The Vartan Gregorian School Tribune

From the desk of Mr. Russo

September 2021

We are ready to roll into the 2021/2022 school year. Despite all of the obstacles and uncertainties that the past 18 months have brought us, I could not be more optimistic about the direction of our wonderful school. Our entire team is ready for a great year. Classrooms have been purposefully set up for engagement and community building. We've brought in some amazing new educators:

Mr. Crooks - AP

Mrs. Benoit: Grade 3 - Room 7

Mrs. Jackson - Grade 4 - Room 4

Mrs. Chuk - Grade 3/4 - Room 3

Ms. Holleman - Music (Yes - we finally have a music teacher!!!!!)

Mrs. Whalen - Math Coach

Ms. Martinez - Guidance

From an academic standpoint, we are entering year 2 of using the American Reading Company. Please see Mrs. Scungio's note below. We will be sending home some informational reports from this program four times this year. We are also continuing with Eureka Math. Mrs. Whalen and I will lead a Q&A next month on how parents can best support this platform. We are also adopting Caring Classrooms as a Social Emotional Learning component in every classroom. Every class will begin the day with a Morning Meeting in which the students and educators will come together as a community.

Some other notes:

- Please return all emergency forms to school on Friday. It is important that we have the most up to date information. We also need lunch forms for every student, regardless of lunch status.

- As a reminder, all students can have breakfast and lunch for free everyday. Breakfast will be served in the classroom and lunch will either be in the cafeteria or the classroom.

- Early dismissal ends at 3 PM. If you are picking up your student early, please arrive before this time. It is too disruptive to our safety procedures to have any pick up after this time.

- Try and send your child to school with a reusable water bottle that is filled on a daily basis. We do have single use, plastic water bottles for anyone who forgets.

- Recess will be at least 20 minutes a day. Most students also have gym 2-3 times a week.

- We plan on allowing parents/volunteers into the building soon. Give us a few weeks to develop a comprehensive plan.

I can't wait to see everyone in the morning!!!

Vartan School Pledge

Today is a new day

I am in school to learn and be the best me I can be

I will make new friends

We will make mistakes and learn from them

I promise to be helpful and encourage others

I am proud to be a Vartan Fox

A word about masks

As you are likely aware, Commissioner Infante-Green and the Governor McKee have issued a mandate to all public schools, requiring that all students, faculty and staff, and visitors wear masks at all times while in the building.

The mask mandate is designed to keep our youngsters safe. To me, that’s a small sacrifice to make to protect the children of our school. Please know that it is also my responsibility to enforce this policy. The expectation is that all students will wear a mask every day.

So please remember to send your child(ren) to Vartan Gregorian Elementary each day with an appropriate face covering.

Thank you for your cooperation in this matter.

VG slideshow 2021


- Doors open at 9:00.

- The school day begins at 9:15

- Dismissal is at 3:30.

- Kindergarten students will arrive and be dismissed by the second Wickenden St door.

- Grades 1-2 will also arrive at the second Wickenden St. door.

- Grades 3-5 will enter through the main entrance door.

- Grades 1-3 will be dismissed at the field.

- Grade 4 will be dismissed by the East St. door.

- Grade 5 will be dismissed out the main entrance door.

- A photo ID must be shown when picking up a student.

- Only those listed on the emergency form will be allowed to pick up students from school.

A note from Mrs. Whalen (Math)

Greetings to the Vartan Gregorian Community!

My name is Lori Whalen. It is with great enthusiasm that I join the VG community as your new mathematics instructional coach. I've been proudly serving PPSD since 2002 as a classroom teacher and a math coach. I spent 12 years teaching math and ELA at the middle school level. While teaching math, I served as part of the Math Matters Leadership Cohort at the middle school level. Additionally, I did spend one year teaching first grade before being encouraged to move into a coaching position. Last year I had the privilege of teaching math and science to approximately 72 fourth grade students because they moved the academic coaches to VLA for the year to fulfill the needs of students and their families. I am hopeful for our return to in-person teaching and learning and eager to step back into coaching and working with families, teachers, and students to help our VG foxes maximize their potential in mathematics. Our main curriculum resource will continue to be Eureka math for our K-5 students.

Parents often ask me how they can support their child/children in math. The simplest answer to that question is to have fun with math! Encourage the natural curiosity your children have when they approach problems and their solutions. Play cards, dice games, and board games. Not only does that provide quality family time (often without screens) and great memories, but it also provides the opportunity to discuss math as you take note of the math involved in many of the games we play. Parents can also spend 5 or 10 minutes several times a week to practice basic math facts with their child/children: addition and subtraction for our younger ones and multiplication and division for the students in grades 3-5. And engage in one of my favorite activities: see how fast you can add the digits on the license plates around you (preferably while you're at a redlight)! You will notice different strategies you and your child use to group the digits to come up with the sum. Talk about those strategies:) Read a math story to your child; there are many to choose from. I linked a list of math stories here for you. While this list is not exhaustive, it is a good start. I will also be hosting several workshops throughout this year for parents on how they can support their child in math. More information about those workshops as well as enrichment opportunities will be forthcoming.

Lastly, I have had the distinct pleasure of working with Principal Russo over the past years in different capacities and I look forward to joining the VG team and to the collective work ahead in supporting all our students, families, and teachers.

Respectfully yours,

Lori Whalen

A note from Mrs. Scungio (ELA)

Welcome back VG families! I am very excited for my new role as the Literacy Coach here at Vartan Gregorian. I look forward to watching our Smart Foxes soar this year.

We are now beginning year 2 in implementation of the American Reading Company Core Curriculum. During the first unit students will explore a variety of culturally responsive texts while being engaged in reading, writing, listening, and speaking about them. Students will be challenged to think critically and dig deeper into the content. In addition to grade level texts, students will be offered opportunities to read texts at their level to independently practice skills and strategies.

I look forward to supporting students, teachers, and families as we embark on year 2. If you have any questions please contact me at

Clothing Donation

Do you have any extra, lightly worn clothes that would fit a child between the ages of 5-8? Nurse Lynn needs to restock! If so, please contact her to schedule a drop off.

Open House

Wednesday, Sep. 29th, 5-6:30pm

455 Wickenden Street

Providence, RI

More information to come. This will possibly be a virtual event.