Weekly Newsletter

September 16, 2021

News from Principal Emma Liebowitz

We look forwrd to seeing many of you at our Open House next Wednesday! Please see the information below. We are looking forward to Mountain Day that is happening on Friday, September 24th. Families are welcome to hike with classes. Please let your child(ren)'s teacher know if you would like to come along.

Local Goods Catalog

Have you checked out the 2021 Sanderson Academy Local Goods Catalog? So many great, local products! Follow this link for the catalog and order form.

From the School Office

Picture day is Tuesday September 28th.


Wednesday, September 22 - 1:50 Dismissal

Wednesday, September 22 - Open House - 6:00-7:00

Friday, September 24 - Mountain Day (All School Hike)

Tuesday, September 28 - Picture Day

Wednesday, September 29 - 1:50 Dismissal

Link to Sanderson Academy calendar.

Open House

Open House will take place on the evening of Wednesday, September 22 from 6:00 - 7:00. In order to have less people in the building at one time, we are asking that families with last names that begin with the letters A-K to come from 6:00 to 6:30. Families with last names that begin with letter L-Z should attend Open House from 6:30 to 7:00. If your family has more than two children at Sanderson, you are welcome to attend the full hour to allow time to visit each classroom. It is important that families travel around the build together. Students must stay with adult caregivers. Masks must be worn at all times when inside.

Health Office News from Nurse Loranna

Please be sure to fill out the online consent form for covid testing in schools which was shared by the superintendent and nurse leader, even if you have already sent in the paper permission slip (sorry about the redundancy!). This consent form will cover pooled testing, as well as symptomatic testing and “test and stay” for school close contacts. Pooled testing will occur weekly and more information is on the way regarding this service. Symptomatic testing would occur only if a student or staff member becomes symptomatic at school, negative tests will need to be followed up with a pcr test. This adds another layer of protection in the school community, if a student (or staff) becomes symptomatic at school and they do test positive on the rapid test- we will be able to isolate and contact trace more quickly and help to stop the spread in its tracks. Please read the message from our nurse leader Donna Weber below and reach out with any questions at all: “I am sure you are all aware since reading Superintendent Statton's email yesterday that we will be participating in the State's Covid-19 testing program. This includes both Routine Surveillance (pooled) testing as well as BinaxNOW rapid antigen testing. Even if you signed for BinaxNOW on the Annual Health Update Form, please fill out this electronic consent.”

Copy and paste the following link: https://www.cic-health.com/consent/ma?district=Mohawk%20Trail

Click on Consent Now

Choose your student’s school in the drop down menu

Click on Sign Consent Form For a Minor

Thank you!! Nurse Loranna

Preschool News from Mrs. Freeman

Since the start of the school year, we have been fortunate to observe 2 monarch caterpillars in our science center. Many preschoolers are using magnifying glasses to get a closer look at the caterpillars. We have noticed the caterpillars eating the milkweed leaves and growing bigger! Preschoolers also noticed our caterpillars are yellow, white, and black. We used these paint colors and our observations to paint caterpillars. The photo shows our caterpillar paintings.

Preschool News from Ms. Melanie

Our classroom caterpillars are changing every day: some are still eating milkweed, some are hanging in a “j” shape from the top of their house, and some have formed a chrysalis already! We are looking forward to seeing them become beautiful Monarch butterflies like the ones we see every day on our way to and from the outdoor classroom--there are so many this year!

We have been reading stories about caterpillars and butterflies and even made our own caterpillar to take home. These caterpillars were “all about us”--each circle of paper we added to make the body represented something about us. The first circle was our favorite color. On the second one we drew our favorite food. Our favorite thing to do was on the third circle, and in the last circle, we drew our families. We glued eyes on the head and added antennae--what very special caterpillars!

We spent a wonderful morning with our third-grade buddies this past week. The third-graders and preschoolers worked in buddy teams to create amazing fairy houses in our outdoor classroom. Some of the third-graders shared their own memories of making fairy houses when they were in preschool--and some even found that their houses were still there! What a lovely remembrance for us all!

Kindergarten News from Ms. Sarah

All of the caterpillars in our tank have turned into chrysalises. We examined the skin left behind when the caterpillar turns into a chrysalis. We also watched a short time-lapse video that shows the transformation up close, as well as made a caterpillar art project. We learned this song to help us remember how a caterpillar grows and changes (to the tune of “Up on the Rooftop Reindeer Fly”):

First comes the butterfly and lays an egg; out comes the caterpillar with many legs; oh see the caterpillar spin and spin, a little chrysalis to sleep in; oh, oh, oh, look and see; oh, oh, oh, look and see; out of the chrysalis, my oh my, out comes a pretty butterfly!

