Tuesday, June 14, 2022
News from the Principal
It’s hard to believe that we have reached the end of the school year. Where did the time go? This was the longest/shortest school year I have experienced yet. With all the challenges we faced in the beginning of the year with Covid, it feels like we are finally on a roll. June in particular has been crammed with what seems like a year's full of school events. I continue to be amazed at the learning gains and accomplishments of our children. There is so much to celebrate and be proud of! Thank you for your continued support at home in helping to make this school year a success!
Goodbyes and Hellos
Looking ahead to the new school year, we have lots of personnel changes with our faculty. Mrs. Beth Foster, Mrs. Karen Perrett, and Mrs. Danielle Pinkes are all retiring. Additionally, there is one other retirement that would like to remain anonymous. Goodbyes are certainly not easy. The dedication and positive impact our retirees have had on our school communities will surely leave a lasting impact. We are forever grateful for their work with our children.
In administrative news, our assistant principal Mrs. Dawn Marie Ayles will be leaving us to pursue other educational opportunities. She has been a tremendous support to myself and our staff during these past few years as we navigated through covid education. We wish her all the best in her next endeavor.
As for new people, I am pleased to announce that Mrs. Kellie O’Brien, current Overlook Assistant Principal, will join our team as the Associate Principal of Meetinghouse School and Westminster Elementary School. She brings a wealth of experience as an elementary school teacher, assistant principal and principal to the role along with experience and expertise supporting students with and without disabilities in a variety of ways. Kellie has led elementary level initiatives of all types and is especially skilled in building and supporting structures and systems of tiered support. Mrs. Kellie O’Brien is excited to begin her new role this summer.
In the fall we will welcome more new people to our team. We will have two new full time school adjustment counselors, Lindsay Milne from Oakmont High School and Jennifer Samuels from Overlook Middle School. We will also have a new third grade teacher, Clancy Ronan and a new 4th grade teacher, Emily Garceau.
Although we have lots of changes ahead of us, I’m confident we have a strong team moving forward and I am excited for the possibilities and opportunities before us.
Have a wonderful summer!
Second Grade News
News from Mrs. Luibil
The school year has flown by and is coming to a close very quickly! For the last few weeks of May, we worked on Wiffle Ball in Physical Education. Wiffle Ball is the same thing as baseball and softball, but plastic equipment is used for safety reasons. This was a great unit to end the year with as Wiffle Ball is a popular summer game that can be played in your backyard, at the beach, at a park or anywhere really! Students in all grades worked on throwing and catching, running the bases and we did a batting practice all before getting into gameplay. This unit promoted strength and cardiovascular fitness, developed hand-eye coordination, quick thinking and reaction skills, as well as communication and social skills. We also got to play Kickball after we finished Wiffle Ball. The students had a lot of fun!
This past week, students in grade 2-4 did Mini Golf, Air Hockey and Cup Stacking in the gym. Each class got to design their own mini golf holes. Students could choose which activity they wanted to do and change stations as many times as they wanted. It was really neat to see all the different set ups for each golf hole. Students in grades K + 1 got to use the Imagination Blocks the PTO so kindly purchased. It was awesome to see the students collaborating, sharing and using their imagination all while still being active.
5th grade Field Day today was great, and we are looking forward to another great field day for grades K through 4 tomorrow! Thank you to everyone who has volunteered!
I had a wonderful year with all the students and I wish you a happy, healthy, and active summer!
Fifth Grade News
Congratulations to the following retirees! May their new chapters be filled with much joy!
Wear Violet for Violet Day - Update
On Friday, June 10th
Both schools wore purple to support Violet Bolduc.
Violet is a kindergartener at MHS and has a diagnosis of Neurofibromatosis Type 1.
More information can be found in last week’s newsletter and again below.
We filled the school with so much purple!!!!!
Student Council collected monetary donations on Friday
and raised more than $2300 to give the family to show our support and help as they travel back and forth to Boston for treatments!
From the School Nurses
We are getting close to the end of the school year! Here are some final reminders from the Nurses:
IMPORTANT: All daily and as-needed (PRN) medications stored in the nurse’s office need to be picked up by a parent or responsible adult no later than the final day of classes (June 17 by 12 pm.)
Under no circumstances will any medication be sent home with the students. Any unclaimed medication will be properly disposed of.
New medication orders will be needed for the start of school in the Fall. All forms can be found HERE
Please send in any physical exams that are done over the summer
There are some exciting changes for next year
- Jessica Heffernan is moving on to be the school nurse at Oakmont!
