Principal's Newsletter

January 2020

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Happy New Year!

Greetings, Lowell Families,

Happy New Year and welcome back to school! With the New Year comes hope and excitement. At school, it means checking students’ progress and making necessary adjustments to help improve their learning. In the next couple of weeks, we will be administering the mid-year assessment for our students' in grades 1- 5 using iReady diagnostic growth monitoring for Literacy and Math. These assessments help us measure how our students are progressing and their likely hood of achieving typical growth and stretch growth for this school year. We will be sharing these results along with your child's report card on January 31st. As always, if you have any questions concerning your child's progress, please contact their teacher or guidance counselor at the school.

Now, let me update you on a few things happening in our school this month and in the future.

We will begin our year meeting at grade level teams across the elementary schools. January 8th, teachers will attend content-specific professional development, k-2 will focus on Social Studies with Deb Opar, Grade 3 -Science with Elizabeth Kaplan, and Grade 4 and 5 -Math with our district math coaches. The following week on our Early Release Day, January 15th, we will work again by grade-level teams to look at student data. Our focus will be to look for "Bright Spots" concerning student results. We will be looking to see who achieve higher placement levels, success with specific domains, and more than expected progress toward growth measures. We will also be looking to check for improvement areas by domain and growth targets. This work will continue into common planning time by grade level and content for the remainder of January.

Our January work will drive instructional decisions for the next 12 weeks. During this time, we re-evaluate where resources are needed, such as literacy and math support. We also spend time looking at our curriculum scope and sequence to see if adjustments are necessary at the mid-year point. This work was incredibly helpful last year; we made several minor adjustments, which proved to have a substantial impact on student learning. We are excited to begin this process again.

At next month's faculty meeting, we will begin a book study professional development series focused using Zarrieta Hammonds book, Cultural Responsive Teaching, and the Brain. It's a bold, brain-based teaching approach for culturally responsive instruction. The book helps educators gain insight into how one's culture programs the brain to process data and affects learning relationships. It will give teachers ten "key moves" to build students' efficacy and prepare them to become independent learners. We spend time planning actionable next steps for curriculum and instruction and encourage taking an inventory in current mindsets. Our goal is to begin the necessary work into creating an all-inclusive environment for our students.

This year we are celebrating the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday with an assembly presented by students from the Middle School directed by Ruth Henry. The assembly will take place on Thursday, January 16th at 1:40. Our whole school will gather for this celebration.

Our School Site Council will meet on Thursday, January 9th, at 7:00 pm in our Library. We have held this meeting at 3:00 pm all school year but have not had the attendance we like to have; therefore, we will meet at 7:00 pm our old time slot to see if more folks will be available. The agenda will focus on reviewing our current progress toward achieving this year's goals as well as beginning the work of choosing new goals for school year 2020/2021. We encourage all to attend. If you have a specific topic you'd like to discuss, please send me an email by Friday, January 3rd, at 3:00 pm. I will make sure to include it as an agenda item for our meeting.

The Watertown Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC) is hosting a FREE training on long term legal and financial planning for families of children with special needs. Information and resources presented by an attorney (and parent) Meredith M. Greene, Chair, Special Needs Practice Group with Fletcher Tilton, PC. Thursday, January 9th, from 6:00-8:00 pm. Click the link for more details!

This month our PTO will be meeting on Tuesday, January 14th, at 6:30 to discuss our upcoming event International Night which will take place on Friday, January 24th, from 6:30-8:00, along with many other upcoming events. Please join us!

As the winter months continue, here's a reminder on notification of how the weather may impact the school system. Snow closures and delayed openings are shared with families and staff members through a variety of sources, including the following ways:

  • Posted on the District’s website (, the WPS Facebook page (@watertownpublicschools) and the WPS Twitter feed (@watertownschool)

  • Emailed to parents and staff from the Superintendent’s office via the District’s messaging service

  • Broadcast to the following stations: WCVB Television (Channel 5), WHDH Television (Channel 7), WFXT Television (Channel 25), WBZ Television (Channel 4), NBC Boston (Channel 10), WBZ Radio (AM 1030)

Some television stations provide a free text alert service notifying of closures and delays (e.g.,

Here at Lowell, we love to go outside as much as possible. We believe in getting a minimum of 20 minutes of fresh air a day. Please be sure to send the appropriate winter clothing with your child to school.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please contact me at or by phone at 617-926-7770.

