Weekly Newsletter

November 17, 2022

News from Principal Emma Liebowitz

We will not publish a newsletter next week. On behalf of the Sanderson Academy Staff, we wish you a healthy and happy Thanksgiving break!

The Sanderson Academy clothing store is open! ORDERS NEED TO BE PLACE BY THIS SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 19th. Thank you Ms. Sue for working on this project! Here is the LINK to order.


Friday, November 18 - Third Grade to Sturbridge

Friday, November 18 - Original Works Orders Due

Saturday, November 19 - Local Goods Distribution (9:00 - noon)

Saturday, November 19 - Sanderson Academy Clothing Orders Due

Monday, November 21 - Picture Retakes

Tuesday, November 22 - Turkey Trot at 2:00

Wednesday, November 23 - 12:30 Dismissal

Thursday, November 24 - No School

Friday, November 25 - No School

Wednesday, November 30 - Full day of school

Link to Sanderson Academy calendar.

Local Goods Distribution Day

Local Goods Distribution Day is this Saturday (11/19/22) from 9:00 - noon. The fifth grade is offering a Grab and Go Breakfast as a fundraiser for their trip to Camp Keewaydin. Bags are $5 with extra donations greatly appreciated.

Picture Retake Date

Picture retakes will take place on Monday, November 21. If your child is having retakes please have them turn in their original package of pictures to the photographer that day.

Original Works News from Ms. Hawthorne

Original Works orders are due Friday, November 18th. (The cover letters in the packet say November 14th, but we have extended the deadline to November 18th.) The price sheets are available at this link: Sanderson Original Works Price Sheet

You can email me at chawthorne@mtrsd.org if you have any questions.

Health Office News from Nurse Loranna

The holidays are coming and this may mean that families will gather together with those they do not get to see often, including elderly family members who may be more at risk to illnesses such as covid and influenza. One way to keep those you love safe is by testing before you gather together, along with staying home when you are sick. I wanted to share an incredible resource for anyone who has health insurance in MA. You can request a combination PCR test kit that will be sent to your home to test for influenza, RSV and covid-19, then simply box it back up and then drop it at a local fedex. The results come back in 48 hours, you do have to be symptomatic. Here is the link to learn more:


Locally, there are also PCR tests available here:

Curative PCR testing sites are open to the public. Tests are free and no one

will be turned away for lack of insurance. Bring your ID and insurance card, if you have one. Walk-ins welcome or schedule online https://book.curative.com/search#9/42.5213/-72.8108

DEERFIELD: At the South County Senior Center, 67 N. Main St.

Mon, Wed, Fri from 10-1pm

GREENFIELD: At Greenfield Community College: 1 College Drive.

Mon, Wed, Fri from 1-4

SHELBURNE FALLS: At the Greenfield Cooperative Bank Community

Room, 33 Bridge St. Tuesdays from 9am-1pm & Thursdays from 12pm-4pm.

Drive through PCR tests available at Walgreens:


Where to find rapid tests to have on hand, at home:

  • MassHealth, Medicare, and many private insurances cover rapid antigen tests to have at home (up to 8 tests/4 boxes per month). Private insurance may allow online orders or reimburse the cost of the tests from a purchase receipt, or allow you to purchase for free at the pharmacy counter. Check with your insurance company or ask at the pharmacy about your coverage.

  • For MassHealth and Medicare, the pharmacy needs to create and fill a "prescription" so that the tests get covered. Bring test kits to the pharmacy prior to purchase to bill MassHealth and Medicare directly at Big Y, CVS, Rite Aid, Stop & Shop, Walmart, and Walgreens.

  • Check with your town hall- often they have rapid tests on hand for free.

Preschool News from Ms. Melanie

We had a great time filling pint-sized jars with a variety of dried beans for our Local Goods orders. We took turns scooping all those beans out of a big tub and pouring them into the jars. Then we decorated festive tags that had the recipe for yummy bean soup on one side. A pretty fabric decorated the top of the jar and they looked beautiful! Thank you to all who ordered our Bean Soup mix. It was a fun project!

Preschool News from Ms. Freeman

A recent fire drill has led to many conversations about fire safety and the job of a firefighter. We talked about the importance of practicing fire drills and about leaving the school or our homes when we hear the alarm. We noticed the alarm is very loud and discussed why that is. Our homework was to look for smoke detectors in our homes. Many noticed the alarms in our classroom and throughout the school. We invited Firefighter Mike Purcell to our classroom and look forward to his visit and learning more about fire safety.

