Weekly Newsletter

September 28, 2023

News from Principal Emma Liebowitz

We are excited for Mountain Day which has been postponed to Tuesday, October 3rd! We will all hike together until our snack break. It is not too late to join us! Please be at the school for 9:10. As a reminder, Local Goods Catalog orders are due Monday, October 2. Also, see the note about the Walking Taco booth at the Ashfield Fall festival in the PTO section.

Upcoming Events

Tuesday, October 3 - Mountain Day

Wednesday, October 4 - 1:50 Release

Friday, October 6 - Third Grade Field Trip to Mt. Greylock

Saturday/Sunday October 7/8 - Ashfield Fall Festival

Monday, October 9 - No School

Wednesday, October 18 - 1:50 Release

Wednesday, October 25 - 1:50 Release

Tuesday, October 31 - Sugar Rush 5K

Link to Sanderson Academy calendar.

Local Good Catalog - ORDERS DUE MONDAY!

The Local Goods Catalog is out!! Here is a link to the CATALOG and the ORDER FORM.

PTO News

PTO Needs Your Help at the 2023 Fall Festival!

The PTO is still looking for more help serving walking tacos at the Fall Festival. We could use more help Saturday 10/7 from 3-5pm and Sunday 10/8 from 8:30 -11am and 1-5pm. Please click on the link to sign up. https://www.signupgenius.com/go/5080F44AEA929A3F49-fall1#/ We promise the time will go fast and you will have fun! For those that have already signed up, a reminder email will go out at the end of next week and thanks for your help and support. Email lindi.russell@gmail.com with any questions.

Health Office News from Nurse Loranna

The link is up and working and it is so quick and easy to sign up, you can get 4 free covid tests by mail at this link https://www.covid.gov/tests.

There will be an upcoming flu and covid (booster) clinic coming soon to Ashfield. Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself, your family and the community at large.

Current CDC Vaccine Recommendations Everyone aged 6 months and older should get an annual flu vaccine and up to date with COVID-19 vaccines. • Everyone aged 5 years and older should get 1 dose of the updated (2023-2024) COVID-19 vaccine. • Children aged 6 months - 4 years may need multiple doses to be up to date. • People who are moderately or severely immunocompromised may get additional doses of the vaccine.

Fall 2023 West County Vaccination Clinics are co-sponsored by the MA Department of Public Health, Cataldo Ambulance, and the Cooperative Public Health Service, a program of the Franklin Regional Council of Governments. Though some walk-in vaccine will be available, we recommend you register in advance to reserve your dose(s). To register, click the location links below or visit https://frcog.org/covid. High dose vaccine will be available for seniors who register in advance. If you have insurance, you must bring your card with you.

~Thursday, October 12th Rowe Elementary School 11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Click the link to register: https://home.color.com/vaccine/register/cataldo?site=rowe-elementary-school-2540

~Friday, October 13th Ashfield Town Hall 1:00 - 6:00 p.m. https://home.color.com/vaccine/register/cataldo?site=ashfield-town-hall-8576

~Wednesday, October 18th Hawlemont Regional Elementary School 3:30 - 6:30 p.m. https://home.color.com/vaccine/register/cataldo/startFlow?site=charelmount-hawlemont-elementary-school

~Wednesday, October 25th Mohawk Trail Regional School 2:30 - 6:30 p.m.


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Preschool news from Ms. Freeman and Ms. Becky

We have been fortunate to have 2 monarch caterpillars to observe in our science center. Many preschoolers noticed the caterpillars eating milkweed leaves and growing. Several were able to find the chrysalises camouflaged among the leaves, and pointed them out to others. On Friday, a few of us witnessed the butterflies finally hatching. They knew the butterflies needed to eat and the school’s butterfly garden was the perfect place to release them. Ms. Becky took a few photos to capture the moment.

This week we transformed our pretending area into a fire station. Preschoolers love trying on costumes and using telephones and two-way radios to announce where a fire is located. We will learn more about fire prevention and fire safety during the next few weeks.

This week we also cleaned out our purple sand in the sensory table and talked about what should go in next. Friends from last year named off some of their favorites and decided on snow with animals that love the cold. So, we made it happen and are enjoying thoughts of winter early. The photos show this fun learning center.

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Preschool News from Ms. Melanie and Ms. Kylee

Preschoolers have been noticing the letters in their names. Many of them are recognizing the beginning letter of their name and pointing to their names in print. Every child made a caterpillar with a circle for each letter contained in their name. The caterpillars were displayed on the bulletin board in a graph style for the children to make comparisons. They noticed that the graph went from the shortest to the longest name. The children also recognized that the caterpillars had many letters in common. The children discovered that many of the caterpillars were similar in length. It was so great to see all of the emerging math skills unfold!

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Kindergarten News from Ms. Sarah, Ms. Veronica and Ms. Beckwith

This week we had a garden harvest party to pull up the carrots that last year’s kindergarten classes planted for us. The kids got to enjoy eating some for snack and we donated the rest to Ms. Kate in the kitchen to use for school lunches. We talked about how the kindergarten carrot bed is kind of like a life cycle for the class and how they will plant the seeds in the spring for the next kindergarten to harvest in fall of 2024!