First Grade News from Mrs. Wyckoff

First grade students have completed their hopes and dreams for their upcoming year. Many first graders are looking forward to spending time in the woods, going on field trips and trying out new activities. We look forward to showcasing these beautiful written and illustrated pieces during our upcoming open house next week! First graders are off and running in number corner and have impressed all teachers in the room with how much math language they retained and could apply to their current learning as first grade mathematicians! Students’ favorite portion of number corner is our nickel and penny collection, where we get to spin the spinner to see how much money we get to add to our weekly collection. During our read aloud time first graders are loving the Mercy Watson series. We are currently on book two Mercy Watson Goes For a Ride. First graders have shared that they are loving this series because it's full of adventure and so silly! We continue to model and practice safe, kind and respectful behaviors throughout our day.

Second Grade News from Ms. Robertson

As this week comes to a close, our focus continues to be on building our class expectations and becoming familiar with our classroom routines. We have written and shared our hopes and goals for the start of the school year and next we will turn our attention to using our hopes and goals as a springboard for brainstorming classroom rules. Our class has also enjoyed listening to several stories about dragons this week, such as Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin and How Droofus the Dragon Lost His Head by Bill Peet. As we are listening to these stories, we are imagining owning our own pet dragons and what they might look like and what they might like to eat. During our reading and writing time, we have been using fall themed poetry to explore literacy concepts, such as rhyming words, word families, syllables, and alphabetical order. We have also started to review vowel and consonant sounds and we used the vowels and consonants in our names to complete an activity called Name Collection. With this activity, we had to collect signatures from classmates whose names began or ended with a vowel or a consonant. During our Number Corner and regular math time, we have been creating and reading repeating patterns, such as red, red, blue, blue, green, red, red, blue, blue, green or A A B B C A A B B C.

Third Grade News from Ms. Carole

Third graders have been excited to get out to the gardens lately to clean up and harvest. Last week we dug up the garlic and onions, and they have been drying on our windowsill. This week we harvested some apples from our apple trees and enjoyed making and eating apple bread. We have also been pulling the many weeds that flourished in our gardens this year. In other news, we finalized our hopes and dreams and used the desire to reach those to craft our classroom agreements. Each third grader has signed our page of agreements, and we are excited to have a plan for moving forward as a group. Students have also been happy to finally enjoy all of the specials this week!

Fourth Grade News from Mrs. Lagoy

Fourth graders have been busy at work this week. During our ELA block, students have been completing an empathy unit. In this unit, students are reading newspaper articles and engaging in lively discussions about what it means to empathize with others. Our unit is culminating with an activity in which students are creating an empathy guide that will be posted in our classroom to remind us throughout the year that we have a responsibility to continue to grow our ability to empathize with others. In geography, students have finished their bedroom grid maps and were very excited to see the bulletin board they are being displayed on. Be sure to ask your kiddo about it. Many of them spoke excitedly about being able to share it with you during the upcoming open house. We spent some time last week making connections between grid maps and latitude and longitude on the map. This week, we launched our introduction to geography. In this unit, students learn about what geography is and get a preview of what they will be learning about as we study the different regions of the United States. We learned something very interesting about the world’s oceans (or ocean as the case may be). See if your kiddo can relay what that is. Almost all students have finished their hopes and dreams for the year and a wonderful bulletin board is being constructed in the hallway between two of our fourth grade work spaces. Students have started to think about the rules we need in our classroom so that all of us will be able to achieve our hopes and dreams this year.

Big picture

Fifth Grade News from Ms. Johnson

Fifth grade is working on identifying sequence of events in writing and looking for cue words such as then, later, and finally. We are reading a story called Earthquake Terror in a theme called Nature’s Fury. Which brings us to science. In science, we are studying the water cycle. Students analyzed the greek roots of hydro, atmo, geo, and bio to figure out their meanings. Then we watched a couple Crash Course Kids videos about the four spheres on our planet. Our first writing unit is free verse poetry in which they will write about something that is true to them. About a person, object, experience, or pet maybe. On full Wednesdays, we do a class activity. Last Wednesday, we read Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes. This Wednesday, we made cranes.

Sixth Grade News from Mrs. Schreiber

Sixth grade has been looking at our hopes and dreams for our year and what a “good peer/classmate” looks like, sounds like, and acts like. We are also exploring what the words “cooperation,” “Assertive & Advocate,” “Responsibility & Accountability,” “Empathy,” and “Self-control/safety” mean for use and our class. We will take all of this information into consideration as we put together our classroom “Code of Conduct” this week. We have also been exploring the steps of the engineering process through STEM projects.