We transformed our pretending area into a fire station and the children have been incorporating their knowledge into their play. The photos show preschoolers working together to help make a fire truck and exploring the roles of a firefighter during play.

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Kindergarten News from Ms. Sarah

In our literacy program, we read more books about toys from long ago and tried out an old game that kids still play today: Hot & Cold! We are returning to the book Have Fun, Molly Lou Melon to take a closer look at some of the great words the author uses and to think deeper about the author’s message (hint: it’s that the best toy is your imagination!) We are also using drawing and writing to come up with our own toy inventions!

First Grade News from Ms. Wyckoff

In math, our November number corner focuses on whole, half and quarters. First graders are learning that when you split something in half or quarters those individual pieces or “slices” are all equal parts and when we put them back together again, they form a whole again. When thinking about how this works in real life we took the example of a chocolate chip cookie. If four people wanted to share a cookie It wouldn’t feel fair if one person got a bigger piece, so to make it fair or the same we could cut or divide the cookie into fourths making it so that all four people received the same amount (¼ of a cookie!) Our November corner also has us focusing on telling time to the hour and half hour using both analog and digital clocks. Each day we are at school we collect 1 hour of time which helps first graders begin to notice that there are 24 hours in a day.

Second Grade News from Ms. Robertson

As part of our reading module on Schools and Communities, we are doing some close read- alouds from the book Off to Class: Incredible and Unusual Schools Around the World by Susan Hughes. This week our focus has been on learning about a school in Xixuau (pronounced “sheesh-wow”), Brazil, which is in the Amazon rainforest. Our focus question is “Why is it hard for children in Xixuau, Brazil to go to school?” and through our close reading, we are taking notes that highlight the problems the students in Xixuau have. One problem these students have is that their community does not have electricity or phones. Another problem is that if students want to continue their education beyond third grade, they need to move to the city of Manaus, which is five days away when traveling by canoe.

We have also started a new unit in Fundations. Most recently we have been working with a spelling rule known as the FLOSS rule, where an extra f, l, or s is added to short vowel words when the short vowel is immediately followed by f, l, or s, as in stuff, thrill, or mess.

As part of our social studies theme on maps, we are currently focusing on map keys. We played twenty questions to figure out that the hidden object in a mystery bag was a key, which served as a springboard to a discussion about what keys do. With the knowledge that one of the uses of keys is to unlock things, we learned how map keys “unlock” maps, by using simple symbols to represent things on a map. For example, the symbol of a flag can be used to represent a school and a symbol such as =|=|=|= can be used to show railroad tracks.

Winter weather reminder: Now that the snowy weather has arrived, please send your child to school with their winter gear: hats, mittens, coats, snow pants, and boots. Students should also have a pair of shoes to wear in the classroom. If anyone you know needs winter gear, please reach out to the school nurse for assistance.

Since there will not be a newsletter sent out next week, we would like to take this opportunity to wish the second-grade families and the larger Sanderson community a Happy Thanksgiving! And as we use the upcoming holiday to reflect all that we are thankful for, we are grateful for all of you - the students, their families, and the staff that make up our Sanderson family!

Third Grade News from Ms. Carole

In Language Arts lately, the third graders have been learning how to answer comprehension questions from nonfiction text passages. They are charged with explicitly using details from the text to support their answers. They have been learning about the challenges some people around the world have with accessing books and education. They have learned that some people have to wait for books to be brought to them by donkeys, elephants, camels, and even boats, and they have come to see how easy they have it since they can simply get on the bus in the morning and go to a school to learn.

This week we have spent time learning about our destination on Friday, Old Sturbridge Village. They are eager to get there and see this special place. Please remember that students need to arrive at school at 7:45 on Friday morning, and we will be returning at 5:00.

Fifth Grade News from Ms. Johnson

In ELA, students have been writing two-voice poems. As we read Esperanza Rising, we have been taking notes on different characters’ reactions to certain events. Then we were writing character reaction paragraphs based on those notes. Now students are using their notes and paragraphs to write two-voice poems. As partners, they chose an event, reread those pages, looked at their notes and paragraphs, and are writing poems where they have two characters taking turns speaking about the event from their own perspectives, and some sections where both characters speak about the parts they have in common.

Music News from Ms. Julie

As many of you know, Mr. Ben Green is no longer at Sanderson Academy. We have found a new music teacher and she will start in January. Ms. Julie Meservey is providing instrument lessons for the rest of the year! Below is a message from Ms. Julie.

