Dartmouth Public Schools

iInspire, You Matter, Kindness Matters

Dr. Bonny Gifford

The countdown to Thanksgiving is officially on and like many of you I am eagerly looking forward to spending time with family. The holiday is a perfect excuse to hang around the house, watch football and the Macy’s parade and sample a variety of home cooked dishes. Thanksgiving is also the time to express gratitude for our blessings and show appreciation for people who love and support us; we reap the benefits of experiencing gratitude ourselves or receiving it from another. Feelings of gratitude lead to increased empathy and a kind heart and it is said that grateful people are happy people and happy people are grateful.

Olivia Rosewood, author of Gratitude Soup, tells us “there is scientific evidence showing that gratitude dramatically changes brain chemistry, leading to a peaceful mind and healthy body. In a study performed at UC Davis those who experienced a daily gratitude activity had more positive states of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness and energy. Gratitude can lead to fewer physical ailments and an enhanced feeling of well-being.” Recognizing the importance of living a life filled with gratitude, Rosewood wrote a story about Violet the Purple Fairy learning to make Gratitude Soup by remembering everything and everyone in her life that she is grateful for; all were added to her soup pot.

Inspirational speaker, Omaid Homayun shares a personal story of how he began to live a life of gratitude after facing some tremendous adversity. Despondent and searching for some kind of sign, he came across a book called A Simple Act of Gratitude by John Kralik. Homayun writes: “I read the first 10 pages and it hit me like a ton of bricks. It’s about, John Kralik, whose life was a disaster.” Homayun read how Kralik one day decided he needed to find a way to overcome his adversity so he pledged to write one thank you note each day for the entire year. This simple act helped him find something to be grateful for each day. Not surprisingly, Kralik found writing thank you notes reminded him to value all the good in his life and maintain a positive mindset. In Kralik’s words, “Gratitude presses outwards and that creates good feeling in the universe. A lot comes back to you eventually.”

In the words of Edmund Wilson, “gratitude is one of those rare things you get more of by giving it away.” As I journey to be with family on this Thanksgiving holiday, I will be thinking about focusing on gratitude and ways to give it away!

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Some updates on the Winter Sports Season


Finished the season 7-9

Did not qualify for the playoffs.

Justin Debortoli represented DHS in the individual tournament.

Field Hockey

Finished the reg season 14-3-1.

Lost to Barnstable in the state tournament 2-0

Girls Soccer

Finished the reg season 12-4-2.

Defeated Falmouth 2-0 in a first round game.

Boys Soccer

Finished the regular season 9-8-1.

Defeated #5 Canton 1-0


Finished the regular season 16-3.

Cross Country

Girls finished the season 4-2, while the Boys were 3-3.

Participated in the MSTCA State Invitational race. Top 50 (Medals) 10th Girls Race 29th Mia Clark 22:27.30 49th Kaitlyn daSilva 23:14:20 11th Girls Race 6th Emma Sousa 21:10.80 12th Girls Race 10th Phoebe Cousens 21:35.40 12th Boys Race 10th Ben Rioux 17:18.20 42nd Noah Derrick 18:08.70

Science Inquiry Projects

Students in 7th grade are engaged in a six day inquiry project on Climate change that was developed by 7th grade science teachers in collaboration with the librarian. The project follows the principles of Guided Inquiry Design. Students spent two full days exploring information and generating questions. Then students were placed in groups based on the questions they wanted to answer most. Students are engaged in all parts of the research process including creating quality citations using Noodletools, a research tool purchased by the district for grades 6 - 12. We look forward to seeing final products!

DMS students are creepy! -- or at least their narratives are!

This year, more than 150 students entered the www.youngwritersusa.com "Stranger Sagas" 100 word creative writing contest. Our more verbose students kept writing up to two pages of spine tingling narrative to enter into the DMS Annual Scary Story Contest.

