Weekly Newsletter

September 21, 2023

News from Principal Emma Liebowitz

It was so wonderful to see so many of you at Open House on Tuesday! I hope you enjoyed having your child(ren) share their school with you. I would like to invite you to join us on Mountain Day - Friday, September 29th. Reach out to your child's teacher for schedule information.

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Upcoming Events

Friday, September 22: Band Instrument Rental Night at 6:30 at Buckland-Shelburne Elementary

Wednesday, September 20: 1:50 Dismissal

Tuesday, September 26: School Picture Day

Wednesday, September 27: 1:50 Dismissal

Friday, September 29 - Mountain Day

Link to Sanderson Academy calendar.

From the School Office

Picture Day is Tuesday, September 26th.

Remember to send in the order form if you wish to purchase pictures.

If you placed an order online, there is no need to return the paper order form to school.

All students will have their pictures taken.

Local Good Catalog

The Local Goods Catalog is out!! Here is a link to the CATALOG and the ORDER FORM.

PTO News

PTO Needs Your Help at the 2023 Fall Festival!

Please help staff our booth & sign up for a shift or two! At the fall festival we need help making tacos, prepping food and collecting money. Sanderson students are welcome and encouraged to work the shift with their parents or caregivers selling seltzer or bottled water. We need a minimum of 5 people per shift. Signing up digitally is best: All sign ups needed by Sept. 29. https://www.signupgenius.com/go/5080F44AEA929A3F49-fall1

The money raised by our Walking Tacos stand goes directly back to Sanderson students and classrooms for supplies, field trips, or anything else teachers need or wish to use to enrich their classes.

The next Sanderson PTO meeting will be Thursday, September 21st virtually at 7pm. We will be discussing Local Goods, Fall Festival and assemblies. Here is the link to join. https://meet.google.com/kkv-iffj-xfm. New members are always welcome!

If you have any questions, please email lindi.russell@gmail.com.

Health Office News from Nurse Loranna

Starting September 25 you will be able to receive 4 free covid test kits by the mail at this link: https://www.covid.gov/tests. Covid cases are rising locally and having antigen tests at home can be a helpful tool if you or your child become symptomatic or if you plan to visit with an individual at higher risk for serious disease. In the fall/winter months viruses tend to increase as we gather indoors, we may feel depleted by our busy lifestyles and the weather begins to get colder. Staying home when sick makes a big difference in transmission rates and the health of the community; please continue to keep your child home when ill and reach out to me, thank you! Please let me know if you have any questions about our illness policies or covid guidelines. Ways to increase your immunity this fall/winter season are increasing water intake, getting some sunshine and moving your body, eating healthy foods, getting enough sleep and taking vitamin c, zinc or elderberry. Resting when you become ill can help you or your child recover faster. Be well!

Preschool News from Ms. Melanie and Ms. Kylee

Thank you to all of the preschool families for joining us in our outdoor classroom for Open House. The children were so excited to welcome their families and host our event. While acting as tour guides, they showed loved ones all of the spaces where they enjoy learning and playing

We had our first monarch butterfly hatch. The children were so curious about how it knew how to fly without ever being taught. It seemed magical. We watched the butterfly pump its wings in preparation for flight. Then we carefully took it outside and placed it on an aster plant to feed. The children waited patiently for it to fly away, but it simply ate and rested. As we were observing, we noticed that this butterfly did not have black spots on its wings, indicating that it was a female butterfly. The children are anxiously awaiting for the next three chrysalises to open. They are making predictions about when the next butterfly will hatch. They have noticed monarch butterflies in our garden and they wonder if any of our newly hatched butterflies will choose to live there too!

Kindergarten News from Ms. Sarah, Ms. Veronica and Ms. Beckwith

We have been starting to extend our morning meeting to include whole group sharing and the calendar and weather graphing routines. We have also been learning about the literacy read aloud centers--the listening station (for listening to books on CD), as well as the computer station with the read aloud program One More Story. We also learned about the literacy program we use on the ipads (Lexia). We have continued to add to the art center, and have now introduced the stapler, clear tape, and multicolored masking tape. Students have enjoyed making multi-media creations. Outside play continues to be a favorite at choice time as well! One more week of play center introductions and our kindergarten classroom will be up and fully running!

