MHS WES Newsletter

Thursday, January 31, 2019

News from the Principal

Conferences - February 7 and 14

MHS Parent Teacher Conferences

*Conferences will be held for all students in kindergarten and first grade.

WES Parent Teacher Conferences

*Conferences will be held for some students in grades 2-5 as requested by the parent or teacher.

Last year at WES, we piloted a “Learners’ Showcase” for each grade level instead of having a conference for all of our students. This was a response to parent suggestions that many families do not feel that a second conference is needed, but would instead like the opportunity to see more of what their child is learning. Due to the overwhelming positive feedback we received, we plan to continue with this model. While this looks different at each grade level, parents and their children are invited to attend a “Learners’ Showcase” evening, with a focus on highlighting each child’s creative thinking and learning.

WES Learners’ Showcase Evening Presentations

Grade 2 - Tuesday, April 9th

Grade 3 - Thursday, January 31st

Grade 4 - Wednesday, March 27th

Grade 5 - Thursday, April 4th

Kindergarten Social/Health Special News

Starting after February vacation, we will end our Social/Health class with kindergarten. Mrs. Fowke’s kindergarten class will split up to join the other kindergarten classes for special subject time and Friday will be a rotating schedule similar to grades 1-5. With MCAS testing looming in our future and other school needs upon us, scheduling this special class has become challenging.

Mrs. Pinkes, Mrs. Kosciak, Mr. Deneen and myself have thoroughly enjoyed our special time with kindergarten. It has really allowed us to get to know your children and hopefully helped them to feel more comfortable with our presence in school. We will continue to visit classrooms often throughout the remainder of the year and will occasionally schedule additional lessons.

Ashburnham Westminster Foundation for Academic Excellence

Congratulations to Natalie Breen and Karen Perrett who received a $5,000 grant from the AWFAE to furnish and supply the WES Science Room! With this money they will purchase science lab tables, stools, lab coats, goggles, and other fun science materials. This room will be used by both MHS & WES students to complete STEAM projects. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math)

2019 MCAS Testing Schedule

Grade 3

ELA Session 1 - April 23

ELA Session 2 - April 24

Math Session 1 - May 9

Math Session 2 - May 10

Grade 4

ELA Session 1 - April 25

ELA Session 2 - April 26

Math Session 1 - May 7

Math Session 2 - May 8

Grade 5

ELA Session 1 - April 10

ELA Session 2 - April 11

Math Session 1 - May 1

Math Session 2 - May 2

Science Session 1 - May 14

Science Session 2 - May 15

Important Dates:

  • January 31: 3rd Grade Learners' Showcase 6:00-6:45 & 7:00-7:45 (all 3rd grade classes except Mrs. Perrett's class)
  • February 7 & 14: 1/2 day Elementary Only-Parent Conferences
  • February 14: Mrs. Perrett 3rd grade class Learners' Showcase 6:00-6:45 & 7:00-7:45
  • February 18-22: No School-February Vacation
  • March 6: 1/2 day all schools-Staff Development
  • March 8: PTO Glow Run
  • March 21: 4th Grade Learners' Showcase 5:30-6:15 & 6:30-7:15
  • April 4: 5th Grade Learners' Showcase
  • April 9: 2nd Grade Learners' Showcase 6:00-6:30 & 6:45-7:15
  • April 15-19: No School-April Vacation

Greetings from the Purple Palette & Paintbrush!

Lots of creative activity happening at both the WES Studio and the MHS studio!

Kindergartners are just starting to learn about collage and mixed media, as that will be the next "Center" that will be opened after their explorations. Grade 1 students have had 4 centers open each week: Drawing, Art Games, Painting and Building & Architecture. Collage was opened for a few weeks before Christmas, and that is open on some days as well. Grade 2 will be learning the differences between tempera paint and watercolor when they make their "Heart Maps" in a few weeks. Grades 3 and 4 will also be creating "Heart Maps" in a few weeks, and Grade 5 made theirs last year and have kept them in their art journals to reference this year. A "Heart Map" is a project for students to help with idea generation. First they paint a background, either with tempera or watercolor paint by only filling the paper with color. Next they make and cut out a heart from solid colored construction paper and glue their heart to the dried painted background. Last, they add words all around the heart, in the heart, on the background etc. The words are from an "ideas & interests" worksheet. (that they will work on next week) We brainstorm about maps, pirate/treasure maps, GPS, "Siri", "Waze" etc... and why we have those things. Inevitably the children conclude that those things are to help us "find where to go". The idea is that when they "get stuck or lost" in the art room, they can refer back to their heart map to remind them "where to go" for ideas by looking at the list of things they are interested in and are important to them that they wrote on their heart map. Many of the activities in both art studios focus on student choice and idea generation and these heart maps are a wonderful item in their "artist toolbox". They keep them in their art journals for the rest of the year.

A note of THANKS for all who ordered from Artsonia during the holidays! (You can still order all throughout the year) A percentage of the proceeds benefit the art program to purchase supplies for our students, especially the items that we run out of halfway through the year! (Like glue sticks, tacky glue, paint, paper, dried out markers, etc...) That money is also used for a lot of the set up materials for the annual art show...which reminds me:

SAVE THE DATE: Westminster Creation Celebration will be Thursday, May 16!!!!!

I am looking for volunteers both now for prep and the night of the event, for assistance with our students demonstrators. Send me an email if this is something you are interested in!

