Deer Families

Deer Hill School News . October 15, 2021

Dear Deer Hill Families,

This week I want to take some space in our newsletter to talk about math. Specifically MCAS math and Bridges math. Hopefully you haven't already scrolled past to get to the cute pics at the end of the newsletter. Consider them your reward for hearing me out.


There has been a lot of doom and gloom about MCAS math scores. However, I have a different take to share. As you know, Deer Hill adopted the Bridges math program last year. It is a rigorous, challenging program, and teachers invested hours each week, not only in the professional development they needed to successfully implement it with students, but also to develop a modified pacing guide that responded to the unique educational hurdles that the pandemic brought. This work was done in close concert with Bridges consultants. With hybrid learning as the adopted model for two thirds of the year, dialing in on essential, foundational content was the name of the game. Some math concepts had to be merely introduced so that others could be taught to mastery. We were targeted and purposeful in our instruction and this is reflected in our MCAS scores.

Last week teachers at each grade level looked at item analysis reports of how our students performed. The data supported the work we did -- in our focus areas, we performed at or above the state level in the vast majority of instances. In other words, our strategy played out as we had hoped: we identified what was most important for students to learn, and they learned it. However, we realize our work is not done. With that item analysis, we now know where our next steps should lead us, and we will work tirelessly this year to not only maintain traditional pacing but to revisit concepts that did not get their full due last year.

Bridges Math

Are you still reading? I hope so. As we enter the second year of Bridges math, it's important to recognize that it's our first year of implementation with fidelity. This is exciting because even at a trot, our students developed as mathematicians in so many ways last year. Now we get to let them loose at a full gallop. With that in mind, it's also an important year for home school communication. Not only do we want to share student progress, but we want to deepen your understanding of how Bridges works in ways that are very different from how we likely learned and were assessed in math. To that end, each month I'll share a video from our math specialist, Chrissy Thonet, that highlights information about Bridges which will help families to support their students and better understand the philosophy behind our math instruction and routines.

This is the part where you can take a break from reading and watch this video from Chrissy Thonet.

Did you watch it? If so, then you learned a bit about how Bridges assessments differ from what you may have experienced in elementary school. In particular, not all answers to given problems have an expectation of mastery. Instead, a continuum of learning exists based on whether a concept has been introduced, is developing, or has reached that expectation of mastery. At parent conferences next week, teachers will be ready to review your child's unit one assessment with you. In this way they can help convey the most accurate information about your child's progress in math. Bridges doesn't lend itself to a raw score or a percentage marked in red at the top of the page. As a result, we feel a little hand holding is in order (that's figurative -- we're still social distancing!) Thank you for partnering with us to identify students' areas of strength and weakness in a way that best facilitates learning. Please remember that in addition to your child's classroom teacher, Mrs. Thonet is always available for an email exchange, a phone chat, or a scheduled meeting. She can be reached at

Whew! That's a lot of math. You've earned a peek at all of the cute pics at the end.

All the best,

Alexandra L. Sullivan

Principal, Deer Hill School

P.S. Our next newsletter will be published October 29, 2021.

P.P.S. Follow me on Twitter @DeerHillSchool for ongoing info and joy throughout the week.

Need to Knows

  • Thank you for partnering with us to review bike and pedestrian safety with your children. It's not only about the choices that they make, but building their awareness that cars sometimes make poor choices that can negatively impact their safety. Being alert and having that mindset will help keep our kiddos safe as they travel to and from school.

  • During drop off and pick up in our back loop, thank you for being mindful that you are not blocking adjacent driveways. We value our good relationships with our neighbors!

  • Deer Hill's enrichment program is back! Stay tuned for an email that will give details about the courses being offered by Deer Hill staff and community members. From knitting to cartooning, board games to the Kindness Squad, there will be a variety of offerings in both before and after school sessions.

  • As shared in a letter that was emailed yesterday, we will begin our i-Ready assessments next week. This year both students and teachers are acclimating to this new tool. We're allowing lots of space and grace to get comfortable with this new resource in a no-pressure, no-stress fashion.

  • Deer Hill's School Council plays an important role in advising the principal on matters related to the School Improvement Plan, the Deer Hill handbook, the school budget, and other topics related to the operations of the school. The Council is made up of an equal number of staff and community members. Meetings are scheduled for the second Thursday of the month at 4:00 in the Deer Hill library. The School Council meetings are open meetings, and the agendas are posted on the town website no less than 48 hours before each meeting. (Please note that next month's meeting will be held on Tuesday, November 16, due to the Veterans Day holiday.

Keeping the Joy (happenings at Deer Hill)

  • Deer Hill loves our community partners. A perfect example was this past Wednesday when our campus was bustling with yoga lessons, gardening with Holly Hill, and the return of Reading Rovers, our furry book lovers! All students will have opportunities throughout the year to participate in these enrichment activities.

  • The Fun Run returned and it couldn't have been a more gorgeous fall day. Many thanks to the PSO for hosting this fundraiser that brings so many assemblies and classroom resources to Deer Hill.

  • On Monday we'll enjoy an all school virtual anti-bullying assembly, "Bully No More," sponsored by the PSO. Deer Hill students are encouraged to wear their Empowering Students t-shirts as a show of our school community on Monday.

Deer Hill Dates

"Bully No More" all school virtual assembly: 10.18.21

Conferences, 1:15 early release: 10.20-10.21.21

Grade 3 "Walker Between Worlds social studies assembly: 11.3.21

Grade 4 field trip to Plimoth Patuxet Museum: 11.9.21

Veterans Day, no school: 11.11.21

Deer Hill School Council meeting: 11.16.21, 4:00

Grade 4 “Art Builds Community” artist visit/lesson from SSAC: 11.18-11.19.21

Early release, 1:15: 11.24.21

Thanksgiving break, no school: 11.25-11.26.21

Last day of term 1: 12.3.21

Progress reports published in Aspen: 12.10.21

CPS and Deer Hill calendars 2021-22 school year

Flyers of Interest

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