MHS/WES Newsletter

September 20, 2018

News from the Principal

As a Responsive Classroom school, we believe the social curriculum is just as valuable as the academic curriculum. During the first few weeks of school, teachers have focused on classroom community building activities and developing positive relationships. They also teach, model, and practice specific classroom expectations and routines. Throughout the school year, teachers will continue to work on communication and problem solving skills as they revisit these expectations. This truly sets the tone for a positive, fun and productive school year. For example, ask your child, “What does it look like, sound like, and feel like when you are greeting a classmate during morning meeting?”

Expectation Assemblies

Starting next week, students in grades 2, 3, 4, and 5 will attend brief meetings with myself, Mr. Deneen, Mrs. Heffernan and Mrs. Pinkes/Mrs. Kosciak to discuss expectations and the importance of creating a fun, safe environment for all. Specifically, we will address the following areas of the school: bus, playground, cafeteria, hallway, nurse’s office, and the guidance office. Hopefully students will be able to share something about what was discussed with you at home!

MHS Open House

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

6:00 - 7:00 p.m.

This is an opportunity for our kindergarten and first grade students to proudly show off their classrooms and projects to family members. All students and their families are welcome to attend this delightful and busy evening.

2018 - 2019 MHS/WES Student Handbook

Last week, the school committee approved changes to our handbook. Our updated student handbook is now available on our website. It contains lots of information about policies and procedures of our schools. You may request a printed version from our office at anytime. One important section we would like to remind families of is our policy on birthday celebrations located on page 18. While we recognize that birthdays are very special, we want to keep everyone safe and healthy.

Birthday Celebrations

Due to impending state initiatives and the increasing number of allergies in the school district, we will not be celebrating individual birthdays with items sent in from home. Goodie bags or other items (including food or nonfood items) will not be distributed. Individual teachers may recognize birthdays in a grade appropriate fashion.

PTO Fundraiser News!!! GLOW RUN IS COMING!

I know some of you have been asking when the PTO Fundraiser packets are coming home. They are not! Over the summer the PTO held a meeting and voted to host a Glow Run this year instead of selling items. The fundraiser will be held during the last week February and the first week of March, with the date of the actual run still to be determined. More information will come home closer to that time frame. We are very excited to try something new!!!

Welcome To 3rd Grade

The third graders at Westminster Elementary School have been involved in a series of learning experiences that help us all get to know one another and work together cooperatively. These experiences will lead each class towards writing a set of rules. Words such as friendship, cooperation, respect, responsibility and perseverance are words that guide us throughout the school year. We’re looking forward to a great year in the third grade!

News from the Nurses at MHS/WES

Welcome back to school, we’d like to take this time to mention a few friendly reminders:

Please remember to notify us when there is a change in any information that is on the emergency form. This form is our means of reaching you when your child is sick or injured.

If your child is going to be tardy or absent please notify the office. If we have received no information, we will be calling all the numbers available to reach you so we know that your child is safe. Also, we ask that you please send a note in explaining your child’s absence as we try to track illnesses.

Please remember that no medication can be given to your child without a physician’s order and parental permission. DO NOT send any medication with your child to school – these must be delivered by an adult.

Please try to keep your child home if he/she does not feel well. We continue to make every effort to provide a healthy environment for all students and staff. The following criteria for sending children home can be a guideline for you in evaluating your child if showing signs of illness and you’re unsure about sending him/her to school:

Fever: If your child’s temperature is 100 degrees or higher it is recommended he/she should remain at home until fever free for 24 hours without fever reducing medications.

Cold/cough symptoms: If your child is experiencing severe or prolonged cough in addition to extreme discomfort, please keep your child home and consult his/her physician.

Conjunctivitis (pink eye): This is easily spread by direct contact with discharge from the infected eye. Students will be sent home when eyes are inflamed and draining. Your physician will tell you when it is appropriate for your child to return to school.

Head lice: This is very common in schools. Once detected, please consult with the school nurse to receive guidance of treatment as well as return to school.

Rashes: Any suspicious or unknown skin rashes should be evaluated by your doctor before your child returns to school.

Strep throat/sore throat: A sore throat with or without fever, along with swollen glands, headache or upset stomach may indicate a strep infection and should be evaluated by your physician. If antibiotics are prescribed, the student may return to school after 24 hours of treatment.

