ATC Principal's Newsletter

February 2017

Important Upcoming Dates

February 20th to 25th - Winter Break

February 28th - Site Council Meeting 3PM

February 2nd and 3rd - MWRA Presentation to 3rd Grade Students

March 7th - NAEP Testing for approximately 60 Grade 4 randomly selected students

March 15th - PTO Meeting 6:30PM

March 21st - End of Second Trimester

March 24th - PTO Movie Night!!! Trolls!

March 31st - Report Cards Distributed

Kindness Club - True Patriots!

On February 3rd, most people were focused on Superbowl Parties and preparing for arguably the most sensational game in history. Our Kindness club however, saw an opportunity to help those in need. Thank you to the students and parents that participated in the $1 donation to wear Patriots' gear on the Friday before Superbowl Sunday. Our Kindness Club collected over $150 that will go directly to a homeless shelter in Cambridge, MA. We are so proud of our students for always putting others first! This is truly a win-win!

Winter, a Time for Growth

With the ground covered in snow, the colder months are not the time most people think about growth and progress. In the elementary classroom however, this is the time we see the most development from our students. Academic skills including reading levels and math proficiency along with social / emotional learning flourish at this time of the year when classroom norms have developed and student relationships with their peers and teachers really start to take hold.

As a parent, this is an exciting time as you start to see your child taking on new challenges and growing in confidence. It is also an excellent time to recognize your child's growth and discuss how far he / she has come over the past few months.

The Cummings School recently took the Scholastic Math and Reading Inventory Assessments which provide us with a wealth of data to monitor the academic growth of our students and put any supports in place if necessary. As a school, we have shown tremendous growth with this year and we owe a debt of gratitude to our extremely hardworking teachers. I invite you to reach out to your child's teacher and ask about the latest round of data.

As you will see below, most students are making growth. If students are not making the gains needed to stay at or above grade level, we always ask the following questions:

- Are students reading? We have a program called Reading Counts that monitors how many books students have read and quizzes they have passed. If students are not making gains in literacy, they are typically not consistently reading and passing these quizzes. Students are provided thirty minutes per day of choice reading and whether or not they are using this time efficiently has a significant impact on their overall growth.

- Are students completing their nightly Lexia homework? We are fortunate to have access to the Lexia program which provides students with repetition and specific lessons to meet their needs outside of their daily instruction from a licensed teacher or reading specialist. Few people know that Winthop was a pilot site for the program which has become a worldwide success. Lexia is research-based and proven to accelerate reading ability and help fill any gaps. It is important to note that students should not exceed the recommended time as too much of a good thing limits current and future impact.

- Are students completing their nightly TenMarks homework? Today students are exposed to extremely rigorous standards and expected to perform at a high level starting in the early grades. As our nation works hard to compete with other countries around the globe, it is critical that our students are provided with the tools to stay competitive. TenMarks provides students with additional practice outside of school that is targeted to meet each student exactly where he / she is at based on diagnostic assessments. Videos, hints, and amplifiers provide students with an opportunity to try and try again until they reach success. This is right in line with our focus on Growth Mindset and never giving up!

Below: Mrs. Reynolds runs a math station. This year, as a school, we adopted the Guided Math model which integrates small group rotations and more focused instruction,

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SMI / SRI Data

As mentioned above, students in all grades completed the Scholastic Math and Reading Inventories. See our growth below:

Grade 3 Reading

Grade 3 Math

Grade 4 Reading

Grade 4 Math

Grade 5 Reading

Grade 5 Math

Cummings School to Present at MESPA!

On March 24th, several member of the Cummings School team will present at the MESPA (Massachusetts Elementary School Principals' Association) Conference in Devens, Massachusetts. This is a terrific honor for our school to be selected. We will sharing our progress in math instruction with principals and administrators from around the state and we are humbled by the opportunity. The topic of our workshop will be "Guided Math to Reach all Students" and will focus on our work around ensuring each child in our school gets personalized, high quality instruction every day. Click HERE to read more about the workshops offered. The teachers joining me to present will be Dawn Letterie (Math Coach), Kristen Reynolds (Grade 3), and Courtney Pino (Special Education).


A wonderful book came across my desk this past month called Yardsticks by Chip Wood. Mr. Wood does an excellent job of summarizing the research on child development and helping educators and parents navigate between what is typical behavior for students and when we need to be concerned. I have been finding this to be an excellent resource. As a principal and parent, this is a terrific read!

Click HERE for a more information on this text.

Click HERE for a summary of student developmental levels in grades 3-5.

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