Weekly Newsletter

September 7, 2023

News from Principal Emma Liebowitz

The start of school has been great! It is amazing how tall some of the students have gotten in just a couple months. Students and staff are getting into routines and procedures. Please see the list of September events which includes Open House on Tuesday, September 19.

This year I would like to connect more with families by inviting caregivers to join me for some Principal Coffee Hours. There is no set agenda, but rather a time for caregivers to ask questions and make connections. The first one will be held on Wednesday, September 13 from 8:45 to 9:45. It would be great to let me know ahead of time if you plan to attend but it is not required. If you can't make it, please know my door is always open and I want to hear from you.

Upcoming Events

Wednesday, September 13: Principal Coffee Hour at 8:45 - In Person

WEdnesday, September 13: Local Education Council (LEC) at 3:30 - Virtual

Tuesday, September 19: Open House at 6:00

Friday, September 22: Band Instrument Rental Night at 6:30 at Buckland-Shelburne Elementary

Wednesday, September 20: 1:50 Dismissal

Tuesday, September 26: School Picture Day

Wednesday, September 27: 1:50 Dismissal

Friday, September 29 - Mountain Day

Link to Sanderson Academy calendar.

From the School Office

Please return all the paperwork that was sent home last week, if you haven't done so already. It is very important that families notify the office if your child will be absent as well as a change in where your child will be going after school. Having your child tell us does not work. Please send in a note, call the office or email me dsessions@mtrsd.org. Thank you all.

PTO News

PTO Needs Your Help at the 2023 Fall Festival!

Please help staff our booth & sign up for a shift or two! At the fall festival we need help making tacos, prepping food and collecting money. Sanderson students are welcome and encouraged to work the shift with their parents or caregivers selling seltzer or bottled water. We need a minimum of 5 people per shift. Signing up digitally is best: All sign ups needed by Sept. 29. https://www.signupgenius.com/go/5080F44AEA929A3F49-fall1 There is a paper version below if needed.

The money raised by our Walking Tacos stand goes directly back to Sanderson students and classrooms for supplies, field trips, or anything else teachers need or wish to use to enrich their classes.

Thank you for your help! Sanderson Academy PTO (questions contact lindi.russell@gmail.com)

Health Office News from Nurse Loranna

Welcome back! It has been so wonderful to see the students and to welcome any new students and families to our wonderful community. I am thrilled to be your school nurse and look forward to the school year. I am a mama of 3 kiddos and passionate about school nursing and supporting children and their families.

Reminder that all Preschool and Kindergarten students will need a physical exam yearly- a physical exam is also required in fourth grade. A lead screening is also required by state law when registering for prek/k.

Please keep your eye out for our illness guidelines which will be sent home soon.

Please reach out to me when your child is absent due to illness or a medical appointment-lalmeida@mtrsd.org. This way I can give you the appropriate guidance for your child’s return to school as well as let the secretary know for their attendance records. Please note that we are following the CDC guidance if testing positive for covid-19. If your child is ill, testing with a rapid antigen test is advised, retesting in 48 hours is highly recommended because in the beginning of an infection you may not test positive right away (false negative).


Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions at all- my door is always open and I look forward to working together to best support your child.

Preschool News from Ms. Freeman and Ms. Becky

Preschoolers are excited to start the school year! This year we have 17 preschoolers in our classroom. We welcome 10 new students and are happy to see 7 returning friends. This group has been exploring our classroom and seems eager to be a part of our Sanderson family. Some have shared what they enjoy so far at school. They said they like playing on the playground, going down the twisty slide, and playing with playdough. We look forward to adding to our favorites list and having a wonderful year together!

Preschool News from Ms. Melanie and Ms. Kylee

We are off to a wonderful start in preschool. We welcomed many new students and reconnected with returning students. Children are learning their way around the classroom and how to interact with each other and the classroom materials. We are learning each other’s names by singing the HIggly Piggly Bumblebee song in our morning meeting.

Our first unit of study is the life cycle of monarch butterflies. We are watching three caterpillars munching on milkweed. The children have already noticed that they are growing quickly. They are excited to see them turn into their chrysalises. Our first art project was to use watercolor paint to decorate butterflies for our Welcome Friends bulletin board.

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Kindergarten News from Ms. Sarah, Ms. Veronica and Ms. Beckwith

We have started our first science unit studying how monarch caterpillars grow and change into butterflies. So far, we have been reading books and observing the caterpillars as they are eating huge amounts of milkweed in their tank in our classroom. We have also started learning some songs and fingerplays to help us learn about the changes that happen to a caterpillar as it grows into a butterfly. Already, six of our ten caterpillars have already turned into chrysalises!

