Estabrook Buzz

September 10, 2018

Principal's Corner

Relational Trust in Schools

Last week, I wrote about the importance of using the first six weeks of school to set expectations and build a positive community for students. This week, I turn to the adults and the importance of relational trust.

As part of my preparation years ago to become a principal, I had the good fortune to learn from Roland Barth, founder of the Principals’ Center at Harvard Graduate School of Education. One of Roland’s many quotes that has stayed with me throughout my career is: “The nature of relationships among the adults within a school has a greater influence on the character and quality of that school and on student accomplishment than anything else.”

In 2002, Anthony Bryk and Barbara Schneider published important research looking at schools in Chicago that overcame the odds and made strong gains in student achievement. What they found was this: Good schools depend heavily on cooperative endeavors. Relational trust is the connective tissue that binds individuals together to advance the education and welfare of students.”

As newcomers to this community, it is evident to Assistant Principal Christina Gavin and me that a high degree of relational trust is in place among the staff at Estabrook and between staff and families. We are committed to continuing and strengthening that trust, as well as establishing our own trust with staff and families.

In order to begin the process of building trust, I have held about 60 individual meetings with members of the staff since July. These meetings have enabled me to get to know staff as individuals and to listen to each person’s thoughts about Estabrook.

At the group level, last Thursday, we engaged the staff in an exercise to elicit their ideas on the best way to move forward with our work in certain areas, including:

  • Continuing to explore issues of diversity, equity and inclusion (work begun last year by the Anti-Bias Team)
  • Strengthening existing professional learning collaboration times and data teams
  • Expanding the proactive use of Responsive Classroom and PBIS approaches to promote social-emotional learning and positive community
  • Enhancing strategies for communication to parents about learning in the classroom

Following this whole group session, teachers had time to meet in their grade level PLC’s to set norms and plan for the year. All of this was intended to promote trust with and among the staff.

With families, we know that trust will be built over time – through our proactive communication strategies, as well as our response to individual concerns and issues that arise during the year.

We look forward to supporting strong relational trust at Estabrook.

Rick Rogers

Interim Principal

P.S. You may have noticed some duplication in school and PTO communication. We are erring on the side of too much communication to make sure you get the information. Once the PTO receives updated directory information at the end of September, I plan to publish the Estabrook Buzz biweekly throughout the year.


Join An Interactive Overview of Lexington's Big Backyard Program

When: Tuesday, September 11, 2018, 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.


Wednesday September 12, 2018, 9:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Volunteers attend only one training

Where: Lexington Public Schools, Central Office Building

(lower level Conference Room #2)

Presenters: Karen McCarthy, K-5 Science Coordinator and

Fran Ludwig, walk leader/trainer

Three times a year, students explore the schoolyard through seasonal activities that connect to classroom science explorations.

Want to volunteer for Big Backyard but wonder what's involved?

Learn more through our interactive Big Backyard Basics orientation.

The following topics will be shared:

  • The principles and philosophy of the program

  • The walk activities and teaching strategies used in the field

  • An introduction to the exciting plants and animals you may encounter during walk explorations

Participants need only bring curiosity, an appreciation for the natural world and a desire to help children learn about life in their own backyard.

To learn more visit

Safe Routes to School Begins Wednesday: Walk, Bike, Scooter, Bus or Car Poll to School!

On Wednesday September 12th we once again begin our Safe Routes to School events. Every second Wednesday of the month students and families are encouraged to walk/bike/scooter, bus, or carpool to school.

On Safe Routes Days students are greeted with an activity upon arrival and later classroom data is collected regarding the ways in which students traveled to school. The class with the highest percentage of Safe Routes users is the lucky recipient of the Golden Sneaker award for the month. When visiting Estabrook be on the lookout for the Golden Sneaker and also the school-wide Safe Routes data posted on the first floor bulletin board. The Walking School Bus will return this year, stay tuned for more information to come.

This year our Estabrook Safe Routes program will focus on “healthy habits”. Students and families will learn more about various “healthy habits” that encourage a healthy and happy lifestyle. During this Wednesday’s Safe Routes to School students will be invited to make a pledge to learn, and hopefully practice, some new healthy habits this year. On September 12th we hope to see you walking, biking, busing, or carpooling to school for this years first Safe Routes to School event.

More information about the National Safe Routes to School program can be found through

SEPAC Parent Coffee

Thursday, Sep. 13th, 8:45-9:45am

Estabrook Cafeteria

Join the Principal, Evaluation Team Supervisor and Estabrook parents for coffee and light refreshments. Meet the special education staff, support staff and Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC) representative. For questions or more information: contact Jennifer Beaulac, ETS.

PIzza Night!

Friday, Sep. 14th, 6:30-8pm

Estabrook Playground

Our first all-school event for the year is on Friday, September 14th, from 6:30 - 8:00 p.m. This is a family social event at which all students and their families are welcome. Pizza will be provided to those who wish to purchase a discounted pizza through MySchoolAnywhere. Pizza is $5/pizza for PTO members and $10/pizza for non-members. If you would like to order a pizza for the evening, please enter your order by the end of the day on Monday, September 10th.

Pizza purchase is not necessary to attend! You may bring your own meal or attend without food.


Grade 4 Math Club Leaders Needed

Do you love math and are interested in fostering that love of math in a before school club for 4th grade students? The PTO has run the before school math club for over 10 years based on the Continental Math League Contest (which is also administered at Diamond Middle School), but this year we have no volunteers to run the 4th grade club.

Please contact if you are interested or have questions about the opportunity by Wed. Sept 12. If we do not have any response, we will not be able to offer the club for 4th graders this year. Thank you for your consideration!


Back to School Night

Thursday, Sep. 27th, 6-7:45pm

Estabrook School

6:00-6:45 K-2 Classrooms

6:30-7:15 Specialists and Student Services in Library

7:00-7:45 Gr. 3-5 Classrooms