Vomiting/diarrhea: It is recommended for children to remain home until they have been vomit or diarrhea free for 24 hours and are back to eating and drinking normally.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Walk to School Day is just around the corner.....

Dear Parent(s)/Guardian(s),

Meetinghouse School and Westminster Elementary School are partners of the Massachusetts Safe Routes to School Program, a federally-funded initiative of MassDOT, promoting safe walking and biking to school to decrease traffic congestions, increase physical health and better the environment.

On October 3rd, Meetinghouse and Westminster Elementary students will be participating in the International Walk to School Month, an internationally walk to school day promotion. Students will be picked up at their regular bus stops in the morning, but will be dropped off at the Aubuchon Hardware Warehouse driveway (95 Aubuchon Drive, Westminster). The first bus (after they have dropped off their students) will then go to WES and pick up the students from Extended Day and bring them to Aubuchon’s. From the Aubuchon location all children will walk with teachers and staff to their schools. The Westminster Police and Fire Departments are also partners in this event and will be on hand to help ensure both pedestrian and traffic safety.

Those children who are usually driven to school and who wish to participate can be dropped off at the parking lot behind Vincent’s Country Store/Dunkin Donuts. Teachers and volunteers will also be in this location to assist. Do NOT drop your children off any earlier than the normal drop off time. Special education vans will also be able to drop off students who wish to participate at this location. NO drop offs are allowed at the Aubuchon location – this location is ONLY for the students riding on the buses.

AM Parent Drop-Offs will drop-off behind VINCENTS COUNTRY STORE

The walk is intended to serve many purposes. These goals include:

· To remind children and parents about the range of transportation choices;

· To teach students important lifelong walking safety skills;

· To create an awareness among drivers;

· To demonstrate the health benefits for our children through regular exercise;

· To improve the physical health, environmental health, and safety of our students.

If you request that your child not participate, please send a note in to the school by Friday, September 28th. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Marcia Sharkey, RN Meetinghouse School 978-874-0163 or


Marcia Sharkey, RN

Yoga for kids

Yoga for Kids - 4 week sessions - begins October 1,2,3

We aim to love mindful movement, learn to feel a stretch in our bodies, and appreciate ourselves and friends without judgment or expectations. Age appropriate classes where children/tweens learn to deal with emotions and love their bodies.

PreK-1st grades - Mondays 3:30-4:15

Tweens/Teens - Tuesdays, 4:00-5:00

Grades 2-5 - Wednesdays, 3:15-4:15 (WES pick-up available)

Preregister Here and/or contact me with questions/concerns.

(minimum of 5, maximum of 12)

Meet Our Speech and Language Teachers

Kelley Laine:

I graduated from Worcester State University with my undergraduate degree in Communication Disorders and Sociology (minor in psychology). I earned my Master's degree in Speech-Language Pathology from Ithaca College and continued my education at Northeastern University to earn my Audiology degree. I have worked with both children and adults in a variety of settings including early intervention, hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and rehabilitation centers.

I live in Lunenburg with my husband John, kids Abby (age 16), Caroline (age 14), Michael (age 11), and our dog Noel. My interests include sports, making sterling silver jewelry with Katie, and spending time with my family.

Katie Pulnik:

I graduated from Worcester State University with my undergraduate degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders (minor in psychology) and my graduate degree in Speech-Language Pathology. I live in Gardner with my husband Josh, kids Ellery and Tucker, and our dog Harper. My interests include reading, making sterling silver jewelry, and spending time with my family. Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) work to prevent, assess, diagnose, and treat speech, language, social communication, cognitive communication, and swallowing disorders in children and adults. I have worked with both children and adults in schools, hospitals, day programs, and nursing homes.

