The Center Mile

November 14, 2022

School News & Happenings

Principal's Update

Hello Center Community!

This edition of The Center Mile is full of great stories and important information. Don't miss the very first article on Center School student Frankie Dzerkacz. Frankie's story is not only important but truly inspiring! Cheers to Frankie and his family!

Thank you to everyone who had a chance to participate in our Teacher Conferences over the past week. Our partnership with all of you is at the center of all we do for students. Our entire staff is grateful for the chance to connect.

I'm looking forward to connecting with all of you too! "Coffee with the Principal" will be starting in January (after all the busyness of the holiday season). The survey results I received indicated a clear preference for evening virtual meetings. The dates for these meetings will be shared in the upcoming weeks. Thank you to everyone who participated in the survey.

Our next issue of The Center Mile will be coming out after our Thanksgiving Break. I wish everyone a wonderful time of connection with family and time spent doing what matters most to each one of you during our time away from school.

Warmest regards,

Shelley Dulsky



Important Upcoming Dates

  • November 23-23, 2022 // Thanksgiving Break - No School

  • December 1, 2022 // School Picture Retakes (see information below)

  • December 2, 2022 // End of first trimester

  • December 9, 2022 // Early Release - Students dismissed at 12:15 p.m.

For the entire Center School Calendar click here:

The Center School Calendar

The Story of Fantastic Frankie!

Meet Frankie Dzerkacz! Frankie is a third-grade student in Ms. Ryan’s class, and most recently, Center School's “featured student educator!” Frankie recently shared his personal story about having Type 1 Diabetes with all of our students through a video presentation that he made with Nurse Dumas and two of our 5th-grade journalists, Connor McCarthy and Silas Faux.

This project began after Frankie experienced some teasing about the insulin pod he wears. Frankie’s pod delivers insulin to his body each day. Instead of getting angry about the teasing, Frankie decided to do something positive. Frankie decided to teach Center School students all about Type I Diabetes!

Frankie teamed up with Connor and Silas from Mr. Topalian’s fifth-grade class. Connor and Silas interviewed Frankie and made a Flip Film to share with all classrooms. Nurse Dumas also recorded information explaining Type 1 Diabetes from a medical perspective. Students learned about the importance of insulin and that Type 1 Diabetes is not caused by what a person eats or drinks. Students also learned about insulin pods and how pods work with cell phones to provide essential information to students like Frankie.

Frankie’s family supported Frankie’s project and shared some important information about the symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes in children. Symptoms, which can develop at any age with or without a family history, can include:

· *Increased thirst

· *Frequent urination / possible bed wetting

· *Extreme hunger

· *Fatigue

· *Blurred vision

We are so grateful for Frankie’s courage in sharing his story and the helpful information provided by his family.

Big picture

The Center School 4th Grade Team

(From left to right: Student Teacher Sherry Jusseaume, Classroom Teacher Ann Bonner, Classroom Teacher Kate Narita, Classroom Teacher Pam Trefry, Special Education Teacher Katie Conley, Classroom Teacher Kristen Milton and Literacy Specialist Stacey Smith)

A lot has been happening in 4th grade. In math, students are learning how to multiply multi-digit numbers using arrays and area models. The fourth graders have been reading realistic fiction, and writing their own realistic narrative stories during ELA. One highlight this fall has been our science unit on Soils, Rocks, and Landforms. Student scientists did experiments to unearth the materials found in soil, and discovered the difference between physical and chemical weathering. In the final experiment, students ran stream tables that modeled the effects of erosion and deposition in our environment. We are looking forward to starting non-fiction reading and writing this month, as well as switching from science to social studies.

Big picture

Matt Topalian, Karen Wesley and Paula Backiel attend MassCUE with NRSD Team

MassCUE (Massachusetts Computer Using Educators) is the state’s leading organization for educators with a passion for digital teaching and learning. Having served educators in Massachusetts for over four decades, MassCUE provides rich professional development, networking and learning opportunities for all educators - ranging from classroom teachers, school-based administrators, technology and digital learning directors and superintendents.

The Center School was fortunate to be able to send three of our outstanding educators to this inspirational and empowering conference. The learning that took place at the conference has already made its way to students (our film journalists for the story on Frankie directly benefited from Mr. Topalian's time at MassCUE!). If you look carefully you'll notice Superintendent Downing sharing the spotlight on Gillette Stadium field!

Volunteers Come Share Your Computer Knowledge - The Hour of Code

The Hour of Code is a global movement introducing tens of millions of students worldwide to computer science, inspiring kids to learn more, breaking stereotypes, and leaving them feeling empowered.

We would love for you to present the ways you use computers for the beginning (5-10 minutes) of the class. For the rest of the 42-minute period, you can help students with Mrs. Backiel as students try out different Hour of Code tutorials and apps. Coming to The Center School, December 2022! Please contact Mrs. Backiel, ITS, to volunteer!

For more details click on the pdf below.

Square 1 Art Fundraiser

Square 1 Art Fundraiser

Information about our Square 1 Art Fundraiser from Art Teacher Leah Cullinane: This is our 9th year participating in the Square 1 Art fundraiser. I am pleased to report that this year we will fulfill 2 fundraising opportunities. Our first is happening now. The second will take place in the Spring. This week I will ship approximately 500 self-portraits to the company. In a couple of weeks, your student will bring home their custom catalog. November 23rd is the order deadline. All orders will be placed online and shipped to families.

The funds directly support the artist community at Center. In past years, the program has afforded us clay drying cabinets, artist Ebooks, specialty supplies otherwise not available, as well as a membership to AOEU for professional development and curriculum resources. We are so thankful for your support of the arts in our community.