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First Grade News from Ms. Wyckoff and Ms. April

During or ELA lessons, first graders are learning all about tools and how tools help us to do a job such as measuring flour using a measuring cup, weighing apples on a scale at the grocery store, using a chainsaw to cut down a tree or a microscope to see tiny organisms on a slide. Children are connecting that although there are many tools, there is generally one tool that helps to complete the job in an efficient way. For example you wouldn't sweep the room with a paintbrush, but you would use a broom! In Social studies we are learning about what it means to belong to a group (common interests/ people who are connected in some way) and how people in groups help each other. Children have identified soccer teams, music groups, families, 1st graders and girl scouts as a few groups. On Wednesday we met with our 6th grade buddies for the first time! First graders had a blast getting to know their buddy through a fun greeting/getting to know you activity followed by the spaghetti challenge! We look forward to hiking with our buddies during Mountain day as well as all the future fun we will enjoy together this year!

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Second Grade News from Ms. Lilly, Ms. Laura and Ms. Taylor

This week in math we learned a new game called “Make the Sum”. This is a fun game where the students pick a target number between 5 - 15 and try to collect the most cards. We have also been having fun learning about different types of animals and their environments. We spent some time listening to different frogs' sounds to learn about how different animals communicate with each other. In our social emotional curriculum, Second Step we have been learning about ways to stay focused. We discussed using self-talk to remind ourselves that we can control our bodies! Finally, we had the opportunity to hang out with our fifth grade buddies.

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Third Grade News from Ms. Carole and Mr. Luke

In Language Arts third grade has been continuing to learn about some of the challenges other people around the world can have in accessing school and learning. We lately learned about a village in Chad who has to rebuild their school each year, after the rainy season ends, and that building the school is part of their education. During some of our ALL Block times, we have been reading an historical fiction novel about a family in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. This ties directly into our science unit of climates as well. Each third grader has been assigned one city somewhere in the world to follow the weather throughout the year. If you have not yet heard which city your child is following, ask them!

This week we harvested our basil and had a great time making and tasting fresh pesto. Most of the students loved it, and many of them had never tasted it before.

On Wednesday we turned our Evacuation Drill into a buddy walk and ended up at our buddies’ Outdoor Classroom. Once we got there, third graders helped their buddy learn to spell their name by writing it in glue and attaching sticks, leaves, and other natural materials to it. We are looking forward to a fun Mountain Day with our buddies as well!

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Fourth Grade News from Ms. Lagoy and Ms. Upright

In ELA, we have been focusing on identifying the characteristics of poetry as we have read some famous poems with Jack, the main character in Love That Dog. As we continue to move through this unit of study, we are shifting our focus to thinking about what inspires people to write poetry. We begin by looking at the poems Jack has written for his teacher, Miss Stretchberry, and see where he has drawn inspiration. Soon, we will read some biographical information about the poets we’ve been reading and think about where they drew inspiration from.

We are starting to roll out ALL (Additional Language and Literacy) Block. This is a time in our schedule when students will be reading additional complex texts, working on writing, engaging in vocabulary and other word work, including spelling, reading independently, and improving reading and speaking fluency, including work with grammar, usage and mechanics. A highlight of our ALL Block work this week is that students have been working with Mrs. Upright to create their own 16-word poems, based on “The Red Wheelbarrow” by William Carlos Williams. This will soon become a hall display and poems will be published in upcoming newsletters. To get us started, here is Ariana’s 16-word poem:

So much depends upon

a water bottle,

flowing down Poland Springs,

and hydrating your body everyday.

Fifth Grade News from Ms. Johnson and Ms. Shero

Fifth grade has started a series of lessons in our Second Steps program about managing emotions. Students are learning about how the amygdala part of the brain is reactionary when we have strong emotions. They are learning and practicing three steps to engage the cortex part of the brain in order to calm down and be able to deal with a situation. They are learning to give themselves a stop signal, such as, “Hold on, wait a minute.” Then they are learning to name the feeling they are experiencing. Finally, it’s the ‘Calm Down’ step. Three strategies you can use anytime, anywhere are to breathe, count, and use positive self talk. Students have been applying the steps of Stop, Name Your Feeling, Calm Down to a variety of situations that cause strong emotions. One student even shared how one evening earlier this week at a sports practice, they were experiencing some strong emotions, tried these steps, and it helped!

Sixth Grade News from Ms. West, Ms. Glenda and Ms. Alexis

Written by Katelyn Bozek and Ivy Parker

What is Sixth Grade doing this week? This week Sixth grade is working on TTQA ( Turn the Question Around ) in ELA, and we are also reading Percy Jackson and the Olypians and the Lighting Thief. In Social Studies we are working on creating a website about the history of how humans evolved. Each student is working in a small group of one to three people on different topics. In math we have been working on exponents and prime factorization.

