ATC Principal's Newsletter

December 2015

Important Upcoming Dates

December 16th - Winter Beginning Band Concert - 7PM

December 17th - Winter Advanced Band Concert - 7PM

December 17th - Grade 4 Holiday Concert 9-10AM.

December 18th - Grade 5 Holiday Concert 9-10AM.

December 22nd - School Site Council 3PM.

December 24th - January 3rd - Holiday Vacation (No School).

So many things to celebrate!

The end of November and December has been an exciting time at the ATC. Students have started to really build momentum with their learning. Our math data is indicating tremendous growth, reading levels are rising dramatically, and the sense of purpose and engagement is evident and very positive. Students appear to love coming through the doors each day and a great deal of that can be attributed to our enrichment programs and the teachers that are making these so wonderful. Ms. Daley and Ms. Houstle put on a fantastic show with Seussical the Musical that showcased more than 100 students! Mr. Preble and Mr. Kirby as doing a fantastic job with intramurals. Seeing 70 kids pour out of school at 3:30 with red cheeks and smiles is terrific. The band is preparing for an upcoming concert and Ms. Limina has helped us bring the holiday concerts back for 4th and 5th grade! Parents in those grades are welcome to attend (see above times).

Below: Parent Nikki Powers took some amazing photos from Seussical that captured the energy of the performances.

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Honor Roll

Starting in grade six, students are eligible for honor roll status. Students that achieve all grades in the A range earn "High Honors." Students with all grades in the A and B range earn "Honors."

Click HERE for a list of the trimester one students earning this distinction. Great job to those students working hard every day!

Holiday Fair Success!

One of the signs of a healthy school culture is the presence of traditions. For over 30 years, there has been an annual Holiday Fair for middle school students. For the past two years, we have brought this tradition to the ATC. This has been a great addition to our school and has proven to be a very worthy cause. Last Friday, students at the Cummings School raised nearly $6,000 to help families in our community around the holidays! This spirit of giving back and taking care of each other makes our school and community a special place.

See below: Seventh graders do a little holiday karaoke! This was one of the many activities students participated in during their cafe time.

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International Night

On December 1st, we held International Night. This was a one-hour family event to celebrate the diverse backgrounds of the families of Winthrop. Families came in and represented their cultural heritage by giving out samples of food, showing photos, items, clothing, etc.. pertaining to their country. This year we had 15 countries represented: Armenia, Greece, Tonga, Poland, Portugal, Kosovo, Dominican Republic, Russia, Japan, Albania, Algeria, Turkey, Germany and Pakistan. The children received a "passport" and went to each table to get a stamp once they learned about the country. At the end, they turned in the passport to receive a booklet with information about each country and a little globe ball. It's was a fun and educational experience for everyone and entirely free! The event was sponsored by the Winthrop Parents Network which is funded by a grant from the Dept of Early Education and Care through the Winthrop Public Schools. Our own Mrs. Preble started this several years ago and it grows larger and larger each year.

See below: ATC students share their Albanian heritage!

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Teacher Spotlight - Mr. Mastrangelo!

This month we celebrate one of our fifth grade teachers, Mr. Mastrangelo! Mr. M has been teaching in Winthrop for eighteen years. He originally started at the middle school until he found his niche in fifth grade. Students in Mr. M's class enjoy his passion and enthusiasm for learning, combined with his high expectations. Known for going above and beyond, Mr. M is here each morning before school providing students with extra help and after school as a member of the Core Values Committee and Instructional Leadership Team. Mr. Mastrangelo is the lead math teacher for fifth grade and an innovative leader that is a master at building knowledge thorough conceptual understanding. He is also known for his ability to make / build anything - especially eccentric costumes and student confidence. One little known fact is that Mr. Mastrangelo was on the MIddleton School committee for eight years.

Q & A

What do you do for fun outside of school?

Outside of school I enjoy drawing and sewing. I also like to exercise, especially boot camp classes and spinning. I also love to read and walk my Yorkshire Terrier "Bo."

What are you reading?

I'm reading A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn.

What do you love about the ATC?

The teachers that I get to work with each day, the positive energy, and of course the students! Itś like one big family here.

What is one of your five year goals?

I have always been interested in pursuing a doctoral degree in education.

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Straight from the Art Room!

Seventh graders are learning about creating the illusion of space with two-point perspective cityscapes and learning different shading techniques. Sixth graders are finishing up their study of the Japanese collage technique of Notan, focusing on using organic shapes to create an abstract artwork with a sense of movement.