First Grade News from Ms. Wyckoff and Ms. April

It was so wonderful to see so many families at Open House! First graders loved showing their families their “All about me” books, their hopes and dreams, their math learning, pictures taken and so much more! Thank you for participating in our popsicle flavor poll! It looks like the winner is….blue raspberry! First graders were surprised to see that the outcome was the opposite of our first grade graph (on the right)! It seems kids really love cherry and the grown ups and siblings prefer blue raspberry! In our EL (ELA) lessons the first module begins with a series of tools challenges where children need to decide which tool is the best tool for the job. Out of an eye dropper, tweezers and magnifying glass, which tool will be the best tool for picking up beads? Out of a measuring cup, ladle, tongs and funnel, which tool can flip double sided Oreos? It’s been neat to listen to first graders prove their answer and tell why they chose a specific tool. In second step we are focusing on our skills for learning - this week our focus is “listening to learn” . First graders had fun creating their own skits to act out to show their great listening skills. This is a class that is comfortable, ready to take risks and give things a try. Each day we emphasize that everyone is learning (even teachers!), we all make mistakes and each time you give it a go you get stronger and even if you can’t do something right now, it just means you can’t do it…YET!

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Second Grade News from Ms. Lilly, Ms. Laura and Ms. Taylor

Thank you to all the families who joined us for Open House! We had all families attend and it was wonderful to see the students show off their spaces and all their hard work. We have been very busy in second grade continuing to add parts of routine to our daily schedule. In math, we have been exploring adding numbers to 20 and made our own number racks. We’ve also been learning new skills during our Fundations times such as learning about when to use c, k, or ck when a word makes the /k/ sound. We learned that at the beginning of a word when we hear the /k/ sound it is usually the letter c. The letter c is always before the short vowel sound a, o, and u. We use the letter k before the letters i and e. Finally we use the digraph -ck only at the end of a one syllable word, with one short vowel sound, when then the /k/ sound is right after the /k/ sound. Otherwise we use the letter k at the end of work, because in the English language words do not end in the letter c. For example in the word stick, the /k/ sound is right after the short i, so we use -ck, but in the word milk, the /k/ sound is after the letter l, so we use the letter k. We will continue to practice that skill! We also had a blast celebrating International Dot Day. Dot Day is based on the book The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds. The book celebrates collaboration and creativity. We spent last Friday doing all dot activities! We did dot math and a lot of dot art!

Third Grade News from Ms. Carole and Mr. Luke

It was wonderful to see so many families at Open House! Thank you to those who were able to make it. We hope you enjoyed finding your child’s Self Portrait and Hopes and Dreams for the year.

With the welcomed change in the weather, we are now able to do more outdoors learning. Last week we were able to begin harvesting from our bountiful gardens. On Friday we brought in two kinds of corn as well as our beans, onions, and garlic. They are all now being preserved through air-drying for future use. We also got to go on a walk through the woods with our Preschool Buddies this week. Some of the third graders were able to reflect after the walk on how it can be both fun and difficult to be the big buddy. Enjoy the pictures!

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Fourth Grade News from Ms. Lagoy and Ms. Upright

We learned lots of new math vocabulary this week (factors, factor pairs, prime numbers, and composite numbers) and will continue to deepen our understanding of these new concepts throughout the following week. For those of you who were able to attend our open house, you had an opportunity to see our number posters. These posters will help anchor our understanding of these mathematical concepts and propel our learning forward.

Students got materials to try building spaghetti towers on Wednesday. I think they were amazed at how unstable spaghetti is. Many of them had to go back to their notebooks and do some more thinking about how to make their towers more stable (e.g., incorporate triangles, build a stronger base before trying to add height, and have many pieces close together). Be sure to check out the newsletter next week for photos of our towers.

Fifth Grade News from Ms. Johnson and Ms. Shero

Fifth grade has been studying the colonies. We have been researching a variety of topics about each of the colonies using encyclopedias and books. Next week, we will explore some online resources. In ELA, we have been reading Esperanza Rising. We have been learning about human rights and making connections to the book and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Students have also been reading and responding to books from a collection in the classroom with topics related to human rights. We have had some great conversations during this unit. Students have made some amazing connections and have been respectfully listening to each other and building on each others’ ideas.

Sixth Grade News from Ms. West, Ms. Glenda and Ms. Alexis

It has been a busy and productive week in 6th grade. Project time continues to be a big success. We are working in different groups to complete different projects. We have established a new perennial garden and dug a small pond, have made a new class library, set up our Maker’s Space, and built a picnic table. Some of these projects are continuing, but we are also starting to help out in the school garden, completing woodworking projects, and figuring out Lego Robotics kits we have found! We have a wishlist of items for our projects and makerspace if anyone has some of these things that are going unused and would like to donate.

In ELA, we are studying Greek Mythology and reading The Lightning Thief. Students are full of theories about how the story will unfold. In math, we are working on common multiples and factorization as skills we will need to learn more about ratios and proportions. In social studies, we are learning about the paleolithic and neolithic eras. The class is really looking forward to some opportunities to begin building relationships with their school buddies in 1st grade and will have that chance next week on Mountain Day.