Top honors in the school's contest were awarded to 6th Grader Steven Wei, 7th grader Caiden Demanche, and 8th garder Madyn Waskiewicz. Sixth graders Adriana Neria and Amiah Aguiar, 7th graders Josh Abreu and Silas Dussault, and 8th graders Connor Murphy and Tayla Wood also received honorable mentions for their disturbing tales of terror. Congrats to all of our aspiring Edgar Allen Poes!

The Stanger Sagas winner will be announced at a later date by the review committee at youngwritersusa.com.

Assessment Development Committee (ADC)

Congratulations to Anne Brown, Math Coach at DMS, Wilbur Hiiggins, English Department Lead Teacher/Instructional Coach at DHS and Arlyn Botcher, DMS Science teacher for being selected to serve on the Assessment Development Committee (ADC) for the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS). Anne will serve on the Grade 7 Mathematics Team, Will will serve on the Grade 10 ELA Committee and Arlyn will serve on the High School Science Team. Anne, Will and Arlyn were selected from over hundreds of applications from qualified candidates. Members of the ADCs review items and passages for content accuracy, grade-level appropriateness, and alignment to the standards in the Massachusetts curriculum frameworks. All three will attend meetings throughout the year and serve in an advisory capacity throughout the test development process.

School Nutrition Association of MA

Dartmouth hosted over 70 local school nutrition professionals for training on the essentials of food safety. We also collected foods for the high school food drive and Deb Marion of the high school won the golden spatula for volunteering.

STAR Updates coming soon!

The Renaissance Star Assessment that is used in grades K-8 is about to get better. Renaissance’s new growth platform will have a fresh new look designed for easier navigation, updated, easy-to-read reports, and exciting capabilities and features, leading to greater student growth. The update is scheduled for January 28, 2018 and will take 24-48 hours. DPS data will not be accessible during this time. This is a major upgrade to our current Star Platform.

One change you need to be aware of is passwords will change. After our upgrade, all passwords were converted to lower case, and are now case sensitive!

Please use the resources below to get acclimated to the new upgrade.

Top 5 Enhancements to Star Assessments

Top 5 Enhancements to Star Assessments video

Young Authors

Fourth graders are developing their craft in writing. Their current unit on Personal/Persuasive Essays is designed to help students learn to write well within an expository text structure. Students are practicing how to write using a thesis-driven essay structure. Students have been writing out the evidence to support the reasons for their opinion. They collect evidence, lists, and mini-stories to support their reasons. Students will organize this evidence by selecting the most powerful to include. .

Dartmouth Middle School Happenings!

Hydroponic Gardening: A small group of students approached Ms. Hellstrom, 8th grade Science Teacher and Mrs. Mitchell, Instructional Technology Specialist, at DMS, about gardening. With help from Jeanne Sheridan and James Kiely, a hydroponics Garden Tower was funded. The group started seeds, fed them nutrients, and then put them in the tower. Our tower, named Eiffel Flower, is now housed in our cafeteria for all to see. The group has also planted cold tolerant seeds in the greenhouse. The goal is for students to learn more about ways to garden and reap the rewards of eating student-grown greens for lunch.

Locked Boxes: Breakout of Math! Students in Ms. Keene's class worked in teams to solve math problems leading to codes for locks on a box that held a prize. Once you solved your problems- you won the prize! Donors Choose funded Ms. Keene's project. (student quote) "Last week we used the locks and boxes. They were super fun to use and I really enjoyed that day. One thing I liked is that they are an unusual way of learning....real life skill... and I enjoy solving puzzles and problems." -Madyn

True Grit Breakfast: Persistence and Perseverance- Students in 7th and 8th grade that earned 90% growth on the 2018 MCAS were treated to a True Grit Breakfast and given certificates of merit.

Spread Kindness

Demello School recently celebrated Kindness Day! Students started their day by writing acts of kindness on leaves and then decorated trees with their kindness. Kindness is spreading sunshine into other people's lives regardless of the weather.