Fifth graders are finishing their oil pastel self- portraits which will be on display around the school. They have done an amazing job thinking about proportion and using their observational drawing skills. Fourth graders just completed a collage where they reinforced their learning about fractions, using portions of circles to create gardens or underwater scenes. To add a little extra flourish, students also learned the historic technique of paper quilling.

Below are some examples of student work:

Mr. Curley's Corner

Here are a few tips from our Assistant Principal Mr. Curley:

1. Here’s a great website to educate parents on the different sites and apps that students use on a regular basis. Many of these sites/apps require a minimum age and often parents are not aware of what children can do on them:

2. School attendance has been over 95%! If your child is out and you visited a doctor, please remember to bring a doctor’s note.

3. The weather is starting to get colder, please make sure your child dresses appropriately for recess. We are asking that all students wear jackets in order to go out for recess.

4. Morning Drop-Off: Please do not drop your child off prior to 8:00AM unless your child has a morning program (band, abacus, breakfast, etc.) or scheduled to meet with a teacher.

Curriculum Updates



The ATC is gearing up for the second annual Full Court Frenzy Reading Challenge. We will be announcing the rules,dates, and prizes for the FRENZY very soon. Books are always a great gift for the holidays!! Students will need lots to read as they participate in one of the most anticipated events of the year.

Grade 4

Students in fourth grade are targeting the standards below:

Language Arts:

Students are currently targeting the following:

  • Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.

  • Determine the main idea of a text and explain how it is supported by key details; summarize the text.

  • Explain events, procedures, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text, including what happened and why, based on specific information in the text.

Expository writing: In Writers’ Workshop, students are crafting informational essays. Each student has written a piece on something they are an expert at. Students will be sharing these pieces with their peers during a publishing event soon.


Photosynethesis/ Plants 2.2. Plant Structures and Functions: Identify the structures in plants (leaves, roots, flowers, stem, bark, wood) that are responsible for food production, support, water transport, reproduction, growth, and protection.)


Our fourth grade students have been building a conceptual understanding of division. We are working to help them see division as sharing or partitioning.

Social Studies

Students are exploring various aspects of North America including geographic features, states, capitals, and landforms. Additionally, students are integrating their field trip to the Massachusetts State House into lessons on state and local government.


Longitude/ Latitude

Students are learning how weather affects plants and animals (4.11 Describe the climate, major physical features, and major natural resources in each region.)

Grade 5


Students are in the middle of exploring decimal operations, place value, and rounding. There has been a full integration of TenMarks in this grade and most students are required to complete at least 15 minutes of math homework on this site each night. The second round of SMI testing has started and students are showing excellent growth.

English Language Arts

Each classroom is doing something a little bit different in regards to text selection but all classes are focused on text-based questions, explicit vocabulary instruction, grammar and comprehension strategies.

Social Studies

Students are focused on geography skills and native american culture / history. There is a strong connection between geographic features and how this impacted native american life.


Students are preparing to publish an expository piece on something they are an expert at. They will be sharing these with fourth grade classes in a publishing event.


Students in grade 5 science recently completed a dissection of owl pellets and are learning about animal adaptations and environments.

Grade 6

Grade 6 ELA is currently finishing the unit on Short Stories and Literary Elements. A variety of short stories by prominent American authors has been read. A lesson focused on identifying literary elements and conflict in film is also planned.

Grade 6 Math is starting their study of ratios, rates and unit rate which will lead to a unit on measurement and percent in January.

In Social Studies, Grade 6 is finishing their unit on the Fertile Crescent with chapter tests and a short advertising project. They will begin their study of Egypt after the holidays.

Grade 7

Social Studies

Studying the political, physical, and human geography of countries around the world in each of the various 7th grade geography classrooms.


We are currently finishing up a module on proportional relationships and unit rates. We are moving on to a module dealing with percent and percent application in the real world. We will be discussing such topics as tax, coupons, markups, and other percent applications. The accelerated class is finishing up a module on solving and writing one and two step equations and now we’ll be moving on to a module dealing with solving and writing one and two step inequalities. We have also been using TenMarks at least once a week in class to reinforce the material that is currently being presented to the students in class.


Ms. Dunn’s classes are reading either Hunger by Michael Grant or Matched by Ally Condie, depending on the class. While reading, they are working on recognizing and analyzing points of view and themes, new concepts introduced this trimester. Ms. Sarnelli’s classes are working on long compositions while reading The Giver by Lois Lowry.

Below: Amelia from the fifth grade enjoys a science lab in Mr. Mastrangeloś room.

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