The class is thankful for the help from different people who are supporting us with our projects, especially community members Linda Taylor and Nancy Hoff, who are coming every week to help with gardening and woodworking.

News from Ms. Prew

Please check out this awesome website: Math at Home. It is filled with games, activities, links, and more. It is organized by grade level for ease of use. Your kiddos will recognize many of the learning tools and activities. Use this website to discuss your kiddos’ math learning and extend their learning at home. As always, please email me with any questions or comments. :) aprew@mtrsd.org

Reading News from Mrs. Morey

Beginning this week, teachers (K-6), will be administering DIBELS. This is a literacy assessment reprised of 1-3 minute subtests that inform teachers of a students reading skills. These can span from letter naming to reading fluency (story based) depending on the grade level and are administered individually. The data from these assessments are used to develop small group instruction based on student’s needs. If you have any questions about DIBELS feel free to contact me at kmorey@mtrsd.org

Library News from Ms. Wilson

It was so nice to see many of you at Open House! What a pleasure it was to open our beautiful library space to families and watch you explore together.

The most exciting library news this week is that this year’s 5th and 6th grade MCBA lunchtime book club had its first meeting this week. Twenty five students attended!!! I was thrilled to see that so many of our students are excited about reading. I’m not yet sure how to pull it off with a group of that size, but it’s a good problem to have! MCBA (Massachusetts Children’s Book Awards) is a program that is run by Salem State University. Every year, student committees from around the state select and publish a list of twenty-five middle grade books written in the past five years. Any 4th through 6th grader who reads 5 or more of the books can participate in a statewide vote for the favorite book. You can learn more about MCBA and check out this year’s list here.

Read often, widely, and together! And when you can, please help your student return their books on time. Happy reading!

Instrumental Music News from Ms. Julie

A huge thank you to everyone who helped make our first fundraiser a resounding success! Our bake sale at the open house raised a sizable amount that we will use to buy concert music and supplies. But the best part was seeing the camaraderie among our band and orchestra members as they worked together to prepare for the bake sale: making posters, setting up, and then taking turns at the table to sell all those wonderful treats–and there were so many treats to sell! A special thank you to all of the families who prepared and donated the bake sale items. It was a wonderful time!

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District Library News

Here is the link to the District Library Nesletter: https://www.smore.com/vtr5s

News from Special Education


~Parent Rights and Responsibilities workshop will be held Tuesday, October 3rd

In person at Mohawk Trail Regional and Virtually -

Annual Parent Rights and Responsibility Training

Google Meet joining info

Video call link: https://meet.google.com/mby-cuxg-pkm

Or dial: ‪(US) +1 276-695-5147‬ PIN: ‪369 643 542‬#

~SEPAC is up and running. Be on the lookout for the next meeting date.

~You will be receiving a letter in the mail with the Annual Rights and Responsibility.

Special Education Contact Information

Leann Loomis

Director of Pupil Personnel Services

413-625-0192 x1025


Melissa Plesnar

Assistant to Director of Pupil Personnel Services

413-625-0192 x1015


Erin Beaudet

7-12 Liaison

413-625-9811 x1314


Carolyn Goodnow

1-6 Liaison

Mohawk Trail District



Kate Dwyer

1-6 Liaison

Hawlemont District



Amy Socquet

Early Childhood Coordinator and Liaison



News from SEPAC

About Mohawk Trail SEPAC

The Special Education Parent Advisory Council is an advisory group led by parents within our community. We are looking to support each other and help the school district to better serve its students. The SEPAC is open to all caregivers within the district with an IEP or 504 plan, and to interested members of the community. Please reach out to us to learn more!

SEPAC meetings

We meet monthly via Zoom. Upcoming meetings: Sept 28, Oct 23, Nov 27 at 6:30 pm

We welcome caregivers, staff, and interested members of the community to learn about SEPAC and meet local families. The public meeting will be followed by a private caregiver support discussion.

Email us to learn more: mohawksepac@gmail.com

Follow us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MohawktrailSEPAC

Mary Lyon Foundation News

Dear Community Members,

We need your help to shape future health priorities for West County. Please use the QR Code on the following page or the link below to take the Community Health Survey. To improve the health of everyone in West County, our voices need to be heard. Anyone aged fourteen and older can take the survey. It will only take 15minutes to complete and is confidential.

Taking the survey is voluntary and easy! Click on this link: www.mass.gov/healthsurvey, or use the QR code below.

Once you have completed the survey, use the QR code below to sign up for a $5.00 gift card to Mo’s Fudge Factor. This is the Mary Lyon Foundation’s way of saying thank you for ensuring that the voices and needs of our nine towns are heard loud and clear. If you have questions, don't hesitate to get in touch with us at kbaker@marylyonfoundation.org or call us at (413) 625-2555.

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Community Events

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