Weekly Newsletter

September 9, 2021

News from Principal Emma Liebowitz

It has been a great start to the new school year! Students are learning new procedures and routines when educators use a teaching practice called Interactive Modeling. Students and staff are creating their Hopes and Dreams/Goals for the year. These goals will help define classroom rules.

Please take the time to read the important information and announcements contained in this newsletter.

From the School Office

Please return all paperwork if you haven’t done so already. Thank you to those that have. If your child is riding a different bus, they need to bring in a note.

Drop-Off/Pick-Up Reminders

~ Parking lot space is tight. If you park, please know that you will be blocked in until it is safe to exit.

~ Drivers should remain in vehicles except to (un)buckle students, if needed.

~ Drivers should not pass parked cars unless directed by a staff member.

~ Drivers must enter the driveway. Students are not allowed to be dismissed to a car parked on the main road.

~ Students should cross the driveway to a parked car after a staff member has indicated it is safe to do so.

~ Cars should not be in the circle when busses are there. Cars cannot pass busses on school property even if flashing lights are off.

~ Drop-off: The earliest students can be dropped off is 8:30 unless enrolled in before school care. Cars should only enter the driveway closest to the sign (middle driveway). Take the immediate right. Students should quickly exit the vehicle. Staff members will be present to help direct students.

~ Pick-up: We will dismiss students that are being picked-up at 3:05. Cars should only enter the driveway closest to the sign (middle driveway). This may require vehicles to wait on the main road in the breakdown lane. Please allow space for busses to pass. Take the immediate right and pull up to the car ahead. A staff member will be present to bring children to cars.

~ Bus Dismissal: We will load busses at 3:10. Busses will leave Sanderson at 3:15.


Preschool families can pull into the circle for drop-off after all buses have left. Cars cannot pass busses on school property even if flashing lights are off. For pick-up at 2:30, parking in the circle is permitted.

Reminder: If there is change to your child(ren)'s dismissal routine, please send a note or contact the school. If we do not receive a note or other form of communication, it is assumed your child(ren) are following their typical dismissal.

Students can ride busses to alternate locations if there is room on the bus and a note/communication is received.


Wednesday, September 15 - Full day of school

Wednesday, September 22 - 1:50 Dismissal

Wednesday, September 22 - Open House - 6:00-7:00

Friday, September 24 - Mountain Day (All School Hike)

Wednesday, September 29 - 1:50 Dismissal

Link to Sanderson Academy calendar.

Open House

Open House will take place on the evening of Wednesday, September 22 from 6:00 - 7:00. In order to have less people in the building at one time, we are asking that families with last names that begin with the letters A-K to come from 6:00 to 6:30. Families with last names that begin with letter L-Z should attend Open House from 6:30 to 7:00. If your family has more than two children at Sanderson, you are welcome to attend the full hour to allow time to visit each classroom. It is important that families travel around the build together. Students must stay with adult caregivers.

Welcome to Our New Staff Member Bridget Lilly

Hi, my name is Bridget Lilly. I am a new co-teacher and interventionist at Sanderson. I have been teaching for 11 years and have experience in many grades. I live here in Ashfield and have two boys, Durham in 3rd grade and Hudson in kindergarten here at Sanderson. I am so excited to be joining the Sanderson community! I enjoy spending time at my family’s lake house in Maine, being active with my two boys, and skiing. I look forward to getting to know all of your kids this year!

Welcome to Our News Staff Member: Robin Wilson

Hello, Sanderson Community!

My name is Robin Wilson (she/her/hers) and I am delighted to be your new Library Manager. I have worked with children of all ages and in many capacities for my whole life. Most recently, I taught at the secondary level for eight years before starting a family. I live in Shelburne Falls with my partner and two children who attend BSE. Last year, I worked as a Library Assistant at the Wendell Free Library where I discovered my passion for librarianship. My new role at Sanderson is a dream come true! I can’t wait to read with your children and to help them find books that excite them. I am very much looking forward to getting to know the Sanderson community. Stay tuned for announcements and updates in the weekly newsletter!

Welcome to Our News Staff Member: Nick Lawrence

Nick is Sanderson Academy's new band teacher, starting their first year here and at MTRS. They are very excited to be here and to start band lessons again after too long of a hiatus! Nick enjoys playing music of all genres, cooking and eating, and spending time with their dog Laika. They'll be in the building most afternoons, but can be reached anytime via email at nlawrence@mtrsd.org.

Do You Have First Day Photos to Share?

Families! We're looking for your first day photos!

Our district's director of communications is looking to celebrate our students on our social media outlets and district newsletters and would LOVE if you shared your first day photos with her. To submit your pics, send an email to Carla Potts at cpotts@mtrsd.org with the subject: FIRST DAY PHOTO and your SCHOOL NAME. In the email, please include the student's name, school, and grade.

Health Office News from Nurse Loranna

Greetings from the health office!

There is so much important information to share but I am going to touch upon the basics to get started. I do encourage you to reach out to me if you ever have any questions, my “door” is always open. Please be sure to check over the symptom checklist and reach out to me if your child is ill. Most illnesses will require a negative pcr covid test to return to school as well as having symptoms improving, please email me a copy of their test results and touch base with me before they return.

