Fiske Monthly News

August/September 2016


Welcome to the home of the Fiske monthly news! We feature great news and updates by grade level and specialist teachers to help keep you informed about what our students are learning. Enjoy your reading!
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News from The Principal

Welcome Back Fiske Families!

It seems like we just left yesterday! The staff and I hope that you've enjoyed your summer break and that you had a smooth entry back into school!

Fiske was a busy place this summer with lots going on. You may not know, but we house the extended school year program for the entire district over the course of the summer months. Two hundred fifty or so students attend the program from all across Lexington. This means that our custodians are working extra hard to get the building ready for the start of school.

I'd like to give a special thank you to our head custodial Al DiPietrantonio and our other custodians, Richard Sampson and Paul James for a job well done. The school looks absolutely beautiful due to their efforts and hard work! We all need to give extra effort to help the school stay looking great all year long.

Over the summer, the school had a few areas that received some renovations. The cafeteria got a new tiled floor, the library got new carpeting, along with the main office (tile and carpet) and the main area in the literacy suite. We also had a number of spaces that were painted, including the music room, Ms. Couillard's room, Mrs. Donnelly's office, the office where the recess and duty aides are, and finally, the art room which we are getting back this year!

Last year, due to increased enrollment, we had to give up our art room to accommodate additional students. Mrs. O'Leary did a fantastic job of making the best out of a challenging situation. To welcome her back to her room, we've had the room painted, and new counter top and back splash installed. The room is looking fantastic and we are so excited to have that space back for students to go to art!

This summer we planted some new plants in the front of the school, including lilies and purple cone flowers. I've been keeping my eye on the coneflowers, which seem to be quite tasty to a local wood chuck! On the Colony road side of the building, some of the evergreen shrubs were pruned to make for easier clean up below them.

While those things made the school look "nice", we also focused on other areas that are important for students. Many of the FIske staff participated in summer professional development opportunities that spanned across many content areas. I also attended the International Society for Technology In Education conference in Denver, and then also presented at the National Association of Elementary School Principals Conference in National Harbor, Maryland. Both opportunities gave me the chance to learn about best practices and reflect on what we can improve upon at Fiske.

Our opening day (Monday, August 29th) included a presentation in the morning at the High School with our Superintendent, some district wide department meetings, followed by school based work and meetings. We often have a luncheon theme as part of our kick off meeting and this year the theme was "Western".

This year, as you know, we have asked parents to go into the Aspen portal and update student emergency contact information. It is IMPERATIVE that you do that as soon as possible. In the event that your child should have an emergency, we need to have the most up to date information available. The Aspen portal is where you got your child's report card in the spring and will continue to get their report card in the upcoming year.

Fiske families did a great job getting their dismissal information entered into our online portal. As of the first day, we had all but about 30 students, some of whom were siblings. This makes for a much smoother first day dismissal procedure as teachers aren't trying to manage 500 sheets with information on them.

On Tuesday morning, our arrival and day went very smoothly! Thank you again for helping your child transition back to school and to be ready to learn. Everyone has gotten to where they need to go at the end of day dismissal with very few issues. This can be anxiety causing for children (and adults) so we are glad that everyone has safely gotten home each day!

Our other great helpers on opening day were the AWESOME Fiske Staff. Many, many teachers came in for weeks over the summer to make sure that their rooms were ready to welcome your children. Additionally, those teachers that did not have a homeroom on the first day were outside and at the ready to help your children find their way if they were nervous or just needed some extra help. I am so appreciative of their support and preparedness. It makes being a principal here the very best job there is!

This year, I've been invited to join a group of educators that are doing a 365 day blogging project. The goal is to write a very quick blog piece each day. I generally try to write a longer one, once per week in my regular blog. For the #blog365 project, I will be highlighting all of the positive things happening at Fiske each day throughout the next year! Be watching at the following URL:

I've included a few pictures below of the "lead up" to school starting. Be on the look out for more opportunities to see the great things happening at Fiske. We have a Twitter feed and you can see items at @fiskeschool and you're welcome to follow me as well @tommartellone. If you take photos and share them, it would be great if you used #fiskeschool to "catalog" our happenings!

Don't forget...Back to School Night is on September 22nd. The agenda/schedule is posted on Fiske Weekly News!