School Picture Retakes

School Picture retakes are available on December 1, 2022. Please see more details in the pdf below.

News from Nurse Dumas: RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus)

How is it spread?

RSV is very contagious. The virus is most common between late fall and early spring. RSV spreads the same way as a common cold:

  • By touching droplets containing the virus after someone coughs or sneezes.
  • By being close (less than 2 meters apart) to someone with the infection who is coughing or sneezing. Droplets from the infected person can reach another person’s nose or mouth.
  • By touching something that has been touched by an infected person, such as toys, door handles, furniture or countertops.

What are the symptoms of RSV?

Children with RSV have the same symptoms as a common cold, which may include:

  • coughing,
  • a runny nose,
  • fever,
  • a decrease in appetite and energy,
  • irritability.

Some children (most often very young babies) have bronchiolitis - an infection of the tiny airways that lead to the lungs that causes wheezing and difficulty breathing.

How is RSV treated?

RSV is usually mild and doesn’t need any treatment. Most children get better within a week or two. Sometimes children need to be hospitalized so that they can be watched closely and given fluids or oxygen if needed.

Because RSV is a virus, antibiotics will not help a child get better faster. Antibiotics kill bacteria, not viruses.

How can I protect my children from RSV?

  • Wash your hands and your children's hands often to reduce the spread of germs.
  • Don’t smoke. Make sure that your children are not around cigarette smoke, especially in the car or in your home.
  • What can I do if my child is sick?

    • Keep your child as comfortable as possible and offer plenty of fluids.
    • Give acetaminophen or ibuprofen for fever. Ibuprofen should only be given if your child is drinking reasonably well.
    • Do not give over-the-counter cough and cold medicines to a child younger than 6 years old. Although these drugs do not need a doctor’s prescription, they are not safe in young children.
    • If you are using cough and cold medicines for children older than 6 years, read instructions carefully and give only the recommended dose.

    When should I call a doctor?

    See a doctor if your child:

    • has had a fever for more than 72 hours,
    • is not eating or is vomiting,
    • is coughing so bad that they are choking or vomiting.

Ms. Fitzgerald's November Book Recommendation & Thank You for the Book Fair!

Elvin Link, Please Report to the Principal’s Office - Dylan Dernavich

If you enjoyed Diary of A Wimpy Kid, this book is for you! Middle school just won’t go right for Elvin as he juggles sisters, annoying friends, and big school events. The only thing he likes to do is drawing, but for some reason, it always sends him to the principal’s office. Until, one day when his school needs his drawing to solve a crime!

Thank you to all the Book Fair volunteers and attendees! The Book Fair was a great success!

NAESP Parent Resources: Cultivating Creativity in Children

The National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) provides resources for families of elementary school students. In a recent Report to Parents, NAESP shared about cultivating creativity in children:

Creativity boosts students’ academic performance, perseverance, social-emotional skills, self-confidence, and more. Families can use these strategies to cultivate their child’s creativity.

For the entire article, please click on the pdf below.

Current & Upcoming Community Service Opportunities

  • Warm Hearts of Stow is once again inviting the Center School community to participate in their Thanksgiving campaign to benefit our Stow neighbors. Warm Hearts will be accepting donations of snacks, snack size beverages, and specific food items that we will distribute to our clients so that they can enjoy the holiday. A list of desired items and instructions will be provided to the classroom teachers, who will give these to any students who would like to participate. Of course, participation in the campaign is entirely voluntary.

    All donations are due back to Center School by Tuesday, November 15, 2022. If you have any questions, please refer to the sign-up sheet/instructions sent home with your child, or e-mail Sara Kilkenny at We thank you in advance for your generosity and wish you and your family the happiest of Thanksgivings.

    ~ Warm Hearts of Stow Board

  • Community Service Update & Thank You: The Rotary Club of Nashoba Valley thanks you for your help with the Purple Pinkie Day fundraiser. The Center School community of students, families, and staff contributed $556 to help vaccinate children against polio around the world. Center School’s contribution alone equates to over $1,500 when you consider the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation matches the funds raised 2 for 1, your efforts enable hundreds of children to be vaccinated against this debilitating disease! Across the district, $2,106 was raised this year. We appreciate everyone’s help!

Connect with the SPTO!

Thank you to everyone who volunteered for, and attended the Annual SPTO Halloween Dance! A wonderful time was had by all!

The Center School Charleston Wrap store is open! Please be on the lookout for catalogs coming home with your student(s) this week. Participation is easy, just shop using the store link and share the store link with friends and family. The SPTO will get 40% of sales (30% on personalized items) to help with school enrichments.

How to stay connected with the SPTO?



Facebook @stowpto

Instagram @stow_pto

Our 2022/2023 fundraising goal is $50,000. How to donate to the SPTO?



Stay Up-to-Date on SPTO Events

SPTO will always have updates in this newsletter. However, if you would like to receive direct information from SPTO, and be part of the SPTO Student Directory (a "phone book" for student/family contacts) please register directly. Here are the instruction:

You must register on the website to access the PTO Student Directory (essentially a phone book for students). Registration is necessary to keep the directory secure and to be included in the directory. First time users need a password to register, password is pickapples. Important: You must log in annually to confirm your student information is accurate.

How to access the Center School student directory?

Once registered you can access and download the directory at any time. Go to the website, click on “My Account,” once you are logged in “Center Hale PTO Student Directory” will appear as a drop down item under “My Account,” select the directory menu item and you can save or print the directory from there. The Directory gets updated throughout the year as new families register.

Seeking Substitutes!

We are renewing our connections with Substitute Teachers. If you or someone you know is interested in substitute teaching at The Center School please contact our Assistant Principal Lenore Zavalick:
Center School Virtual Backpack

Flyers, Forms & General Information