The Penguin Post

Benjamin Phelps School - February 2022 Newsletter

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Harlem Globetrotter, "Scooter", Visits Phelps

On Thursday, January 27, 4th graders at Phelps were surprised with a visit from Harlem Globetrotter "Scooter" Christensen!!! Scooter talked to the 4th grade about his path to the Globetrotters, the importance of school, perseverance and standing up against bullying. His message was also to find something that you love and put all your effort into it! Students had an opportunity to learn some "Globetrotter passes" and Scooter showed off some of his awesome skills. Scooter was generous enough to give each student an autographed poster. Special thanks to our enrichment coach, Mrs. Haglund, for helping to arrange our this for our students.

One School, One Book

Beginning Monday, March 14, our school will again be embarking on a special project, an all school book club called One School, One Book. Every student will receive a copy of the same book -Mysteries According to Humphrey, by Betty G. Birney - and will be asked to read it at home during the month of March.

Your child will be coming home with their copy of the book at the beginning of March. More information about the reading schedule and how you can support this special project will be sent home in backpacks.

Crystal Apple Award for January

Every month, the teachers and staff at Phelps have an opportunity to nominate another staff member for the Crystal Apple Award. The staff recipient for January was Mrs. LaPine!

Staff had this to say about her:

Mrs. LaPine has gone above and beyond this year. When students are working through big emotions, Mrs. LaPine serves as a calming presence. She takes the time to listen to our students, offer advice and helps to set them up for a successful day. Mrs. LaPine also works diligently to ensure that students and their families have the resources they need outside of school.

We appreciate Mrs. LaPine’s counseling expertise and knowledge in helping our students feel better and learn social/emotional skills to be successful in our school; Mrs. LaPine offers a wealth on knowledge in helping our school community be safe, responsible and respectful for everyone; If you need a listening ear, you know you can always count on Mrs. LaPine!

Thank you for all you do, Mrs. LaPine!

Black History Month at Phelps

Phelps celebrated Black History Month in a variety of ways!

Every morning as part of our radio show, students learned about a famous and influential African-American musician and heard one of their greatest hits! Some musicians included Louis Armstrong, James Brown, Bob Marley, Michael Jackson and Ray Charles.

In all classrooms, including related arts, students completed various research projects, read books, made biographical quilts that are displayed in the halls, completed physical challenges related to various athletes, painted in the style of Alma Thomas and much, much more.

MAD Science

On Friday, February 18 the PTO brought in Mad Science: The Science of Superheroes!

In this show, 4th grade students discovered the real science behind some of the most popular superhero powers! They explored the science of flight, how science can make things invisible, and how Spiderman might walk up walls using fun, high-energy experiments!

Spring Book Fair

Benjamin Phelps Elementary School is getting ready for the spring book fair! Children will be visiting the book fair during their library time the week of March 7th-11th.

Mrs. W, our librarian, is looking for a parent volunteer to assist with each classroom. The parent volunteer will help the children shop and/or help to check students out at the register!

There are a few time slots where we still need some parent volunteers. You can sign up to volunteer by clicking here! Simply choose your time slot, click "sign up", and fill in your information.

Volunteers MUST BE CORI CHECKED in order to help with school events! If you have any questions, please email or

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School-Wide Improvement in Reading!

The Benchmark Assessment System (BAS) test accurately and reliably identifies each child’s instructional and independent reading levels. Teachers assessed all students in the fall and reassessed students in January. We are so proud of how much our students grew in the first half of the school year! This is very encouraging data as teachers and staff work hard every day to fill the gaps caused by the pandemic.

In each of the charts below, the chart on the left is the data for the fall and the chart on the right represents the most recent testing. You will see data for Phelps as a school, followed by each grade level, 1-4. Kindergarten has only taken one round of the BAS assessment, so their growth will be shared later in the year.

Red represents students reading BELOW grade level.

Yellow represents students APPROACHING grade level.

Green represents students AT grade level.

Blue represents students EXCEEDING grade level.

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Read Across America!

On Monday, February 28, students will be coming home with a letter and a reading challenge for the month of March. In addition to the challenge, we will celebrate Read Across America with 5 days of FUN!

Wednesday, March 2: Read Across America - Thing 1 & Thing 2: Crazy Hair Day!

Thursday, March 3: Oh the Places You'll Go: Wear a shirt from a place you visited!

Friday, March 4: Dress up like your favorite storybook character & bring in the story to share.

Monday, March 7: Cat in the Hat Day: Wear an interesting hat!

Tuesday, March 8: Fox in Sox day: Wear crazy socks!

Upcoming Dates for Fall 2022 Kindergarten Students

Kindergarten Information Night

Please join us for the 2022-2023 Agawam Kindergarten Information Night

Wednesday March 2, 2022 (Snow date: March 3, 2022)


Robinson Park School

6:00-7:00 PM

If you have a child that will be 5 years old PRIOR to September 1, 2022 we want to meet you!

The purpose of this night is to answer questions parents might have in regard to their child entering Agawam Public Schools. Hosted by Agawam Public Schools.

Childcare will not be provided.

Kindergarten Registration and Screenings

Letters to families of students that do not attend the ECC are going in the mail today to schedule your child's screening. Please review the necessary documentation required to complete the registration process including the New Student Enrollment Packet.

Screening appointments are scheduled for March 8 and 9 at Phelps. Appointments should last around 45 minutes.

If you still have not completed the Kindergarten Inquiry Form (to let us know that you will have a kindergarten aged student), you can do so by clicking here.

Students that attend the ECC are screened by their classroom teachers.

COVID Information and Updates

If you would still like to have your child receive at-home antigen tests, here is the opt-in form.

Please note that this form is for Phelps students only and that each school uses their own form.

Please refer to emails from Superintendent Hoffman regarding specific details of the new program.

Here are a few bullet points:

1. Tests will be distributed to students who are opted in on Mondays. Tests will be put in student backpacks.

2. Each box contains 2 tests. Therefore, tests will be distributed bi-weekly.

3. Students should test every Wednesday morning. Positive tests should be reported using this google form and CDC guidelines should be followed for isolation.

4. There is no reporting of negative tests.

5. Students who were positive in the last 90 days are encouraged to not test as the antigen test could still yield a positive result. Parents can opt-in students at any time and new lists will be printed for each distribution.

6. Families need to opt-in separately for students to be tested in school if they become symptomatic. Here is a link for testing consent. This looks similar to the test and stay consent, but needs to be completed again for symptomatic testing.

From the PTO

On the Border - Takeout/Dine-in to Support Phelps

On Thursday, February 24th the delicious and generous On The Border (33 Border Way) is donating back 20% of Takeout & Pick up orders to support a great cause -- Benjamin Phelps PTO!

On behalf of Benjamin Phelps PTO you’re invited to join us and eat out, not only in support of the organization, but to show one of your W. Springfield restaurants some love too!

We need a minimum of 20 RSVPs, so we ask you to confirm your attendance here: (even if you’re not completely sure). This also helps On The Border know roughly how many orders to expect & gives you access to all the event details.

We hope you can make it, and please feel free to forward this invitation to your friends and family. Thanks in advance for your support!

Phelps at the Thunderbirds Game 2-12-2022

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PTO Needs Volunteers!

Anyone interested in helping to plan Teacher Appreciation Week or Field Day, please email Phelps PTO at so we can get a committee started!

We would love to have you join us at our next meeting! Tuesday, March 8 at 6:00 p.m.

Thank you for your continued support of our Phelps community!

Thanks for Reading!

Mr. Villamaino & Mrs. Ludkiewicz