Elm Street News

April Showers....seem to never end


ELA MCAS are done! Our 3rd and 4th grade students did an amazing job and worked so hard. We had 100% participation, which is a major deal, considering we need 95% or better, according to the state.


Math MCAS are next on the docket. They will be the final ones for the year.

Grade 3 = May 8 & 9 (Wednesday and Thursday)

Grade 4 = May 14 & 15 (Tuesday and Wednesday)

Again, student attendance is incredibly important. Its also important for students to be ON TIME for their testing days. All teachers and students must be in their testing locations by 9:20am. Any student that comes in late, may not be able to join their class and will need to make up the test another day. Our students and parents/guardians did a great job getting in on time for ELA - let's do the same for Math. Thank you!

Spring Walk to School Day

On May 7th, we will be doing a Spring Walk to School [Rain Date May 10th].

It will be the same format as the fall one without the marching band.

This is our first springtime walk and we're excited to take part.

This year, one of our very own Wildcats won a state-wide yard sign poster contest through Safe Routes to School and Mass DOT.

She and her homeroom will be leading this walk.

Homework Clinic

Homework Clinic dates for the rest of the year are May 2, 9, 16, and 30th. Thank you again to Ms. Tata, our Leo Club volunteers, and others for helping out and giving our kids some extra attention


Just a reminder: we are still collecting boxtops for education! We collect them all year long and turn them in once a year for PTO funds. This money helps fund all the events we have for the ESS children. If you still have boxtops, please send them in with your children. Thank you!!

Student Drop-off

Student drop-off, in the morning, has been going much better from our perspective. But as a reminder, please make sure that you are pulling over to curb before allowing your child to exist the vehicle. DO NOT allow them to get out while in traffic. This is incredibly unsafe and dangerous. We had a near miss a few weeks back with a student who existed while in traffic and was almost hit by a car (who followed the pattern) pulling away from the curb.

Please, please, please - a few more moments waiting in line to drop-off is WAY better than waiting in a hospital room...or worse. Thank you!

Tardy students

Just a reminder that our front doors close at 9:00am, meaning that all students who arrive afterwards MUST be buzzed in and report to the office. Remind your student to always stop in the office first if they arrive after 9:00am.

Happy Arbor Day!

For the last few years, Jeff Legros [Conservation Agent for Gardner] writes a grant to get our Grade 4 students a tree to plant for Arbor Day. The tree that is being given this year is a regional classic, the Sugar Maple.

Also, the city planted 2 Elm Trees in front of HMS in honor of Arbor Day. Elm Trees are rare due to Dutch Elm Disease which hit the region hard years ago. These Elm Trees are disease resistant variation. We appreciate Jeff's support in this venture. If you'd like to learn more about this grant - click the link below


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ELL Buddies Program

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Sleeping on the Roof

April Reading Challenge

Unfortunately, Elm Street students did not meet my April vacation reading challenge. The challenge was for 70% of our student body to complete one reading log (20 min/night) over vacation. This is very bittersweet. While I'm happy that I don't need to dye my hair purple now, I'm saddened that 70% of our students didn't read for 20 minutes/night over a 7 day span. We need to be the change our students need in order to develop good learning habits. 20 minutes is all we ask - - 20 minutes less on TV, 20 minutes less on Fortnite, 20 minutes less of screen time - - and 20 minutes developing a positive habit that will serve them well their entire life.

So, with that said - if we receive 75 more reading logs between now and Friday (from students who did not turn in their April vacation logs), I will fulfill the second part of my challenge - I will sleep on the roof of the school and Facebook Live the reading of "Miss Malarkey Leaves No Reader Behind."

PBIS (Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports) Updates

Grade Level Incentive:

The students will be able to look forward to earning the next grade level incentive which is on Monday, May 20th. They will earn extra time outside and will be able to use bubbles and play with sidewalk chalk.

The students also enjoyed their April grade level incentive, which was a team building activity.

Staff Recognition:

The PBIS Tier 1 team discusses ways to recognize staff in the building. There are many recognition dates coming up and we just wanted to share them.

May 1st- Principal Appreciation Day (Mr. Fredette and Mr. Guerin)

May 3rd- Cafeteria Workers Day (All cafeteria workers)

May 6th- School Nurse Appreciation Day (Nurse Michelle and Nurse Amy)

May 6th-10th- Teacher Appreciation Week

Teaching Expected Behavior:

After every vacation, the students are re-taught the expected behavior in the different areas of the school (classroom, playground, hallways, cafeteria, etc.). The teachers remind the students what it means to be respectful, responsible, and ready in these areas around the building.

The classroom teachers re-taught their students the ESS Wildcat expected behavior after April vacation. The students get their passports stamped to acknowledge that they were re-taught.

VIP Table- Cafeteria

The students are still receiving ‘Caf Cash in the cafeteria and are able to be chosen for the V.I.P table weekly.

The V.I.P. table has been affected because of MCAS during April and May because of MCAS testing, but will resume back to weekly when testing is completed.

Sweetheart and Me Dance / VIP and Me Event

This year, in an effort to be more inclusive for ALL our students, we decided to rebrand a few of our events. Formerly known as the “Father-Daughter Dance,” the Sweetheart and Me Dance was marketed towards our Elm Street girls and their date of choice. We had over 400 attendees! The event formerly known as the “Mother-Son Event,” was changed to the VIP and Me Event. This event had around 200 of our Elm Street boys and their date of choice.