If your child has seasonal allergies I do need to have that documented with their pediatrician.If your child is a returning student from homeschooling or a new student they will need an updated physical.

Thank you for the timely return of your child’s annual student update form, if you have not sent it in, please do that asap. If you opt your child in for symptomatic binaxNOW rapid tests or rapid strep tests, please know I will always call before administering the test and we can work together to do what works best for you and your child. If your child is ill in the morning do not send them to school, these tests are for children who become symptomatic at school.

I am grateful for such a caring and health conscious community- we are truly blessed! It has been a great start to the school year and it has been so wonderful to see all of our students! The weather has been quite lovely and they have been enjoying lots of time outside.The happy energy is, dare I say, “infectious”!

Preschool News from Mrs. Freeman

Thank you, preschool children and families, for welcoming me into your homes last week for home visits. It was nice to meet with new children and visit with returning friends. This year we have 15 preschoolers starting the school year. We are learning about each other, and exploring our classroom and school’s campus. We look forward to an exciting year ahead!

We were fortunate to have perfect weather on our first day. As we walked to our outdoor classroom, we were fortunate to discover a chrysalis hanging on a milkweed plant. The photo shows our discovery.

Preschool News from Ms. Melanie

Our first few days have been a delight! We have been exploring our outdoor classroom, learning each other’s names, and becoming familiar with the rhythm of our day. Welcome to a new year of preschool!

Kindergarten News from Ms. Sarah

Our focus this week has been on learning more school routines and opening the play centers. The block, playdough, art, and train table centers are now open for choice time, as well as legos. The art center contains crayons, markers, and watercolor paints so far. We also added snap cubes and rods to our math center. We completed our first group art projects—birthday cakes decorated with watercolors for our birthday display and an ocean background for our fish tank. And we tried out two of our woods options (Close woods and Far woods) for recess time! The kids have especially enjoyed looking for and making fairy houses, as well as climbing on fallen down tree trunks.

First Grade News from Mrs. Wyckoff

Welcome back Sanderson families! We are having the most wonderful start to our year together in first grade! First graders are getting to know each other through a variety of activities. One activity is called “Mystery bag” where children were sent home with a paper bag and filled it with items that help us learn a bit more about one another. Although many first graders have been in the same classrooms since they started at Sanderson they often said “Wow! I didn’t know that about you!” We are also learning expectations and routines that help us navigate our day. During our first full Wednesday we spent the afternoon visiting our outdoor classroom. First graders enthusiastically identified their favorite spots in the woods and began building new forts and engaging in imaginative play full of laughter. Our wish for this outdoor classroom is to create a space where we can extend our learning beyond the four walls of our indoor classroom. Exploring this space has helped everyone think about their own hopes and dreams for their year in first grade.

Second Grade News from Ms. Robertson

Welcome to the new school year Second Grade and Sanderson families! These first few days of school it has been wonderful to see the smiles of returning students and to hear their voices fill the classrooms!

During our first week of school in second grade, we have been learning about new expectations and practicing new routines. We are also becoming acquainted with our daily schedule and learning more about each other through getting to know you activities. One of our get to know you activities was called “Pack a Bag”, where we took home a brown bag and filled it with items that told about ourselves. We enjoyed learning about everyone’s favorite activities and their families as we practiced skills related to presenting to a group (using a strong voice, making eye contact) and skills related to being an attentive audience (listening respectfully, asking questions). Skills such as these are also practiced during our daily morning meeting time, where we greet each other, read aloud a daily letter, answer a sharing question, and participate in a group activity. One of our group activities has been a game called “Count Around”, where we have been practicing our counting skills. We have also started our first lessons from the district wide math program called Bridges. One daily component of the Bridges math program is called Number Corner, which focuses on different math skills. During the month of September, the focus will be on calendar skills and telling time.

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Third Grade News from Ms. Carole

It has been a fun first week of school for the third grade. We’ve been spending time getting to know each other and settling into the expectations and routines of daily life. We have named our hopes and dreams for the year, and we are working on creating the rules that will make those hopes and dreams possible. We spent time in the garden harvesting the onions, garlic, and cucumbers this week, and we’ve been enjoying some fresh cucumber slices during snack times. This week students are working on their homework contracts with their families so as to set up the year with a smooth and successful homework routine. Please make sure those are signed and back in the classroom by Friday, September 10th. Our point of interest for our first week is the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and many interesting facts about Massachusetts have emerged through our discussions. We are excited to have scheduled our first field trip, which is to the highest point in Massachusetts, Mt. Greylock. We will be taking parent cars there on Friday, October 1st. If you are available to drive for this exciting journey, please let Ms. Carole know soon. Thanks so much for sending in all of the requested materials and supplies as having everyone ready for school has made for a smooth start to our year!