Upcoming Dates

  • Wednesday, September 26th: MHS Open House 6:00-7:00 PM
  • Thursday, September 27th: Half Day all schools (12:00 Dismissal from MHS and WES)
  • Wednesday, October 3rd: Walk to School Day
  • Wednesday, October 3rd: 7:00 PM in the WES Cafeteria-Nature's Classroom informational meeting for 5th grade parents only.
  • Monday, October 8th: No School-Columbus Day
  • Tuesday, October 9th: Half Day (all schools) MHS and WES dismiss at 12:00 noon
  • Thursday, October 11th: Half Day (Elementary and High School only) MHS and WES dismiss at 12:00 noon-This is also the first day of Parent Teacher Conferences at MHS and WES. Please check your child's conference times.
  • Thursday, October 18th: Half Day (Elementary only) MHS and WES dismiss at 12:00 noon-This is also the second day of Parent Teacher Conferences at MHS and WES. Please check your child's conference times.
  • Tuesday, October 23rd: Picture retake day at BOTH MHS and WES
  • Wednesday, October 31st: Trick or treating in town 5:00-7:00 PM. Bonfire to follow at the Westminster Fire Department

Fifth Grade News

It is hard to believe that we are nearing the end of our first full month together in fifth grade! These first few weeks of school are always so exciting and busy. Routines and expectations are being learned and practiced in all five classes. We remind fifth graders that they are the role models of the school now, and this is a role we take seriously! If you or your child are feeling overwhelmed or confused by something, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s teacher so that we can work with you to get a plan in place early in the school year!

If you missed Parent’s Night, please make sure you get in touch with the classroom teacher to schedule a parent-teacher conference for October! Email is a good way to contact and schedule a conference with your child’s teacher. Parent-teacher conferences will be held on October 11th and October 18th.

You will notice that your fifth grader will be bringing home a weekly math review quiz for a parent/guardian to sign and return as part of their homework. We value this procedure because it ensures parents are kept “in the loop.” Please help this become a routine!

Thanks again for valuing the home-school connection!

5th Grade on the lookout for info about Nature's Classroom coming home soon!!


Music News September 2018 – Mr. Lucander

Welcome back every one, I hope your year has started off well! The music rooms are getting very busy in the classrooms, and with each ensemble, so here is what is happening:

Grade K -The kindergarten students are starting to settle in as we learn our classroom rules of behavior. We are doing lots of singing right away with Twinkle Twinkle, the ABC’s, Happy Birthday songs, and the Animal Fair! They are learning about singing and matching pitch instead of yelling music. Also they are working on playing a simple echo of rhythm.

Grade 1 -These kids reviewed all of the old patriotic songs at the start of the year and their voices are starting to develop more! They review old K songs for fun, and have worked on rhythm quite a bit. One of the great new songs is called Ti-Dee-Oh, which uses bean bags while singing.

Grade 2 -This is the year we start to really get kids to read and write rhythm using quarter, eighth notes, and quarter rests using flash cards, and simple 4 measure repeated patterns. Student can say rhythms, say/play rhythms and then play rhythms while they think it. My motto is that if you can think/sing it, you can play it.

Grade 3 -The rhythm unit in the fall involves review and the learning of longer sustaining notes, like half and whole notes/rests. They are playing all of these rhythms using the keyboards. Many students have signed up to be in band this year, if you are still interested, contact me through email at the school. It’s not too late!

Grade 4/5 -These students are reviewing and learning rhythm using whole through 16th notes as well as learning about 8th note triplets, meters, time signatures, and they will be reading and writing all of this. They will also learn how to play in multiple parts as they develop independence from another part that is playing.

A BAND (Advanced) -The A band has already been preparing for their first performance as they once again, kick off the Westminster Cracker Festival on October 20 at 10 am. We hope to see you there. They should have their holiday music at this point too. The holiday concert will be on 12/17.

B Band (Beginner) -All new instrumentalists in B Band have started lessons this week. The 1st B Band practice will be on October 17th from 3-4 pm. Be sure to send a note to classroom teachers when your child is staying after for music lessons/B Band.

Chorus -Chorus is open to grades 4 and 5 and meets on Fridays from 3-4pm. The permission slip to join will come out in the next few days and will be passed out to classrooms. The first 70 students that sign up will become members of the chorus. Members from last year still need to pass the slip in as well. The Holiday concert is on 12/17, please don’t sign up if the child can’t come to that performance.

Jazz Band -The members from the spring 2018 jazz band will start the first rehearsal on October 4th immediately after A band practice on that day. The rehearsal will be 3:45-4:30 pm. They will also be performing at the Cracker Festival on 10/20!