Language Development. I am excited to welcome Mrs. Eileen Finklestein to our school community. Mrs. Finklestein and I will work together to provide English Language Development to VG’s Multilingual Learners. Please feel free to contact me anytime at Claudine.Scungio@ppsd.org. Enjoy the rest of summer. See you all very soon!

Letter from Ms. Hamel

Welcome Back!!! I hope everyone was able to enjoy their summer under the circumstances we have been facing. As we transition back to 2020/2021, I am confident that we will come together as a community to remain strong, to persevere, and to move forward. We are the Pioneers of Distance Learning!!!


As Vartan's Math Coach, I will continue to support teachers and students with the implementation of our core math program, Engage NY/Eureka Math. This year, we have also adopted a new online/digital math learning platform called Freckle Math. If you are interested in learning more about it, please visit, https://www.freckle.comn/math.


I am looking forward to a wonderful year together!!! As always, please reach out to me if you have any questions or concerns.


Deb Hamel