First Grade News from Ms. Wyckoff and Ms. April

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. We are learning expectations and routines that help us navigate our day. During our first week we have been reading many stories about the start of a new school year. Some of these titles are : A Letter From Your Teacher: On The First Day of School by Shannon Olsen, First Day Jitters by Julie Danneburg, Schools First Day of School by Adam Rex and Our Class is a Family by Shannon Olsen. After reading Our Class is a Family we made first grade bracelets as a fun little art project and to celebrate the start of our year together!

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Second Grade News from Ms. Lilly and Ms. Laura

We’ve had a great start to second grade so far! We have been learning new routines in our classroom and throughout the school. We learned how to use our classroom library and we worked hard as a group to make our library easy to keep organized. Over the last week we have been reading books, building with different materials, creating our classroom space, and jumping into our curriculums. We also had our first all-school meeting of the year and second grade led the whole school in saying the pledge. They rocked it!

Third Grade News from Ms. Carole and Mr. Luke

It has been a joy getting to know the new students in third grade this first week. We have been settling into routines and expectations and exploring new spaces. We are thrilled to welcome Vincent Toothaker to this class this year as well. Third graders wrote down their hopes and dreams for the year, and we are now establishing our classroom agreements which will make the realization of those goals possible.

Third graders also get to learn how to play the recorder with Ms. Julie, and that started this week as well. They were introduced to the recorder program and given recorders and three-ring binders. They also learned and practiced playing three notes: B, A, and G. Ms. Julie would like students to practice their recorders daily for 5-10 minutes. This way, when we see her again next Wednesday, those notes will be established. The binders and recorders will need to be brought back to school every Wednesday throughout the year.

Third grade is off to a wonderful start!

Fourth Grade News from Ms. Lagoy and Ms. Upright

It is so wonderful to be back in school with all of these new fourth graders. I hope you all had an amazing summer and have been enjoying this last burst of hot, hot, hot weather. In addition to writing our hopes and dreams for the year, and establishing classroom rules, we have been learning how to be “bucket fillers”. Be sure to ask your kiddo to tell you all about the book we read and see if they can give you some concrete examples of how they can fill someone’s bucket. We have also started our first unit of study in our English Language Arts curriculum: poetry. We are reading Love That Dog and will read our first poem, “The Red Wheelbarrow” by William Carlos Williams soon. I appreciated hearing from your children about what poetry means to you and thank you for your participation in that assignment. In geography, we are beginning our study of the Northeast Region. Thus far, your child should be able to tell you all about the Appalachian Mountains, Appalachian Trail, or Mount Washington. Finally, we are beginning the research and planning phase of our first STEM project: spaghetti towers. Be sure to ask your child to tell you all about which towers they are researching at school. Feel free to get involved as a family and do some researching and strategizing at home as students embark on this exciting project.

Fifth Grade News from Ms. Johnson and Ms. Shero

Fifth grade has had a fabulous start to the school year. Of course we have been learning routines and about working as a community. A favorite part of the day for fifth grade has been watching CNN 10 each day. It is a news program that is geared toward middle and high school. Another highlight is our first read aloud- The Phantom Tollbooth. We have been playing with language and looking for homophones.

Sixth Grade News from Ms. West, Ms. Alexis and Ms. Glenda

We have had an exciting start to the new school year in 6th grade! We are focusing on building our classroom community and taking more responsibility and ownership as the leaders at Sanderson Academy. We have been working together to set our classroom rules and classroom jobs. Project Time will be a regular part of our school week, and on September 1st we kicked this off with many different activities. Students built a picnic bench, planned out and turned soil for a new pollinator garden, organized our classroom library, made floor pillows, and started organizing our new Maker’s Space. We will continue to have Project Time every Wednesday.

Library News from Ms. Wilson

Welcome back, everyone! The library is open and full of new titles. which are already flying off the shelves and into the hands of eager students. It’s wonderful to see, and I have enjoyed hearing about what students read over the summer. Here are a few reminders and things to keep in mind as we begin another school year:

  • LIBRARY CLASSES: Students in grades 1-6 will visit the library once a week for an hour, while Pre-K and K classes visit once a week for 30 minutes. Library curriculum will promote critical thinking and independent learning, while fostering a love for reading and an appreciation for diverse literature. Additionally, the library is a place where students will explore computer science concepts and become responsible digital citizens.

  • ONLINE CATALOG: You and your child can browse the Sanderson Library collection from home by going to the Sanderson website, and selecting ‘Library Catalog’ under the Programs heading.I encourage you to look at what your child chooses to bring home. Have conversations with them, read along, and ask questions!