- Bridget Hurley will be the school nurse at Westminster Elementary School! Starting this Summer and moving forward please send all your school nurse concerns for your children at WES to her email BHurley@awrsd.org
- Cassandra Benes will be the new school nurse at Meetinghouse School! Please send all your school nurse concerns for your student at MHS to CBenes@awrsd.org
Stay safe and enjoy the summer!
Your School nurses
Jessica Heffernan BSN, RN ~ Bridget Hurley BSN, RN
Westminster Elementary School ~ Meetinghouse School
From Mrs. Pinkes - Our School Adjustment Counselor
Preparing Your Child For Transition
Anxiety is a normal feeling when transitioning to a new grade or school. Some children will be affected by grade/school transitions more than others.Whether your child is entering entering first grade, moving to Westminster Elementary, starting middle school or just moving up another grade preparing him/her is very helpful and important.
- Focus On The Positives: new friends, new teachers, new opportunities
- Address Fears: listen to and validate your child’s fears, talk about fears you had at their age and how you handled it
- Attend School Events in the Fall: Take advantage of orientations, many include tours of the building
- Reach Out for Support: if your child is experiencing high levels of anxiety about the upcoming transition, consult available resources on our website or our School Adjustment Counselor directly.
Music News from Mr. Lucander
GOLD…. GOLD… PLATINUM
This past weekend was definitely a highlight of my 28 years of teaching.
So many music programs that were decimated due to Covid, ours was no exception. The music program at Westminster Elementary before, was really pumping with huge numbers, 7 ensembles, and to me, they had high level elementary skills. We had just under 70 students in the band when Covid had hit.
After Covid brought our program on its heels, we started the school year in September with about 12 persistent kids left over in the band. Practices were held outdoors, lessons were online, some kids stopped playing, others would graduate to middle school. But then came a huge sign up in September of 2021. We had about 60 instrumental kids at the end of this year and about 45 chorus kids!
Think about all of the growth and preparation in all of these performances that they were involved in. The Westminster Cracker Festival, District Marching Band Night, Veterans Day, The Westminster Tree Lighting Ceremony, Holiday Concerts at WES/Monty Tech, the Cool Yule Kids, District Band Night, District Chorus Night, District Jazz Night, Recital Night, Celebration Creation Night, the Taps services on Memorial Day,the school Memorial Day program, the Taps services on the morning of Memorial Day, the Memorial Day parade/program on Academy Hill, the Relay For Life opening ceremony, and the Spring Concerts at WES/ORHS were all AWESOME!!!
But the grand finale had to have been when we performed at the Great East Festival and Canobie trip. The Advanced Concert Band, Chorus and Jazz Bands all performed so well that the judges were impressed enough to give Gold, Gold, and Platinum ratings to each of the groups!!
The transformation from September to June, hit the heart of this old music teacher and to see the look on each of the kids' faces when they heard each announcement was awesome. The judges, who were well respected music educators in Massachusetts were giving positive compliments, saying that our kids were performing with some skills that rivaled most middle school and even some high school programs. They just couldn’t believe that our elementary students were playing at such a high level of achievement. Our kids capped the day with an afternoon trip to Canobie Lake Park, and a ride home of happy faces and singing songs on the way home.
I am a lucky man to have parents who are invested in our program, an assistant Director who helps organize (Mrs. Popik), great lesson instructors, a principal (Mrs. Taylor) who is the glue that has been holding our school together, and staff who are very supportive, and most importantly kids who work hard to make it happen. Next year I’m looking forward to continued efforts to rebuild our music program, giving our children perhaps more opportunities for ensembles to play in like we had before in the Wind Ensemble, Select Chorus, and Bell Choir.
It’s all about the kids. I’m just lucky to be a part of it. My goal is that our parents, students, and community are proud of it. This was a remarkable year of my career with all of the challenges that nobody could have imagined, and I hope that my fellow music educators are having their own little success stories too. Music Education is a lot of work and one of the most beautiful and incredible parts of education. SUPPORT your local program and the lifelong benefits will happen. Let’s get these kids into the music program in September!!
Congratulations to the musicians of Westminster Elementary!
Mr. Kris Lucander
4th Grade - Nature's Classroom News
Grade 5 Nature's Classroom at Camp Cody 2023
Monday, May 22th - Friday, May26th
Each year our 5th grade students travel to Camp Cody in Freedom, NH for an outdoor classroom experience. The trip is 5 days/4 nights. Next year we are going the week of May 22-26th. We want to prepare families that the cost of this trip has increased and is estimated to be about $450-475 per student. Please note this trip in your calendars, more information will go home with students in the fall.