There will not be an "art show" for Meetinghouse this year. Instead, we are planning a "Family Arts Night", where students and their families can enjoy their creativity by making art together. Date to be announced soon. I will nee LOTS of volunteers for that as well!

DONATIONS: If you can donate, here is a current list of things we need:

tin foil

paper towel tubes

socks (for puppets and "stuffies")

small boxes (cereal, mac and cheese, etc)

old towels (for paint spills)



Ms. Banning


We are always looking for substitute teachers and substitute paraprofessionals at WES and MHS. If you are interested in a few days or a few hours, tell us what you are interested in and fill out an application.

Big picture


Westminster Elementary Parents and Families! We're PUMPED because we're less than one month away from kicking off our Westminster Fun Run. This year, all students will be running 30-35 laps to help raise funds for this school year, and we can't wait to get started. More communication to come!!

Check out this quick video to learn about what Boosterthon is all about.

We are looking for some help with decorating for the FUN RUN. We have some posters to hang but we are looking for some people to work with us to create some additional decorations related to the theme of the FUN RUN. Decorating day/evening will be February 13th and we'd love to get together before then to brainstorm and start creating some fun decorations. Please contact Barb at if interested.

We are also looking for volunteers to help on the day of the FUN RUN. We need people each hour to help track the laps completed for our kids. We'll be starting 8:45 AM and going until 2:45 PM. If you are able to help for the entire day or just an hour or two please contact me at with your availability.

Our next PTO meeting will be February 13th at 6:30 PM in the WES Library. Please mark your calendars!

Big picture

Fifth Grade News

Happy SuperBowl weekend everyone!

For what seems like an almost annual tradition, the fifth grade classes will be making predictions of the Super Bowl winning team and score! All fifth graders will decorate a helmet with their prediction and place it on our football field hanging in our hall. It is always so fun to see who is right on(especially when it’s after a Patriots win!) No worries if your child isn’t into football, we have a mini math lesson on multiples of 3 and 7 before they predict! And don’t worry, we also make sure students know that they must understand the greatness they are experiencing seeing the Patriots in the Super Bowl for most of their childhood!!!

In other news, by now you have most likely heard something about the Annual Invention Convention that the fifth graders will be taking part in. This exciting project will culminate with a showcase for parents on the night of April 4th at Westminster Elementary from 6:00-8:00. Students will step into the role of an entrepreneur, starting by targeting real-life problems in their daily lives and finding solutions to them. This project will be completely student-led and done solely in school. You may get some random requests from your child for objects such as cardboard, recyclables or really could be anything… as they work to build invention prototypes ! We sincerely appreciate your support in making this project a success.

BEE excited! Fifth and fourth grade classes are in the process of selecting two students and an alternate to represent their classes at our school wide spelling bee. One representative will then go on to represent our school in the regional bee! Good luck to all taking part!

Lastly, with the rise in cold season, all fifth grade classes are in need of replenishing their tissue and antibacterial wipe supply. Especially with sharing chromebooks across classes, this is very much appreciated to limit the sicknesses and absences! Stay warm and healthy everyone, and Go Pats!

1st Grade News

Snow, snow, snow! The big question in first grade is do we bring in snow pants or no? After talking with our recess aides, here is what we would like to share. We will be going out for recess during the winter months under the following conditions. First, the temperature has to be above 20 degrees including with the wind chill. Second, it should not be raining.

In order to play in the snow when we go out children MUST have snow pants, hats, boots, and gloves or mittens. The snow must be playable snow (enough of it and not ice). Please send in an additional pair of shoes if your child comes to school in boots. Boots are messy in the classroom and are not fun to wear all day.

Hopefully we will have good weather to have some fun in the snow!

Looking forward to seeing everyone at conferences in a few short weeks.


My name is Mark Brillon and I am the New Director of the Ashburnham-Westminster Extended Day Program. Extended Day has always held a special place in my heart and I am happy to remain a part of such a special program.

Moving forward, I would like you to know that I am on site at WES on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Lauren Hildreth will continue her role as Site Coordinator here, so if there is anything you need to communicate with us, please feel free to reach out via email or stop by to say "hello".

It has been so great to see a lot of familiar faces and catch up with those I haven't seen in a while. I am also excited to meet those of you I do not know as well! WES is a special place and I am very excited to be working in the building again.

Save the Date for FREE Family FUN STEM Night—March 15th at MHS

Our FREE Family Fun STEM Night will be held Friday, March 15th from 6-7:30 PM at MHS! All children ages 4-7 (and any older siblings) are welcome to attend. Registration is required. Come with your family for some STEM learning Fun! This program is sponsored by a grant from Westminster’s Local Cultural Council For more information contact CFCE Coordinator, Jana Harrison at

Gingerbread Man Challenge

Throughout December and January, Meetinghouse and Westminster Elementary students put on their engineering hats to solve a problem: Can you help the Gingerbread Man get safely across the river? While students designed a variety of solutions—catapults, boats, slides, zip lines, and even a magical flipping bridge, all of our budding engineers used the same basic steps: Explore, Create, and Share.

  • Explore: Students work in groups to decide what the problem is and how they are going to solve it.
  • Create: Students create, test and optimize a solution to the given problem.
  • Share: Students share their solutions, get feedback, and reflect on what worked and didn't work.

Thanks to all the parents who volunteered to help with the challenge! We couldn't have done it without you. Please click on the link below to see a slide show of the challenge!!