Fourth Grade News from Mrs. Lagoy

Fourth grade has started off the year great! We’ve been discussing our hopes and dreams for the year. Our final drafts are coming along and we can’t wait to finish our bulletin board in the hallway. We will have an opportunity to share our hopes and dreams with our classmates and will start to create our classroom rules to keep everyone safe and help us reach our hopes and dreams this year. Another exciting thing about starting our fourth grade year is exploring all of our new learning spaces. Right now we are focusing on coming together as a community of learners and learning about our classmates. Ask your kiddo about some of the “getting to know you” activities we have done so far. We will begin our ELA/math block and science/geography block soon.

Fifth Grade News from Ms. Johnson

Fifth grade has been settling in beautifully. We have been learning about our space and each other. We have started on some content as well. Students have been reviewing reading strategies as we read a story called The Pumpkin Box. We have been reviewing math strategies by solving problems and sharing strategies and learning some math games. We’re also working on cursive and getting in some free writing time too. Students are also working on creating their hopes and dreams for the year.

Sixth Grade News from Mrs. Schreiber

Welcome back! Sixth grade has started our year with getting to know each other and reviewing our expectations. We have been talking about how we learn best and how we can help each other to do our best in school. In reading we are reading several short stories and discussing the question “What is the story really about?” looking deeper at a text for an author’s message. In math we have been playing games and thinking about strategies that we use to solve problems. One of the games that we played is called 24. Each card has 4 numbers that can use addition, subtraction, multiplication, and/or division to equal 24. Some cards have multiple ways to reach the answer. This is a great game to emphasize our conversations about talking about our process in math and sharing with others how we are thinking mathematically. Check out the example “24” card (the four numbers are 4, 9, 3, and 5).

News from Ms. Prew

Welcome back Sanderson families! I hope you all had a wonderful summer. It is time for the annual reminder about the incredible benefit that we have here at Sanderson. We are fortunate enough to have a school-wide Title I program! This means supports and services are available to all students and teachers and can be provided flexibly to ensure all of our Sanderson mathematicians are feeling confident and meeting grade-level benchmarks. Please see the Title I family information letter attached here, for more information (a copy will be sent home in your child’s Thursday folder, as well). I look forward to a fabulous 2021 - 2022 school year with you all! aprew@mtrsd.org

News from Ms. Aurigemma

Welcome back everyone! I hope you all had a restful summer and were able to enjoy the wonderful weather. This summer, I enjoyed traveling to sunny California where I visited my daughter. I was able to enjoy kayaking in the Pacific Ocean and hiking some trails that opened up to some breathtaking views. I also visited friends in Maryland and Florida. The summer moved so quickly. I am well rested and excited to return to In Person learning. I hope you are too.

This year, we as a learning community, are starting the school year with wearing face masks. My hope is that this will not be a permanent expectation. However, if it is, we as a caring community of happy learners and teachers who are all willing to do our part to ensure the health and well being of each other. Unfortunately, wearing face masks in school can make it difficult to hear and understand directions and/or classroom instructions especially in a whole group setting. If we follow some simple steps as we listen and speak to each other we can still learn a great deal. See the list below from American Speech and Hearing Association for some ways to speak and listen to each other while wearing a face mask.

  • Make sure you have the attention of the student before you start talking.

  • Face the student(s) directly, and make sure nothing is blocking your view.

  • Speak slowly and slightly louder, but don’t shout or exaggerate your speech.

  • Optimize speaking with a Voice amplifier (Teachers and Staff only).

  • Use your eyes, hands, and body language to add information to your speech.

  • Provide visual references (e.g., printouts, notes, images) to accompany communication.

  • Ask if the student understood you—if they didn’t, rephrase it or write it down.

  • Ask the student to repeat important information to see whether they understood what you said.

  • Reduce competing noise in the environment, if possible.

  • If you’re talking with someone new, ask the person what you can do to make communication easier for both of you.

For those families that are new to Sanderson Academy, my role as the Speech Language Pathologist is to provide support to teachers and students concerning speech and language skills in the classroom and other school settings and offer one to one, or small group speech and language therapy as needed for students. If you have questions about your child’s speech and language development, you can contact me by email at paurigemma@mtrsd.org or by phone at (413) 628-4404 Ext 222.

Mindful Movement with Ms. Sue

Welcome Back to everyone!! So WONDERFUL to see students, teachers and staff all together this school year! It has been lovely to hear about the highs and even lows of your summer days and it has been nice to hear about your wishes for your school year ahead! Taking some deep breaths in and out, WE ALL GOT THIS!!

Art News from Ms. Hawthorne

Welcome back Sanderson families. Ms. Carolyn here. I am so excited to be teaching art in the art room this year! Students are able to share tools and materials, however we will be practicing regular cleaning and hand-washing routines. I hope to be able to get a little bit messier this year with materials like paint, clay, and printmaking. Our theme for art this year is to EXPLORE. We are starting the first week of art with an all-school collaborative rainbow paper quilt mural inspired by contemporary artist Libs Elliot. Next week, we will establish the art room rules and practice set-up and clean-up routines. We will have a scavenger hunt to learn where things are so students can independently collect materials and put them away. We will continue to practice these routines for the first few weeks of school so we can have a safe and organized art room. I am looking forward to a colorful and creative year.

Mohawk Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC)

The September newsletter can be found here.

Community News

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