News from Ms. Prew

I'm looking forward to seeing all of our Sanderson families at Open House next week. Please make sure to stop by Room 18! You'll see manipulatives that we use to support our math thinking and games that we play during Work Place time. I will also display some wonderful books that connect mathematics and reading. On another note, I am excited to share the 2021 - 2022 Title I School Family Compact with you all (a paper copy will come home in Thursday folders). This document outlines the details of the shared responsibility that we, teachers, have with you, family members, in supporting our amazing Sanderson students. Please read over this document and reach out to me with any questions that you have. We will work together as a school-family team and have a wonderful school year! See you soon! :) aprew@mtrsd.org

Reading Room News from Mrs. Morey

Hello all! I hope you read lots with your child this summer! I’m excited to see so many eager learners as I am spending time in classrooms while students are learning routines and getting to know one another. Shortly, classroom teachers, Special Education Teachers and I will begin administering a school wide literacy assessment called DIBELS. DIBELS stands for Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills. This assessment is done individually, three times a year and takes anywhere from 2-7 minutes depending on grade level. This document provides more information. I am available to answer any questions at kmorey@mtrsd.org

Library News from Ms. Wilson

Greetings, Sanderson community! I am so glad to be at Sanderson and I am looking forward to becoming more acquainted with students and families as the year unfolds. At Open House, I encourage you to take a look around our beautiful library space, full of brand-new books provided to us by a grant last spring. Hope to see you there!

Letter from Ms. Wilson

Dear Sanderson Families,

Most classes visited the library for the first time this week. This year, students in grades 1-6 will visit the library once a week for an hour, and Pre-K-K will visit once a week for 30 minutes each. This week, we got to know each other and the space, and next week, your child will have the opportunity to check out books from the library for the first time. In addition to our existing collection of picture books, novels, beginning chapter books, and nonfiction, I am excited to announce the recent arrival of 400+ new titles! You and your child can browse the collection from home by going to the Sanderson website, and selecting ‘Library Catalog’ under the Programs heading. You can also click HERE.

I encourage you to look at what your child chooses to bring home. Have conversations with them, and ask questions! Students in grades K/1 will be able to borrow one book weekly to start, and grades 2-6 may borrow two books each week. Books will need to be returned or renewed on their designated day before they can check out new titles. While library books are in your child’s care, please help your student:

  • Handle books carefully;

  • Keep books in a safe place;

  • Return library books on time.

There is a lot new about our library this year, including me! I am excited to begin my new position as Library Manager, after working in a public library and having taught at the secondary level for eight years. It was great to begin classes and meet students this week, and I look forward to sharing news and events with our community throughout the year. The best way to contact me is by email. Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions.


Robin Wilson

Library Manager


Music News from Nick Lawrence

Hello, Sanderson families! My name is Nick Lawrence and I am so glad to be here with Sanderson and MTRS to enrich our students’ education through band. Band is an optional activity for students 4th grade and higher where they can get free small-group lessons on a woodwind, brass, or percussion instrument through the school. An interest form will be headed home soon with information about instrument rentals and more. Our goal is to begin safe, COVID-friendly lessons the final week of September. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at nlawrence@mtrsd.org!

Physical Education News from Ms. Tyler

PE this year will be mainly outdoors again unless there is heavy rain. Please help your child dress appropriately with a rain jacket, rain boots on rainy days and sneakers on nice days. In PE we will be working on teamwork and cooperation through various activities.

Letter from Amy Socquet, Early Childhood Coordinator

Amy P. Socquet

Early Childhood Coordinator

75 Mechanic Street

Shelburne Falls, MA 01370

Phone: (413) 625-6194

Preschool/Kindergarten Screenings 2021-2022

Dear Families:

As required by state law, all children in public schools are provided with a developmental screening before Oct. 30th of the year they enter kindergarten. Since screenings were not conducted last year due to COVID restrictions, we will be screening all PK and K students this fall.

The screening which will be conducted in your child’s school within the next few weeks focuses on a child's ability to acquire skills. All children develop according to their own schedule of growth. Some develop faster in some areas and slower in other areas. This screening will assist your child’s teacher in learning more about various aspects of your child’s development such as language, cognition, perception, and motor development.

If you have questions, please call me at 625-6194 or email me at asocquet@mtrsd.org.

Amy P. Socquet

Early Childhood Coordinator