Professional Development Points (PDPs): As of July 1, 2016, the required distribution of Professional Development Points (PDPs) has changed for all academic educators who renew a primary area:

Educators must earn 150 PDPs, which include:
(a) At least 15 PDPs related to Sheltered English Immersion or English as a Second Language;
(b) At least 15 PDPs related to training in strategies for effective schooling for students with disabilities and the instruction of students with diverse learning styles;
(c) At least 90 PDPs in content/pedagogy, with no less than 60 PDPs in or related to the content area of the educator's primary area; and
(d) The remaining required 30 PDPs may be earned through either “elective” activities that address other educational issues and topics that improve student learning, or additional content, and/or pedagogy.

Dartmouth Public Schools ERD (Early Release Day) Strands offer sessions for teachers to earn required PDP's. Also, SMEC (Southeasten Massachusetts Educational Collaborative) is offering two classes to meet your PDP requirements in ELL and SPED.

Blended and Personalized Learning PD at DHS

Dartmouth High School and the Highlander Institute are partnering to provide job-embedded professional development that supports the design and delivery of high quality, blended and personalized instruction in alignment with the District and School Improvement Plans. The work is central to the school's focus of providing students with instruction that meets the needs of all learners while preparing them for college and career success in the 21st Century. Utilizing a Lesson Study model, teams of teachers from four departments (English, Math, Social Studies and Business & Computer Science) plan with a Highlander Institute Coach and Building Administration, to design a lesson, deliver and observe the lesson and finally to reflect upon the lesson with the goal of adjusting practice to improve future instruction.

Southeast Regional Reading Council Meeting

Thursday, Dec. 6th, 4:30pm

90 Paramount Drive

Raynham, MA

Southeast Regional Reading Council Meeting is an affiliate of MRA and ILA. They meet for a dinner and networking meeting. This month the guest speaker is Martha Zschock, a local author and illustrator who will be presenting: “The Journey of Writing and Illustrating for Children”. She will be selling and signing some books from her Hello! and Journey! series.

SERRC Registration Form

DHS After Prom - Five Below Fundraiser

Friday, Nov. 23rd, 10am-11pm

Five Below North Dartmouth Mall

Support the efforts of the DHS After Prom Committee print the form below and shop, shop, shop!

Five Below Fundraiser Form

DHS After Prom - Tropical Smoothie Fundraiser

Wednesday, Dec. 5th, 11:30am-4:30pm

Tropical Smooth Cafe - Faunce Corner Road

Need a break from cooking and want some yummy healthy food, stop by Tropical Smoothie! Your children students at DPS? December 5th is an Early Release Day in Dartmouth, treat them to lunch and help out the Dartmouth After Prom.
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Thanksgiving Day Football Game

Thursday, Nov. 22nd, 10am

Memorial Stadium 400 Slocum Road

Staff Spotlight - Will Higgins

Name: Will Higgins

School/Position: DHS/English Teacher

Hometown: Dartmouth, MA

Education: HS in NJ, Rutgers University - BA, College of New Jersey - MAT

Role model or someone who has had a great impact on my life: Tom Aungst - I’ve known him as a teacher and friend since I was 16. I became a teacher because of him.

If I could travel anywhere in the world it would be: Germany/Switzerland/Austria

If I could eat dinner with someone famous, dead or alive, it would be: Teddy Roosevelt - my favorite president. He did it all: author, explorer, politician, military man, family man, scientist. How did he have time for all of this? Took a bullet in the chest before giving a speech from an assassin, then spoke for 90 minutes before going to the hospital.

Favorite leisure time activity: Rowing, Reading, Watching Soccer.

Favorite movie: The Big Lebowski or Cider House Rules or Interstellar.

I think the world’s greatest invention is: Double IPA

My favorite motto or saying: Fandango

Why I chose DPS to work at: I came for friends and stayed because Dartmouth is a great place to raise a family.