Music classes for wind, percussion, and brass instruments have resumed for students in the fourth through sixth grades. The weekly schedule is: Monday–clarinets; Tuesday–percussion; Wednesday–saxophone; Thursday–trumpets; and Friday–flutes. As we settled into a new classroom routine, we talked about the importance of daily practice when we are learning an instrument. We worked on reading rhythms and playing together. We have begun working on a performance piece that we hope to share at an upcoming “All-school” assembly.

Our new third-grade recorder class has begun and is meeting each Thursday. At their first lesson, third-graders chose the recorder they will be using for the year, did some rhythm-reading, and learned how to play their first notes on their new instruments. Great fun!

Mindful Movement News from Ms.Sue

Gratitude has been the theme for the past several weeks in class and also in All-School. We have talked about the benefits of practicing gratitude and that by doing so, we will experience more positive emotions, feel more alive, sleep better, express more compassion and kindness, and even have stronger immune systems. In the younger grades I have read the book A Little Thankful Spot by Diane Alber.

Sharing what we are grateful & thankful for during this time of the year when we get to see and be with extended family members, enjoy this time together.

“We often take for GRANTED the very things that most DESERVE our gratitude.

~Cynthia Ozick

News from Ms. Prew

Our math curriculum, Bridges in Mathematics, includes many components to engage children in math. One component is: problem strings!

Problem Strings are fast-paced exercises in which the teacher presents a carefully structured sequence of problems one at a time to the entire class. Each time, students solve the problem independently using any strategy they like, and then the teacher uses a specific model (a number line or ratio table, for example) to represent students’ strategies. The goal is to help students develop more efficient ways of solving a particular kind of problem, based upon connections they see among the problems in the string. Check out an example below! :) aprew@mtrsd.org

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Speech and Langauge News from Ms. Trish Aurigemma

“Did you know… that 15 other countries around the world celebrate Thanksgiving with their own history and traditions. These countries include, Austria, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Grenada, Japan, Liberia, Netherlands, Saint Lucia, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland). Although the traditions of how Thanksgiving is celebrated among all the countries, what remains the same is the feeling surrounding the holiday: it’s a chance to spend time with friends and family and reflect on what’s most important in life. It is fascinating that no matter where we can live in the world we can all take the time to celebrate and reflect on the most important part of our lives, eachother.

May you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

References: https://allthatsinteresting.com/thanksgiving-in-other-countries

District Literacy Update

The district Literacy Leadership Team is excited to share more about our newly adopted literacy curriculums, EL Education and Wit & Wisdom:

The EL Education curriculum is in place in K-6 classrooms across our districts. EL Education believes student success is based on mastery of knowledge and skills, character, and high-quality work. Some of the underlying principles of the program include equity for all learners, communication, collaboration and respect, student engagement, and student ownership of their work. In K-2 the emphasis is on oral language development. Students are engaged in daily read-alouds, songs, and poems. In Grades 3-5 students are working on reading complex text, writing, and exploring real-world issues. Sixth graders will be exposed to current topics and texts that encourage students to contribute to a better world, putting their learning to use as active citizens working for social justice, environmental stewardship, and healthy, equitable communities.

In middle school, for 7th and 8th grades, we are using the ELA curriculum from Wit & Wisdom, which has strong literary choices, art integration, and, of course, a focus on deep reading and writing skills. We have also implemented a WIN (What I Need) literacy period two days a week where students are grouped based on their reading comprehension needs (as determined by assessments performed three times per year). This period is focused on increasing reading comprehension for all students from most beginning to the most advanced.

To support strong curriculum implementation, and to monitor student progress, our teachers work in teams to learn about the curriculums, reading instruction and their students. Teachers engage in professional development from curriculum specialists, Hill for Literacy consultants, and our district Literacy coach. We have district-wide data meetings five times per year to focus on student outcomes. Instructional leadership teams in each school use learning walks to observe classroom instruction and identify areas for instructional improvement and celebration.

In the coming months we will be looking for your feedback about the communication you’ve received about the literacy work in the district. In the meantime, please feel free to reach out to your child’s teacher or principal if you have any questions about the new curriculum or literacy learning, in general.

Sanderson Basketball

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Tiered Focused Monitoring Review of Mohawk Trail and Hawlemont Regional School Districts

Press release can be found HERE.