  • BOOK CHECKOUT: Students are allowed to check out 2 books per week, which are due the following week (unless being renewed). Students may check out new books when they have returned their old ones.

  • BOOK RETURN: Please encourage your child to take responsibility for their library books, and help them to return books on time. You can help your child find a specific place in your home for library books so they won’t be misplaced.

  • BOOK FAIR: We will be hosting another book fair this year, this time in March, which serves as a major fundraiser for our library.

Please stay tuned for more news each week, and for monthly district library newsletters that will be available through the Sanderson newsletter. I am excited for the year ahead, and I look forward to connecting with many of you at the upcoming Open House!

Mindful Movement News from Ms. Sue

It has been SO MUCH fun connecting with all of the students, teachers and paras and hearing about all their summer fun, adventures, travels, and family connections! I am looking forward to another year of mindfulness, breath work, and yoga poses to help Sanderson kids grow and learn at their fullest potential. Stay cool!!

News from Ms. Prew

Happy 2023 - 2024 School Year everyone! I missed you all in the Spring so I am very excited to be back! Check out this awesome quote, “We believe that math is from everywhere, in everything, and for everyone, and that anyone can be a math person when they don’t just learn math, but experience it.” - Liz Neiman. What will you learn? How will you experience math this year? I can’t wait to hear from you! :) aprew@mtrsd.org

Reading News from Mrs. Morey

Welcome Back! I hope you have all had a great summer full of wonderful books! A love for books starts with a love of stories. Reading to your child builds so many connections with text, promotes comprehension and vocabulary. Build story time into a daily routine and make reading a habit!

Instrumental Music News from Ms. Julie

We are off to a wonderful start! Our third-grade recorder class met for the first time and have already learned to play three notes–they’ll be performing in all-school before we know it! Instrument classes for 4th, 5th, and 6th graders will begin next week. Sign-up forms for instrument lessons went home in last week’s Thursday folder. We have had a very good response so far and our school band and (new this year) our string orchestra will have many new and returning players. Registration is still open for students in grades 4-6 who would like to learn to play an instrument and perform with the band or orchestra. We have classes in flute, clarinet, alto saxophone, trumpet, trombone, and percussion for those interested in band. New this year, we are also offering classes in violin, viola, cello, and bass for students wishing to play in the orchestra. Please see Miss Julie if you would like more information–we would love to have you join us!

Speech and Language News from Ms. Godden

Welcome Back to school! I am so excited to be at Sanderson Academy this year! I am looking forward to meeting all of you and learning more about our school. Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions or concerns about your child’s communication development.

You can reach me at dgodden@mtrsd.org

Seeking Community Member

23-24 District Computer Science Stakeholder Council - Community Stakeholder Member

Seeking a caregiver/community member who is committed to high-quality programming and equitable opportunities for K-12 computer science education in the Mohawk Trail Regional School District to participate in the District Computer Science Stakeholder Council.

Our council is seeking your support and input as we develop our K-12 programming. We welcome individuals with or without tech backgrounds, who have an interest in broadening opportunities for students within and beyond their K-12 school experience.

Specific responsibilities include attending a fall meeting, a spring meeting, and a cross-district summit. Tasks include analyzing enrollment data, curriculum and course offerings, and working toward improving caregiver/community engagement, student access, and teacher professional development in computer science programming.

The council member will be compensated with a $250 grant-funded honorarium.

Applicants should send a letter of interest to Sarah Jetzon at sjetzon@mtrsd.org

News from Special Education


~Parent Rights and Responsibilities workshop will be held Tuesday, October 3rd

In person at Mohawk Trail Regional and Virtually -

Annual Parent Rights and Responsibility Training

Google Meet joining info

Video call link: https://meet.google.com/mby-cuxg-pkm

Or dial: ‪(US) +1 276-695-5147‬ PIN: ‪369 643 542‬#

~SEPAC is up and running. Be on the lookout for the next meeting date.

~You will be receiving a letter in the mail with the Annual Rights and Responsibility.

Special Education Contact Information

Leann Loomis

Director of Pupil Personnel Services

413-625-0192 x1025


Melissa Plesnar

Assistant to Director of Pupil Personnel Services

413-625-0192 x1015


Erin Beaudet

7-12 Liaison

413-625-9811 x1314


Carolyn Goodnow

1-6 Liaison

Mohawk Trail District



Kate Dwyer

1-6 Liaison

Hawlemont District



Amy Socquet

Early Childhood Coordinator and Liaison



Community Events

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