Deer Families

Deer Hill School News . January 24, 2020

Dear Deer Hill Families,

In a retweet that he posted recently, Cohasset Athletic Director Steve Rotundi @CohassetSports highlighted this question and response:

When is a player ready to become a leader?

A player’s highest priority is individual performance.

A leader’s highest priority is team performance.

Today in my morning announcements and during more in-depth conversations in all 5th grade classrooms, I shared this idea with students. To me it resonates beyond the playing fields and into school buildings. In particular, I connected this message to a current challenge we’re facing at Deer Hill with student behavior during lunch and indoor recess. Too many of our students know the expectations, are knowledgeable of the Skipper Creed, and yet are not consistently making the good choices of which they are capable. The opportunity I presented to students was how they could position themselves as leaders and set a tone for others that reinforced expectations for positive behavior and made it more cool to do the right thing than not. In education parlance, we call this collective efficacy, “a group’s shared belief in the conjoint capabilities to organize and execute the courses of action required to produce given levels of attainment” (Bandura 1997). In other words, when we collaborate and work together toward a shared goal, we have a better chance of achieving that desired outcome. This applies to the impact of teachers planning collaboratively as ours do during their weekly Common Planning Time, informally each day, and during PD. (See pics below for collective efficacy in action during today's early release as teachers and ESPs planned for our math pilot and WIN instruction). It also (I hope!) applies to the cafeteria and the belief that our students, with our support, have the ability to work together to do better and be better each day.

All the best,

Alex Sullivan

Principal, Deer Hill School

P.S. Our next newsletter will be published in 3 weeks on February 14th.

Read A Thon Update

Our Read A Thon is in full swing! Today we blasted full-speed through many decades as we celebrated Deck Out in Your Favorite Decade Spirit Day. School spirit and enthusiasm for reading was as vibrant as the 60’s tie-dye and 80’s neon that peppered the hallways. Keep counting those reading minutes as we enter the final week of the Read A Thon.

School Attendance Letters

Consistent school attendance is critical to student social emotional and academic success. At the end of this month, two letters will be mailed to families whose students have experienced high numbers of absences, tardies, and/or early dismissals. If a student has accrued five or more unexcused absences, families will receive a letter in accordance with Massachusetts G.L. c.76, sec. 1B that documents this. Students who did not meet this absence threshold but who have accrued 10 or more combined tardies or early dismissals will receive a courtesy letter to communicate this fact. Excused absences are defined as absences that fall under the categories of personal illness verified by doctor’s note, recognized religious holidays, death in the immediate family, or verified court summons. Our school faculty and staff are committed to working with you to ensure that attendance is regular.

Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council (SSAC)

As you may have read in Dr. Sullivan’s newsletter, he has established a student committee, the SSAC, to gain perspective on school issues “through the eyes of a student”. Deer Hill is excited to participate in the SSAC! There was a rigorous selection process where interested 5th grade students had to submit a written response and where finalists had to present their findings to the 5th grade teachers after gathering feedback on the topic of indoor recess. Two 5th grade SSAC representatives were selected, Grace Kiernan and Libby Struzziero. Grace and Libby participated in their first SSAC meeting on January 14th and look forward to attending again in April.

Big picture

MCAS Calendar

Deer Hill is beginning to prepare for MCAS testing that will take place in the spring. Teachers work strategically to balance purposeful instruction with the need to familiarize students with the format and testing environment they will encounter with computer-based MCAS testing. Our MCAS calendar dates are now included in the Deer Hill calendar which can be accessed on our school website along the left hand side.

Big picture

Gum, Valentines, and Cafeteria Snacks

Here are a few Need to Knows that warrant some air time in this week’s newsletter.

Gum: Students are not permitted to bring gum to school. In specific instances students may have permission to chew gum as part of an established learning accommodation that is overseen/approved by a teacher and/or adjustment counselor. Gum chewing should never occur in hallways, on the playground, in the cafeteria, or on the bus.

Valentine’s Day: Deer Hill classroom teachers set their own practices regarding Valentine’s Day. One consistent expectation schoolwide is that if students do bring Valentines, they must bring them for the whole class. Additionally, this year Der Hill will continue with past practice regarding candy in valentines though we strongly encourage families to substitute with non-food treats like bookmarks, pencils, and stickers. If you choose to include candy, they must be small, wrapped, sealed, peanut-free treats, but any received must be saved for home. I also want to add a reminder that per our District Life Threatening Allergy Protocol, each class is allowed two parties with food during the year. The food must be from the approved list (please contact Nurse Bulman if you need a copy) and families must be given a minimum of two days’ notice.

Cafeteria Snacks: Students at Deer Hill are able to purchase two snacks daily in our school cafeteria. However, families have the ability to put notes on their student accounts either limiting or banning snack purchases. Please email Food Services Director Marilyn Haraden at if you have questions or would like to manage your child’s account.

After School Enrichment

Our After School Enrichment Program (ASE) has been a huge success and the 2nd session began this week. For your reference, here are the dates when ASE will meet this session.

Wednesday dates: January 22nd, 29th; February 5th, 12th, 26th; March 4th

Thursday dates: January 23rd, 30th; February 6th, 13th, 27th; March 5th

Deer Hill Dates

Read A Thon: 1.10.20 - 1.31.20

Read A Thon Closing Ceremonies: 2.5.20

Early Dismissal, Staff PD: 2.7.20, 12:40

School Council: 2.13.20, 3:00

Read Your Heart Out Day: 2.14.20

February Break: 2.17.20 - 2.21.20

Flyers of Interest

Below are events and happenings that may be of interest to you.
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture