MHS/WES Newsletter

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Transition Success!

Our transition back to full time in person learning for all students has been a success. And while masks may prevent us from seeing the smiles on children's faces, we can hear the smiles in their voices!

We are fortunate to have such a great staff to support all children. Everybody from administration, to teachers, to paraprofessionals, nurses, recess aides, custodians and secretaries have all been a part of making our transition successful.

We are looking forward to 34 more school days with each other!

From the Assistant Principal: Class Placement letters for the School Year 21-22

Over the next few weeks we will start to build our class lists for next fall. If you have any concerns for placement next year, please send me an email ( by May 17th. Specific teacher requests will not be granted, however, please feel free to share your child's learning style or concerns for peer relationships.

Dawn-Marie Ayles

Assistant Principal

The playground project is proceeding!

During April vacation the drainage problem on the WES playground was corrected and we are ready to move ahead to the next phase of the playground rebuild! Stay tuned for more photos as this project progresses!


Big picture

Kindergarten Registration is open for 2021-2022 School Year

Kindergarten Registration is open for Westminster residents. Your child must be age 5 by August 31, 2021 in order to register. Please click on the button below for the registration forms. Please complete forms and send them in by May 14th. Email Kathi McCarthy at with questions!

The last day of school is.......

Thursday, June 17th. It is a half day of school.

MHS/WES Lexia Core 5 Information

Overview & Purpose

Your child will be using Lexia® Core5® Reading, a fun computer-based program that has helped millions of students. The activities in Core5 support and build on our classroom curriculum and focus on developing reading skills in six areas: phonological awareness, phonics, structural analysis, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.

Why is it important?

  • Your child begins Core5 at a starting point that fits his or her needs and works in online activities throughout the week.

  • Online activities include direct instruction and feedback as your child learns new skills.

  • Progress and performance in the program is reported so teachers can provide help when needed.

Title One Reading Tips: by Mrs. Davis April 2021

Q: “How can I help build my child’s vocabulary?”

A: Great question! While there are many methods to communicate the joy and

meaning of words, here are some effective suggestions:

For younger students who are still learning to read, speaking vocabulary is generally larger than their reading vocabulary. But for older readers who are past the, “learning to read” stage, and who have entered the “reading to learn” stage, this is the typical order.

Four Types of Vocabulary: (ranked in order from largest to smallest)

Listening vocabulary: the words we need to know to understand what we hear

Speaking vocabulary: the words we use when we speak

Reading vocabulary: the words we need to know to understand what we read

Writing vocabulary: the words we use in writing

There is a high correlation between the four vocabularies. Growth in one area generally leads to growth in another. But is it possible for you to influence this growth? The simple answer is YES!

Most vocabulary is attained through indirect methods:

The Conversational Method for Teaching Vocabulary

The conversational method is a powerful way to help build your child’s vocabulary. It

is an indirect method that is so simple that you can start using it right after you read

this article!

Step 1: When a new word comes up in conversation or in a book, provide a simple

kid-friendly definition for the new word.

Step 2: Provide one or two examples that make sense to your child. (“Remember the

really big watermelon we got at the store? That was an enormous watermelon”).

Step 3: Encourage your child to think of their own example, or of the opposite of the

new word. (What else can you think of that would be enormous? That’s right,

the train was enormous!).

Step 4: Keep new words active. Kids learn by repetition and practice, so keep using the

new words in conversation.

Promote Word-Consciousness

  1. Play with words through *games, *songs, and *humor emphasizing the fun of words and discovery of meanings.

  2. Create a word-rich environment with plenty of books appropriate for their age and older, including comic books and magazines.

  3. Games like Hangman and Word Search can entertain and educate smaller children, while Scrabble, Boggle, and Balderdash attract older kids.

  4. Encourage rhyming games and poetry.

  5. For older students, explore “Idioms.” They are commonly used phrases that say one thing but mean something completely different. Like, “spill the beans”, “piece of cake” or “it’s raining cats and dogs.” Using photographs (eg, a photograph of a piece of cake) truly helps a child understand the true meaning behind an idiom.

  6. Use words in multiple, meaningful contexts so they can understand their definition and use them more easily. For example, if a child knows what it is to be mad, it will be easier to introduce words such as irate, angry, or frustrated.

Educator and writer E.D. Hirsch, Jr. asserts that there is no better index to accumulated knowledge and general competence than the size of a person’s vocabulary:

Simply put, knowing more words makes you smarter.” Therefore, a sizable vocabulary is a great asset for your children to achieve success in the 21st century.

{All About Learning Press, Christian Adetayar, Money Crashers, Reading Rockets}

The Technical Challenge: The Next Level

5th and 6th graders represented the Ashburnham-Westminster School District in Massachusetts' Destination Imagination tournament this year.

The challenge that they chose to compete in was The Technical Challenge: The Next Level. Their goal was:

The Technical Challenge prompted students to complete tasks by using engineering, research, strategic planning, and related skills. Each team was asked to:

  • Create and present a video presentation in the style of a video game.
  • Include an adventurer who goes on a quest to win an ultimate prize.
  • Portray a special ability used by the adventurer.
  • Integrate 3 quest items and combine them to create a tool.
  • Create and present two Team Choice Elements that show off the team’s interests, skills, areas of strength, and talents.