Warmest regards,


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On Behalf of the Office and Staff, Thank you!

We would like to extend our deepest appreciation for all the warm wishes, cards, and gifts during the holidays. We all feel blessed and supported by our students and families.

We Welcome Back! Mrs. Walsh and Mrs. Hantson!

Mrs. Walsh has returned from leave along with Mrs. Hantson! We are thrilled to have them back at Lowell.

Nicole Hawkin's (Grade 2) is currently on leave, along with Mrs. Russell.

Mrs. Russell has decided to stay home with her daughter for the remainder of the school year. Ms. Meaghan Walsh will finish out the year with her students.


The Watertown Community Foundation Awards a record amount for Watertown Public Schools December 19, 2019 (Watertown, MA) –

The Watertown Community Foundation has awarded grants totaling $34,385 to initiatives supporting Watertown Public Schools. Grantees were notified this week just before the end of the 2019 school year. Grants will be implemented in the spring of 2020 and or fall of 2020. The funds distributed through the School-Based Grant Program focus on solely on Watertown’s public schools to support activities that improve instruction and learning.

2019-2020 Education Grants for Lowell School

Grade 1 - Discovery Museum Traveling Science Workshop- Sound

Lowell Prek- 5 - Len Cabral Storytelling

Lowell Kindergarten - Force and Motion Workshop presented by the Discovery Museum

One School One Book - Literacy week co-sponsored with the PTA

District Grade 3- Gore Place

District PreK-5 - Purchase of the book One World, One Day, by Barbara Kerle

We couldn't be happier! Thank you!

District Pre-K- Districtwide Pre-K Science Enrichment

The Watertown Community Foundation, a public, 501(c)(3) a tax-exempt organization works to build and sustain a vibrant, close-knit community in Watertown – now, and for future generations. To accomplish this, WCF raises funds from individuals, families, businesses, and foundations; awards grants to nonprofits and community projects; and builds networks of donors, grantees, program participants, and stakeholders.

WCF Board of Directors

David Siegel and Darshna Varia, Co-Presidents; Robert Airasian; Albrik Avanessian; Emily Barclay; Eleanor Donato; William B. Ford; Ashley Morris; Mary Ann Mulligan; Antonia O’hara; Anthony Paolillo; Maria Panaggio-Phillips; Lora Sabin; Robert Shay; Elaina Themistos; Lauren Coughlin Unsworth; and Kathryn White.

Upcoming Events

Thursday, January 2 - School Resumes

Thursday, January 9 Lowell School Site Council 7:00-8:00 pm Lowell Library

Thursday, January 9 SEPAC meeting 6:00-8:00 pm Phillips Building, 30 Common Street

Tuesday, January 14 Lowell PTO 6:30-7:30 pm Lowell Library

Wednesday, January 15 Early Release 12:15 Teachers Professional Development

Thursday, January 16 Kindergarten Information Night 6:30-7:30 pm Library (Prek will be determined at a later date.) This has been edited 1/3/2020.

Monday, January 20 No School Martin Luther King Jr. Day Observed

Thursday, January 23 Diversity Council 6:30-7:30 pm

Friday, January 24 International Night 6:30-8:00 pm

Sometimes beginning the new year can feel exciting and daunting!

Benefits of Counseling

Counseling is one of the most powerful weapons we have against a whole range of mental health issues like depression, grief and anxiety. Having someone to talk to, who is there specifically to listen to you talk about your feelings, is an invaluable benefit to many people. Often people find solace in talking to friends or family, but for many people this can actually be a barrier to openly and honestly discussing your issues – many people feel more comfortable talking to a trained professional who is essentially a stranger and who can therefore listen to you without judgement. They’re also experienced in dealing with and talking about almost any subject or taboo under the sun, so there’s nothing you need to feel too embarrassed or ashamed to talk about. Continue reading here.