The Sweetheart and Me dance featured a DJ. The VIP and Me event had many games (lawn, board, and gym ) for our attendees to play as well as ice cream (generously donated by Kay’s Ice Cream Bar in Westminster). Lifetouch photography was available at both events.

Both events were a total blast.

Thank you to all who made both such a success, including our Family Engagement Committee and our PTO.

HUGE Thank you to Girl Scout Troop # 64548 for cleaning the Elm Street playground!

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We are absolutely ecstatic to announce that our Laps of Love will be taking place at Mount Wachusett Community College this year!

It will take place on May 29, 6-7:00pm ( Rain Date of 5/30)

In preparation, we will sell Laps of Love Buttons for $1.00 that were created by our students. All proceeds will benefit American Cancer Society through the Greater Gardner Relay for Life Elm Street School Team. Buttons will be sold during student lunches as well as at the event.

We hope to see you all there!

BIG CHANGES - Next Year - Scheduling

If your student is in 3rd or 4th grade next year, they will be experiencing some big changes at Elm Street.

The biggest of which is that they will no longer be in self-contained classrooms. We have decided to departmentalize our 3rd and 4th grade teams, meaning that teachers will focus on specific curriculum, similar to the middle school model. Students will have an opportunity to transition between classrooms, giving them more movement and a change of scenery throughout the day.

Right now, 3rd and 4th graders have one homeroom teacher, who teaches all core subjects to the one cohort. Next year, students will have a teacher who will primarily be responsible for teaching Math and Science and another teacher who will primarily be responsible for teaching ELA and Social Studies.

We are very excited about this change and believe it will be beneficial in creating a stronger community and a culture of achievement.

Summer Reading

Each grade level has Summer Reading requirements for next year. All students entering 2nd grade, 3rd grade, and 4th grade are required to do summer reading. Each grade level will provide suggestions of authors and titles that students can choose from. You may find them in your home libraries or in the Heywood Library. Students will complete an assignment upon their return to school in the fall, but can find information about these choices on our website soon. Reading is one the most important and best things you can do with your student. The "Summer Slide" is a VERY real thing and anything we can do to stem the slide will only set our students up for future success.

Literacy advice for families

Literacy tips for early readers

  • Point out print in the child's environment: on cereal boxes, food labels, toys, restaurants, and traffic signs.
  • Sing songs, say short poems or nursery rhymes, and play rhyming words games with your child.
  • Tell stories to your child.
  • Read aloud to your child. Point to the words on the page as you read.
  • Read a short passage several times to your child until your child can read it with you. Then encourage your child to read the passage to you.
  • Encourage older children to read with younger children.
  • Encourage your child to read (or pretend read) to you. Make this reading enjoyable. Don't worry if your child does not read all of the words correctly but, rather, applaud your child's efforts to read.
  • Go to the library together.
  • Have books, magazines, and newspapers around the house. Let your child see you reading.
  • Encourage your child to write messages such as grocery lists, to-do lists, postcards, or short messages to family members or friends. Don't worry about conventional spelling at this point but, rather, encourage your child's first efforts at authorship.
  • When watching television, have the captioning feature enabled so that the children view the words while hearing them performed aloud.

Literacy tips for more advanced readers

  • Talk to your child about what he or she is reading. Ask open-ended questions such as "What do you think about that story?" "What would you have done if you were that character?"
  • Make reading and writing a regular part of your daily home activities. Let your child see you using reading and writing for real purposes.
  • Visit the public library. Help your child to get his or her own library card.
  • Read to your child regularly, even after your child is able to read some books independently.
  • Listen to your child read. Use strategies to help your child with tricky words. For example, when your child comes to an unfamiliar word, you might say, "Skip it and read to the end of the sentence. Now try again – what makes sense and looks like the word that you see?"
  • Praise your child's efforts at reading.
  • Play word games such as thinking of different words to describe the same things.
  • Support your child's writing. Have writing materials such as paper, markers, and pencils available. Read what your child writes.
  • Set reasonable limits for television viewing.

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Building a Culture of Achievement

At Elm Street, we are working hard to create a positive culture for ALL throughout the school. When we talk about culture, we aren't necessarily talking about climate (the feeling of the school), but rather we are talking about norms and ideals that exist in all our systems and instruction. The following are the ideals that we have started to put in place since I have been at Elm Street and will continue to strive towards:

1. A school has a culture of achievement if the school culture is highly relational, that is relationships with students and their families are viewed the sine qua non (essential) for the helping students achieve at high levels.

2. A school has a culture of achievement if it is organized around the belief, shared by most of the adults in the school community, and overtime by students, that all students can do high level academic work. Over time and with some intentionality, teachers and school leaders reject the practice of exceptionalizing the achievement of a category or a few students.

3. A school has a culture of achievement if the message that all students can be achievers and do high level work includes an acknowledgment that achievement will often occur in the midst of setbacks, failures, detours, hardships, and doubts. (growth mindset)

4. A school that has a culture of achievement if teachers know where each student is academically and the skills, competencies and background knowledge that are required for each one of them to access a challenging curriculum. With this knowledge, faculty and administrators develop systems, curricula, pedagogical practices and a plan to teach students so that they can access a challenging curriculum.

End of the Year Itchiness

Many of our students start to experience a little bit of "itchiness," when we get to this part of the year. For some, its the anticipation and the promise of summer. They like to start their summer early ;). For others, it's the fear of leaving Elm Street. Many of our kiddos get scared about leaving the structure of Elm Street, whether it's for the summer, or for good, as it will be for our 4th graders.

At this time, it's even more imperative that you maintain positive communication with your student's teacher and that you keep a positive mindset.