Our class is REALLY excited for our field trip scheduled for October 17. We will be going to the Amherst College Beneski Museum of Natural History and the Dinosaur Footprints in Holyoke located in an 8 acre wilderness reservation. This is an all day field trip. We will NOT be taking the bus due to high expenses. Therefore we will need parent chaperones and parent drivers. If you are free and at all interested please contact Awest@mtrsd.org to volunteer your time.

Sixth Grade Dime Toss is back on! At the Ashfield Fall Festival Sixth Grade is running the game Dime Toss! If you or your Sixth Grader is free to help, please go sign up! For more information please go to the email Ms. West sent you. Wednesday we had buddy time for a half hour at the end of the day! We made marshmallow spaghetti towers with them! Friday is Mountain Day!! We will be going on an all day, about 8-mile hike! To make sure this experience is as great as possible please wear appropriate clothing and footwear.

Last but not least, we would like to show our gratitude to all of our project time helpers, especially Satch for helping with the woodworking, Linda and Sage for helping with the garden, and Ms. Glenda for volunteering to help with the Dime Toss. Thanks again, we truly appreciate all of your time and effort.

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News from Ms. Prew

Happy Fall, Sanderson Community! Please check out these two resources which you will also find paper copies of in the Thursday folders: 2023-2024 Title I Informational Letter and 2023-2024 School-Family/Caregiver Compact. Also, you are invited! Please join me at the October LEC meeting for the annual Title I presentation. It is on Monday, October 16th from 3:30 until 4:30. You can join the virtual meeting by clicking this link. Hope to see you there! As always, you can reach me at aprew@mtrsd.org. :)

Instrumental Music News from Ms. Julie

It has been a busy time in band and orchestra! We are thrilled to have 22 students learning and playing a variety of band and orchestra instruments. During these first weeks, new band and orchestra students have been working hard to learn their way around their instruments: how to unpack them, how to hold them, how to care for them after playing, as well as learning their first notes! It is amazing to see how much progress they have made already! Our older students have been wonderful mentors to our younger beginning students. They spontaneously pitch in to offer advice and assistance to younger schoolmates. It is wonderful to see. These 2nd and 3rd year students are also participating in small ensembles that offer them new challenges as they continue to develop their skills.

Our third-grade recorders are also making splendid progress. They are learning their second song already and learning to read music. Soon, we will be introducing our beautiful Orff instruments to play along with recorders. Great fun!

News from Special Education


~Parent Rights and Responsibilities workshop will be held Tuesday, October 3rd

In person at Mohawk Trail Regional and Virtually -

Annual Parent Rights and Responsibility Training

Google Meet joining info

Video call link: https://meet.google.com/mby-cuxg-pkm

Or dial: ‪(US) +1 276-695-5147‬ PIN: ‪369 643 542‬#

~SEPAC is up and running. Be on the lookout for the next meeting date.

~You will be receiving a letter in the mail with the Annual Rights and Responsibility.

Special Education Contact Information

Leann Loomis

Director of Pupil Personnel Services

413-625-0192 x1025


Melissa Plesnar

Assistant to Director of Pupil Personnel Services

413-625-0192 x1015


Erin Beaudet

7-12 Liaison

413-625-9811 x1314


Carolyn Goodnow

1-6 Liaison

Mohawk Trail District



Kate Dwyer

1-6 Liaison

Hawlemont District



Amy Socquet

Early Childhood Coordinator and Liaison



News from SEPAC

About Mohawk Trail SEPAC

The Special Education Parent Advisory Council is an advisory group led by parents within our community. We are looking to support each other and help the school district to better serve its students. The SEPAC is open to all caregivers within the district with an IEP or 504 plan, and to interested members of the community. Please reach out to us to learn more!

SEPAC meetings

We meet monthly via Zoom. Upcoming meetings: Sept 28, Oct 23, Nov 27 at 6:30 pm

We welcome caregivers, staff, and interested members of the community to learn about SEPAC and meet local families. The public meeting will be followed by a private caregiver support discussion.

Email us to learn more: mohawksepac@gmail.com

Follow us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MohawktrailSEPAC

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Mary Lyon Foundation News

Dear Community Members,

We need your help to shape future health priorities for West County. Please use the QR Code on the following page or the link below to take the Community Health Survey. To improve the health of everyone in West County, our voices need to be heard. Anyone aged fourteen and older can take the survey. It will only take 15minutes to complete and is confidential.

Taking the survey is voluntary and easy! Click on this link: www.mass.gov/healthsurvey, or use the QR code below.

Once you have completed the survey, use the QR code below to sign up for a $5.00 gift card to Mo’s Fudge Factor. This is the Mary Lyon Foundation’s way of saying thank you for ensuring that the voices and needs of our nine towns are heard loud and clear. If you have questions, don't hesitate to get in touch with us at kbaker@marylyonfoundation.org or call us at (413) 625-2555.

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Community Events

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